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Topic # 204632 10-Oct-2016 16:34
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I've had a good chat to a few people, and everyone has their opinions :)

 

 

 

I've been looking at the following options for effectively the "core" of our new home theatre setup. Bear in mind, the main "screen" will be a projector, so there's no SmartTV options for us here. Ease of use it a big thing, as my technically-challenged wife will need to be able to easily navigate with a relatively simple controller.

 

Either:

 

Option 1: Raspberry Pi 3 running OSMC or similar, using Kodi for streaming local content and adding whatever channels I can, and then using a Chromecast 2 for streaming services either from mobile apps, or chrome browser (for SkyGO etc)

 

Benefits(?): Flexibility of it being a RBP and being able to do quite a lot.

 

Issues I can already see: Regularly switching between the RBP and Chromecast will be a PITA, especially if I can't get the HDMI switcher to do it automagically (which I'm unlikely to, since I don't want to spend too much!) No native apps for a lot of things

 

 

 

Option 2: An android-based streaming box like an Amazon Fire (I realise it's a little more closed than straight android, but you can still side-load, right?) or even something like this from Gearbe$t

 

Benefits(?): Native apps for pretty much everything we want: SkyGO, Netflix, Hulu, NZ TV OD apps, Plex, Kodi etc. Basically everything can run from a single device, without the need to chop between the Chromecast (will still keep it for ad-hoc sharing)

 

Issues: Grunt & flexibility, sure Android is very capable in most applications, but would the RBP be better?

 

 

 

Other elements to consider: There will be a NAS for all local content to stream from (potentially with Plex running, but maybe just as a share to Kodi.) For either setup there will be a wireless remote, probably one of those ones with the keyboard and trackpad. I currently have a Roku 3 (again, a bit of a walled garden, no SkyGO for e.g.) and PS4 (great device, but limited availability of apps)

 

Review, critique, opinion and feedback are all invited and appreciated. There may be other questions relating to the setup in other appropriate sub-fora.

 

Cheers, jeffois





Cheers, Jeff
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  Reply # 1648674 10-Oct-2016 17:56
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As an option (but in a different price range), there is also Windows 10 and a small-form factor PC.

Also, an Apple TV is another option. Although No SkyGo it seems.

I mention them as each has its own feature-set that can be useful as a benchmark.




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  Reply # 1648756 10-Oct-2016 21:11
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Depends on budget, and how much tinkering you want to do.

 

I have a good android box, but have been having some issues configuring it to cope with some of my files. Also have a small form PC (ASRock Beebox, cost me circa $360 on sale) which seems to work well. Haven't tried a Pi, but have heard good things about them.

 

Personally, I run Plex server on my NAS rather than a Kodi share, which works well for streaming locally stored content. Then Kodi on my boxes, with the PlexKodiConnect plugin to synch them with the Plex server. This works well, and Kodi as a client has more expansion options than straight Plex for my planned Christmas projects - which include using it as a front end for a HTPC elsewhere on the network, with a Freeview tuner as well as connected to (and controlling) my Sky box. [Always assuming I keep Sky, which I am still close to dumping..... if only I could convince the GF].

 

Kodi also connects to other DLNA clients, so it should (for instance) link to recorded material on both of my DVD recorders, as well as my Hauppauge Broadway tuner/streamer box.

 

Whether or not you use Plex, I recommend the option of Kodi as a front-end on the streaming boxes.


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 1648758 10-Oct-2016 21:14
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Hey, I've just recently gone through the exact same dilemma! I ended up settling on the Raspberry Pi 3 and Chromecast combo. Mostly because it was the cheaper option (as I already had the Chromecast).

 

Raspberry Pi 3 with OSMC is fantastic. I'm surprised how well the Pi runs Kodi. I was running an i7 Win 10 HTPC/gaming PC (wanted to move the gaming stuff out of the lounge) but Kodi on the Pi is just as quick and responsive as the PC. Plus, it has HDMI-CEC control so I just use the TV Remote. With the Kore app on my phone I can choose a movie or show and it will turn the TV on and to the correct input. Same if I cast something to the Chromecast. If your projector has HDMI-CEC, you shouldn't have any problem with input switching.

 

I have never tried any of the Android boxes but I found this thread on the Kodi forums really helpful when I was researching it.




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  Reply # 1648881 11-Oct-2016 08:05
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Hey guys, thanks for feedback.

That link you sent lookout is INCREDIBLY useful! Thanks so much. I had been looking at the Wetek 2 as an option as well, that might be the goer... or just stick with the RBP3 + Chromecast option. At least this narrows it down a lot!

Cheers :)




Cheers, Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________________________

\m/ò_ó\m/ ~ ROCK ON!

