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Wannabe Geek


# 109881 28-Sep-2012 12:06
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Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum so hopefully I'm putting this in the right section.

I am slowly looking around for a media player, not in any hurry so I don't want to rush into buying one straightaway, would rather do as much research as possible first.

What I would like in a media player is:

1) Internal hard drive eg like WD Live TV Hub (or at least the option to install one eg Popcorn Hour C-200 or C-300)

2) Must fit in well amongst my home theatre/stereo system components (Popcorn Hour C-200/300 is perfect for this) as opposed to ugly ones like Boxee box or the Seagate media player.

3) Must have good software for playing lossless music (this will be my main use for it), must have all the functions you would see in good media software, like shuffle, repeat, being able to make playlists on the go like windows media player does (I don't like with some media/mp3 players that you can only play/shuffle only 1 album at a time).

4) Would really prefer that it has Coaxial Digital output. (Can have optical as well, HDMI etc would be a bonus for the few times I might use it for movies), but yes coaxial digital is preferable.

5) I'm sure someone will say why don't you just use Windows Media Player on your PC? I suppose I should mention that I want a standalone player, something I can just switch on without having to boot up the computer everytime I want to listen to music.


The WD Live TV Hub looks ok but it doesn't have coaxial output, does anyone know what they are like for playing music? I've found out you can get an Android app for it that you can use to control it, which makes it ideal for me, does anyone know how well this works with the TV off? What other media players can be controlled by an Android phone?

Popcorn Hour C-200 or C-300 would be perfect as they would fit in well with my setup and they have both coaxial and optical output. But I have read on their forums that people aren't happy with them for playing music, it seems to miss the first couple of seconds of each track, due to buffering or something, i'm not sure, but that's enough to be a PITA. Wouldn't be so bad for movies if it missed the first few seconds of audio, but it's not favourable at all for music. Everyone said they were great for movies, hopeless for music.


AC Ryan were looking ok until every review I found on them said they were rubbish, and after sales support was non-existent (eg no firmware updates etc).

The only other one that interests me is the LaCie LaCinema PlayHD (not to be confused with LaCie Classic which unfortunately doesn't have coaxial output). But I haven't found any info on how good the music player is on them, and what little info I can find is usually in French. Does anyone here have one of these?

Thanks for your input
Sam

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3602 posts

Uber Geek


  # 693151 28-Sep-2012 20:43
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I was in your position last year...
And went with something a little different - a second hand MacMini with 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD and an external firewire 800HDD (okay I already had that one). Instead of using the optical out (in conjunction with a SPIDF to coax convertor) I went with HDMI to my TV and USB into an external Firestone DAC.
I felt stymied by media boxes every time I used one... and a full computer just made more sense. It stays on 100% of the time, and I've recently been playing around using it to access network stored music / videos via PLEX and a host of other media server software. However, it's mainly for music playback and it works brilliantly.

5169 posts

Uber Geek

Trusted

  # 693270 29-Sep-2012 08:14
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samstationz: 

Popcorn Hour C-200 or C-300 would be perfect as they would fit in well with my setup and they have both coaxial and optical output. But I have read on their forums that people aren't happy with them for playing music, it seems to miss the first couple of seconds of each track, due to buffering or something, i'm not sure, but that's enough to be a PITA. Wouldn't be so bad for movies if it missed the first few seconds of audio, but it's not favourable at all for music. Everyone said they were great for movies, hopeless for music.


Thanks for your input
Sam


I have a couple of PCH's and think they are the most flexible media players out there. For video content and using yamj the experience is unparalleled IMHO.

I hadn't noticed the music skip at the beginning of music since I don't listen to music much on the devices (I use a Logitech Squeezebox Radio for that) but tried it out. You are right in that respect. The PCH skips the first 500-1000ms or so of the beginning of the music. I am using Music Jukebox
http://mediaplayersite.com/Music_Jukebox) to generate the GUI front end.

But interestingly if I press 0 on the remote, the PCH goes back to the beginning of the track and plays without skipping. 

I guess it's a tradeoff and for me, the video capabilities far outweigh this minor annoyance.




