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  1. I'd like a device that can locally store and quickly play digital videos/audio offline (like conversions from a camcorder or cassettes) on a TV, ideally a device that has other uses too like streaming services. I have an Apple TV but from my research it is virtually impossible to achieve this on this device. Don't know much about Android TV or other options yet. Would like to use devices that are meant for a TV and have other uses for being continuously plugged into a TV (like streaming services) instead of USB or hard disks. Thanks for any recommendations.
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  2. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Look up NAS.
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  3. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Look up NAS.
    Are you referring to something like Synology Diskstation? I have one and this is much closer to a hard disk than what I described in my post so is not the type of thing I'm talking about.
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    NAS usually works with any smart TV, game console or media player like the one you have you just have to learn how to connect the system together, Maybe the one you have is just for storing files, is it connected to the home network? Also I believe the NAS has to be configured for media files playback, I hope someone with networking expertise will chime in and explain it further.
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  5. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    NAS usually works with any smart TV, game console or media player like the one you have you just have to learn how to connect the system together, Maybe the one you have is just for storing files, is it connected to the home network? Also I believe the NAS has to be configured for media files playback, I hope someone with networking expertise will chime in and explain it further.
    I have a DS110J with a seagate hdd. It just seems like a slow harddisk with built-in software that makes media playback slightly more streamlined. Also, playback of said files would not occur often so the device would not warrant constant connection.

    What I want is one TV device whose primary function is streaming (e.g. Apple/Android TV) or DVR (e.g. TiVo). This is what we'd mostly use the device for. Then, its secondary, much less used function, is offline playback of local files. So I am looking for a streaming/dvr device first, that, as icing on the cake, has the ability to playback digital files locally and offline. Hope that clarifies.

    Based on my research the best Apple TV can achieve with respect to this is playback of temporary cache files. Not ideal. We also have a TiVo.
    Last edited by connorhawke; 26th Nov 2019 at 00:41.
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    Store the movies on the PC and use use Plex or similar
    For other streaming, Roku, Fire stick, Nvidia Shield, etc, etc.
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  7. If you don't mind a little DIY a Raspberry Pi with Kodi is a good choice -- though it doesn't support the commercial streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. out-of-the-box.

    Or a small Windows PC.
    Last edited by jagabo; 26th Nov 2019 at 07:21.
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  8. Look I appreciate that people are providing these suggestions but I want to make clear I just want to keep it really simple: one streaming or dvr device that happens to have the ability to play back media locally and offline. No PC, USB, blah blah blah.
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    Not sure what you mean by no USB, but media players that have a HDD bay are rare. The only one I know of is the KD-Links A400 https://www.amazon.com/s?k=dvr&ref=nb_sb_noss_2 which is way overpriced.

    For ~$50-200 dollars you can get an Android box that does what you want except DVR, but you have to use an external HDD or a SD card for storage. Boxes between ~$50-150 basically the same with more money getting you faster processors and possibly Android TV vs phone Android. Read the reviews of boxes with Android TV as it's still very new compared to phone Android OSes. At $180+, there's the Nvidia Shield which runs a customized version of Android TV and is arguably primarily a game box for Android games.

    As for a DVR, that's a different animal than a standalone media player. DVRs can only be used to record OTA broadcasts through their built in tuner(s) as most cable box outputs are encrypted and don't allow recording. AFAIK, most DVRs don't support playing from external media and those that do are limited vs a dedicated box.

    Edit: Re-reading your posts, I see you have a TiVO, so have the DVR portion covered. Add an Android box and you've got the streaming and playback of local files covered. As is often the case in many things, All-In-One devices are rarely the best option.
    Last edited by lingyi; 26th Nov 2019 at 11:58.
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  10. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Not sure what you mean by no USB, but media players that have a HDD bay are rare.
    I mean no USB dongle. And no external hdd, nas, pc, etc. Nothing beyond the one device itself. And not seeking a media player like the KDLINKS A400. Seeking something like Apple TV (which I have, but it seemingly can't accomplish this). Although I guess a streaming device with an hdd bay is even rarer if not nonexistent.
    Last edited by connorhawke; 26th Nov 2019 at 12:07.
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    The KDLinks A400 is the closest to what you want. Like all Android boxes, it allows streaming either through individual apps or KODI.

    As for using only the device itself, you have to have a way of getting your local files to it. The only alternatives to using an external device (HDD or SD card), NAS or streaming software like Plex would be to host your files on a streaming service like YouTube or stream from your own website.

