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  1. Member
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    Hi all
    I'm looking for a new device to replace my (old) WDTV Live Hub that served me well during the last 7 years or so. I really enjoyed it but it's now discontinued and can't read some of the new formats (H.265...). Navigating in the interface was also painfull.
    So, at first I looked toward NAS to install Plex on it. I found the interface nice and the ability to access to my content from various devices (only videos but I'm also interested at accessing to my photos through the new one) is really attractive. But the price is high (around 300$ minimum) and I find this solution a bit overkill for my needs (too much storage, too many features I won't use, cumbersome...).
    So, I'm definitely looking for some equivalent to the WDTV but I don't find any. The offer is mainly composed of streaming boxes like all Android-based ones, to which we can attach a NAS or USB drive.
    Precision : I also own a WD My Cloud Home (2To).

    So, should I go with buying an Android box and plus my WD on it ? or is there any other option I might have missed ?

    Thanks for your input !
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    There's a current discussion going on right now that addresses your options. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/395101-Locally-storing-playing-digital-media-on-a-TV

    Streaming only - Apple TV or Roku. Roku is still a very closed system, but better than Apple TV

    Streaming and local media playback - Android Box (Nvidia Shield at the top end), Raspberry PI or PC (laptop, desktop, or mini).

    I don't know what a dedicated NAS can do for your simple needs (streaming videos and pics) can do that Plex or DLNA can't, so I'll leave it up to others to explain to you and I.

    Not sure what you mean by asking if you put your WD MY Cloud on your new box. Yes, you can connect directly to anything but the Apple TV or Roku (no USB ports), but it's probably best to keep it connected to your PC for file syncing and updates, and serve the files from your My Cloud.

    BTW, I'm impressed that your WDTV lasted 7 years. My boxes, WDTV Plus and WDTV Live Streaming lasted only ~2-3 years before conking out. I've gone through at least 4-5 of them over the past 15+ years before switching to a laptop (for my primary TV) and old PC (for my secondary setup) a couple of years ago.

    Edit: I liked the WDTV interface, especially being able to have all the files in multiple folders and multiple drives in one list. Something that can't be easily done on and Android Box or PC.

    Here's a nice roundup of the best Android boxes and mini PCs posted by teodz1984 on the other thread:
    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 lingyi; 28th Nov 2019 at 22:41.
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  3. Any of the inexpensive Android TV boxes with Kodi should work for you.

    One thing to be aware of: many of the boxes sold as "Android TV" don't run the true Android TV firmware (designed for use with a simple remote control) but rather Android tablet firmware. Apps for the latter usually require a touchscreen (or mouse) so they don't work properly on those boxes. If you're only going to use Kodi that's not a problem -- Kodi itself is designed to use a simple remote. But if you want to install other apps (Netflix, Amazon Video, games, etc.) you will run into problems. The true (certified) Android TV boxes have a separate Play Store with apps designed specifically for the Android TV. Unfortunately, the true Android TV boxes cost a lot more.

    Personally, I like the Raspberry Pi with Kodi for local video (from a NAS or USB drive). You'll probably want an RPi4 to get hardware h.265 playback -- as h.265 is becoming more poplular. The RPi3 doesn't have hardware for that and the CPU isn't strong enough for 1080p h.265. For h.264 and earlier codecs it's fine. But RPi is a bit of a project to get started. It's more like buying a small computer and setting it up yourself.
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  4. just get a wireless mouse mouse with USB dongle and your ok with any of those boxes or use a remote control app like cetus play
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    There's a current discussion going on right now that addresses your options. https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/395101-Locally-storing-playing-digital-media-on-a-TV

    Streaming only - Apple TV or Roku. Roku is still a very closed system, but better than Apple TV

    Streaming and local media playback - Android Box (Nvidia Shield at the top end), Raspberry PI or PC (laptop, desktop, or mini).

