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120 posts

Master Geek
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Topic # 185598 28-Nov-2015 12:30
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Hi All,

I purchased the following device a week ago:
http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=MBDASR9105&name=ASRock-BeeBox-Mini-PC-with-Intel-N3150-Quad-Core-2

The main purpose of the device is to:
- Watch TV shows and movies via internet based subsription services (i.e. Netflix and Neon)
- Play media files from my NAS storage.

I replaced the single stick of 2GB of RAM which came with the unit with 2x 4GB SODIMMs to get dual channel performance. When watching video from my NAS, over the network the performance is OK.  However when I go to watch shows via Neon TV (using a Firefox browser), the programmes and movies are stuttery. The audio seems fine but the video is not smooth at all.

When watching Neon TV shows on my desktop PC (with an i7 processor), the performance is fine.

Based on the above, is it far to assume that the Intel 3150 processor that's in the Beebox just isn't powerful enough? 

I think the mini PC format will work well for what I want to do with it, but if I'm to take this back and upgrade what's the mimimum processor I should go for? I'm leaning towards an i5.

Interesting in your thoughts.

Cheers,
BuckoNZ

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762 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 1436876 28-Nov-2015 14:09
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Just make sure the performance isn't any better with another browser?

It's not an Internet bandwidth issue?

You're not using wifi?




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Uber Geek
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  Reply # 1436971 28-Nov-2015 17:37
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It should cope fine. And I certainly hope so, as I have purchased one as well (haven't had time to unbox it yet).

I second turb's question, how are you connecting it?

Meow
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  Reply # 1436994 28-Nov-2015 19:03
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Are your display drivers up to date? Also try Google Chrome.






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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1437091 29-Nov-2015 07:52
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I don't think it's a bandwith issue:
https://www.speedtest.net/my-result/4870654455

And I don't use wifi - the Beebox has a cabled network connection.

The graphics drivers are pretty current: Intel v10.18.15.4256.

Will try some different browsers and see how I get on.

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  Reply # 1437103 29-Nov-2015 08:31
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on my network with vodafone adsl2 I have 64ms ping  3.53Mbps download and 0.45Mbps upload and Quickflix and TVNZ on demand play okay




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1437106 29-Nov-2015 08:39
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What do you know. Neon TV video plays smoother using IE 11 than Firefox.

 

However as a result od this process, I just realised that Neon TV only streams Standard Definition content.  I'll have to signup to Netflix and/or Lightbox, who deliver HD content to see how it goes.

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  Reply # 1437121 29-Nov-2015 09:11
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Yeah doesn't sound like Firefox is doing graphics acceleration for some reason. Netflix supports HTML5 playback in Chrome (not sure about Firefox) so you should be fine with that, same with Lightbox.

My experience with Neon are pretty bad.




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  Reply # 1437175 29-Nov-2015 11:42
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Yeah. I wouldn't have thought you'd need to go up to a more powerful processor to stream SD content. I have a little Minix Neo with an Atom that only has 2GB of RAM and it handles HD just fine.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1438867 1-Dec-2015 21:00
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I suspect that trying to run the platform off the onboard 32GB storage isn't helping. I have just purcahsed a 128gb mSATA card to install into the device. Once I've done that I'll rebuild it and see how it goes.



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1439556 2-Dec-2015 21:23
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I have installed a new 128gb mSATA drive. Performed a fresh installation of Windows 10. And it turns out that the new MS browser, which installs with Windows 10 - Edge? - does a pretty decent job of streaming video.

So, I'm pretty happy now, with how she's running.

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Ultimate Geek


  Reply # 1440896 5-Dec-2015 09:24
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BuckoNZ: What do you know. Neon TV video plays smoother using IE 11 than Firefox. However as a result od this process, I just realised that Neon TV only streams Standard Definition content.  I'll have to signup to Netflix and/or Lightbox, who deliver HD content to see how it goes.


Interesting. I have a similar issue on my much older windows OS (not Beebox hardware).

Current versions of Firefox and Chrome give choppy video playback in youtube, but IE plays fine.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1556709 21-May-2016 10:08
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Just an update on the ASRock Beebox after almost 6 month of use:
- Once you put a decent HDD in it and RAM, the unit is definitely powerful enough to do the job.
- The unit does not like to be left on, to go into a suspended state. It rarely comes back up again without turning the unit off and on again. And then it often doesn't come back up gracefully.
- When watching streaming TV services (Netflix, Neon...) I often get audio artifacts - "popping" etc.  Others don't seem to report this issue so I suspect that it's the ASRock.
- I've never been able to get Lightbox to run particularly smoothly on the ASRock, to the degree that we rarely watch Lightbox now and are close to cancelling the service.

My recommendation:  these small barebones units are great and definitely have the capabilities, however in hindsight, I would have shelled out a few more dollars for a Gigabyte Brix or Intel BUC unit. And probably would have gone with something in the Intel i5 range instead of the Intel 3150.  


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  Reply # 1556721 21-May-2016 10:48
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Try YouTube and force hd. I find they gave a better html5 implementation that lightbox. I'd expect the same of Netflix.

I find lightbox using a fair chunk of cpu, picking neon would be similar.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1910986 30-Nov-2017 11:13
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I just thought I would update this post.  I ended up getting a new TV, which had the Netfilx and Lightbox apps, so we use this to watch these services. We droped Neon not that long ago. The only thing we really used it for was Game Of Thrones and even then it did a terrible job of "delivering" it.

 

It runs Kodi like a dream - it works very well.

 

So, all in all, some time on, I'm quite happy with the purchase. But I do admit, I keep an eye on the tech sales that come up to see if a Micro PC with an i5 processor comes up a good price. However, I haven't changed yet...  :)


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  Reply # 1911114 30-Nov-2017 13:40
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Make sure you have HW Video Acceleration enabled and then the device should be fine. I've got an equivalent Gigabyte 3150 based device that works well with Kodi and MythTV via vaapi accelleration.

 

Key issue under Linux is the lack of support under Chrome for HW Acceleration, but if you're running windows things will be different.

 

90% of the load shouldn't be on the CPU when streaming.





Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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