 

Service Delivery for some big company

 


Current devices:
Samsung S7 Edge (Note 7 is too explody for me :( )
iPad something or other

 

Horde on Barthilas




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  Reply # 1648882 11-Oct-2016 08:10
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Or the Nvidia Shield! That thing looks pretty slick.




Cheers, Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________________________

\m/ò_ó\m/ ~ ROCK ON!

 

Service Delivery for some big company

 


Current devices:
Samsung S7 Edge (Note 7 is too explody for me :( )
iPad something or other

 

Horde on Barthilas


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  Reply # 1648946 11-Oct-2016 09:38
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Don't know if this'll help much, but anyway -

 

Use an ordinary PC with a few HDD's as my NAS, personally use Emby instead of Plex.

 

Have a FireTV box, works well for Amazon Prime (surprisingly), Netflix, presumably Hulu, can sideload Kodi. There's an Emby app for the FireTV or an app that lets Kodi use the Emby server for streaming and metadata. Don't know about TNNZ / SkyGo but doubt it has it. Had to run straight to the TV's HMDI connector as it didn't like the HDMI switcher I use, though whether that's the Fire box or switcher is anybodies guess.

 

Have a Wetek Play 2 with a built in DVB-S tuner which works well it you want FTA (can order with DVB-T as well). Comes with two versions of Kodi. Can also run Netflix and Amazon Prime, but they're apps people have written - work well but might break and people might have moved on so they don't get fixed (just speculating though). Some of the apps are built for touch so bit of a pain. Not sure about TVNZ apps haven't tried. Its new so has some bugs - occasional pop through audio, some lip synching issues, needs a nice grid style EPG. Good possible (almost) one box solution. Support seems pretty good.

 

Also have / had a Pi2 with OSMC that worked well with Kodi and Emby, also has a BIG community to back it up. Just started playing with other things and ran out of HMDI ports so it relegated at the moment.

 

 

 

Shield apparently very good but costs a bit, no experience of it though.





rb99




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  Reply # 1648962 11-Oct-2016 10:00
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rb99:

 

Don't know if this'll help much, but anyway -

 

Use an ordinary PC with a few HDD's as my NAS, personally use Emby instead of Plex.

 

Have a FireTV box, works well for Amazon Prime (surprisingly), Netflix, presumably Hulu, can sideload Kodi. There's an Emby app for the FireTV or an app that lets Kodi use the Emby server for streaming and metadata. Don't know about TNNZ / SkyGo but doubt it has it. Had to run straight to the TV's HMDI connector as it didn't like the HDMI switcher I use, though whether that's the Fire box or switcher is anybodies guess.

 

Have a Wetek Play 2 with a built in DVB-S tuner which works well it you want FTA (can order with DVB-T as well). Comes with two versions of Kodi. Can also run Netflix and Amazon Prime, but they're apps people have written - work well but might break and people might have moved on so they don't get fixed (just speculating though). Some of the apps are built for touch so bit of a pain. Not sure about TVNZ apps haven't tried. Its new so has some bugs - occasional pop through audio, some lip synching issues, needs a nice grid style EPG. Good possible (almost) one box solution. Support seems pretty good.

 

Also have / had a Pi2 with OSMC that worked well with Kodi and Emby, also has a BIG community to back it up. Just started playing with other things and ran out of HMDI ports so it relegated at the moment.

 

 

 

Shield apparently very good but costs a bit, no experience of it though.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the feedback man. I currently have my PC running as a plex server... but with 8 x HDDs 2 x SSDs, big gpu etc etc, it costs about $120/mo to run! I'll farm a few of the HDDs to go into a NAS (probably Synology Play). All the gear needs to go into a cupboard, hence the desire for something small and not too "hot".

 

Agree on the Shield... nice piece of kit, but wowsers it's expensive! The Wetek 2 looks pretty good, but seems to be out-of-stock in most reputable outlets that'll ship to NZ. I luckily have a friend doing a round-trip to the UK within the next week, so have been able to get the RBP3 at about $120NZD with all the equivalent bits of the $172 kit from PiShop.

 

Reading that thread on the Kodi forum that Lockout posted above, and following some of the links there-in reinforces what you have mentioned--the support for the media boxes is all written by people, as opposed to it being officially supported by Kodi. The Chinese boxes are a complete no-no for Kodi from what I can tell, and will only give 720p at best for Netflix and the like.

 

So, at the end of the day, I think it will be a RBP3 + Chromecast. If the RBP3 doesn't work out, then I'll try a Wetek or Amazon Fire (or Shield in a black friday sale!) as the only technical issues I can really forsee now would be related to the certified HD support of some of the major streaming service applications. I can always reallocate the RBP to something else :)





Cheers, Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________________________

\m/ò_ó\m/ ~ ROCK ON!

