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44 posts

Geek


Topic # 116454 29-Apr-2013 17:30
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Wasn't quite sure which sub-forum this belonged in, so have taken a stab. Please shift if there is a more appropriate place!

I have been very lucky, and been given a new TV, since my old one was dying. However, because it was a gift, I didn't get to choose the model, and I've ended up with a "non-smart" TV. It's a Panasonic Viera TH-L32B6Z, so it has HDMI inputs, a USB input, and one set of RCA inputs, if I've read the specs right.

Here's where it gets tricky.

Up until now, I have used an old original Xbox running XBMC to stream media from my network to the television. This is still working, but I'm not sure how much longer it will.

I have an original MySky box with RCA output only.

Already, I'm running out of connections, and that's ignoring the old school DVD player I have plugged in too.

I do have a manual RCA switch box, but  I don't want to have to use it to switch between MySky and local media streaming, as I do this a lot.

Soooooooooooooo....

I'm thinking about getting hold of a media centre box to attach to the TV. Here are the features I need/would like to have, in order of importance:

1. Needs to be able to stream from the local network (PC-based network, requires authentication)

2. Wireless connection to the network would be preferred, but wired would be manageable. Wireless needs to handle WPA2.

3. Preferably HDMI connection to the TV

4. Possibly able to stream from web - Youtube etc would be nice

5. Possibly able to make use of a service like unblock-us etc, to access streaming services.



Now, I realise that if I want to lay out a chunk of money, I could do this all pretty easily. But I am poor. Seriously poor. Only reason I can afford this at all is because I have a couple of relatives prepared to chip in as a birthday present. So, realistically, there is no way I could go over a couple of hundred, and really less than that would be ideal.

I've browsed a couple of sites, found some options, but they're really unclear as to how well they would actually work. So I figured I'd turn to the experts here. Any thoughts/suggestions? I'm relatively tech-capable to set it all up/get it going, but my partner needs to be able to operate it too, so operation once set up needs to be relatively simple.

Cheers in advance!

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44 posts

Geek


  Reply # 807605 29-Apr-2013 18:34
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Oh, I will also add a wishlist item (although I realise I may be dreaming at the price point I want)

6. DVD, or possibly Blu-ray playback (since this will eliminate one of my other input issues)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 807870 30-Apr-2013 09:31
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Hi,

You could probably build a reasonable HTPC based on the following:
AMD A-Series A6-5400K  3.6GHz Socket FM2 - $90
An Asus or Gigabyte Motherboard socket FM2 - $90-140
4GB Kingston HyperX DDR3 PC15000/1866MHz CL9  (KHX1866C9D3/4G) -  $65
Computer case: perhaps you could scavenge an old case from someone and put a new power supply in it.
A nice HTPC case with a power supply will be expensive. Probably the Antec NSK2480B 380W would be your cheapest choice - $140
Hard drive: WD Caviar Blue WD10EZEX 64MB 1TB - $90
Optical Drive Samsung SE-208DB DVD - $65
TP-Link TL-WN821N Wireless Adapter - $30

You could use Linux Mint as the OS and use XBMC as a front end, and utilize all the video add-ons for free streaming sources.
Use the free Media-Hint extension for Chrome or Firefox to access US & UK streaming video sources:
If you want to record TV, then a terrestrial or satellite TV card would be required.
For DVB-T, the Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-2210 is a dual tuner with a remote control - $150
So you’re looking at between $500 - $800 for a cheap HTPC, depending on what options you choose.

Tim

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  Reply # 807878 30-Apr-2013 09:47
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A WDTV Live will do the trick - http://www.dicksmith.co.nz/product/XH1208/

I have seen them on special at times for a little cheaper than that, but that is a good price.
They do not have WiFi or DVD, but if you have a PC, you can rip DVDs/BDs to that. Since I have had one, I cannot remember the last time I used a DVD.

There is a newer version with WiFi too, the WDTV Live Streaming Media Player: http://shop.jbhifi.co.nz/computers-laptops/netbooks/wd-wdtv-live-streaming-media-player/61852
And that does not appear to be a bad price either.

An Apple TV will also do most of what you want - it will only play content from your iTunes library though, so if you have a heap of DivX/MKV files, you will need to convert them to MP4.

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  Reply # 807936 30-Apr-2013 11:48
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I achieve this with an Xbox 360, you should be able to pick up one relatively cheaply these days (especially with the rumors of a new model). My model was Pre-Wifi (i purchased an adapter), but i believe the newer ones have built in WiFi? It's got HDMI and DVD playback built in.

It streams happily from other machines and also streams TV from the box with a tuner in it now. With the addition of a Logitech remote, it also has acceptance from other family members.

Edit: forgot something.

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Vocus

  Reply # 807938 30-Apr-2013 11:53
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Budget media device?  why has nobody mentioned the obvious: an rPi with RaspXBMC.



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Geek


  Reply # 808116 30-Apr-2013 17:10
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Thanks everyone.

