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  1. Hello everyone!

    So I have a lot of home videos! I actually have an 8TB external hard drive full of home videos ranging from 1955 (of my Dad) all the way through 2018 (of my own kids).

    Currently, I have one of my 8TB external hard drives plugged into a WDTV which is plugged into the TV of our family room (this particular hard drive contains all my home videos, which I bought just for my WDTV - I have about 5 other duplicate external hard drive backups elsewhere). My family loves being able to watch all of our home videos on the big TV, and it's great being able to switch back and forth from videos from decades ago to videos from today.

    The only thing is, I'm not crazy about the WDTV. It's ok, except I can't stand the display menu. I have all of my home videos organized in folders by day (i.e. "2018-08-14 - Taking the kids to Philadelphia to see The Rocky Steps"). The problem with the WDTV is that it hardly displays any of the characters of each file, so the "description" I showed above might be shortened to "2018-08-14 - Taking the kids..." This is incredibly annoying, because you can't tell what is in each folder since you can't see the full description (and kind of invalidates me naming each folder in the 1st place). So I am looking around for alternatives to the WDTV.

    Is anyone aware of other similar devices that would allow me to play all of my home videos on my TV but that would also allow the full description of each title to appear on the screen? (Without scrolling). My descriptions are never too insanely long - i.e. they are short enough that the full description is always able to appear in Windows Explorer on my PC. I actually love watching the videos on my PC by myself because of the fact that the descriptions are fully viewable (and it is much, much faster than the WDTV, which loads every video painfully slow).

    I considered just plugging a laptop into the TV (and then connecting the hard drive to the laptop). This would be nice in some regards, as Windows Explorer allows me to see the full descriptions of each folder. However, it's annoying to have to use a mouse to click around the screen - I'm looking for something that has a remote and is more like watching a movie as opposed to working on a computer. (Also: I would prefer not to have any options that would require me to leave my main desktop computer on in order to stream videos on my TV - I like leaving my desktop off and unplugged most of the time).

    If anyone has any suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated!!

    Thank you so much!
    Tony
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  2. Member
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    I keep my WDTV on my main TV for the exact reason you mention. I like the ease of use of the interface. I've tried an Android Box with Kodi, MX Player and VLC and the ease of use isn't the same. It still requires multiple clicks through multiple menus to get what I want. On my second TV, I've settled on a tablet/mini-laptop and use a Logitech K-400 wireless keyboard/trackpad for most of the navigation and a handheld wireless mouse/keyboard/TV remote (you wave the entire device to move the cursor) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071RTDYV2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 . The downside is the cursor is difficult to control (either too fast or too slow) because I sit about 4' from the screen. I think it would probably work better if I were farther away.

    I've toyed with the idea of mirroring my screen (through VNC) on one of my Android tablets and essentially have a touchscreen remote. I'll try it someday, but have gotten used to using my Logitech and will have to swap or supplement the WDTV on my main TV someday as I've getting some X265 and UHDs videos.
    Last edited by lingyi; 14th Aug 2018 at 18:21.
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  3. If you're adventurous try a Raspberry Pi 3B with OSMC (Kodi). No 4K support though. And limited h.265/HEVC support -- software decoding only, too slow above SD resolutions.
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  4. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    I keep my WDTV on my main TV for the exact reason you mention. I like the ease of use of the interface. I've tried an Android Box with Kodi, MX Player and VLC and the ease of use isn't the same. It still requires multiple clicks through multiple menus to get what I want. On my second TV, I've settled on a tablet/mini-laptop and use a Logitech K-400 wireless keyboard/trackpad for most of the navigation and a handheld wireless mouse/keyboard/TV remote (you wave the entire device to move the cursor) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071RTDYV2/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 . The downside is the cursor is difficult to control (either too fast or too slow) because I sit about 4' from the screen. I think it would probably work better if I were farther away.

    I've toyed with the idea of mirroring my screen (through VNC) on one of my Android tablets and essentially have a touchscreen remote. I'll try it someday, but have gotten used to using my Logitech and will have to swap or supplement the WDTV on my main TV someday as I've getting some X265 and UHDs videos.
    Awesome, thank you so much for all of the helpful information!! Using an Android Box with Kodi actually sounds intriguing to me - I'm ok with having to go through multiple menus, I'm mainly concerned with being able to see the full titles of all of my folders and having a "remote" to select everything (in order to make it like a "TV/movie" experience). I don't know much about Android Boxes, but I did look up a few videos of Kodi - it looks like it allows you to see files with fairly long title names, is that correct?

