External Bluray player opinions/suggestions, standalone or usb? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 02-02-2013, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
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So my current bedroom setup consists of an Intel NUC running Win7 WMC which is connected to a 24" Asus monitor (only 1 HDMI input). I am looking into options for adding an external Bluray player for use with rented discs from Netflix or borrowed from friends. (I'm aware of ripping to mkv options, but not what I'm looking for). Even if I don't upgrade to bluray, my current DVD playing option isn't ideal... I am sharing my laptop's DVD-Rom drive over the network, it works but can be a hastle... pausing can cause sync issues, requires use of external player instead of WMC. External dvd players are pretty cheap and straight forward, but bluray is a different story, so any suggestions or opinions would be most helpful.

Considerations/limitations that come to mind are:
USB - requires additional software/ possible playback issues? (software or hardware related) / can only be used with a computer
Standalone - with only 1 HDMI input I would need an HDMI switch / with the current setup would only need basic playback, but if re-purposed for use with a TV then WiFi and smart options might be nice

Bottom line, keeping in mind this is for occasional use so cost efficiency is a factor... what would you suggest?
If you think usb, any player models or software suggestions?
If you think standalone, again any player models suggestions? Are the WiFi and smart options reliable, worth extra cost? HDMI switch suggestions?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, and love the wealth of knowledge around here.
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post #2 of 3 Old 02-02-2013, 04:44 PM
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either way, you're going to have extra costs. This is going to more about convenience to cost.

Given your situation, I would go with a down and dirty solution. It works, but is about as far from elegant as you can get. I would suggest using a USB external BR drive. Some may require external power source or may use two USB ports. To same some money, just get reader/rom. It costs extra to be able to burn.

As for software, this gets a bit tricky. If you have AnyDVD HD, I would just use MPC. I will work. No menus, no special features, no nada. Just the movie. You may be able to use VLC with the same results. I'm not sure of lower costs on the software side.

I don't know how you control the NUC from your bed. If you're using some kind of wireless keyboard/mouse, then it'll be straight forward. I don't know about trying to use something like a Media Center remote. If it was DVD, then the MC could be used with a remote.

Here is a video of using MPC and AnyDVD HD. The video and audio actually play in sync. In the video below, it was the recording device:

The cheapest route, probably a standalone and a two port switch. There may be one that can autoswitch for you. Check monoprice.
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post #3 of 3 Old 02-03-2013, 12:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, I've been looking at usb drives and from what I can find there isn't much price difference in bluray reader and burner, at least with drives that have consistently good ratings. Looking at the Samsung se-506ab or se-506bb for just under $100. Using 2 USB ports isn't ideal with the NUC, but I have a USB hub. Then there's at least another $50 for software.

On the standalone side, seems I can get a basic player like a Sony bdps390 for around $90. I had already looked at monoprice for switches, they have a 2x1 pigtail switch for about $13.

Hmmm choices... anybody with additional input, personal experience? Player suggestions or other price options?

Thanks again for any input.
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