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Lock him up!
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# 166088 2-Mar-2015 14:34
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Until this year we couldn’t get broadband. We also never had a reason to use LAN. Because of this I am a beginner where streaming and networking is concerned.

 



 

I have been exploring streaming sites and doing a lot of downloading. I convert the files to MP4 or H.264 TS and play them on the big screen. I use our satellite receiver or UHF box as HD media players. Both have HDMI outputs. All this works but I would like to streamline things a little.

 



 

I have been researching different ways to stream on-line to the TV room (can’t really call it a Home Theatre in the usual sense). I tried Chromecast but have rejected it for different reasons. I also don’t see a point to any media centre configurations. We already have that with the media player boxes, which are connected to large USB drives and everything is controlled by a universal remote.

 



 

The TV is a ‘smart’ Sony but from everything I have read it is not worth hooking up to the wi-fi. In any case, I prefer the unlimited flexibility of a regular browser as in my desktop. After mulling everything over, I have come up with the following:

 


 

- a cheap tablet with USB and HDMI out. It doesn’t have to be a tablet but I chose this so I can also use it for other things. I am on a tight budget.

 


 

- a wireless keyboard/mouse combo to control the tablet from the couch. With the TV as a monitor I can go anywhere and do anything. At least that is my thinking.

 


 

Is there anything wrong with this idea? Am I missing something? With my desktop running Windows I can play anything I want on the sites that interest me. The ones that do interest me are mainly arts and documentaries, so not the popular TV sites or sports. I have global mode and also some dns proxies to reach the content I want. Can I also do all this on a tablet running Android? What do the knowledgeable amongst you think of this set-up?

 



 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1249521 2-Mar-2015 14:54
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Tablet HDMI out is ususally resampled at least once, more often twice between the source video and the HDMI out. Also the 2 android samsungs I tried had massive frame drop issues playing normal 1080 content. Also the screen on the tablet is cloned to the TV, so its on when watching.

If you are wanting an android device, forget the tablet and get a mini dongle thing, they are about $70 and seem to have slightly better HDMI out - still not perfect in that it seems the UI is rendered at a lower res and then scaled to 1080, but the video playback seems to be a lot closer to an actual 1080. Mine worked great till I toasted it by plugging in the wrong power adapter to it.

MHL has problems keeping up with powering devices while outputting. Even with a really thick short USB cable, and a 2.1A wall charger, I still only see 700mA going into my note. It cant keepup.

Mobile browsers will often get the mobile versions of sites, there are limitations on what the flash player on older androids will actually do compared to desktop flash, and its not there on newer androids.




Richard rich.ms

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  # 1249527 2-Mar-2015 15:02
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You probably want to look at a HTPC if you want to watch things through browsers.

But I suspect you might be more than happy with something like an Amazon Fire TV. Its a powerful little box, does lots of apps (you can run most Android apps on it, and Amazon also have their own appstore). 

You would have access to such things as Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, iPlayer (with some extra work), and a whole lot more. For your downloaded stuff you can use Plex (love it) or Kodi (formally known as XBMC).




 
 
 
 




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  # 1249545 2-Mar-2015 15:19
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richms: Tablet HDMI out is ususally resampled at least once, more often twice between the source video and the HDMI out. Also the 2 android samsungs I tried had massive frame drop issues playing normal 1080 content. Also the screen on the tablet is cloned to the TV, so its on when watching.

If you are wanting an android device, forget the tablet and get a mini dongle thing, they are about $70 and seem to have slightly better HDMI out - still not perfect in that it seems the UI is rendered at a lower res and then scaled to 1080, but the video playback seems to be a lot closer to an actual 1080. Mine worked great till I toasted it by plugging in the wrong power adapter to it.

MHL has problems keeping up with powering devices while outputting. Even with a really thick short USB cable, and a 2.1A wall charger, I still only see 700mA going into my note. It cant keepup.

Mobile browsers will often get the mobile versions of sites, there are limitations on what the flash player on older androids will actually do compared to desktop flash, and its not there on newer androids.

 

Thanks very much for the useful info.

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 




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  # 1249580 2-Mar-2015 15:53
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What about a Windows tablet like the surface?

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1249809 2-Mar-2015 20:56
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Why don't you just go with an Intel NUC? They work really well and don't break the bank. I use an i5 model as my HTPC and cannot fault it.