    I don't know what a dedicated NAS can do for your simple needs (streaming videos and pics) can do that Plex or DLNA can't, so I'll leave it up to others to explain to you and I.
    Thanks for your reply and the link, I missed that discussion in my research.
    I forgot to write that I have an AppleTV so the streaming (Netflix mainly) portion is covered. I only need to address the playback of local files and I guess an Android box would be the best option.

    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Not sure what you mean by asking if you put your WD MY Cloud on your new box. Yes, you can connect directly to anything but the Apple TV or Roku (no USB ports), but it's probably best to keep it connected to your PC for file syncing and updates, and serve the files from your My Cloud.
    I mean store my movies on the WD that would be plugged as an external HD to the box, but I realize now I cannot do that. So, I guess I would leave the WD connected to my router and Plex or Kodi could read from it seamlessly. Correct ?

    BTW, I'm impressed that your WDTV lasted 7 years. My boxes, WDTV Plus and WDTV Live Streaming lasted only ~2-3 years before conking out. I've gone through at least 4-5 of them over the past 15+ years before switching to a laptop (for my primary TV) and old PC (for my secondary setup) a couple of years ago.

    Edit: I liked the WDTV interface, especially being able to have all the files in multiple folders and multiple drives in one list. Something that can't be easily done on and Android Box or PC.
    Now I'm starting to regret my WDTV...
    Too bad such device with local storage is now gone.
    And you're right for the interface, you bring a good point.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Any of the inexpensive Android TV boxes with Kodi should work for you.

    One thing to be aware of: many of the boxes sold as "Android TV" don't run the true Android TV firmware (designed for use with a simple remote control) but rather Android tablet firmware. Apps for the latter usually require a touchscreen (or mouse) so they don't work properly on those boxes. If you're only going to use Kodi that's not a problem -- Kodi itself is designed to use a simple remote. But if you want to install other apps (Netflix, Amazon Video, games, etc.) you will run into problems. The true (certified) Android TV boxes have a separate Play Store with apps designed specifically for the Android TV. Unfortunately, the true Android TV boxes cost a lot more.

    Personally, I like the Raspberry Pi with Kodi for local video (from a NAS or USB drive). You'll probably want an RPi4 to get hardware h.265 playback -- as h.265 is becoming more poplular. The RPi3 doesn't have hardware for that and the CPU isn't strong enough for 1080p h.265. For h.264 and earlier codecs it's fine. But RPi is a bit of a project to get started. It's more like buying a small computer and setting it up yourself.
    Thanks for your comments.
    As I wrote in my second post, I'm only going to use Kodi/Plex
    As per the Raspberry Pi I thought about that. I have the Pi3 so you're right I'd have to get the Pi4. But it's more tricky and time consuming to set-up so I'm not sure I want to go into that way.
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    Last question : I often watch movies with subtitles and I read there are various issues with it that I'm not sure to understand. I used it for years on my old WDTV so I don't get that now it's causing problems. Is it related to the hardware ? or setup ?
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  8. SRT subs aren't a problem with Android TV + Kodi.

    Since you have RPi 3 try installing Kodi on it and see if you like it.
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    I'm also looking for a WDTV Live replacement, something that will handle h265. I presently store videos on 2 TB USB drives. I have an older AVR receiver that doesn't have HDMI inputs so I use the optical SPDIF connection for audio.

    After doing some research I got a Minix U9-H Android box that comes with a version of KODI. I can play back h264 files with DD 5.1 or DTS audio, but h265 files with 5.1 audio show as 2 channel stereo on my AVR. I've tried setting the audio setup parameters without success. So, is my problem that I'm using the SPDIF? Would the HDMI pass thru the audio properly?
    What about the DUNE or KDLINKS players?

