VideoHelp Forum

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Consider supporting us by disable your adblocker or try DVDFab and copy, convert or make Blu-rays and DVDs! :)
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3
1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 85
Thread
  1. I have been thinking for awhile of getting an Android Box. They seem capable of doing so many things. I realize they are not as powerful as a computer, but the different slots such as Ethernet, sometimes two USB slots and media card slot and the little keyboard you get they seem like a good way of turning your TV into a media center for a reasonable price. I have heard nice things about Roku boxes, but unless it is a high end model you don't get slots for Ethernet or USB.

    The one thing that makes me trepedacious is installing apps. I read these "permissions" things and they seem like they are not worth the trouble.

    Any advice on what to look for as there is a myriad of choices. The only games I would want to pay are Sudoku, Card Games and Solitaire. Thanks in advance for any advice. This is such a wonderful place to get advice and to learn.
    Quote Quote  
  2. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Roku is a better choice for those who are mainly interested in watching popular streaming services than for for those interested in playing a large variety of media file types. From https://support.roku.com/article/208754908-how-to-use-roku-media-player-to-play-your-v...ic-and-photos:
    The following file formats are supported:

    Video – H.264/AVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV)
    Audio – AAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); MP3(.MP3, .MKV); WMA (.ASF, .WMA, .MKV), FLAC (.FLAC, .MKV), PCM (.WAV, .MKV, .MP4, .MOV), AC3/EAC3 (.MKV,.MP4. .MOV, .AC3), DTS (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV,.DTS), ALAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV, .M4A)
    Playlists –.M3U, .M3U8
    Image – JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated)

    The following media formats are supported on Roku devices that support 4K

    4K Video – H.265/HEVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); VP9 (.MKV)
    4K Video – H.264 (Roku Premier, Premier+, and Ultra only)
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
    Quote Quote  
  3. usually_quiet: Thank you for this information. It was kind of you to take the time.
    Quote Quote  
  4. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    The NVIDIA Shield TV is the emperor of Android boxes, and maybe the most expensive. The basic Shield TV model costs about $180 (US) and comes with with a remote and 16 GB of storage. For $300 (US) the Shield TV Pro gives owners a better remote, a game controller, an SD card slot, an IR receiver (for using a universal remote) and a 500GB hard drive built in. Both models have an ethernet port. I think the major streaming services are well supported and so is the official Android version of Kodi.

    I have trouble keeping track of the other Andriod boxes. Minix has a good reputation but they aren't inexpensive. Some Minix models cost almost as much as the Shield TV. I would have to do some research to find out which ones are significantly better than average.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
    Quote Quote  
  5. Member Seeker47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    drifting, somewhere on the Sea of Cynicism
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    The NVIDIA Shield TV is the emperor of Android boxes, and maybe the most expensive. The basic Shield TV model costs about $180 (US) and comes with with a remote and 16 GB of storage. For $300 (US) the Shield TV Pro gives owners a better remote, a game controller, an SD card slot, an IR receiver (for using a universal remote) and a 500GB hard drive built in. Both models have an ethernet port. I think the major streaming services are well supported and so is the official Android version of Kodi.

    I have trouble keeping track of the other Andriod boxes. Minix has a good reputation but they aren't inexpensive. Some Minix models cost almost as much as the Shield TV. I would have to do some research to find out which ones are significantly better than average.
    I have done a lot of comparative research, and have owned a few of the better reviewed Android boxes -- mainly for Kodi, which purpose does not seem to overlap all that much with the interests expressed by the OP. The ROKUs are fine for what they are mainly intended for: mainstream services streaming. I'm not aware of their being compatible for Kodi, but I could be mistaken about that. (I still like my 2nd. Gen. WD Live TV boxes -- long off the market -- for playback of most content from attached storage, with the understanding that they have blind spots when it comes to coping with HEVC or H265 files.) The 1st. Gen. Amazon Fire TV (box, not the sticks) were pretty good, and by some reports maybe better than their 2nd. Gen. version successors. I was able to side-load Kodi onto my 1st. Gen.

