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  1. Member Reading Bug's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I've been trying to arrive at a good streaming media solution for the last couple days (never done this before) and have come to learn the hard way that, because I live in an older apartment complex with difficult networking issues due to who knows what, my best solution is probably going to be one that avoids internet connectivity (streaming) altogether. Which is okay because I don't really need to stream my whole library whereever I go. Essentially loading all my content on my Samsung TV in the living room is fine. In fact it's what I'd actually prefer.

    Here's what I'd like to do and maybe you can offer a suggestion. I have about 12 TBs of movies and TV shows I'd like to access Netflix/Plex style. I'd like to add my own artwork, descriptions, etc if possible, and I have audio commentaries I would need to access. What I'm picturing, considering my limitations, is something like

    1 or 2 external hard drives connecting to > 1 or 2 USB ports on a Roku-like set top box connecting to > TV via HDMI

    All with wires of course and requiring no network or connectivity except maybe an app for the TV if that's not included with the hardware. Also it would need to NOT tie my drives into an ecosystem; Nvidia Shield wants to make my drive proprietary to their needs and eliminate my ability to connect to a PC outside the chain. Unacceptable.

    The key of course is that it must be fully functional "offline." What kind of hardware/software should I look at?

    Much thanks!
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  2. Get an ~US$50 Android TV box with Kodi. Or a Raspberry Pi with Kodi.
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    Originally Posted by Reading Bug View Post
    Also it would need to NOT tie my drives into an ecosystem; Nvidia Shield wants to make my drive proprietary to their needs and eliminate my ability to connect to a PC outside the chain. Unacceptable.
    If you already have a Shield TV, you should be able to use it for playing video files like any other Android box. There are two ways to connect a USB drive to the Shield TV. The first way is to use the USB drive to expand the Shield's internal storage for games and apps. When used this way, drive is then reformatted and subsequently its contents are encrypted to only be useful to that individual Shield, which you don't want. The second way is to use the attached USB drive as removable storage, which is what you should do if the drive is also to be used with a PC. As I understand it, when a USB drive is used as removable storage, the Shield TV does not reformat the drive. Instead, the Shield creates one folder for its own use and treats the rest of the drive contents as read-only. When the USB drive is subsequently connected to a PC, the PC should be able to use the drive as a normal drive. Maybe you could perform some experiments with a USB flash drive to see if the drive can be used with both the Shield TV and a PC to your satisfaction before moving on to attaching a portable hard drive.
    Last edited by usually_quiet; 8th Jan 2020 at 10:40.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  4. I missed the part about having a Shield TV. Yes, it should be able to access an external USB drive without locking it to the Shield TV and still be able to move the drive to a Windows PC or other PC. And you can get an SMB app to share it's contents across your network for much more convenient access by other computers/devices. I've done both of those with other AndroidTV devices.
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    From your description, you're not looking for streaming at all, just local playback of your videos for which an Android Box or Raspberry Pi is fine. Just plug your hard drive(s) directly into the device and play from there. Kodi will act as your media organizer or you can use another app (sorry don't have anything to suggest since I don't use any) appropriate for your device.

    My personal choice is a cheap ~$100 refurbed PC or laptop as that opens up the possibilities of media organizer software. Any PC less than 10 years old will likely be powerful enough to play the majority of your videos.

    No need for NAS, RAID, server or anything else as some may suggest and insist you need. Just plug your drives into your device.

    I do recommend getting an external USB enclosure or doc and stay away from the cheap WD and Seagate externals available now. The drives inside are fine, but the USB interface is prone to failure. If you do use them, unplug the the USB from the device end only (leaving the cable attached on the drive end) and unplugging the power supply from electrical outlet rather than drive to prevent wear and shock to the plug on the drive.

    Most important, backup everything on the drive(s) you're using. Better to spend a day copying 12TB of data to a new drive than trying to re-rip/download them. Despite what some may say, an NAS or RAID in any form is not a backup solution.
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  6. Member Reading Bug's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, guys.

