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  1. Member
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    VLC on a PC allows me to select a subtitle file for a video file; I want that functionality in a 'media player' - a physical item that connects to the TV inputs; they seem hard to come by, and I have seen them only in Ebay; I have asked the seller if there is an option to play a SEPARATE SUBTITLE FILE, but I've received no answer. The one I bought years ago, allows the playing of various video formats, but lacks the EXTRA SUBTITLE FILE option. I've been able to play videos on a USB stick inserted into a Set Top Box, but the subtitles option on its remote, does not give the option of adding subtitles FROM A SEPARATE FILE. Can anyone tell me of a unit that has the facility that I want - else a TV brand that has USB input with the separate subtitle file option. In case it is relevant, the TV must be smaller than 37".
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  2. The most newer TVs have an USB port and an incorporated Mediaplayer that allows to select the subtitles
    Last edited by ProWo; 9th Jun 2021 at 08:22. Reason: typo
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  3. Member
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    Thank you for that info - that is very useful to know; but it implies a greater investment (a new TV) than some suitable Media Player that allows me to use the TV I already have. So I'd like to know if there are any Media Players on the market that will do the job more cheaply - the job being playing a video into a TV with the choice of a separate subtitle file.
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  4. This particular feature of PC software players like VLC (ability to select among multiple external subtitle files on the fly) is very very rare in standalone hardware media players (at least, I've never seen one that could do it). They usually follow the rule that any external subtitle must be named exactly the same as the video file and be contained in the same folder with it. You can choose among different subtitles ahead of viewing, but cannot choose on the fly. You would need to pick which of the several sub files you want for that viewing session, rename it to match the video file, and put it in the same folder. Gets the job done, but obviously not very convenient if you want to spontaneously alternate between hearing impaired/normal or constant/forced only or English/French.

    You can kinda/sorta fudge on-the-fly sub switching if the video file is an MKV with one or more internal embedded subs. Most hardware players will load both the embedded subs and one external sub file you pair with the video file. So if your MKV file includes an internal English sub, you can bundle an external French etc sub file with it in the same folder and most hardware media players will then recognize both subs, letting you choose between them on the the fly. But this is limited to just two different subs (one internal and one external) unless your MKV includes multiple additional internal subs. This trick only works with MKV video files: MP4 and AVI do not support embedded, selectable subs so you would be back to the singe external sub limitation with those formats.
    Last edited by orsetto; 9th Jun 2021 at 10:07.
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  5. Member
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    I want a solution to MY problem, and that does not involve 'selecting on the fly'; I'm quite happy to select the appropriate subtitle file before I put the video on the USB; but once it is there AS A SEPARATE FILE, I want to be able to tell the 'gadget' to play it. As for having 'exactly the same name', I happy to arrange that beforehand. "most hardware media players will then recognize both subs" I searched with Google and could not find a 'Media Player', but I could find ONE in Ebay, so I am quite intrigued by 'most'. What are they called ? Where would I get one ? What would be a typical price ? I'm in Sydney Australia, in case that is relevant to 'where'.

    I did see Android units, and ignored them because no phones are involved.
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  6. Originally Posted by Sebastian42 View Post
    I did see Android units, and ignored them because no phones are involved.
    Android in this case is only the operating system of the box.
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  7. Originally Posted by Sebastian42 View Post
    I want a solution to MY problem, and that does not involve 'selecting on the fly'; I'm quite happy to select the appropriate subtitle file before I put the video on the USB; but once it is there AS A SEPARATE FILE, I want to be able to tell the 'gadget' to play it. As for having 'exactly the same name', I happy to arrange that beforehand. "most hardware media players will then recognize both subs" I searched with Google and could not find a 'Media Player', but I could find ONE in Ebay, so I am quite intrigued by 'most'. What are they called ? Where would I get one ? What would be a typical price ? I'm in Sydney Australia, in case that is relevant to 'where'.
    Sorry, it wasn't clear in your original post that you had not yet really tried any standalone players, so I assumed you meant you wanted to overcome their typical one-sub-at-a-time limitation (a lot of people ask about that). Since all you apparently want to do is play one pre-selected external sub, I don't think you'll have any problems since this is a standard feature of every standalone player I've ever used. You name the subtitle file exactly the same as the video file and put them in the same folder (or openly on the USB stick). Upon loading, the media player will sense the external sub and automatically play it with the video. If desired you can turn it on and off with either a dedicated sub button on the remote or via a popup menu (depends on the player user interface).