    There are a lot of interchangeable, generic Chinese-made Android tv boxes being sold. I did not get around to testing the Nvidia Shield, but definitely had some interest in doing so. (I think they were between model changes, at the time.) From my own surveying, I thought the two standouts were Minix -- specifically the U1 -- and boxes from Skystrream. I've had the Skystream One, and just recently got the Skystream Two, which runs around $200. and was recently sold out and in a backorder status. The Two noticeably improves upon the hardware specs of the One, albeit at close to double the price. Both the Minix and the Skystream came with proprietary-fork versions of Kodi, under alternate names. This can be good or bad. The one on Minix proved a major disappointment, but I side-loaded a standard Kodi onto that and made it more usable. The one Skystream has is well maintained and updated by them. I think both mfr.s have active user forums online. Both companies are said to have above-average support and customer service, although I have not put this to the test myself. With the typical generic Android boxes, those aspects are going to be zilch, so if those indications are correct that could represent a significant added value.

    [Getting into Kodi can quickly become more of a techie exercise than many potential users expected or desired -- particularly when compared to operation of the Amazon Fire TV or Roku. I also think it an open question as to how much Kodi lives up to its all hype . . . .]
    Last edited by Seeker47; 6th Jan 2018 at 18:33.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
    Quote Quote  
  6. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    My $0.02

    Option 1) For simplicity, a Roku is the way to go. Though as you've noted, you pay a premium for an ethernet port, SD slot and USB. Also,

    Option 2) If you're a bit more adventurous (as Seaker47 points out, Kodi takes a bit of learning), start a cheap (<$50) Android box and see how you like it. Most of the boxes come standard with an ethernet port, SD slot and USB and you can link a Bluetooth gamepad if you want.

    Option 3) Use a laptop with Kodi connected directly to your TV. You can play your installed games and have all the ports you need.

    Option 4) Build a HTPC. For <$100 you can get a Raspberry Pi Media Center kit. It takes a bit of knowledge to get it working, but potentially more versatile than an Android box. I'm thinking of getting one as a potential replacement for my beloved WDTV since my Roku, Android and Chromecast are as easy to use as my beloved WDTV.


    As for Android app permissions, there an interesting article about what each one potentially means: [URL="https://www.androidcentral.com/look-application-permissions" [/URL]

    The nice thing is that in an Android box, the scariest ones don't apply since you won't have SMS or phone call capability. In addition, as long as you stick to high-rated/reviewed apps from Google Play, you can be assured they're likely safe.
    Quote Quote  
  7. Member Seeker47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    drifting, somewhere on the Sea of Cynicism
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post

    Option 4) Build a HTPC. For <$100 you can get a Raspberry Pi Media Center kit. It takes a bit of knowledge to get it working, but potentially more versatile than an Android box. I'm thinking of getting one as a potential replacement for my beloved WDTV since my Roku, Android and Chromecast are as easy to use as my beloved WDTV.


    As for Android app permissions, there an interesting article about what each one potentially means: [URL="https://www.androidcentral.com/look-application-permissions" [/URL]

    The nice thing is that in an Android box, the scariest ones don't apply since you won't have SMS or phone call capability. In addition, as long as you stick to high-rated/reviewed apps from Google Play, you can be assured they're likely safe.
    The Raspberry Pi would be running some iteration of Linux, no ? Again, I haven't really kept up on this, but the last time I looked around on this subject Shuttle had some models with the form factor of a hardcover book (as opposed to their longtime "double shoebox" size), that were primed for HTPC use, and would be more conventional and perhaps more capable (?) than the RP. They would also be running Windows, more than likely. Then again, in terms of any major market presence, I think Shuttle's star may have faded considerably. (At one time, they were the undisputed king of Small Form Factor.) I have several of their "cube" desktop systems, which are quite good.

    In my regular visits to Fry's, I've also noted the NUC (?) boxes, which may fall midway in size between the RP and the narrow-Shuttle units, but they look to be pricey.

    If any of you will be attending CES, I'd very much like to hear reports of interesting developments you observed -- perhaps in a separate thread, if that seems more appropriate.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
    Quote Quote  
  8. Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post

    I have done a lot of comparative research, and have owned a few of the better reviewed Android boxes -- mainly for Kodi, which purpose does not seem to overlap all that much with the interests expressed by the OP. The ROKUs are fine for what they are mainly intended for: mainstream services streaming. I'm not aware of their being compatible for Kodi, but I could be mistaken about that. (I still like my 2nd. Gen. WD Live TV boxes -- long off the market -- for playback of most content from attached storage, with the understanding that they have blind spots when it comes to coping with HEVC or H265 files.) The 1st. Gen. Amazon Fire TV (box, not the sticks) were pretty good, and by some reports maybe better than their 2nd. Gen. version successors. I was able to side-load Kodi onto my 1st. Gen.

