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Topic # 175329 25-Jun-2015 11:10
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At the moment I am using a mini-pc with wireless keyboard for streaming. This works well but is a little finicky for non-technical users as you have to navigate to the site you want with the browser, click on the link, expand to full screen, etc. It also has the disadvantage of having to squint at the TV while trying to navigate from a distance.

I have tried controlling the pc with a tablet, which would work well except the smaller display area requires constant scrolling, which is a real pain. I also experimented with Plex on a different computer but that was a nightmare to use and made a complete hash of my media files.

I am relatively new to streaming as we were only able to get broadband in the past year and I have no experience with Roku, Apple TV, etc. My question: what would be the best device/technique for browsing different sites from the couch with an absolute minimum of hassle? I have a fair bit of technical understanding but this is a completely new area to me.






I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1331262 25-Jun-2015 11:19
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Are you talking about streaming services like Netflix/Lightbox etc,  or do you mean streaming your own content from an HD somewhere else in the house over your home network?


I've found plex to be excellent when paired with a WDTV Live box. 

What problems did you have with it?




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  Reply # 1331277 25-Jun-2015 11:32
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Can of worms = opened.

Like above asked depends what you're streaming.
Netflix - ther's a bunch of devices capable of doing it, choose one you like.  Arguably the Roku was once Netflixs device of choice so they put a lot of effort into the interface.  Some people like the chromecast approach (browse on tablet/phone and cast to tv - with btw, is possible with roku and some smart tvs.

NZ Ondemand stations - smart tv or computer are your only options.

Home media/downloaded media - taste your freaking pick - so many ways to do this, kodi/xbmc on a pc/raspberry pi, android tv box, plex on roku/apple tv, pc, android tv, pc with file browser, wdtv live, usb connected media streamer.

Other Services -
itunes - apple tv or mac only.
vudu - roku 3, possiblly amazon tv, chrome cast, smart tvs that think they're in the us (which would stop the nz stations from working)
quickflix chromecast (I think), smart tvs
lightbox chromecast, smart tvs, ios devices airplaying to apple tv.

So the big questions are what are you trying to stream and how easy do you want to make it.  Normally you'd possibly look at one subscription service and possibly a pay as you go service and get a device that can handle those.  Or subscription service + downloaded media.

While I have access to a pc, apple tv and roku 3, I'm now tending to use the roku 3 the most as I can access downloaded via plex, netflix and if I want a new release then I'll use vudu.  I was using a smart tv for a while and accessing tvnz ondemand - but that's less of an issue now that I'm able to record more content.






Previously known as psycik

NextPVR/OpenHAB: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,OpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, Raspberry PI temperature Sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors,HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1331302 25-Jun-2015 12:14
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davidcole: Can of worms = opened.

For sure!

Most of my streaming is Netflix + Lightbox + YouTube subscriptions.  The Playstation has good apps for all three, plus you get a BD player thrown in to play the old DVD's. The downside is you need extra gear to use an IR remote, and the interface is a bit picky.

For streaming movies and photo's/slideshows from local storage I prefer the WDTV Live.

Then if you have MySky for TV you also need an HDMI-capable receiver to do switch the inputs and handle the audio.

That's a long way from the "single device" the OP is looking for! There has to be a better way.




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  Reply # 1331308 25-Jun-2015 12:31
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All you need to do is customise your pc it to make it easy.

RSS torrents, scraping for live iptv channels, plex home theatre + server (because kodi is ugly)

Over sized desktop icons or a 10 foot interface with shortcuts to any websites / apps that are used regularly.

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  Reply # 1331310 25-Jun-2015 12:32
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slingynz: All you need to do is customise your pc it to make it easy.

RSS torrents, scraping for live iptv channels, plex home theatre + server (because kodi is ugly)

Over sized desktop icons or a 10 foot interface with shortcuts to any websites / apps that are used regularly.


A bit low on WAF though.  It's a TV, people expect to use a remote control, and none of these sites work well using keypress only with a remote via HIP/Event Ghost/Girder




Previously known as psycik

NextPVR/OpenHAB: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,OpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, Raspberry PI temperature Sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors,HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


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  Reply # 1331334 25-Jun-2015 12:44
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The plex unofficial apps are quite cool, only seen them in action.

Android...http://showboxappdownload.com , also seen it in action and very cool, tvshows and movies






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  Reply # 1331394 25-Jun-2015 14:07
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Wow! Thanks for all the responses guys.

I will try to be a little clearer.

1. At this stage I mainly want to stream on-line content, not stuff from a central server or other computer in the house. That may come later but is not a priority.

2. Our viewing tastes are not mainstream, so sites like Netflix, Hulu, etc. are not so important to us. NZ on-demand is also not a priority. What is important is being able to navigate to and through different sites. The kinds of sites that do interest us are ones like ABC iview, SBS, BBC iplayer, Arte, PBS, sometimes YouTube, some art and foreign film channels, etc. As it happens all these are free, but that is not why we prefer them. What I am looking for is the easiest possible way to navigate the Internet to these and other sites and identify and bring up video content.