Unfortunately the HTPC route is *way* out of my price range.

The Raspberry Pi option was one I have looked at, but I read a few things about it struggling a little with some codecs?

Xbox360 - it might be slightly at the top end of the budget, but I'll think about it more. I know that with the original Xbox, it needed to be chipped to be able to install XBMC etc. How easily can the 360 connect/play from an SMB network?

The WDTV Live looks pretty good - that's probably looking like the best option.


The other one I'm looking at is the Sony BDP-S590. I need to look at how easy it is to run a DLNA server as opposed to simply just browsing the network. Does anyone know if this, or the WDTV Live can use something like unblock-us?

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Vocus

  Reply # 808137 30-Apr-2013 17:34
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markboynz: The other one I'm looking at is the Sony BDP-S590


DON'T DO IT!

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  Reply # 808140 30-Apr-2013 17:38
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The Xbox 360 can stream quite easily either direct or via Windows Media Centre if you have it installed on a network machine. We use media centre primarily with the tv tuners, but prior to this were streaming everything direct. There are some limitations around formats. (I wish it did mkv) but there are good options for live transcoding that work quite well.

We use unblock-us 24/7 on the xbox and haven't had any trouble with it. 

I really wish Microsoft would invest a bit more into Media Centre as it actually works really well.



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Geek


  Reply # 808321 1-May-2013 00:27
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ubergeeknz:
markboynz: The other one I'm looking at is the Sony BDP-S590


DON'T DO IT!


What's the rationale? I've only read positive things in my searching, hence my consideration of it - would love to hear what any negatives were.


ETA:
I have a reasonably large media library that I need to stream (8TB at last count), in a variety of MPEG/DIVX/XVID/x264/QT codecs, and so anything which requires them to be "imported" or converted is going to be a little problematic.

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  Reply # 809360 1-May-2013 09:06
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markboynz:
ubergeeknz:
markboynz: The other one I'm looking at is the Sony BDP-S590


DON'T DO IT!


What's the rationale? I've only read positive things in my searching, hence my consideration of it - would love to hear what any negatives were.


ETA:
I have a reasonably large media library that I need to stream (8TB at last count), in a variety of MPEG/DIVX/XVID/x264/QT codecs, and so anything which requires them to be "imported" or converted is going to be a little problematic.


Because - proprietary.  Even if it might support most of what you want to play now, chances are it won't get any new codecs or capabilities.

If you go with a software solution like XBMC then you have a lot more flexibility with codecs and such, especially if you don't want to have to transcode...

edit: Here's an example of what you can expect: http://community.sony.com/t5/Blu-Ray-General/I-have-a-BDP-S590-BX59-player-but-it-will-not-play-video-Xvid/td-p/43259

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  Reply # 809364 1-May-2013 09:22
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Pretty sure Unblock-US will work OK with the WDTV Live, but I am not sure that a NZ purchased one will have Netflix etc loaded. If you buy one from the US, it will (use YouShop to get it here).

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  Reply # 809380 1-May-2013 09:51
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I used an Android TV box with XBMC and Netflix (via Playmo.tv) to do this. It will meet all of your original requirements (HDMI, Wifi, YouTube, XBMC) but not the DVD/BR playback. It was cheap ($129 from Grabone?) and easy to set up. Replaced it with an Apple TV2 which is better but cost more.

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  Reply # 809440 1-May-2013 12:09
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WDTV Gen3 does 1->5.  Consider getting one from overseas if you plan on using netflix with a vpn.  However there was a user on GZ who stated in a recent thread that his locally sourced wdtv live was working with netflix via a vpn.




HTPC: Intel i3-2100 / 12GB RAM / AMD HD7750 / 480 GB SSD / 58TB Storage / MediaPortal / MadVR / Win10
AVR: Pioneer Elite SC-LX87 220W 9.2 Ch AVR
Speakers: Wharfedale Jade 7 Fronts / Jade 2c Center / Jade 5 Rears
Subs: iNuke 3000dsp 3000W proamp with 4x 15" JBL Sealed Subs
Display: Samsung 60" UA60H6400 LCD TV
Accessories: Gefen HDMI Detective with splitter


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  Reply # 809745 1-May-2013 18:34
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kiwijunglist: WDTV Gen3 does 1->5.  Consider getting one from overseas if you plan on using netflix with a vpn.  However there was a user on GZ who stated in a recent thread that his locally sourced wdtv live was working with netflix via a vpn.


It does 6 as well PROVIDED you don't want to play the disk directly in the unit, AND also have a PC with a drive that can read the disk in question. Then just rip to a hard drive connected to the unit using freely available software (DVD Fab HD Decrypter).



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Geek


  Reply # 809776 1-May-2013 20:38
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Unfortunately, I have nothing here that plays/reads BluRay, but I get the point you're making.

I think I'm probably looking at the WDTV HD Live now. I've searched, but I can't find the thread that suggests that a local WDTV might have the Netflix app, or be able to add it. Any suggestions where that might be?

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