    Lingyi, I think your recap is the one most accurate to my situation. Apparently there are no resoures for using HDDs on Shield without reformatting (can't figure it out) and neither Plex nor Kodi (which I also tried) works remotely.

    So that leaves me with an Android box/Raspberry Pi solution, or the laptop.

    I'd like to avoid a Pi because I haven't done a build before and I have enough frustration already. If I go with an Android box, how exactly would I prep that for offline use?

    Sorry if this sounds silly but I haven't done this before.

    Because nothing wireless/app-related will work when connecting brandname hardware to my TV (AFAIK), what I imagine is connecting an Android box to a PC so I have a screen, doing all my Kodi prep work - downloading/installing the software, synching up the external HDDs, adding metadata to each file - then unplugging it, dragging the whole rig over to the TV and plugging it in.

    Is this correct, or does it not work that way?

    If I go the laptop route, can I use Kodi on the PC but control it with a remote for the TV (not the PC)? If so I'll be set cause I'll know how to do everything else.

    Edit: the Android box is preferred over the laptop for elegance if nothing else.
    Last edited by Reading Bug; 8th Jan 2020 at 11:51.
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    Originally Posted by Reading Bug View Post
    Apparently there are no resoures for using HDDs on Shield without reformatting (can't figure it out) and neither Plex nor Kodi (which I also tried) works remotely.
    I found the following advice at https://support.plex.tv/articles/220391808-media-storage-options-for-nvidia-shield/ However, I think it will work just fine if you don't use Plex. If the USB drive is already formatted for NTFS or exFAT with a Windows PC and you want to use it as external storage rather than internal storage, you should not need to reformat it using the Shield.

    USB Drives and microSD Cards
    Attaching a USB Drive or microSD Card
    The SHIELD has two USB 3.0 ports that can be used to attach standard USB drives (both self-powered and bus-powered drives are supported). The 2015 model NVIDIA SHIELD (regular and Pro) also has a microSD card slot that can be used.

    The SHIELD supports and will automatically mount drives formatted with the following common filesystems:

    exFAT (compatible with both Windows and OS X/macOS)
    HFS+ (standard for OS X)
    NTFS (common for Windows)
    When you connect a drive to your NVIDIA SHIELD and turn it on, it should be detected within a few seconds and then the USB drive connected screen will appear. Here, you have two choices on how to use the drive:

    Removable Storage: This is how you’re probably used to USB drives working with your computers and other devices. When mounted this way, the content on the drive is available to use for both Plex and other apps, but you cannot install Android apps on the drive.
    Internal Storage: This option allows you to basically replace the internal storage and instead use the attached USB drive for installing apps. Choosing this option will format the drive and you will lose any existing data on it! At that point, the drive can only be used with the NVIDIA SHIELD and will not be usable with other devices unless you format it again.
    Tip!: We recommend you mount any drive used for content as “Removable Storage”.

    After choosing the mount method, you’ll be taken to the Storage & reset area of the SHIELD’s settings, where you can confirm that the drive was mounted properly.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  8. Member Reading Bug's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by usually_quiet View Post
    Originally Posted by Reading Bug View Post
    Apparently there are no resoures for using HDDs on Shield without reformatting (can't figure it out) and neither Plex nor Kodi (which I also tried) works remotely.
    I found the following advice at https://support.plex.tv/articles/220391808-media-storage-options-for-nvidia-shield/ However, I think it will work just fine if you don't use Plex. If the USB drive is already formatted for NTFS or exFAT with a Windows PC and you want to use it as external storage rather than internal storage, you should not need to reformat it using the Shield.
    Thank you. I saw that page but unfortunately Shield doesn't provide the actual option as far as I can tell. Connecting my USB only showed it was connected; it didn't provide an option to choose Removable or Internal, as Plex claims. And ejecting a drive and reformatting a drive are the only two storage options under Settings in Shield.
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    Originally Posted by Reading Bug View Post
    Thank you. I saw that page but unfortunately Shield doesn't provide the actual option as far as I can tell. Connecting my USB only showed it was connected; it didn't provide an option to choose Removable or Internal, as Plex claims. And ejecting a drive and reformatting a drive are the only two storage options under Settings in Shield.
    Maybe the Shield mounted the drive automatically. If no steps were omitted, it looks like that happened in this demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvvssdqt3Yk If the demo is accurate, getting the Shield to use an External USB drive for file playback doesn't seem too hard if a good file explorer and a good media player are installed.

