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  • Help with Media Centers.

    Hello TI.

    I got a "WD My book essential 4tb" and a television, my television however wont read NTFS, so I am at hunt for a media center. I have some requirements for this center tho, it shall be able to run NTFS and be able to run "My book" using USB. The reason I want to run through USB is because I only have 20mbs internet connection so I would really love the USB feature.

    Pluses that would make the media center better for me:
    - XBMC (I really love that program!)
    - Being able to use wireless (incase of a better connection in the future)
    - Read MKV, and most of all the other formats.
    - Be able to use NTFS!!!! (For My Book Essential 4TB)

    Minor other things that could be cool but not nessesary at all:
    Netflix
    Youtube

    I have already looked at:
    - G-Box Midnight MX2 flashed with this XBMC-linux from xda.
    - The Little Black Box
    - Intel NUC (Might be a lil to expensive)

    What do you think of these 3? do you have any better solution, or which of the three do you think is the best, atm I think ill try TLBB but not sure!

    This is basicly the things I am looking after, it's important for me there will be no struggles watching the movies, (lag/spike) and xbmc shall be able to run smoothly if the media center offers it

    It might be loads to ask for, but ill see which possibilities you bring up^^

    Best regards Henrik1908

    My budget is around 300 dollars but ofc it can be cheaper if it's good^^
    Last edited by Henrik1908; October 25, 2013, 05:39 PM.
    sigpic

  • #2
    Rocku Box 3, lets you stream or play from the usb Flash drive or or your WD Book. Plays through Plex, smooth, no lag, plus youll be able to get Netflix through it when you get a better connection.

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    • #3
      Thank you ill take a look into it^^
      sigpic

      Comment


      • #4
        I am not sure how much PC parts cost where you are from but for 300USD you can easily build a PC that can do all that you want. You could also buy a used PC for that price that has enough power to watch HD. I am just using an old laptop with XBMC on it connected to a file server via ethernet. Sometimes it's connected by wireless and it still does just fine, unless someone uses the microwave lol. The file server is is a 10yr old XP box. The laptop does struggle with 50fps during really busy scenes but other than that it does fine and I don't watch that much in 50fps. It's probably 5 years old, no better than a core 2 duo. There is also the WD TV (or WD TV Live) or the Boxee Box. Boxee is based on XBMC and I actually liked the interface better.

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        • #5
          According to your demands/bonuses I'd say go with BoxeeBox. It's pretty cheap and there's a community working on full XBMC support for it, they have a fairly buggy build out so you can go for that if you wish, or just use the normal Boxee interface until XBMC is more stable. The only files I might have some stutter, buffer etc is 30+ gb files (on wireless NFS).

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Henrik1908 View Post
            Hello TI.

            I got a "WD My book essential 4tb" and a television, my television however wont read NTFS, so I am at hunt for a media center. I have some requirements for this center tho, it shall be able to run NTFS and be able to run "My book" using USB. The reason I want to run through USB is because I only have 20mbs internet connection so I would really love the USB feature.

            Pluses that would make the media center better for me:
            - XBMC (I really love that program!)
            - Being able to use wireless (incase of a better connection in the future)
            - Read MKV, and most of all the other formats.
            - Be able to use NTFS!!!! (For My Book Essential 4TB)

            Minor other things that could be cool but not nessesary at all:
            Netflix
            Youtube

            I have already looked at:
            - G-Box Midnight MX2 flashed with this XBMC-linux from xda.
            - The Little Black Box
            - Intel NUC (Might be a lil to expensive)

            What do you think of these 3? do you have any better solution, or which of the three do you think is the best, atm I think ill try TLBB but not sure!

            This is basicly the things I am looking after, it's important for me there will be no struggles watching the movies, (lag/spike) and xbmc shall be able to run smoothly if the media center offers it

            It might be loads to ask for, but ill see which possibilities you bring up^^

            Best regards Henrik1908

            My budget is around 300 dollars but ofc it can be cheaper if it's good^^
            I just bought WD TV Live at Best Buy for $99. I love it! I'll give you my own personal review...