    There are a lot of interchangeable, generic Chinese-made Android tv boxes being sold. I did not get around to testing the Nvidia Shield, but definitely had some interest in doing so. (I think they were between model changes, at the time.) From my own surveying, I thought the two standouts were Minix -- specifically the U1 -- and boxes from Skystrream. I've had the Skystream One, and just recently got the Skystream Two, which runs around $200. and was recently sold out and in a backorder status. The Two noticeably improves upon the hardware specs of the One, albeit at close to double the price. Both the Minix and the Skystream came with proprietary-fork versions of Kodi, under alternate names. This can be good or bad. The one on Minix proved a major disappointment, but I side-loaded a standard Kodi onto that and made it more usable. The one Skystream has is well maintained and updated by them. I think both mfr.s have active user forums online. Both companies are said to have above-average support and customer service, although I have not put this to the test myself. With the typical generic Android boxes, those aspects are going to be zilch, so if those indications are correct that could represent a significant added value.

    [Getting into Kodi can quickly become more of a techie exercise than many potential users expected or desired -- particularly when compared to operation of the Amazon Fire TV or Roku. I also think it an open question as to how much Kodi lives up to its all hype . . . .]
    The Roku boxes don't support Kodi (either sideloaded or as an official app) and run Roku OS instead of Android.

    The current version of FireTV is a little square that dangles at the end of its HDMI cable, like a Google Chromecast. Ethernet is supported via an Ethernet to USB adapter. Amazon doesn't make a larger FireTV box anymore. I think Kodi ran on all the older FireTV sticks and boxes, but I don't know if Kodi runs on the latest incarnation. Since FireTV doesn't support DLNA natively, if Kodi isn't an option, maybe Plex for Amazon Fire TV (with Plex Media Server installed on a NAS or PC) would work for streaming video files from someone's private collection.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
    Quote Quote  
  9. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Location
    United Kingdom
    Search PM
    Shield TV. It's cornered the market in terms of Smart TV boxes with the exception of the Fire TV Stick. Either way the Shield will play anything you throw at it and as you wanted it has ethernet, 2 x USB 3.0 5V ports and a SD card slot. Would be the better investment compared to other options.
    Quote Quote  
  10. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    666th portal
    Search Comp PM
    i've been using chromecasts, firesticks, and firetv units for a couple years now. i prefer the latest 4k firetv boxes. they are fast, and very usable. i install vlc on all the fire devices to be able to play any media files on the home network. mostly the 3 nas boxes here but if you "share" a drive on a windows computer you can also access the media files from those. and most routers these days have usb ports for attaching shared hard drives.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
    Quote Quote  
  11. Thank you all for taking the time to post this information. I have a lot to consider. That information about permissions will be quite useful. I have learned so much here at VideoHelp over they years.
    Quote Quote  
  12. I used to have a WDTV Live but switched to a Raspberry Pi 3B with OpenElec (linux) and Kodi about a year ago. Kodi has it's quirks but is workable. The device plays quite a wide variety of AV files but is missing one feature that some people might find important. It has no hardware h.265 decoder. It can play h.265 files with a soffware decoder but the CPU isn't fast enough to handle HD h.265. Version 4 will probably include h.265 hardware but that probably won't be available until 2019 or later (no word from RPi corp).
    Quote Quote  
  13. jagabo: I was just over on YouTube there is a KODI like program for the Raspberry Pi called OSMC. Perhaps that is worth looking into.
    Quote Quote  
  14. Yes, OSMC (a stripped down Debian Linux and KODI) is what I'm using on the RPi.

    Note that the RPi itself only costs US$35 but you'll need a 2.5 Amp micro USB power supply, a micro SD card, a remote control, and you'll probably want a case to put the RPi in. During setup will be nice to have a USB keyboard and pointing device.
    Quote Quote  
  15. jagabo: I have watched some YouTube videos about the RPi and I am impressed. From what I gather each generation of Raspberry Pi is more powerful and the OS is easier for more people to get a grasp on. I think this is a good way for computing to be heading and it is nice to migrate slowly away from the behemoth Microsoft.