    I have yet to try routing the Minix box HDMI output to the HDMI input of my Oppo UDP-203 to see if the audio works properly or maybe I can just plug the USB drive into the Oppo and see what it does- the Oppo audio analog outputs go to analog inputs on my receiver.
    It's just been frustrating and I haven't had a lot of time or motivation to experiment.
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  10. ˝ way to Rigel 7 cornemuse's Avatar
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    WDTV Live Hub
    Would a WD303DTV be similar? Box says WDTV Live, (not Hub) I happen to have one, 'low miles', so to speak, still in the box, , , , ,
    Cranky Old Man
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    Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
    Last question : I often watch movies with subtitles and I read there are various issues with it that I'm not sure to understand. I used it for years on my old WDTV so I don't get that now it's causing problems. Is it related to the hardware ? or setup ?
    As I mentioned in my other thread, subtitles is one of the reasons I don't use streaming software. From Plex:

    "Supported Subtitle Formats
    The following formats are fully supported either as embedded tracks or external subtitle files. Full support means they are compatible with all Plex Apps, including clients that require transcoded media.

    SRT (.srt)
    SMI (.smi)
    SSA (or ASS) (.ssa or .ass)
    WebVTT (.vtt)
    Other formats such as VOBSUB, PGS, etc. may work on some Plex apps but not all. For almost all apps, both VOBSUB and PGS subtitles will require the video be transcoded to “burned in” the subtitles for streaming.

    Tip!: You’ll want to make sure the subtitle file is saved as the UTF-8 character encoding. Other encodings may work, but could also result in strange character displays."

    https://support.plex.tv/articles/200471133-adding-local-subtitles-to-your-media/

    Even though .ssa/.ass is supported, sometimes the positioning of subs is off. This is critical for me since some Asian shows I watch require precise positioning of subs on various parts of the screen. Also, the formatting of VOBSUB and PGS subtitles is off when transcoded.

    Mezzmo supposedly has better subtitle support (I tried it for a while), but it doesn't fully support .ass:

    "Burning Subtitles

    Burning subtitles should be selected in Mezzmo when your device is not capable of displaying embedded or external subtitles. Burning subtitles will require full video transcoding even when the original video format can be played natively by your device.

    Some subtitle formats such as Karaoke or Advanced Substation Alpha (ASS) may have extra display or positional attributes that Mezzmo does not burn into the transcoded video. Attributes include special colors, overlapping and dynamic presentation. Mezzmo will ignore these attributes and just burn the subtitle text into the transcoded video using your selected burning font, size and color."

    http://www.mezzmo.com/wiki/doku.php?id=using_subtitles
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    Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
    [

    Thanks for your reply and the link, I missed that discussion in my research.
    I forgot to write that I have an AppleTV so the streaming (Netflix mainly) portion is covered. I only need to address the playback of local files and I guess an Android box would be the best option.
    IMO, the best option is a PC (laptop, desktop or mini) since it's the most flexible in playback support now and the future, and choice of media player, I prefer PotPlayer (be sure to uncheck the option for additional software on installation). I use a Logitech K-400 and a wireless air mouse https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071RTDYV2/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 as my remotes.

    If you need full subtitle support (i.e. ssa/ass styling and positioning), try MXPlayer and VLC on an Android phone or tablet to test whether it works correctly.

    I mean store my movies on the WD that would be plugged as an external HD to the box, but I realize now I cannot do that. So, I guess I would leave the WD connected to my router and Plex or Kodi could read from it seamlessly. Correct ?
    You can definitely connect your hard drive directly to your Android Box. I recommended streaming because you mentioned using Plex in your OP. [Connecting your hard drive directly] is the only way to ensure full subtitle support if that's critical for you. To add files, you can use FTP or SMB if you don't want to physically connect your drive to your PC for transfer. Be sure to only connect/disconnect your drive at the USB plug end, as the interface on the drive itself is cheap and prone to failure with constant plugging/unplugging.
    Last edited by lingyi; 29th Nov 2019 at 15:53.
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  13. Member hydra3333's Avatar
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    I too have a couple of WDTVs to replace Hence a couple of kodi and a plex queries.