            Pros

            - Easy out of the box set up
            - Nice and practical remote control
            - Has the widest media codec playback out of any other media player/streamer
            - *Plays mkv, xvid, and flac very well
            - Has a fair amount of streaming apps including Netflix, Pandora, Youtube, and a few more
            - Has two USB ports, an ethernet port, hdmi port, and optical audio port
            - Can use a flash drive or external usb hdd with media on it
            - Is small and light (very portable)
            - Receives firmware updates online or you can manually download the firmware update from the WD site and put it in a flash drive to update
            - Is hackable to install custom firmware developed by an active online community - wdlxtv.com
            - Has preloaded custom wallpapers or you can use your own
            - Allows you to turn off front LED light for those who dislike seeing the light in the dark while watching a movie lol

            Cons


            - Overheats easily leading to slower performance such as Netflix lagging, some freezing there and there
            - Poor ventilation design
            - Stays too warm while turned off
            - Heats easily
            - Lack of apps (Hulu)
            - No support for the Logitech universal remotes
            - No XMBC
            - No Plex app

            So the biggest problem is overheating. After Googling, a few users reported that they had flipped the unit upside down (ventilation holes are beneath the unit) and added a usb powered fan on top of it to pull the heat out. I'm using a 120mm fan and I put it right on top to pull the heat and it works!! There isn't any freezing, Netflix runs smoothly, the unit stays cool to the touch, and I just leave the fan running all the time.

            I know that the fan add-on is a ghetto/redneck work around but it works. WD TV Live is the only portable media player/streamer that plays mkv and other formats well considering that Roku doesn't give mkv playback. Roku doesn't heat up and it offers lots of streaming apps and is best for Netflix but that's not what I was looking for.

            Also, don't buy the WD TV live with the hdd because that unit has the most problems with heat and with another hardware problem (hdd related). If WD would simply just add more ventilation holes, a small fan, and two more heatsinks, then the units would be even better. So there ya go.
            Last edited by Proleteriat; November 20, 2013, 09:56 PM.

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            • #7
              I second Intellectual, go with a PC.
              I got a cheap second hand Mac Mini as a HTPC and it works a treat.
              Find a PC (with a small footprint, so you don't pay too much running the thing) that you can hook up to your tv, it will be the best solution for sure.

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              • #8
                Oh hey @Henrik1908 seems like you're still searching for one media center solution lol !
                Forgot to tell you when PMing: Ouya is a cheap solution too ! And maybe the Xbox One is a powerful media solution too if you have it/planned on buying it? I don't know about it tho

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                • #9
                  I would simply go with a Raspberry Pi and OpenELEC. I would cost you around 50 dollar (Pi + USB-charger + sd-card). This setup could seem complicated, but it really isn't. No linux knowledge is needed for this.
                  It has XBMC, which runs fairly smooth if the skin is not too overloaded and plays nearly everything. I think you meant h264 compability when saying mkv, so this is supported. VC1 and mpeg2 support would add ~2 dollar for an extra license. Most audio can be decoded on the Pi or passed through HDMI to an other decoder.
                  With HDMI-CEC you could use your tv remote to control xbmc. NTFS is supported and network is there too for youtube and stuff.

                  Some impressions:
                  Raspberry Pi XBMC - OpenElec 3.0 RC 1 Impressions - YouTube

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    If you can splurge the cash, a second-hand Mac Mini is amazing.

                    Running XBMC, Netflix, Youtube, etc. up on the big screen is simple as heck, it's design is sleek and small enough to not be noticable, and you can manage your torrents and downloads easily from the couch with no hastle.

                    Obviously that's true of any computer, so any old HTCP could do the trick, but I like aforthmentioned design and it plays well with my other iDevices (your milage may vary).