    If the drive is formatted to use NTFS or exFat and isn't mounted (contents are not visible to the file explore) then something might be wrong hardware-wise.
    Ignore list: hello_hello, tried, TechLord, Snoopy329
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  10. Re. Shield and external drive: That's the same thing that happened when I plugged a formatted USB drive into my AndroidTV. It asked if I want to use it as removable storage or an extension of the internal storage. I just selected "removable storage" and it work the same as in Windows.

    For getting files/metadata on the drive: Just plug the drive into a Windows computer and copy files to it. When you're done, disconnect from the Windows PC and plug it into the Shield/AndroidTV.
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    Originally Posted by jagabo View Post
    For getting files/metadata on the drive: Just plug the drive into a Windows computer and copy files to it. When you're done, disconnect from the Windows PC and plug it into the Shield/AndroidTV.
    For simply adding files, yes, but because I have no TV connectivity I need to connect Shield/Android to a Windows computer first for the initial install.
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  12. Originally Posted by Reading Bug View Post
    but because I have no TV connectivity I need to connect Shield/Android to a Windows computer first for the initial install.
    You connect the Shield to a monitor or TV for the install, not a Windows or computer. That is, the Shield is a little computer -- it needs to be connected to a display for the initial setup.
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  13. External hard drives connected by usb cable to Intel nuc mini pc
    (or any pc) connected by hdmi cable to tv.
    Wireless keyboard/mouse to control (handheld mini ones on ebay).

    Then, run your choice of a favorite manager - plex, mythtv, kodi, etc - or manually manage, select, and play.

    Absolutely no limitations since it uses a PC and can ruin everything.
    Later, if you get better internet, you're turned your tv into a Full computer ready to rip, encode, serve files anywhere, in any format.

    Absolutely no modifications needed because it's a full pc.

    You can go with big, tower gaming PCs if you also want to play the latest games, an Intel stick pc, etc - size and performance is up to you.

    ...

    Android nvidia shield can work, but it's not a pc , so not as fully featured and capable as a pc. (E.g. You can do dvd through 4k uhd rips on a pc to add to your library, can't on a Shield.)

    ...

    At the most basic level, some Samsung tvs can play media on usb drives (flash and hard drive), so if the files you have are compatible, you just plug drive into tv. But no real covers and such.
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    There's no reason that I can think of as to why the Shield should act so differently than regular Android Box since the OS is Android based, even if it's customized. AFAIK, based on my experiences with an Android Box and multiple phones and tablets, Android will ASK if you want to format the drive, but it's not necessary. An annoyance that is one of the many reasons I replaced my Android Box, is that even if you choose not to format the drive, the Android OS will put bunch of folders on the drive without asking. Makes it hard to sync/update (I the paid version of Vice-Versa) the drive to my backup. All those pesky extra folders.

    Another possible issue is no one has ever answered here or anywhere else whether the Shield can definitively handle two or more hard drives at once. jagabo, could you try and report? This is critical for the OP since he has 12TB+ of files. Unless he gets a 14 or 16TB drive or is willing to run only one drive at time, this may be a major issue. I've posted in other threads that my Android Box would sometimes not recognize or lose the second+ drives while running, even when they were in a multi-bay enclosure. For me, this was the final nail in the coffin.

    Note that I do still recommend an Android Box to most people as long as they're planning to use a single drive. I think the Pi also has issues with multiple drives.