3. I tried Plex once and was completely put off by it. The first thing it did was make one hell of an enormous mess of all my media files. To me it seemed very unintuitive and there did not seem to be any straightforward way to control it or override the default assumptions it was making, all of which were the complete opposite of what I wanted. I couldn’t wait to get it off my computer and put everything back the way it had been before.

4. I also had bad luck with Chromecast. It is mainly designed to work with specific sites, none of which interested me, though I was able to use it by casting my desktop. However I got bad stuttering with it as well as other issues. It ended up being more trouble than it was worth and I got rid of it. I don’t really want to go there again.

5. I do have shortcuts to the main sites and I also use the on-screen magnifier when necessary. Like I said in my original post, all this works reasonably well and I don’t have too many problems using it but others find it difficult and unhandy. I am just searching for ways to streamline it as much as possible and am wondering about the possibility of better solutions I may not be aware of. I realise this can never be made to work like a TV remote. My question is if it can be made to work better than it currently does.





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1331419 25-Jun-2015 14:52
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This is via the little Pipo, right? Do you have a spare USB port available? Perhaps the combo of a Flirc (https://flirc.tv/) and a low-end Harmony remote might work? I'm driving my Minix with a Microsoft Media Keyboard (with trackpad) and it works okay, but I also find myself squinting a bit. It's probably the best solution for TVNZ On Demand, which I use quite a bit, but doesn't work so well with Plex Home Theatre, which doesn't recognise the trackpad, so I have to navigate with the arrow, enter, and escape keys. So I'm thinking of getting a Flirc to use with my existing Harmony One remote. That'll use up my last remaining USB port, but them's the breaks.




Geek girl. Freelance copywriter and editor at Unmistakable.

 

Currently using: Modified 2008 Mac Pro, HP M6-1017TX Laptop, iPad Pro, iPhone 6S, iPhone 5, AppleTV4, Minix Neo Z-64.


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  Reply # 1331420 25-Jun-2015 14:52
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We've had similar issues. Currently the online device that will do everything we (cough, I) want it to do is a full blown HTPC. I have been through numerous control options.

The best I have found so far is Universal Remote on a Nexus 7 tablet that isn't used for much else. For the sites that don't have dedicated Universal Remote buttons, I have set up tiles/links on Windows 8 metro/modern interface (which works quite well as a 10 foot UI). Being a geek I've also set up my pebble (pausing from my wrist is cool).

I was also considering an air mouse option (kind of like a wii controller, you move it around to select stuff) but couldn't find one that had the hard buttons I wanted/needed.

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  Reply # 1331441 25-Jun-2015 15:22
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Based on your mix of us and uk sites....and that you don't like Plex....kodi is probably your best bet.  It's got plugins for most....with a caveat that they essentially are unsanctioned and can stop working at any time.  But it should give you access to most of what you want with an interface better suited to use than keyboard/mouse and browser.

An android tv type device may also be worth looking at, but I've not personally had any experience with then in terms to installing apps etc.





Previously known as psycik

NextPVR/OpenHAB: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,OpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, Raspberry PI temperature Sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors,HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex


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  Reply # 1331444 25-Jun-2015 15:24
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Also another cheap and cheerful option my be kylo.  It's essentially a browser skin designed for the 10' interface.  Very point and click based.

http://kylo.tv/





Previously known as psycik

NextPVR/OpenHAB: 
Gigabyte AMD A8 Brix --> Samsung LA46A650D via HDMI, NextPVR,OpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, Raspberry PI temperature Sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors,HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 2012 
Host (Plex Server/Crashplan): 2x2TB, 2x3TB, 1x4TB using DriveBender, Samsung 850 evo 512 GB SSD, Hyper-V Server with 1xW10, 1xW2k8, 2xUbuntu 16.04 LTS, Crashplan, NextPVR channel for Plex,NextPVR Metadata Agent and Scanner for Plex




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  Reply # 1331557 25-Jun-2015 17:12
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littleheaven: This is via the little Pipo, right? Do you have a spare USB port available?


Yes and yes. I have a Harmony and a Flirc- style remote but it didn't seem as usable as the keyboard when I first set things up. Maybe I will take another look at it now that I have a better understanding of my needs.





I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 




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  Reply # 1331562 25-Jun-2015 17:14
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Thanks to everyone for the tips and suggestions. It will take me awhile to work through them all. I will report back on my conclusions. I am also on a tight budget and that will influence my choices.






I reject your reality and substitute my own. - Adam Savage
 


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  Reply # 1331603 25-Jun-2015 17:40
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I'll be interested if you get the Flirc working properly as that will probably influence whether I get one for my little PC.




Geek girl. Freelance copywriter and editor at Unmistakable.

 

Currently using: Modified 2008 Mac Pro, HP M6-1017TX Laptop, iPad Pro, iPhone 6S, iPhone 5, AppleTV4, Minix Neo Z-64.


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  Reply # 1331788 25-Jun-2015 22:30
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I've got a FLIRC - I use it with a nice remote from a TV stick that no longer works but I like the remote. It works great for things designed for a remote interface (MediaPortal, Kodi, WMC etc.). Doesn't work so great on things designed for mouse (browsers, so Netflix and Youtube) or keyboard (VLC - you can get it going, but it's a bit of a pain as VLC relies on combo key presses that most remotes don't support).

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