                    If you go for a PC-media center, just keep in mind that big rigs can have loud fans, and that is a negative when trying to watch a movie.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would recommend you a custom made PC but $300 won't be enough (trust me, been there done that :P)

                      I've already got a WD TV Live which is OK but I am also getting a Boxee right now (the old one) since I've read a ton of positive feedback :)

                      You can also try Dune HD which seems to be good!
                      :evil: HELLenic = Greek which came out of HELL :evil:

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                      • #12
                        [MENTION=178370]DragoonC[/MENTION] a used Mac Mini is way too expensive as a HTPC.. As a Mac User (Imac yay! ), an ex iPhone user, and someone who plan on buying a laptop and looked at the MBP's, one thing I know: apple is way too expensive for what it can do.
                        Look at the Apple TV: It's just cr*p, the only one that's worth it is the first gen one with crystalHD video card in it to play HD content.
                        Look at the iMac: I have one and if I can tell you one thing, if I had the knowledge I have today, I would have gone for a hackintosh+ better screen
                        Look at the Mac Mini: We can do better, twice the price, smaller today. As I said, the NUC is the perfect example of the minii pc almost ready-to-use, just add memory and a HDD to store your files.
                        [MENTION=172527]HELLenic[/MENTION] $300 is enough, for a used NUC i3 one ! i3 allows you to play almost everything you can imagine.. and the NUC can also play games. Well, not the last one full settings like a steam box'd do but at least some decent games.

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                        • #13
                          Fair point, [MENTION=234510]forw[/MENTION] ^_^

                          I happened upon a cheap(er) Mac Mini myself that now doubles as a HTPC and all-purpose computer ('cept for proper "work" where I need a better resolution than what my TV gives me). For the budget-conscious, any Apple-product is generally not the first choice - and like you said, a lot of different PCs can - and will - do what you need for a fraction of the price.

                          I suppose for Netflix and XBMC you have plenty of options, but looking at your immediate checklist, you'll probably find that some kind of PC'esque device is better than a Smart-TV box like, say AppleTV and various Android Alternatives. An HDMI-output and plenty USB-ports for your HDD(s) will give you pretty much as much freedom as you need. Plenty of apps can help your phone/tablet/toaster interact with it so you don't need to have a keyboard laying around. It's also just convenient to have the option to alt-tab to a web-browser to check up random stuff, and if you're a gamer - obviously being able to play PC games form the comfort of your couch is nice too.

                          I haven't looked at XBMCs required specs in a while, but I'm sure most laptops sold today would be able to swing it. Just keep an eye on the specs, and I'm sure you'll have a great setup in no time.

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                          • #14
                            I'm not too technically gifted but I have experience with two different media centres.

                            The first one I have and it's the HiMedia 900B. It allows you to put a HDD drive of your choice in there and it reads and plays everything i've ever thrown at it. It even supports 3D only I don't have a 3D tele to test it. My one gripe with it is the connection that attaches to the HDD inside the machine is a bit plasticy and as a result it sometimes doesn't connect properly and thus doesn't get read properly or picked up at all by the player. It does have two USB ports on the outside though which i've plugged a varierty of external hard drives into an its read and played from them perfectly.

                            My friend got a boxee last Christmas and he hooks up an external HDD and, again, plays everything with out a hitch.

                            Oh, the HiMedia player also has wifi so you can stream and hook up to the net so you can browse the internet and use youtube on the TV too.

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                            • #15
                              Problem with all these solutions is that you can't enjoy XBMC and all these possibilities..
                              It's difficult for someone who hasn't tested it to imagine it, but one thing if for sure: once you use XBMC, you can't go back.
                              Like, really, it's the best piece of software ever made for media: basically, it classifies all your files (Shows, Movies..) onto a library, where instead of navigating by files you navigate by titles of the movies/shows. Lot of skins, you can download subtitles matching your video with only one click, know your tv shows progress, sync it to trakt (awesome service for tv enthusiasts) and even more stuff that I can't even describe here.
                              And it can be installed to nearly any computer that has enough power, even android boxes.
                              With Boxee WD Tv and boxes like that, you're a world away from XBMC.

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