    As an example, say you have a video named "Adventure.Movie.1995.720p.x264-NULL.mp4" and a subtitle file named "Adventure.Movie.1995.720p.x264.Updated.Repack.Eng lish.Addic7ed.com.srt". Copy the MP4 and SRT files to your USB stick, then change the name of the SRT to match the MP4 exactly ("Adventure.Movie.1995.720p.x264-NULL.srt"). Pretty much any media player should automatically read and play the sub along with the video.

    There are many many different media players available via web dealers. Most are generic Chinese imports, it can be difficult to find reliable reviews on their audio/video quality or features (you have to test them yourself). There were some excellent brand-name media players until seven or eight years ago, when their mfrs decided not to compete with the low-priced generics. These tend to work very well but have not kept up with evolving changes to the MP4 and MKV formats (IOW, they fail to play a lot of video files released in the past six or seven years).

    After trying several generic media players and been very disappointed by the video quality, I opted to use a BluRay disc player with USB port. A/V quality is excellent, and its nice to have the option of playing video files from either USB or a disc. IMO, if you just want a simple load the video and push play solution for video files, nothing beats a good new or used BluRay player with media player functionality. The other options available today are either junky/disappointing generic boxes, or somewhat complex "roll your own" players running off Android or Raspberry Pi. The latter can be very feature-rich and play a wider variety of cutting-edge video formats, but may require some technical chops and geekery to set up.

    Note many media players can be weirdly picky about the precise formatting of your external SRT subtitle file. PC software players like VLC are more flexible and have the ability to interpret sub files that might be slightly off-spec, but hardware players can choke and refuse to load the occasional external sub if its a little bit "off". If this happens, you can solve by loading the sub file into a subtitle editing app like SubtitleWorkshop. Open the file, choose the repair errors function, OK the repairs, then use "Save As" in the file menu to over-write the faulty original with the corrected copy. Your media player will usually recognize and play this repaired sub file properly.
    Last edited by orsetto; 9th Jun 2021 at 11:03.
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  8. Member
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    MX Player on Android can do it. Here's the instructions: https://joyofandroid.com/add-subtitles-to-mx-player/
    I just tried it on my phone and it doesn't matter what the sub name is. SRT is best as it's instant, but it may support other formats. I tried opening an .ass file, but it took too long generating the font file.

    As stated above, Android media boxes just use Android as their OS, some optimized for non touchscreen use. Look for boxes in the $50-100 range as cheaper boxes may use a an older phone only version which may be difficult to navigate without a touchscreen.

    There's a good long thread discussing Android boxes, but I can't find it right not. Gotta go to work, but if no one links to when, I'll search for it when I get home.
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    I don't think this the thread I'm thinking about, but there's a lot of good discussion here: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/386414-Android-Box
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  10. Member
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    After trying several generic media players and been very disappointed by the video quality, I opted to use a BluRay disc player with USB port. A/V quality is excellent, and its nice to have the option of playing video files from either USB or a disc. IMO, if you just want a simple load the video and push play solution for video files, nothing beats a good new or used BluRay player with media player functionality. The other options available today are either junky/disappointing generic boxes, or somewhat complex "roll your own" players running off Android or Raspberry Pi. The latter can be very feature-rich and play a wider variety of cutting-edge video formats, but may require some technical chops and geekery to set up.
    Over the years, after my last WDTV started acting up, I went on a search for an alternative. I've tried, Roku (serving videos through Mezzmo and Plex), Chromecast and an Android box. All lacked in some way, primarily being able to play any type of file, which is also a limitation with a Blu-Ray player, which I never owned. I finally ended up with a couple of cheap, <$150, used Dell PCs and haven't regretted at all. I prefer PotPlayer over VLC, but I can play any video, old and new on it without any playback issues. I've tried various wireless mice, mini keyboards and all in one remotes, but have settled on using the Logitech K400 which has a built in trackpad. I have a remote/wireless mouse, but rarely use it. I have two setups, one for my main TV and a second on a smaller set.

    If you really don't want to use a wireless keyboard, you could remote into your PC through VNC and use your phone or tablet to mirror your PC screen. It's neat, but I hate having to down at a screen to do simple tasks.

    I've considered the Nvidia Shield a number of times. The Shield has a highly customized Android OS that gets high reviews. But the possibility that it can't handle multiple hard drives at once has always been a deal killer for me.

    If you have multiple hard drives, separate or in a multi-drive enclosure, this may be an issue with many standalone media players. I tried hooking up two external drives to my Android box, but the drives would randomly disconnect. Understandable because Android was never meant to be a standalone OS.

    It may seen that a Chromebook would be an alternative, but video playback options on Chromebooks is very limited. I had a Chromebook once, planning to use it a a media player, but no go.
    Last edited by lingyi; 9th Jun 2021 at 23:30.
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