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822 posts

Ultimate Geek

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# 217843 14-Jul-2017 19:01
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Hey guys,

 

Here's the thing: I have been running an HTPC for ever (even got it tolerated by the wife) but in the recent months/years, our habits have changed to the point where I wonder if I could simplify things a bit and get a better experience.

 

We are (virtually) never using the DVB-T card in the HTPC anymore as we don't watch Free to Air TV. We mostly watch Netflix and some ...hum... local content (*.mp4, etc...)

 

We have an Audio Receiver, a (non smart TV) and a Harmony Remote.

 

Can you guys suggest a media Client that would give us a great user experience with remote friendly control (Wifi/Phone control as well would be cool)

 

I know of Amazon TV, Roku, etc.. but not sure if there is one device out there that would suit our needs the best.

 

One thing I insist on is being able to bitstream surround sound from my local content to my receiver (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc..)

 

Any ideas?

 

Thanks


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1031 posts

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  # 1822649 14-Jul-2017 19:29
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Any plans for your DVB-T card?





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  # 1822676 14-Jul-2017 20:48
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Have you considered moving to a client/server setup?

 

If so, I would recommend looking at putting Plex on the HTPC (or getting a dedicated NAS that runs Plex). Then use a raspberry pi, with rasplex and one of the nifty little palm-sized wireless keyboards to control it.

 

That's what I have done. It works well and, importantly, meets the GAF standard (girlfriend acceptance factor) needed to be a permanent part of the lounge/bedroom setup in this house. The full kit (RPi, mSD card, keyboard, case, powersupply, wireless keyboard) runs to about $170 at PB Tech, and can also be landed from offshore somewhat cheaper. Good interface, metadata scraping, search functionality, and an interface that is friendly and provides good eye candy for family use.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1822678 14-Jul-2017 20:57
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Plex and an Apple TV 4 is a sweet setup. The Apple TV 4 can control your TV and a receiver through HDMI and the remote is bluetooth, so you can store it hidden if you want, and control the whole setup from the simple Apple TV remote.

 

Its the only media device in our household now, and have a very high WAF.





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  # 1822680 14-Jul-2017 20:58
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JimmyH:

 

Have you considered moving to a client/server setup?

 

If so, I would recommend looking at putting Plex on the HTPC (or getting a dedicated NAS that runs Plex). Then use a raspberry pi, with rasplex and one of the nifty little palm-sized wireless keyboards to control it.

 

That's what I have done. It works well and, importantly, meets the GAF standard (girlfriend acceptance factor) needed to be a permanent part of the lounge/bedroom setup in this house. The full kit (RPi, mSD card, keyboard, case, powersupply, wireless keyboard) runs to about $170 at PB Tech, and can also be landed from offshore somewhat cheaper. Good interface, metadata scraping, search functionality, and an interface that is friendly and provides good eye candy for family use.

 

 

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ That +1

 

 

 

I run my Plex server on an "always on" laptop, files all on 2 USB drives, a NAS, and a router DLNA drive. Have the client on my TV, Pi (because Sony and plex don't pass 5.1, (thanks plex.... grrr)) and various tablets for the kids.

 

So easy to watch anywhere in the house.

 

And when Plex passthrough 5.1 thru Android TV on Sony (like kodi can and do), I might even re-invest in plexpass. 


4555 posts

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  # 1822698 14-Jul-2017 22:12
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I'm another plex/Apple TV user. Apps are slowly 3, lightbox are on there. Tvnz not yet.




Previously known as psycik

OpenHAB: Gigabyte AMD A8 BrixOpenHAB with Aeotech ZWave Controller, Raspberry PI, Wemos D1 Mini, Zwave, Xiaomi Humidity and Temperature sensors and Bluetooth LE Sensors
Media:Chromecast v2, ATV4, Roku3, HDHomeRun Dual
Windows 10
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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  # 1822713 14-Jul-2017 23:11
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Another Apple TV 4 family here.
Also have a windows box acting as a server, which has some DVBS tuners in it.
Currently use dvblogic tvserver and their dvblink app to watch and record tv.
Then we also use Plex, threenow, lightbox & YouTube apps mostly.
And of course some games. :)

The remote works really well plus it's nice to be able to use airplay from our iPads and iPhones, and also the remote app if you need a keyboard to type easier with.

729 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1822715 14-Jul-2017 23:38
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Nvidia Shield is a great device imo.

 

Really like the Android TV interface.

