Absolute Cheapest Way to Play 720p Files - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 01:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello fellow AVSers,

I'm trying to help a family member out and I was hoping for some expert advice. Essentially, I need the cheapest machine that is capable of playing HD video files. Essentially I am making a playlist of videos that will repeat ad infinitum for the reception area of a small business.

At first I was considering a media box, but I don't believe they will play one video after the next then loop over again, something which is essential for me. Does anyone know more about that?

I've since stumbled upon Mini PC's, which can not only do playlists, but will allow me to add cool stuff like watermarks to the video. Will these little Atom processors be able to power a 1080p video? Is building a unit myself a better idea?

I built a high end HTPC for myself and that's what I know. The lowest of the low end of the market is a mystery to me. So, anyone have any tips or ideas to accomplish this feat? Thanks a lot in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 02:35 PM
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Amazon has some used Dell computers with a core2duo which should play 720p without a problem. They seem to run for about $120-$150.

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 02:41 PM
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I would probably get a gigabyte brix that has a celeron cpu and run some kind of embedded media player like openelec off a cheap thumb drive.
As for ram you can get away with 2GB for openelec but if you decide to use something that isn't totally stripped down 4 might be the better option.

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post #4 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Good suggestions so far, I'm looking into both.

I have a question, does something like the Atom or Celeron have HDMI audio out? Does everything do that these days? I can't seem to find out anything about it.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 02:57 PM
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it's hard to find anything that won't play 720p videos, the only potential hiccup would be if you plan on playing them through a web browser and using flash rather than html5.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 02:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dochollerin View Post

Good suggestions so far, I'm looking into both.

I have a question, does something like the Atom or Celeron have HDMI audio out? Does everything do that these days? I can't seem to find out anything about it.

 

Find out what integrated graphics it has then you can find out what kind of audio it supports.

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post #7 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 03:53 PM
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i dont have experience with this, but would rasberry pi do what he needs?

note: the post above is my opinion. as such, when reading any recommendations from me, please do you research and seek out other recommendations and make up your own mind on your next course of action. i mean, most reasonable adults should know that, but it seems this should be stated anyways.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-29-2013, 06:03 PM
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It should if the video was encoded properly and be decoded by hardware.

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 11:30 AM
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What about a smart-TV that will play videos directly from his USB drive?  OK, so it may not do the infinite looping he desires.

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-04-2013, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dochollerin View Post

Hello fellow AVSers,

I'm trying to help a family member out and I was hoping for some expert advice. Essentially, I need the cheapest machine that is capable of playing HD video files. Essentially I am making a playlist of videos that will repeat ad infinitum for the reception area of a small business.

At first I was considering a media box, but I don't believe they will play one video after the next then loop over again, something which is essential for me. Does anyone know more about that?

I've since stumbled upon Mini PC's, which can not only do playlists, but will allow me to add cool stuff like watermarks to the video. Will these little Atom processors be able to power a 1080p video? Is building a unit myself a better idea?

I built a high end HTPC for myself and that's what I know. The lowest of the low end of the market is a mystery to me. So, anyone have any tips or ideas to accomplish this feat? Thanks a lot in advance.
I believe the Sony media boxes (SMP-N200) had a repeat playlist function that you want. I would check for you to confirm, but the one I bought a couple of years ago ended up at my folks house so my daughter could watch movies when she stayed the night there. I'm almost positive that if you clicked repeat it would play all night long. Maybe someone who actually has one could chime in, but this would be the cheapest way to go since last I saw these were dirt cheap at Target (going for something like $20.) Keep in mind they're a total POS (really slow and clunky user interface), but should work good enough for your needs.

Edit: I just checked around and it looks like they're getting really hard to find. Maybe somebody knows where to find them.
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