    I do enjoy and find the tasks that can be done with my Windows 7 i5 computer to be very useful. I find this quite fascinating and I like that it is fairly inexpensive. Can you run Pysol Solitaire on your Raspberry Pi 3? I heard something about python in one of the YouTube videos, and python has something to do with Pysol Solitaire.

    Thank you for telling us about your Raspberry Pi experience and I look forward to buying one.
    Quote Quote  
  16. Python is the main programming language on the RPi. The Pysol web site says the program is written in "100% pure Python". It sounds like it should work. I program embedded systems these days but I haven't done any programming on the RPi yet.
    Quote Quote  
  17. There was something else quite exciting about Raspberry Pi that I watched some videos on YouTube about. It is called RetroPie and they showed people playing classic console games. My Sister loved playing Super Mario 1, 2 and 3 on the NES way back when. Actually she ended up buying a Super Nintendo and a Nintendo Wii as the years went on and the Super Mario Brothers games were the motivator for that. I am unsure about RetroPie as it is hard to imagine being able to play all those games without paying something to someone somewhere along the line. I have to do more research on that.
    Quote Quote  
  18. https://retropie.org.uk/docs/

    It says "ROMs" are copyrighted content which makes sense. I am assuming there is a way to buy them from Nintendo. If they are reasonably priced that is fine. If they are expensive then RetroPie is not for us.
    Quote Quote  
  19. Originally Posted by Tom Saurus View Post
    https://retropie.org.uk/docs/

    It says "ROMs" are copyrighted content which makes sense. I am assuming there is a way to buy them from Nintendo.
    There is not. You have to extract them from your cartridges yourself of download them from any of the numerous pirate sites.
    Quote Quote  
  20. jagabo: Thank you for that information. I will not bother with the RetroPie. It is good to know these things and there is so much other stuff to do with the Raspberry Pi that one can keep themselves entertained even without this aspect being explored. I am going to see if Nintendo Wii ever released a Nintendo Wii disc for Super Mario Brothers 1,2 and 3. I hope they did because that would be a good disc to buy.
    Quote Quote  
  21. I will probably buy an Android Box first and then a Raspberry Pi. I am curious about something else in regards to an Android Box. Can an Android Box recognize an external drive that is bigger than 2 TB. The 8 TB hard drives are real bargains these days but I have never bought a hard drive yet that is beyond 2 TB in capacity. One of the reasons was my Blu Ray player would only recognize up to 2 TB. My other question is if you put Kodi on the Android Box and you just want to play your own files, such as movies and TV shows and you were to get the meta data through Kodi such as synopsis, fan art, ect. does that information get stored on your box so that you can be offline and still have that neat interface? Thank you in advance for the answers to these questions.
    Quote Quote  
  22. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by Tom Saurus View Post
    Can an Android Box recognize an external drive that is bigger than 2 TB. The 8 TB hard drives are real bargains these days but I have never bought a hard drive yet that is beyond 2 TB in capacity. One of the reasons was my Blu Ray player would only recognize up to 2 TB.
    I've run one of my 4tb portables though my Android box before with no issues and larger drives should pose no issues. The days of issues of >2tb HDDs (internal or external) with rare exceptions are gone. There's a possibility you may have to format your drive with exFat instead of NTFS, but I've never run into that issue with the various devices I've used.