 

Usual apps - Netflix, Amazon, YT, Spotify. You can cast LightBox etc as it can be cast to.

 

 Plays 4K from my UnRAID server - no sweat.

 

SPMC is great - as  you can also play ATMOS and DTS:X soundtracks as well.

 

SPMC/Kodi - So you can install whatever adons you want.

 

Integrated voice search - incl your SPMC library which is cool.

 

Fast and reliable - very few lock ups in 18 months i've had it.

 

Works with my Harmony remote.

 

Also does an OK job of gaming - have installed Mame for oldschool gaming sessions. Also plays games like Doom etc OK.

 

 

 

Definitely worth a look I reckon.


 
 
 
 


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  # 1822729 15-Jul-2017 08:33
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As is typical of me just a little plug to suggest Emby as an alternative to Plex. Very similar software. I use it on the main PC to serve rips 'n stuff to FireTV's and Android phones, plus occasional Windows phone. Also has Apple software. Can also make use of your DVB-T tuner if desired, though you'll need intermediary software, like NextPVR to link up the card to Emby. No personal experience with bitstreaming with Emby, but its supposed to work. Does IPTV. To get the best out of it (and presumably Plex) you need to pay for Emby Premiere.

 

Apple TV4 is (apparently) the only device that'll do local on demand TV easily.





rb99




822 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  # 1822789 15-Jul-2017 11:07
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Thanks guys for the comments.

 

Regarding Apple TV, I am sure it is a great device but would rather stay clear of it. I have a rather "Google" home and have managed to stay clear of any iDevice thus far so will not benefit from the Apple Ecosystem Integration.

 

I hate iTunes with a passion and doesn't have much love for Apple in General (not trying to start a war here, just stating why I hadn't even looked at Apple TV)

 

Now, someone mentioned Emby and funnily enough I am already running Emby (with a sizeable collection) on my HTPC (It runs both Server and Client). One option could be to move that HTPC out of the way and use it as a server (maybe one day replace it by a grunty NAS)
I think I also will try to set up Plex see how well it works as everyone seems to be raving about it.

 

Now in terms of client, it looks like Roku supports both Emby and Plex. Would there be any reason whay I should avoid a Roku Box? Didn't know much about the nVidia Shield until now (thanks for mentionning it) and it looks pretty good. Any views on Roku vs Shield in temrs of Performance, Compatibility, WAF?

 

We're making progress, I like it! ;-)


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  # 1822800 15-Jul-2017 11:26
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Think generally speaking, by and large, pluses and minuses, Plex looks more polished than Emby, but Emby does a bit more.

 

No idea about Shield, though am sure others do, except that its considered a pretty impressive device, but it costs significantly more than FireTV or Roku. Also don't know much about Roku, except Emby have a new app for it. FireTV (via ethernet) works fine for me. The interface is pretty much as shown here -

 

https://emby.media/emby-for-android-tv-new-interface.html

 

though maybe you've seen that all ready.

 

Our main PC is the Emby server anyway (in the study), has about 4 HDD inside to store stuff we watch (plus a DVB-S card), and a good 5 or more extra USB HDD's outside as kind of backups for the internal stuff. Works fine. Never had enough money in one go to get a NAS, so just accumulate HDD's.

 

FireTV (and Roku) do Netflix, iPlayer and some other UK stuff and Amazon Prime if you're interested. Maybe you also know that already. And Kodi.





rb99


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  # 1822828 15-Jul-2017 13:13
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Plex/Emby and a Roku would be a very good setup!




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Ultimate Geek

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  # 1822830 15-Jul-2017 13:25
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Yeah I reckon. Just tossing between Roku and Shield now. Both support emby, etc..
Shield quite a bit more expensive but I figure out could be cool as it's an Android device and we are already quite invested in that system...

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  # 1822832 15-Jul-2017 13:27
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In that case go the shield. I have a Sony 4K Android TV.. I love it. :D




822 posts

Ultimate Geek

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  # 1822872 15-Jul-2017 13:28
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Fair point... Maybe I should save the money and buy a Sony TV ;-)

624 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1822874 15-Jul-2017 13:38
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I'm running a Plex server on a standalone laptop and using the PS4 Plex app to watch from. It's fast, simple and using the PS4 means not having another box under the tv (very much a Wife Approval Factor to consider). Audio comes from PS4 to 5.1 system and works a treat. Just need to work on upgrading my tv next......






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