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Topic # 87764 6-Aug-2011 14:02
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Looking for a way to allow parents to play avi files, display picture slideshows and use Skype on their TV.

Any ideas for a media player device that can do this?

Looking for:

Cheap, but good quality (ha, if you can use those two in the same sentence?!) 

Must be easy to use/navigate etc.

Want to plug in a USB camera for video Skype. 

Can connect via VGA, AV component or hdmi.  Not really happy with composite or s-video really.

Not too fussed if it does full HD resolution as their TV is 720p only.

-Though needs to be able to play 1080 files, even if downsized to 720.

Wired or wifi, though wifi probably preferred where they are, house design etc.

Android sounded cool but in reality I don't know how useful apps will be when you're not mobile, so don't have GPS/accelerometers etc?!

Not too fussed on internet browsing, though that might be nice.

email etc is a no go, they'd use a computer for that, with a real keyboard!

Any ideas much appreciated.


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Master Geek

  Reply # 502743 6-Aug-2011 14:18
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get an android tablet with tv output lol

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  Reply # 502785 6-Aug-2011 16:43
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Buy a TV with those features built in. Problem solved.

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  Reply # 502792 6-Aug-2011 17:13
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My PS3 Blu-ray drive recently gave up on me, so I decided to go with a stand-alone Blu-ray player mainly because the cost and hassle of fixing the PS3 Blu-ray drive didn't seem worth it.

Anyway, I eventually purchased a Panasonic DMP-BD75GN-K, but through my research I did consider going with one of these:

It has Skype and numerous other network connectivity features such as DLNA. Also has an SD card slot.
They may not necessarily be looking for Blu-ray, but it might suit their needs with an added bonus of Blu-ray (even if it is only on a 720p set Frown).

Hope that helps.

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  Reply # 502805 6-Aug-2011 17:50
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Thought of this:

It's really the skype bit that puts what I want above a standard media player box.

Plan B or C

Not sure if either do skype with a plug in camera though?

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  Reply # 502807 6-Aug-2011 17:59
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Not sure either.

The accessories page on Panasonic unit lists the Panasonic branded Skype camera
So it might be hard to know whether it will support a generic USB webcam.

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Master Geek

  Reply # 502808 6-Aug-2011 18:10
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i think android tablet is better coz u get to play all kind of media type either by hardware support or software decode and has better support if u play subtitle (srt/saa) with mkv (tablet can software decode rmvb files and almost non of the media player in nz market can play rmvb)

plus you can enjoy skype on tv also anywhere in the house as long as you have wifi or perhaps 3g also for the media file you want play you can stream them directly from ur computer/nas instead of plug external hd all the time you want to see movies (would suggest 802.11n wifi to play 720p mkv smoothly)

since the tv is 720p you don't need a top line dual core tablet any single core run over 800mhz should be able to handle the media file easily

it all come down to what media file you wish to play and what ur budget

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  Reply # 502816 6-Aug-2011 18:37
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For media playing up to 1080p etc, the solution is cheap and easy - a WD TV Live will do this for about $160. An apple TV would also work, but only up to 720p (you specified 1080p), and is in the same price range.

Wanting to add Skype and a camera complicates things a bit. Not aware of any budget media players that will do this. If the TV is a newer one, theyre could be a Skype add-on you can buy (new Pannys have these) and then you just need to add the cheap media player.

A cheap PC would do all of what you want. It wouldn't have to be terribly powerful. A mid-price laptop, would suffice. A more budget solution could be a desktop machine (say an older P4 that has been obsoleted elsewhere in an upgrade or bought second hand), with a graphics card added to give the HD media capability you are after. More flexible than an "out of the box solution", but more obtrusive in the living room and could be a bit harder for your parents to drive, and likely a bit noisier as well.

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  Reply # 502817 6-Aug-2011 18:39
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Get a Dell Zino HD running Windows Media Center, will cost the same as a tablet with more power...

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  Reply # 502831 6-Aug-2011 20:28
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If it's ease of use you're after - the Pana BluRay player is a go'er.
You'll have to buy a Skype camera though (and maybe a wifi dongle???), which will add to the price.
If it was my parents, I couldn't see them using a tablet, another laptop or HTPC... it would be put in the 'too hard' pile. A BluRay player on the other hands, is just easy to use.

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  Reply # 502832 6-Aug-2011 20:34
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I'm currently building an HTPC for my parents. Just laid the cabling today.

I'll have it running Mediaportal + Skype 24/7 on the main user account. Using siptosis to connect Skype through to our VoIP phone system. The end result is that my parents can use our normal cordless phone to talk through Sky, while using the webcam/TV for the video part of the call. Works surprisingly well.

The total cost of the PC excluding the TV tuner cards was around $400-$450, and that includes a 2TB hard drive.

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  Reply # 502857 6-Aug-2011 23:29
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Thanks guys, honestly all good suggestions and appreciated.

I have an old media centre pc that's underpowered for HD use but would suffice for skype etc. As above though, noise and clunkyness is an issue for parents. It's funny things aye, like ir remote control use and fast start up times that make traditional pc's not suitable for 'ease of use' type installations.

Tablets could possibly be a goer in that I think they're keen on one anyway, but cost wise they are a bit of a joke. ie every one wants one but functionality wise most of us already have a computer somewhere. Sure it's cool to be able to view stuff laying around like a piece of paper, but at $1,000 to do what you can probably already do? well each to their own.

Actually, deal extreme have some mean pricing on Android tablets. Not sure i they're any good, probably plastic screens etc, but we're talking like $200 odd for a 10" job on there, due to $US now, and that includes shipping.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions!

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