    8tb external HDDs are THE outstanding bargain right now, but I highly recommend getting an additional high quality external enclosure or SATA to USB adapter as your drive (actually the USB interface and/or power) will likely fail sometime in the future (as documented by the numerous threads on this forum).
    Quote Quote  
  23. lingyi: Thank you for answering my question about the hard drives. It is good to know that one can go beyond 2 TB. I may even get a server box and put my files on that. Though all that is spending money I haven't got yet.
    Quote Quote  
  24. Member Seeker47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    drifting, somewhere on the Sea of Cynicism
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Originally Posted by Tom Saurus View Post
    Can an Android Box recognize an external drive that is bigger than 2 TB. The 8 TB hard drives are real bargains these days but I have never bought a hard drive yet that is beyond 2 TB in capacity. One of the reasons was my Blu Ray player would only recognize up to 2 TB.
    8tb external HDDs are THE outstanding bargain right now,
    I wonder what you're seeing that I'm not. I thought the prices I was seeing on the shelves for 4TB were like around $250. (?), so an 8 would have to be significantly more ? (Haven't noticed or priced them much though. The ones I did notice at all were on the order of the WD "personal Cloud" -- or whatever they call that series -- intended for Home / Ofc. backup usage. While they are seen on sale fairly regularly, I thought the warranty on them was on the skimpy side, especially compared to WD Black HDDs.) So far, I have mainly stuck to the 2TB. size. Those are attractively priced. And how much stuff do you want to risk losing, in one go ? I like to have redundant backup, for stuff that is critical, or hard to replace.
    When in Las Vegas, don't miss the Pinball Hall of Fame Museum http://www.pinballmuseum.org/ -- over 150 tables from 6+ decades of this gradually disappearing American art form.
    Quote Quote  
  25. Originally Posted by Seeker47 View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    8tb external HDDs are THE outstanding bargain right now,
    I wonder what you're seeing that I'm not. I thought the prices I was seeing on the shelves for 4TB were like around $250. (?), so an 8 would have to be significantly more ?
    Bestbuy recently had 8 TB Easystore USB3 drives for US$150. They're US$200 now though:

    https://www.bestbuy.com/site/wd-easystore-8tb-external-usb-3-0-hard-drive-black/611090...?skuId=6110900
    Quote Quote  
  26. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    8tb Seagate Expansion - $160 @ Amazon and Newegg, 8tb Seagate Backup Hub - $160 @ Amazon, $170 @ Newegg. Prices have been hovering around $160 - $170 for a while now.

    4tb desktop external @ Amazon $100. 6tb @ $130.

    Possibly the bargain of 2017 were 8tb WD Easystore externals which had (have?) WD Red NAS drives inside. I just decased one last night and it was regular label Red and two others I decased before were white label but according to the serial # edit: Part # are Red drives.
    Last edited by lingyi; 25th Jan 2018 at 22:22.
    Quote Quote  
  27. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Data loss risk is minimal with diligent and frequent backup (barring rare data corruption on copy/move).

    I'm doing a personal trial right now. I swapped out almost all my 4tb drives with 8tb+. Logic being, I've reduced my chance of drive failure by half. In addition, I'm buying NAS or Enterprise drives* for the additional reliability and warranty, and plan to use them as archive drives at the end of their warranty. I'll see how things pan out in 2-3 years.

    *I couldn't resist getting the 8tb Easystore drives when they were <$150 last year when I found out there was a possibility that they had WD Red NAS drives that I was paying $240 for.
    Quote Quote  
  28. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Possibly the bargain of 2017 were 8tb WD Easystore externals which had (have?) WD Red NAS drives inside. I just decased one last night and it was regular label Red and two others I decased before were white label but according to the serial # are Red drives.
    Mine has a white label. Where do you look up the serial number to find out if it's a red drive?
    Quote Quote  
  29. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Possibly the bargain of 2017 were 8tb WD Easystore externals which had (have?) WD Red NAS drives inside. I just decased one last night and it was regular label Red and two others I decased before were white label but according to the serial # are Red drives.
    Mine has a white label. Where do you look up the serial number to find out if it's a red drive?
    I don't know if there's anything definitive yet, but here's some helpful info:

    - Snippets from this thread on Reddit:
    https://www.reddit.com/r/DataHoarder/comments/7fx0i0/wd_easystore_8tb_compendium/

    Image
    [Attachment 44495 - Click to enlarge]


    Image
    [Attachment 44496 - Click to enlarge]
    Last edited by lingyi; 25th Jan 2018 at 19:50. Reason: Remove duplicate image #3
    Quote Quote  
  30. Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    Addendum to my post above.

    There's never any 100% guaranty of what type of drive will be in an external case. Manufacturers often change what drive they put inside their external cases, probably based on what they have the most of at the time. Some of Seagate's first 8tb externals contained the more expensive regular line HDDs instead of the lower price / slower Archive drives.
    Quote Quote  



Similar Threads