    I'd like to have a chromecast server based on a Pi4 (I have one) with a 10Tb external drive on my local network, so that any smartTV in my house can suck video from it across the home LAN/Wifi.

    So ... for files which are already pre-transcoded to .mp4/h.264-avc/aac and .mp4/h.265-hevc/aac and somehow copied to the Pi4 from a PC :-

    1. can Kodi be a chromecast server ? (out of the box?) Any link(s) to help would be appreciated.

    2. can Plex be a chromecast server ? I recall reading somewhere that Plex phones home to their site for some reason to store lists of your content or something like that - can anyone confirm whether plex on a Pi4 can be a chromecast server without doing that ? Also, any link(s) to help would be appreciated.

    Thank you.
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  14. Chomecast cannot serve. You have to have Plex server on a computer, add your video's, music, whatever, to the Plex library. Chomecast is when you have something on your computer, tablet or phone and is "cast" to your TV. Plex does not phone home to send your media to your TV, it's all done on your LAN. Plex works great with Roku or Fire. If you want access to your Plex library anywhere, you'll need to add firewall rules in your Router to make it work.
    It's not important the problem be solved, only that the blame for the mistake is assigned correctly
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    I went thru the same thing 12 months ago when my WDTV was playing up and I bought a cheap Android media player. Tested it fine and then I noticed that the old WDTV was working fine again and still using it.
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  16. Member hydra3333's Avatar
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    Thank you for the responses.

    I guess what I meant to ask was for, is a media server which isn't directly connected to a TV rather than a media player which is - otherwise I'd have to buy a few media players each connected to various TVs and keep them sync'd.

    Hence the queries,
    can kodi be "it" ?
    can plex be set to not query internet sites to collect media metadata and not do a plex site login when being accessed (i.e. only run locally) ?
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    Originally Posted by paulw View Post
    I went thru the same thing 12 months ago when my WDTV was playing up and I bought a cheap Android media player. Tested it fine and then I noticed that the old WDTV was working fine again and still using it.
    All my WDTVs ran hot and [eventually] would start to act up after a few hours of use.They would be fine when new, but start to act up as they got older.

    Edit: For reference, the issues I experienced in no particular order were:

    Not recognizing / disappearing drives (either separate externals or in multi-bay enclosures)
    Slowdown/freezing while browsing files
    Unable to play files

    Some of the boxes worked without issues for a while after switching to the B-Rad WDTVXL firmware upgrade
    Last edited by lingyi; 29th Nov 2019 at 20:20.
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  18. I've used my WDTV LIVE HUB to serve files over the LAN to my Android BOX as the player that connects to the TV via HDMI....It too runs hot then shuts down... So not an ideal setup for OP...









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    Thinking about it. I wonder its life could be extended if you cut open the top and installed a fan and possibly a heatsink (don't know which chip you'd need to cool). Still wouldn't extend the file playing capabilities, but with the B-RAD firmware it could be used for torrents. Probably harder with the Live Hub since most of the space is taken up by the hard drive.
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  20. Member netmask56's Avatar
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    For me my Popcorn A-500 does everything as far as playing my local collection from my NAS and a Chromecast plus iPad Pro takes care of any streaming like Netflix or Stan etc etc. Zappiti for an elegant high end unit https://zappiti.com/index.html
    BeyonWiz T3 PVR ~ Popcorn A-500 ~ Samsung ES8000 65" LED TV ~ Windows 7 64bit ~ Yamaha RX-A1070 ~ QnapTS851-4G
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    The Zappiti sounds interesting, but it has middling reviews on Amazon and a major red flag. It runs a customized Android OS (6.1 according to this review: https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/audio-player/media-players/zappiti-pro-4k-hdr-medi...player-review/) but apparently you can't install Netflix from Google Play:

    "[Apps] Install NETFLIX on Zappiti?
    ← Zappiti 4K HDR [EN]
    It is not possible to download NETFLIX from the Google Playstore anymore.
    But you can use this tip:

    On the Homepage, go to "My Apps", then select the "Aptoide TV" App.
    You can download NETFLIX from this App and it will be installed directly on Zappiti.