 

Service Delivery for some big company

 


Current devices:
Samsung S7 Edge (Note 7 is too explody for me :( )
iPad something or other

 

Horde on Barthilas


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  Reply # 1648980 11-Oct-2016 10:26
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i would go for a fire tv (stick) or a android tv device.

 

raspberry pis are great and fairly cheap (but once you have everything a fire tv stick is cheaper) but they cant do netflix etc.  

 

I replaced all my raspberrypis with fire tvs and fire tv sticks and using android tv built into a sony tv in one room.

 

fire tvs you can easily side load kodi and it appears on the home screen now just like any other app (can favourite it too so double clicking home brings up your favourite apps).

 

android tv has kodi in the play store (can even subscribe to the betas of it so im running kodi 17 beta on my android tv without having to side load anything)




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  Reply # 1648988 11-Oct-2016 10:37
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reven:

 

i would go for a fire tv (stick) or a android tv device.

 

raspberry pis are great and fairly cheap (but once you have everything a fire tv stick is cheaper) but they cant do netflix etc.  

 

I replaced all my raspberrypis with fire tvs and fire tv sticks and using android tv built into a sony tv in one room.

 

fire tvs you can easily side load kodi and it appears on the home screen now just like any other app (can favourite it too so double clicking home brings up your favourite apps).

 

android tv has kodi in the play store (can even subscribe to the betas of it so im running kodi 17 beta on my android tv without having to side load anything)

 

 

 

 

Oh man, there I was thinking I had decided! Thanks for the feedback reven. I haven't placed my order yet, but will think this over and with your feedback in the mix.





Cheers, Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________________________

\m/ò_ó\m/ ~ ROCK ON!

 

Service Delivery for some big company

 


Current devices:
Samsung S7 Edge (Note 7 is too explody for me :( )
iPad something or other

 

Horde on Barthilas


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  Reply # 1649003 11-Oct-2016 10:43
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Ya, vell I have an SSD, 4 internal HDDs and 6 external HDDs on the main PC and I'm still running out of space. Hope that's not $120 per month - that'd be half our monthly bill. Mind you, the external ones go to sleep most of the time as they're basically backups.

 

Am slowly Handbraking my way through the bluray rips at the moment, they're ending up about a quarter the size, so when I back those up I'm still ahead, just takes forever. I guess your media is MKV or MP4. Transcoding using a NAS is expensive, but I guess you know that.

 

Pity Wetek is out of stock but gives you time to play with the Pi and might turn out you don't need it anyway. The Wetek apparently does 1080p Netflix, I think 1080p Amazon also but only 2.0 audio. Also gives them time to iron out some bugs. Pi sounds quite expensive, but I guess by the time you add all the bits it adds up. Don't know bout Element 14, RS components prices.  FireTV is quite often on sale for I think US$84 though.

 

Anyhoo, Pi3 should be nice, OSMC is pretty impressive and you can tinker...

 

P.S. think, possibly there'll be a new FireTV stick coming out with an ethernet port if you like that sort of thing.





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  Reply # 1649006 11-Oct-2016 10:52
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also got to think about h265/hevc.  raspberrypi cant handle that but fire tv stick 2 and fire tv 4k can.  so can many androidtv devices.


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  Reply # 1649325 11-Oct-2016 16:42
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I'm thinking of swapping out my Raspberry Pi in the Bedroom with a Fire TV $100 usd + postage, I get 2 GB memory, Ethernet, Alexa and Netflix.


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  Reply # 1649444 11-Oct-2016 20:23
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Does anyone know if the Xiaomi MiBox media players will be available in NZ? The specs look pretty good

 

 

 

http://www.mi.com/en/mibox/#specs

 

 

 

 




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  Reply # 1649448 11-Oct-2016 20:24
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mmlakeman:

 

Does anyone know if the Xiaomi MiBox media players will be available in NZ? The specs look pretty good

 

 

 

http://www.mi.com/en/mibox/#specs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dunno, but it might qualify as a "cheap Chinese Android box" as very well covered on the Kodi forums. (i.e. not very good)





Cheers, Jeff
____________________________________________________________________________________________

\m/ò_ó\m/ ~ ROCK ON!

 

Service Delivery for some big company

 


Current devices:
Samsung S7 Edge (Note 7 is too explody for me :( )
iPad something or other

 

Horde on Barthilas


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  Reply # 1649449 11-Oct-2016 20:28
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remotes are all that great on the cheap android boxes, sure it has "netflix" but can you navigate netflix with the remote easily or is it like using a mouse/keyboard to navigate?  thats what has always put me off of those devices.


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