    Edit: Some routers allow you connect a HDD and share the files over your network, essentially a NAS.

    Edit 2: To be sure we're on the same page. There are: standalone media players like the Micca Speck that have no streaming capabilities, streaming only devices like Apple TV and most Rokus and standalone media players with streaming like Android boxes.
    Last edited by lingyi; 26th Nov 2019 at 12:26.
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    Media players with built in HDD's are going away, they are still being made but expensive, look into the Dune HD family:
    https://dune-hd.com/eng/products/full_hd_media_players
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  13. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The KDLinks A400 is the closest to what you want. Like all Android boxes, it allows streaming either through individual apps or KODI.

    As for using only the device itself, you have to have a way of getting your local files to it. The only alternatives to using an external device (HDD or SD card), NAS or streaming software like Plex would be to host your files on a streaming service like YouTube or stream from your own website.

    Edit: Some routers allow you connect a HDD and share the files over your network, essentially a NAS.

    Edit 2: To be sure we're on the same page. There are: standalone media players like the Micca Speck that have no streaming capabilities, streaming only devices like Apple TV and most Rokus and standalone media players with streaming like Android boxes.
    I guess the KDLinks A400 sounds like it could work, however not sure it's currently available in the UK which is where the device would be used.

    I'd be looking for either streaming-only devices (with local storage capability for own media files) or standalone media players with streaming capability. Ideally the former since streaming is the primary use with local playback a distant but necessary second, however I realize this may not be possible at this time.
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  14. Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Media players with built in HDD's are going away, they are still being made but expensive, look into the Dune HD family:
    https://dune-hd.com/eng/products/full_hd_media_players
    Yeah so I guess those are similar to the A400. Even less sure I'd want to go that route now if they're soon-to-be obsolete. More feedback for Apple and Google I suppose.
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    Probably this is the cheapest you can get:
    https://dune-hd.com/eng/products/full_hd_media_players/60
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    Most Android boxes have an SD slot that can be used to store files. video, audio and apps. They're no different than a Android phone, and in fact other than those that use Android TV, Android boxes use the Android phone OS, which is why they're sometimes difficult to use since they're designed for touchscreens.

    As I posted above, the market is primarily split between streaming only devices like Apple TV and Roku and streaming/media players like Android boxes. Standalone media only devices are essentially out. If it wasn't for Android, the market would likely have remained streaming only and media playback only boxes. You're searching for something that a very small handful of people want and is not supported by the general market.

    If the movie companies had their way, the market would be streaming only as they have more control over their product. Just as they would prefer not to have optical discs and user rights to create backups of their purchased discs.
    Last edited by lingyi; 26th Nov 2019 at 13:11.
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    Apple TV and Roku are closed systems (i.e. don't allow external non-streaming sources or unauthroized services) that are highly restricted as to what streaming channels and apps they allow by design. Which is why they're officially endorsed by services like Netflix and Hulu.

    On another forum, I recently found out that most older Rokus don't allow DisneyNow+. You need to get a newer higher end model for that. Again, the studios love the control over their properties and Roku is happy to sell new devices.
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  18. Older Roku boxes will stop running Netflix soon too. This is because of upgraded DRM that Netflix will be forcing on everyone.

    https://www.digitaltrends.com/home-theater/old-roku-wont-play-netflix/

    Roku boxes include a media player that can play files off a connected USB drive or micro SD card. If you have a NAS with a DLNA server they can play from that too.

    Personally, I just share a folder on my NAS and use Kodi on a Raspberry Pi or Android TV player, or other PCs in the house.
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    Interesting info about Netflix and Roku allowing external media.

    The only [current] Roku box that allows external media is the Roku Ultra and it has very limited file support:

    "USB media formats

    Video
    H.264/AVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV), H.265/HEVC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV); VP9 (.MKV)

    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), ALAC (.MKV, .MP4, .MOV, .M4A)

    Image
    JPG, PNG, GIF (non-animated)"

    Source: https://www.roku.com/products/roku-ultra
    Last edited by lingyi; 26th Nov 2019 at 16:54.
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  20. Yes, not all models play media files and it's true that containers and codecs are limited. Android TV boxes and the Raspberry Pi are much more versatile.

