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3344 posts

Uber Geek


# 127178 1-Aug-2013 16:40
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Thought I'd start a bit of a build thread for a budget home theatre upgrade.

I'm currently waiting for an MK802IV stick PC and air mouse to arrive ... The MK802IV has a Quad core 1.8Ghz CPU, a fairly grunty GPU and 2Gb RAM, running Android 4.2.

Planning to hack a Pogoplug Series 4 for a back end (gonna buy one cheap on an upcoming US trip, unless anyone has one for sale locally?) but meantime it'll be my current media PC (an aging Asus M70sa luggable).

The Asus has to go - it uses a lot of juice, it's noisy, it's taking up a lot of space and making a lot of heat in the AV cabinet, and I have that sinking feeling that it could die at any moment.  Also the challenges of Netflix, Hulu, and TV On Demand stuff on a Linux based XBMC setup have got me a bit frazzled.

Using Android on the MK802IV opens up Netflix and Hulu as native, supported apps, and will allow it to play all the flash based ondemand stuff too.  Aside from which we can easily take the stick with us on holiday if we want to, along with a couple of microSD cards chocka with home videos.

Hoping to add some PVR duties into the mix as well.  It remains to be seen if the MK802 will cope with playing back Freeview HD streams or not, it seems like 1080i is a challenge for most hardware, but I'm willing to give it a crack.

If anyone's had a go with one of these and has some info or feedback, fire away :)  Otherwise I'll keep you posted with updates...

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3344 posts

Uber Geek


  # 881050 19-Aug-2013 15:12
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Quick update

My MK802IV arrived last week... unfortunately it seems the SD card slot does not work.  So It's going back.  And I'm off on holiday next week so I guess it'll be a while before I have more news.  However I am hoping to pick up that pogoplug while I'm away so ... yeah

Initial impressions were quite good, unfortunately XBMC on these devices is far from great, the newer builds running at 720p only and video playback was fairly awful.  However the built in player was a lot better, and I could play 1080p video over a wi-fi connection from my laptop.  So I think this is going to work out fine.  

Once I get it back with a working SD slot I'll be trying Plex so we will see how that goes.

3344 posts

Uber Geek


  # 904359 28-Sep-2013 22:55
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I have been doing some testing before I send the MK802IV back home due to a faulty SD card slot.  In the meantime I have the storage attached to the Pogoplug and my old laptop using NFS to access it from there.

Mele F10 Airmouse

As a remote control, this unit is not great. It does work OK as an airmouse, and you can select things easily enough within xbmc, but the buttons aren't well suited to media player duty, and they aren't really mapped by default so I'll have some work to do there.  Also at 3-4 metres it seems to be right on the edge of its range, if you lean back in the chair too much for eg. it's iffy at best.

PLEX is a bust

So far I've figured out that Plex server is a no go on this pogoplug.  I suspect it just doesn't have enough RAM to run it stably (only 128Mb - Plex Server seems to be a hungry multi-threaded beast), also it seems from reading feedback on Synology v5 users (for which the build is intended) the ARM version is just not really up to snuff yet.  Basically despite much effort, it refused to index more than about half of my movies.  I did read somewhere that if it finds something that won't match, it quits, could be that, but buggered if I'm spending hours finding imperfections in my media library (which is fairly much pristine).  I also found that plex client on Android was too flakey to be usable, this may also have come back to the server not running very well.  At any rate, I've abandoned Plex for the time being as just too hard.

The MK802IV
With the latest firmware it now supports hardware decoding.  Fantastic.  It's quite responsive, all in all, and a nice little device.  Haven't had really any problems, except the odd screen blank when I was experimenting with 1080/50 mode, which is likely enough my TV's fault (being a 60Hz model).


However using XBMC 13, latest monthly build (August 2013) on the MK802IV and NFS on the Pogoplug (running Arch Linux) works very well.
I'm working on setting up a central XBMC database so that I can run multiple instances and share a media library, I've already got mysql installed on the pogoplug for this purpose.

One issue I'm having with XBMC is that it's not changing the framerate to suit the refresh rate, although it's set to.  This may be related to the hardware acceleration.  I need to do a bit of research on this.  It's important when watching 24fps shows on 60hz screen...

Other Bits

So far I have the pogoplug running couchpotato, sickbeard, and rtorrent - still some configuration to do here but looks good.  NFS performance seems good.  Samba performance is a bit meh.  Haven't done a lot of thorough benchmarking yet.  I thought this external drive was formatted ext3 but it's ntfs, so I think that's hampering performance a bit also.

Anyway I'm reasonably pleased so far, and once I get a few more tweaks in I should be able to shut down the old lappy that's been doing media duties and cut the power bill.  But I'm starting to think I should have maybe gone for an AppleTV ;)

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