4K: HTPC vs Android streaming box? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-26-2017, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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4K: HTPC vs Android streaming box?

On the basis of cost and usability, what am I better off with? I'm basically just looking for a device to play local and streaming (Amazon & Netflix) 4K content. I don't need a disk player, a gaming machine, a file server or something to rip DVDs. I already have several different PCs to choose from (Lenovo M92p or Dell Optiplex 3020 low profile desktop, 3-4 years old, each with an i5 CPU, or a 2010 Mac Pro). I have plenty of memory for all, plus a USB IR receiver, and there is an Ethernet hub behind the entertainment unit, so I don't even need WiFi. Trouble is, none of these have a 4K video card, and as near as I can figure, it will cost more to outfit any of them with an HDMI 2.0 card (it may actually not even be available for the Mac) than it would for me to purchase a complete 4K Android streaming box. HDMI connection will be to an entry level Pioneer Elite 4K receiver to a 65" Toshiba 4K screen (I may also want to outfit a second system in another room, but I'll probably need dual HDMI outputs, since I have a second 4K screen, but the receiver is only compatible with HDMI 1.3).

Added to this, I'd like control to be fairly simple - I'll be using a Logitech Harmony hub. I want my family to beable to just push the Netflix (or whatever) button and have the remote be able to do everything so that they're automatically brought to the Netflix home screen.

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post #2 of 17 Old 09-26-2017, 11:43 AM
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There are Android TV Boxes which mainly run Kodi, and there are official Android TV Boxes which run the Android TV OS such as the Nvidia Shield and the Xaomi Mi Box. The Android TV OS can be found on TV displays from Sony, Phillips, and Sharp.
Those cheap Android Boxes are likely to run a variation of the Mobile Android OS found on Phones and Tablets. This is not the case with Android TV.

https://www.android.com/tv/


The "Kodi" Boxes are more than likely not to have the Major Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu. Android TV devices will run these apps, some in 4K/HDR and Dolby Atmos if available.

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post #3 of 17 Old 09-26-2017, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that response, and it's a good issue that I'd overlooked (it changes the price calculus somewhat, but some Android TV boxes are still on par, price-wise, with the cost of an appropriate video card). On the other hand, it seems like a Roku Premier+ would do everything I need as well. Am I overthinking this? For simple media consumption as I described above, is an HTPC overkill?

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post #4 of 17 Old 09-26-2017, 12:01 PM
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Roku for the win.
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-26-2017, 05:10 PM
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This is easy to answer if you want 4k Amazon Prime. I PC doesn't stream Amazon in 4k.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/custo...FC38850C2276A2

To get Netflix 4k requires the right combination of video card and Edge (or the app).

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post #6 of 17 Old 09-26-2017, 05:10 PM
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Roku for the win.
For the lose of you want to bitstream HD audio.

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post #7 of 17 Old 09-27-2017, 01:23 PM
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Roku for the win.
Yuck, I couldn't sell my Roku fast enough. Even the wife hated it.
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-28-2017, 01:39 PM
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My plan for local content is Amazon FireTV (Gen2) with Kodi loaded. All content is on my desktop system in another room and accessible over the home network via CAT-6A or WIFI-AC. The older gen FireTV supported Kodi so I expect the just announced version will also do so.

Of course FireTV supports streaming many sources including Netflix

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post #9 of 17 Old 09-29-2017, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
For the lose of you want to bitstream HD audio.
Is there any streaming device which does this?
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post #10 of 17 Old 09-29-2017, 12:51 PM
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Is there any streaming device which does this?
Nvidia Shield.
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post #11 of 17 Old 09-29-2017, 04:15 PM
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Just build yourself an HTPC, sky's the limit, at a later time you can convert it into a Headless server, and attach a NAS/or some kind of storage to it and store/copy your media locally and stream it over your headless server using Kodi. You can build yourself a HTPC that can handle HDR and madVR. You wont get all that on any streaming box atm.
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post #12 of 17 Old 09-30-2017, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyindian View Post
Just build yourself an HTPC, sky's the limit, at a later time you can convert it into a Headless server, and attach a NAS/or some kind of storage to it and store/copy your media locally and stream it over your headless server using Kodi. You can build yourself a HTPC that can handle HDR and madVR. You wont get all that on any streaming box atm.
The Shield replaced my HTPC years ago and I haven't looked back. The interface, streaming, and being a chromecast target, put it way over the top. Only, minus is the DVR software either built in or HDHR DVR don't stand up to good old Media Center, but there usable.
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post #13 of 17 Old 10-01-2017, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by G-- View Post
The Shield replaced my HTPC years ago and I haven't looked back. The interface, streaming, and being a chromecast target, put it way over the top. Only, minus is the DVR software either built in or HDHR DVR don't stand up to good old Media Center, but there usable.
Well, you brought the shield, you had reasons to replace your htpc, if it works for you good. But most of us here prefer HTPC's. People love their Roku players as well. An well built HTPC cannot be replaced in terms of features and usability.
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post #14 of 17 Old 10-01-2017, 05:29 PM
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Well, you brought the shield, you had reasons to replace your htpc, if it works for you good. But most of us here prefer HTPC's. People love their Roku players as well. An well built HTPC cannot be replaced in terms of features and usability.
Well, the OP wanted to stream Amazon Prime in 4K. A HTPC isn't going to help him with that.
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post #15 of 17 Old 10-02-2017, 09:37 PM
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Well, you brought the shield, you had reasons to replace your htpc, if it works for you good. But most of us here prefer HTPC's. People love their Roku players as well. An well built HTPC cannot be replaced in terms of features and usability.
The whole point of HTPC's for me has always been the pursuit of 1 box. HTPC isn't and the Shield really isn't either since it doesn't have a bd or uhd drive. But the streaming, interface, and acting as chromecast target is more important in my usage.
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post #16 of 17 Old 10-04-2017, 07:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by holyindian View Post
Well, you brought the shield, you had reasons to replace your htpc, if it works for you good. But most of us here prefer HTPC's. People love their Roku players as well. An well built HTPC cannot be replaced in terms of features and usability.
Sure they can. I replaced all of my HTPCs with Shields in the main rooms, and Nexus Players in the guest rooms, and I do not miss my HTPCs at all.

For me, the Shield ended my pursuit for "one box". I almost never play my physical media since I would rather rip it to my sever, so I don't need a BD player. In the rare case that I do, I use my PS3 which is plugged into the TV anyway.

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post #17 of 17 Old 10-04-2017, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikela View Post
Is there any streaming device which does this?
I believe Chromecast ultra does for Google play and Vudu, though I only had it a few days. Certainly got multi-channel audio, not sure if it was bitstreamed, will have to double check.

I think my Sony UBP-X800 will do it too . Haven't done any streaming with it, only UHD BR, and it bitstreams those just fine, including Atmos, and even DSD from SACDs.
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