    Concerning the laptop solution, I did think about that, although I don't think I want to boot up a laptop every time the kids want to watch a home movie (they'll want to watch a home movie, then a DVD, then another home movie, so it's easier to turn something like a WDTV off and on over and over again as opposed to a laptop booting up).

    Thanks again for your feedback, I really appreciate it!!
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  5. Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    If you're adventurous try a Raspberry Pi 3B with OSMC (Kodi). No 4K support though. And limited h.265/HEVC support -- software decoding only, too slow above SD resolutions.
    Awesome, thank you as well for the feedback!! The h.265 support might come back to bite me, most of my recent home videos are AVCHD files (which I think are either h.265 or h.264? I always get confused about that haha). But thank you! I'll keep searching and if anyone else has any additional feedback I'd appreciate it! Thanks again!
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  6. AVC = h.264
    HEVC = h.265
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  7. Any recent Chinese Android-tv-box using S905X- or S912-chipset plus LibreELEC.
    Forget RasPi, that thing SoC/video-decoder is ancient, even the latest 3+.
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  8. I do not have much valuable advice for you, but I am excited to see your needs are very similar to mine. Tons of home video files captured from VHS, MiniDV tapes, AVCHD Camcorders, and cell phones. Like you did, I have also cut videos as per the scenario and named the video files in such a way that they describe the event, date, format of the video and possibly place. (Example: Sister wedding - VHS - <Date>; Children playing in park - HD - <Place> - <Date>; Visit to Singapore - PHONE - <Date>). All the videos are on 4 TB hard drive, with 3 back-up drives placed in offsite locations (at sister's residence in a different city...etc). In addition to videos, I have audio files (voice recordings of family members) and photos also organized in this manner.

    I too had WDTV Live box, but I consider it is ancient and became non-responsive/slow.

    My TV can play the videos natively via USB, but I needed a NAS solution where the content can be copied to a hard drive and then played on TV over the network. I have some feeling that NAS drives are designed to be more reliable (given that they are made to be ON 24 hours a day) than external USB drives (I may be wrong. Even then, the NAS drive will be one more back-up copy in addition to the external USBs).

    Having done some research, I have purchased NVidia Shield Android Box which I am currently playing with. It can directly connect to the TV via HDMI and can play video files from USB drives as well. It is a bit expensive but very powerful in terms of processing capabilities. It can also access NAS drives as input. We can install Kodi, Plex...etc on it. It even comes with its own remote and a Gaming controller.
    Last edited by nharikrishna; 16th Aug 2018 at 05:44.
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  9. Originally Posted by nharikrishna View Post
    I do not have much valuable advice for you, but I am excited to see your needs are very similar to mine. Tons of home video files captured from VHS, MiniDV tapes, AVCHD Camcorders, and cell phones. Like you did, I have also cut videos as per the scenario and named the video files in such a way that they describe the event, date, format of the video and possibly place. (Example: Sister wedding - VHS - <Date>; Children playing in park - HD - <Place> - <Date>; Visit to Singapore - PHONE - <Date>). All the videos are on 4 TB hard drive, with 3 back-up drives placed in offsite locations (at sister's residence in a different city...etc). In addition to videos, I have audio files (voice recordings of family members) and photos also organized in this manner.

    I too had WDTV Live box, but I consider it is ancient and became non-responsive/slow.

    My TV can play the videos natively via USB, but I needed a NAS solution where the content can be copied to a hard drive and then played on TV over the network. I have some feeling that NAS drives are designed to be more reliable (given that they are made to be ON 24 hours a day) than external USB drives (I may be wrong. Even then, the NAS drive will be one more back-up copy in addition to the external USBs).

    Having done some research, I have purchased NVidia Shield Android Box which I am currently playing with. It can directly connect to the TV via HDMI and can play video files from USB drives as well. It is a bit expensive but very powerful in terms of processing capabilities. It can also access NAS drives as input. We can install Kodi, Plex...etc on it. It even comes with its own remote and a Gaming controller.
    Thank you so much once again everyone for all of the help!!!!! nharikrishna, thanks so much for your helpful advice, sounds like we have nearly the same needs!!! After researching it all day, I believe I'm going to purchase a MINIX NEO u9-H (found here):

    https://www.amazon.com/MINIX-Octa-Core-Six-Axis-Gyroscope-Technology/dp/B06X188XKV/ref...neo+u9-h&psc=1

    It streams Kodi, and using the "Confluence" skin (and setting the "view type" to "big list"), I will be able to display 100 characters in each of my folder titles!! (I downloaded Kodi on my PC and was able to test all of this out myself on my PC). So this is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you again to everyone who helped me out with this!!
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