    Oh, and I remembered the micro SD card wrong. That was on my Android TV device, not the Roku 3 I have. But the current Roku Ultra has a micro SD slot so it probably can play media from that.
    Last edited by jagabo; 26th Nov 2019 at 22:58.
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    Reference my post above yours. The Roku Ultra is extremely limited (H264/AVC, H265/HEVC and VP9) in it's playback capabilities.

    Over the past two decades, I've gone from limited streaming media players, WDTV and Seagate Home Theatre+, to Roku, to Android and now now use a cheap laptop. Everything but the laptop (knock wood) had limitations (limited file support, slow interface, poor multi-HDD support) that I'm sorry I wasted my time with and not going directly to a laptop or PC years ago. The time, effort and money I save by not having to worry about file compatibility is staggering.
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  22. Even LAPTOPS get incompatible... (especially with older models playing newer files with newer codecs).. Just find the device that plays most of your current files and what you intend to play in the near future.. no use getting the latest and the greatest and usualklly most expensive ones ... as they get newer models every year

    .
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    Agreed.

    However my 12 year old Q6700 Core 2 Duo PC can still play the majority of my videos, including H.264 and H.265 on my secondary 40" HDTV as well as all my Blu-Ray rips. UHD and beyond, and uncompressed videos require more power, but those are few and far between for me.

    I'm planning to upgrade my PC next year primarily because I'll need to upgrade to Win 10 when Win 7 support ends in January. I'll upgrade my laptop (an A6 AMD) connected to my 55" plasma to something more powerful when the need arises. Even then, I don't plan to spend more than $250-300 as that will likely suit my file playing needs.

    Edit: I seriously thought about Nvidia Shield this year due to the generally rave reviews it's receiving. However giving it more thought, I realized that it's still Android OS with the limitations of the software and apps, including choices of media players (I prefer PotPlayer on my PCs).
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  24. I have a cheaper android box and it plays most of the videos I have with KODI or MXPLayer Pro

    OP Here is a site that reviews Android TV boxes

    http://chigztech.com/index.html
    His YT channel is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-v54XQalOcx5yco3aTixrg
    Last edited by teodz1984; 27th Nov 2019 at 11:59.
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  25. Thanks for those links. The BeeLink Gemini X45 mini PC (on his Mini PC chart) looks pretty nice for a little over $200 (including Win10).
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    Originally Posted by connorhawke View Post
    I guess the KDLinks A400 sounds like it could work, however not sure it's currently available in the UK which is where the device would be used.

    I'd be looking for either streaming-only devices (with local storage capability for own media files) or standalone media players with streaming capability. Ideally the former since streaming is the primary use with local playback a distant but necessary second, however I realize this may not be possible at this time.
    The selection of streaming services and devices supporting them are likely to be different in the UK and the US. It is unfortunate that you did not specify that you need a device for use in the UK in your initial post, rather than one for use in NYC, the location listed in your personal details. If you added that information now, you might get better responses.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    The selection of streaming services and devices supporting them are likely to be different in the UK and the US. It is unfortunate that you did not specify that you need a device for use in the UK in your initial post, rather than one for use in NYC, the location listed in your personal details. If you added that information now, you might get better responses.
    The good thing about the player I linked in post 15 is that they have worldwide free shipping, their plant is in China and they ship directly they don't have local warehouses, I don't own their product but I hear at avsforum that they have good support for their products, and as the OP wants it is not a PC and doesn't require a PC to run, pop in a 4TB HDD and you're good to go, the apps can be customized to your location.
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    I would probably have suggested a Shield TV Pro (2019) even though it requires external storage if it were already out and more was known about possible bugs and problems. The Android TV OS is better for watching TV than the standard version of Android because it isn't designed for a touch-screen interface. Kodi can be installed as with other Android boxes and Kodi is pretty good for playing local media files. In the USA. apps are available for most streaming services, including Amazon Prime, but I don't know what support is like for streaming services in the UK.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord
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    I own the shield, its a great device and I like the controller vs the remote but the OP wants an all in one box, I don't blame him some people have large collection of movies and videos and juggling them thru storage media can be a pain.
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    There are conflicting reports about how the Shield, handles or doesn't handle multiple hard drives either through a hub or external multi-drive enclosure and this was a factor in my decision about getting one. I had a problem with my Android box recognizing a single 4 bay external enclosure, drives would appear and disappear at random and it was worse with multiple enclosures.
    Last edited by lingyi; 27th Nov 2019 at 22:22.
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