Staying in Wellington. Check out my AirBnB in the Wellington CBD.  https://www.airbnb.co.nz/rooms/32019730  Mention GZ to get a 10% discount

 

System One: Popcorn Hour A200,  PS3 SuperSlim, NPVR and Plex Server running on Gigabyte Brix (Windows 10 Pro), Sony BDP-S390 BD player, Pioneer AVR, Raspberry Pi running Kodi and Plex, Panasonic 60" 3D plasma, Google Chromecast

System Two: Popcorn Hour A200 ,  Oppo BDP-80 BluRay Player with hardware mode to be region free, Vivitek HD1080P 1080P DLP projector with 100" screen, Denon AVRS730H 7.2 Channel Dolby Atmos/DTS-X AV Receiver, Samsung 4K player, Google Chromecast, Odroid C2 running Kodi and Plex

 

 


 
 
 
 


553 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 693374 29-Sep-2012 12:27
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Dunnersfella: I was in your position last year...
And went with something a little different - a second hand MacMini with 8GB RAM, a 128GB SSD and an external firewire 800HDD (okay I already had that one). Instead of using the optical out (in conjunction with a SPIDF to coax convertor) I went with HDMI to my TV and USB into an external Firestone DAC.
I felt stymied by media boxes every time I used one... and a full computer just made more sense. It stays on 100% of the time, and I've recently been playing around using it to access network stored music / videos via PLEX and a host of other media server software. However, it's mainly for music playback and it works brilliantly.


How is your DAC connected to your amp? Are you mainly using the DAC for better quality of sound reproduction?

I ask because I have a similar setup to you (just a PC, in an antec housing, connected via ethernet to a QNAP NAS) running XBMC. I use HDMI out to the TV, then the TV has RCA audio out to my yamaha 2 channel analogue amp. I think this is the optimal setup for me because it means I can leave the amp on the same source all the time, all the switching is done via the just the TV input source.

My setup is mainly for video though so not really much of a help to the OP. The two audio issues I have with movies are sync (so I have to use the audio offset function of XBMC fairly frequently), and occasionally some popping. But I think this may be to do with the encoding of the media I am watching..

The 'wow' feature of this setup is definitely The official XBMC remote for android.

Back to the OP. For bedroom audio I use a logitech squeezebox boom with squeeze commander streaming music wireless from my QNAP. There was another device in the squeezebox series that was speakerless and made to connect to an amp, not sure if you came across it.. from memory it didn't store it's own audio, you had to stream it. I only mention it because I vaguely recall reviews mentioning the sound quality being good.

3602 posts

Uber Geek


  # 693927 1-Oct-2012 10:06
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My DAC is connected via RCA cables.
http://www.firestone-audio.eu/shop/products/allproductslisted/iltw.php
And yup, it's there to improve audio quality for 2-channel music listening, whether it be AIFF or FLAC.
I used to run XBMC via my Apple TV2, but have moved to Plex and to be honest, have fewer issues with lip sync etc.

731 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 695066 2-Oct-2012 19:02
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i purchased a mk1 xtreamer in july 2009 and still use it today in the family room (relegated by the xt ultra1 running xbmc which is working great)

fair bit of bad feedback on the xt devices - but i am still very happy with this device and was tempted to buy their sidewinder 3 at the start of the year - but may now wait to see what happens with android/xbmc boxes - which in theory look very promising

pch players get great reviews - but their price point is higher

wdtvs also get ok reviews from what i have seen and at least you can buy em local unlike the xt/pch options...

personally i would still wait to see how the android boxes develop over the coming months...


cheers and good luck

2833 posts

Uber Geek


  # 697150 6-Oct-2012 15:10
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samstationz: The WD Live TV Hub looks ok but it doesn't have coaxial output, does anyone know what they are like for playing music? I've found out you can get an Android app for it that you can use to control it, which makes it ideal for me, does anyone know how well this works with the TV off? What other media players can be controlled by an Android phone?


The android remote works fine with the TV off.  I personally don't use the WDTV for music, so havn't tried out the playlist functions etc. If you set up the wdtv as a DLNA/uPNP player (receiver) you can play music on any device/android player that support DLNA/uPNP sharing.




HTPC / Home automation (home assistant) enthusiast.


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