    Speaking of the Pi, I haven't kept up with them, but to be clear for the OP, they're not all the same, in hardware and software. AFAIK, the Pi 4 is the latest and greatest.
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  15. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Another possible issue is no one has ever answered here or anywhere else whether the Shield can definitively handle two or more hard drives at once. jagabo, could you try and report?
    I just ran a quick test with two USB flash drives. Both drives showed up in the file manager and I was able to browse through them. Both on the Android TV and the Raspberry Pi. I suspect anyone having problems was using hard drives powered by the USB port. Unlike a PC, these devices aren't designed for power hungry USB devices.
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    https://www.instructables.com/id/Adding-an-external-power-supply-to-a-cheap-USB-hub/ this will explain how to mod a usb to a powered usb hub, it works on usb3 also even tho this is for a usb 2. its literally as simple as clipping 2 wires drilling a hole (if your case does not have it) and connecting 2 wires from a phone charger for the simplest fix
    Last edited by the_man_one; 9th Jan 2020 at 18:43.
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    For remote control of a laptop or PC, there are mini keyboards or airmouse that can be used to your TV. I've tried both and the touchpad on a mini keyboard is fine, but typing is a pain. The air mouse works well if you're far enough from the screen so you don't have to make overly wide movements to navigate across the screen. The keyboard has the same issue a the mini keyboard.

    After much trial and error, my choice for both my primary and secondary setups is a Logitech K400 keyboard/trackpad. On my main setup, I just use the keyboard and use the TV remote to control volume. On my secondary setup, I use the keyboard + the airmouse for volume control.

    I don't know about the Shield interface, but a regular Android Box really needs a keyboard, mini or full sized, since the Android OS is designed for touchscreens and really slow and clunky to navigate with a remote.
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  18. Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    I don't know about the Shield interface, but a regular Android Box really needs a keyboard, mini or full sized, since the Android OS is designed for touchscreens and really slow and clunky to navigate with a remote.
    If the OP is only going to use Kodi a simple remote control (that typically comes with the device) is fine. Kodi itself is designed for that. If he wants to use other apps he may need a keyboard/mouse. For example, Amazon Prime Video requires a mouse or other "pointer" device to swipe though titles, and tap to select them. A keyboard is nice to have when setting up. Typing in account names, passwords, etc. is much easier and faster than using an on-screen virtual keyboard. Pretty much any USB keyboard will work.

    My Raspberry Pi 3b is limited to 1920x1080p60 output. It can handle 1920x1080p60 AVC with its hardware decoding. But it doesn't have a hardware HEVC decoder so it must use the CPU for that. It can handle up to about 1280x720p24 HEVC but higher resolutions and frame rates usually don't play smoothly. The newer RPi 4 (came out about six months ago) has 4K output and should be able to play 4K HEVC with hardware decoding. The RPi3 is my main player. I don't have much HEVC content so limited HEVC support isn't a problem for me yet.

    My AndroidTV device isn't currently set up but I'll check to see if it can handle more than one external USB drive. My guess is the firmware can handle more than one drive but it may not be able to power multiple external hard drives. I'll check the RPi too.