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  # 1249822 2-Mar-2015 21:05
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i use a very old laptop with HDMI. put win 10 and VLC on it. runs anything you throw at it. EVERYTHING.




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


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  # 1249823 2-Mar-2015 21:06
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and fully controlled remotely with teamviewer




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1249882 2-Mar-2015 21:58
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if you have a really low budget...

cheap "htpc" / streaming box

1. an ex lease sff pc  = $90 - e.g.  http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=EXWKSDEL0767&name=OFF-LEASE-A-Grade-DELL-OPTIPLEX-760-SFF-Intel-C2D
2. xbmc/kodi = free  http://kodi.tv/
3. kb + mouse - i assume = free as most people have spares

and you are good to go for $90 and some time to set it up
 
notes:

1. depending on the pc you end up getting get you may need a gfx card = $60 eg: http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=868335 - esp if you want hdmi out.
2. depending on the pc / location - fan noise may be an issue for you to think about
3. optional extra - a universal remote (+ir receiver) makes it more couch friendly = $60 http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=569461
4. if windows based there will be an ongoing maintenance effort, like all windows boxes
5. for the love of sweet baby jesus - don't convert files!! - do the above and let kodi do the work for you
6. try kodi on your desktop and some addons e.g. genesis and i reckon you will be sold ::


edit 1: there are a load of cheap android and windows boxes available on the likes of aliexpress / gearbest etc for $50 - $100+ (unsurprisingly you get what you pay for) - so that could be an option too. reviews are varied. i have ordered one of these for $100nzd landed (presale) http://www.gearbest.com/tv-box/pp_134110.html to set up as a kodi box - i am still waiting but should be a decent streamer
edit 2: rpi2 and similar boxes would be an even cheaper option.


hope this helps - sorry for the multiple options :p



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  # 1249943 2-Mar-2015 23:21
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Thanks very much for the valuable suggestions. It will take me awhile to work through all this and digest it. I appreciate the help.




I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 1250030 3-Mar-2015 09:31
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Looks like loads of excellent advice here. I have just discovered the joys of SVOD (thanks, Unotelly) and here's how I do things, just for another perspective. I've got an AppleTV, which is around $160 retail though sometimes you can pick up an as-new refurbished model from Apple for a bit less. I've set up NZ, US, UK and Australian iTunes accounts, and it's easy to switch from one to the other to then select which apps/channels you want to watch. I use Unotelly to unblock these via their Dynamo DNS settings - you just set those up in your account dependent on which channels you want access to, and off you go. As far as streaming, I have a 2008 Mac Pro (a behemoth of a machine, so it's hidden away in the office) which takes 4 hard drives. I have a 2TB in one of the bays dedicated to media. I stream this to my Sony Home Theatre System via an app called Playback, which works via DNLA. I'm not sure if the home theatre wireless performance is better than the TVs, but I've always had really good performance streaming across my network. As long as the Mac is running I can just browse to my desktop via the home theatre system menu, select the file and hit go. Really big files tend to buffer a little, but anything less than 1GB runs fine. There's plenty of Windows programmes that'll do the same thing from a PC, if you don't want to buy a dedicated entertainment PC.




Geek girl. Freelance copywriter and editor at Unmistakable.co.nz.

 

Currently using: Modified 2008 Mac Pro, HP M6-1017TX Laptop, iPad Pro, iPhone 7, iPhone 6S, AppleTV4.


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  # 1250383 3-Mar-2015 15:49
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driller2000:
3. optional extra - a universal remote (+ir receiver) makes it more couch friendly = $60 http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=569461


Where is a good place to source the IR adapter ? There doesn't seem to many places locally that have the IR-only adapter.




My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


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  # 1250385 3-Mar-2015 15:50
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SepticSceptic:
driller2000:
3. optional extra - a universal remote (+ir receiver) makes it more couch friendly = $60 http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=569461


Where is a good place to source the IR adapter ? There doesn't seem to many places locally that have the IR-only adapter.

Actually, looking at the pics, seems the IR adapter is included ?




My thoughts are no longer my own and is probably representative of our media-controlled government


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  # 1250516 3-Mar-2015 19:50
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SepticSceptic:
driller2000:
3. optional extra - a universal remote (+ir receiver) makes it more couch friendly = $60 http://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=569461


Where is a good place to source the IR adapter ? There doesn't seem to many places locally that have the IR-only adapter.


i scored an hp media center remote for $15 off ebay which had an ir reciever - and the logitech works fine with this.



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