    Enjoy!!!"

    https://zappiti.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/1196425--apps-install-netflix-on-zappiti
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    I have ordered the Pendoo X6 Pro. I shall receive it in a few days so I'll let you know how it goes.
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07PJV4P13/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Anything I should know when unpacking it ? like doing of fresh installation of Android or something ?
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  23. normally android os comes out of the box.. you only need to log in your Google account.. install or update apps you need.. test it as is..
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  24. Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
    I have ordered the Pendoo X6 Pro. I shall receive it in a few days so I'll let you know how it goes.
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07PJV4P13/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Please let us know about your experience with that particular box. It looks like it runs an Android Tablet OS, not Android TV. As stated previously, that's fine if you only want to run KODI.

    You'll find setup a little easier if you attach a USB keyboard (typing in account names, passwords, network addresses, etc.).
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    Originally Posted by StarrySky View Post
    I have ordered the Pendoo X6 Pro. I shall receive it in a few days so I'll let you know how it goes.
    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07PJV4P13/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    Please let us know about your experience with that particular box. It looks like it runs an Android Tablet OS, not Android TV. As stated previously, that's fine if you only want to run KODI.

    You'll find setup a little easier if you attach a USB keyboard (typing in account names, passwords, network addresses, etc.).
    Ok will do.
    And I plan to only use Kodi. For the keyboard that's a good idea I'll find one for the setup.
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    Dummy that I am- my Oppo UDP-203 Blu Ray player plays media files on USB drives and even from DVD/BR data disks.
    Plays h264/h265 with proper audio.
    The Oppo is no longer available unless you want to spend big money but what other BR players will do the same thing?
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    I just received the box ! so it's now plugged to my router with Ethernet and to my TV through HDMI.
    For now I'm struggling to transfer a movie directly in Wifi from my MacBook to the box. Any thoughts ?
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  28. Mr. Computer Geek dannyboy48888's Avatar
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    Tried the Mibox and wasn't happy with the frame rate conversion issues. Ended up getting a raspberry Pi 4 and setting up a samba server on it to copy files back and forth from. my other Pi 3 sees it as well as my phone in vlc and streams from it no problem. As a test I installed mdlna on the pi 4 and all of my roku's and dlna enabled bluray player saw the files and streamed them no problem without addon software. I like metadata so I mainly run kodi from my pi 3 and 4. it's all about what you want to get, and how much tinkering you want to do. I would highly reccomend the pi 4 as a base server/player in either case as running samba and adding mdlna when needed is a pretty easy task.
    if all else fails read the manual
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    Originally Posted by dannyboy48888 View Post
    Tried the Mibox and wasn't happy with the frame rate conversion issues. Ended up getting a raspberry Pi 4 and setting up a samba server on it to copy files back and forth from. my other Pi 3 sees it as well as my phone in vlc and streams from it no problem. As a test I installed mdlna on the pi 4 and all of my roku's and dlna enabled bluray player saw the files and streamed them no problem without addon software. I like metadata so I mainly run kodi from my pi 3 and 4. it's all about what you want to get, and how much tinkering you want to do. I would highly reccomend the pi 4 as a base server/player in either case as running samba and adding mdlna when needed is a pretty easy task.
    Yeah that was an option but I wanted to try out the Android box.
    Anyway I'll go with an USB key since transfering GB through wifi is painful. I'm just concerned about plugging and unplugging the key frequently (not everyday though).
    It's just weird how we can go from the WDTV and the ability to transfer and browse the content through any computer, to the android box which is a closed system with painful ways as a workaround.
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