    I don't normally use external drives. I have my collection on a NAS (a low end headless Windows computer now) in a closet and access all my videos via SMB network shares. Having all my files in one location makes for easier maintenance. I don't need to run a DLNA server like Plex -- I just make sure any players I get can play files directly via the network shares.
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    jellyfin will do what emby and plex (paid versions) do for free. run a pc to your tv and stream over your home network fine (I use a pc over a smart tv to avoid transcoding). use a gigabyte switch if you have hd titles as they like to clog up the network. if you want a pretty front end to the server you set up just integrate kodi on the pc that's hooked to the tv. you can then use the pc as a client/server and set the shield as a client on another tv as an option
    Last edited by the_man_one; 9th Jan 2020 at 04:54.
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    a far as a pi handeling drives any powered external drive works fine. you can also take a cheep 4 port usb hub and mod it to inject power (2 simple ways) and plug any usb powered hdd into that and it will power the hdd for the pi. I used the easiest way to mod mine which is clip wires and connect a phone charger to the usb hub. the other way uses diodes to make it dual powered from a usb port or a power source. if I were going with a pi setup I would definitely use kodi on it as a client to a server. I use 3 of them in this way, excellent little boxes.
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    Originally Posted by the_man_one View Post
    a far as a pi handeling drives any powered external drive works fine. you can also take a cheep 4 port usb hub and mod it to inject power (2 simple ways) and plug any usb powered hdd into that and it will power the hdd for the pi. I used the easiest way to mod mine which is clip wires and connect a phone charger to the usb hub. the other way uses diodes to make it dual powered from a usb port or a power source. if I were going with a pi setup I would definitely use kodi on it as a client to a server. I use 3 of them in this way, excellent little boxes.
    Why mod a USB hub when there are powered hubs with or without dedicated power only ports. If you use a USB 3.0 hub, it will provide the more voltage and amperage than a USB 2.0 hub.
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  22. Member Reading Bug's Avatar
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    Hey everyone, thanks for the helpful replies. After some consideration I decided the easiest option is to put Kodi on a cheap laptop with two 8 TBs and control it with a remote.

    I've actually gotten quite far in educating myself on Kodi but cannot understand why there is such sparse support. Are we still in the wild west for this kind of thing? Youtube videos are unprofessional, numerous and with many down votes. Kodi's own forums clearly help some folks but isn't too busy it seems. And the software itself has a very ancient layout for building smart playlists in the first place.

    Is that really how it is?

    Also, a tech question on Kodi: how in the hell do you edit an existing video playlist? I have a collection of Bogart movies and they look great loaded into Kodi (I used Mediaelch) and I want to put them in release date order. Nothing in or out of Kodi seems to do this. I'm not even sure what file format I might import if I do it outside Kodi.

    P.S. Is using a VPN truly recommended?
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    Originally Posted by babygdav View Post
    The security issue with Logitech receivers might be of concern in a work environment but shouldn't be a significant problem for most people using one with a smart TV, Android TV device or HTPC in their own home. According to the linked article, the Logitech unifying receiver's vulnerabilities "allow attackers with physical access to their targets' computers" to exploit bugs and launch keystroke injection attacks, record keystrokes, and take control of compromised systems."

    I use a Logitech K400 with my HTPC and bought one to use with my mother's smart TV. It is a good product.
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    by the way, a pi can run 2 usb 500 gig hdds for a short time, couple of hours at least. after that time period the ps for the pi heats up substantially. you must have the strong ps to do this
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    Image
    [Attachment 51403 - Click to enlarge]
    a pic to let you see my mod
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  26. Originally Posted by the_man_one View Post
    Image
    [Attachment 51403 - Click to enlarge]
    a pic to let you see my mod
    The OP is probably going to use large 3.5" external drives that use a lot more power.
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    as far as setting up the pi to do kodi its simple too, get a card reader and get the noobs download from the pi website and install it on (I reccomend at least a 32 gig mini sd card or a regular sd card if you have the first pi) an sd card. something like 10 minutes and you are done. boot the pi choose the os you want libraelec comes preloaded (it is just enough os to run kodi) and is there along with a few others. interestingly enough you can also install recalbox and run a retro arcade/game console system also get all the bang for your buck on that pi. I currently emulate everything from a nes to a ps2, which eliminated a lot of wires and clutter from my main tv
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    jagabo that's a power inserted usb hub, it runs those drives. its not an external hdd. in a better description that hub will supply power to any usb powered hdd and allow data transfer to the pi without bleeding power from the pi
    Last edited by the_man_one; 9th Jan 2020 at 19:48.
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  29. Originally Posted by the_man_one View Post
    jagabo that's a power inserted usb hub, it runs those drives. its not an external hdd. in a better description that hub will supply power to any usb powered hdd and allow data transfer to the pi without bleeding power from the pi
    Ah, I thought the "drive" looked a bit small.
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