Need input on media players and what to get - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 03-12-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey all,
I'm new to this space, so my knowledge is limited to some brands/models and what I need so I'll try best to explain what I want.

I currently have a Netgear NV+ NAS and had recently purchased the WDTV Live. It kind of worked the first day over my wired network using UPnP - readydnla. This eventually proved to be an issue as the Live would not display all of the folders residing my NAS, and then it started losing files. So after a few sessions with it, it would only show 15% of my movies and 1 out of 10 folders. The Live would lock up if I tried using to access my NAS as a shared library over NFS. I do not want to use my mac as a server so I had to return it.

To eliminate potential networking issues, I'm thinking about a media player with HDD included for local playback. However, I would still like to be able to access my NV+ over NFS/CIFS/something other than readydlna. I want to stream/play 1080p mkv, mv4 and mp4 for the most part. I don't rip, so menus and chapters aren't important. I just want to hit play on a movie and have it play 1080p without stuttering. I would also like a ********** client as an added bonus.

My budget is $300 (more or less).

First choice- Dune HD Smart H1
I've increased my budget after ready about the Dune HD Smart H1. I assume I could add a 4TB sata drive without issues? I read 5400 was the best since it ran cooler and didn't pose a heat issue for the fanless H1. It seems to have good reviews and seems to network without much issue and I can add an external drive or another H1/D1 in the future for more space. But that's the extent of my knowledge with this unit.

I've read about PlayOn!, Medetor MED500X2, Popcorn Hour A-300, Apacer AL720, NeoTV, owned and returned the Live. However, they all see to have some type of negative reviews, whereas the the Dune seems to have very few. I'm an Apple guy and would love it if the ATV 3 could be jailbroken to play mkvs, but I'm not sure I could wait long enough to find out. Wife wants to watch movies now.

I want to make sure I'm not missing out on any other potential options and that I'm not over buying. It also seems the the H1 is out of stock and difficult to return if I'm unhappy with the purchase. Another reason I'd want some feedback before purchasing.

Any thoughts, clarity, knowledge to share? I hope I provided enough details.
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post #2 of 24 Old 03-12-2012, 04:41 PM
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Buy anything that's not made by the same company that made WDTV and be happy. I'm bias offcourse since I also had the WDTV Live that I just gave away. I now have ACryan Playon, Diamond MP1000 flash with Mede8er firmware and the newly purchased for cheap Pivos AIOS. I'm also building an XBMC Box from a nettop ION2 PC.

In anycase, if you are just streaming over the LAN with downloaded MKV content the Playon or Mede8er works fine while my WDTV Live was still struggling and pissing me off everytime I use it. I don't have much experience on the newly purchased Pivos AIOS to give feed back, but I expect it to work fine from reading the Pivos AIOS thread.
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post #3 of 24 Old 03-12-2012, 04:48 PM
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Dune and popcorn hour are one of the most used models in the higher price range. Then you get lower ranges such as ac ryan, mede8er, and things like that. For your needs almost any media player will work, I suggest buying some that have a good return policy. Media players can be hit or mess as everyone has different content they play different ways to rip there media and so on, There has been files were say popcorn hour will play it but dune would not or the other way around, You just need to find what works with your media and stick with it.
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post #4 of 24 Old 03-12-2012, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm more concerned with a feature rich player that supports 1080p mkvs (which usually means it plays everything) and is reliable reading network shares. Content isn't a concern as if it doesn't play I'd replace the file. Most 1080p are mkvs so supporting that format is my biggest concern.

The WDTV Live played the mkvs, but didn't read my share correctly so I couldn't access them all. So I want the HDD feature as well. I read bad reviews on a popcorn a-300 so I'm nervous about that one.

I'll review the other models mentioned above. But otherwise the Dune is a good choice?
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post #5 of 24 Old 03-12-2012, 10:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Red View Post

I'm more concerned with a feature rich player that supports 1080p mkvs (which usually means it plays everything) and is reliable reading network shares. Content isn't a concern as if it doesn't play I'd replace the file. Most 1080p are mkvs so supporting that format is my biggest concern.

The WDTV Live played the mkvs, but didn't read my share correctly so I couldn't access them all. So I want the HDD feature as well. I read bad reviews on a popcorn a-300 so I'm nervous about that one.

I'll review the other models mentioned above. But otherwise the Dune is a good choice?

The dune is the best product for playing local content
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post #6 of 24 Old 03-12-2012, 10:57 PM
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I've had PCH-A300, Mede8er MED500X2, WDTV2 (parents xmas gift), AIOS and now the Dune D1.

PCH-A300 is a nice media player, but their internal jukebox is buggy, and doesn't let you edit much of anything. However, you can try and use YAMJ / Eversion, which I've heard is better if you can get it to work. I had to re-scan my media every time I added a new movie. I don't know why, but this would take at least 2 hours due to my large collection. The last thing, I had issues with was it would lose sound with any movie that had True-HD sound. I could get the sound back by switching the sound track to AC3.

I returned it after 3 weeks of ownership.

Mede8er Med500X2 was probably one of the easiest media players to set up. It took me less than 5 min. to make it work. They've got YAMJ to Mede8er (aka Y2M) jukebox, which is pretty simple to use, but some times it scraps the wrong info. I ended up using ThumbGen for it, which worked great. It played all my M2TS, MKV, and ISO main movie files that I threw at it. They also have a new Music jukebox as well. It recognized 3tb hard drives. Overall, it was a great media player, but the wife didn't like it....don't know why.

AIOS---I had it at the same time I had the Mede8er. The AIOS is in the master bedroom, where my wife uses everyday. This is probably the reason why she liked the AIOS more than the Mede8er. She got used to it faster. The AIOS is a simple inexpensive media player. The remote has moments where it doesn't want to respond. It plays all of my files without any issues. I am also able to use ThumbGen for jukebox. It may or may not recognize 3tb hard drives.

Dune player...what can I say. "It works." It was easy to set up. I use Zappiti as the jukebox, which is easy and simple to use. It plays everything I've got. It was a little more expensive than the other media player, but it's money well spent. I know it will recognize 2tb hard drives. I don't know about 3tb hdd.

So, out of all these, which one would I recommend. If you've got the money I would suggest the Dune Player. If you want to spend less and you don't mind doing a little of work, I would recommend the AIOS. Or you can give a try to the Popbox V8.

Good luck

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post #7 of 24 Old 03-13-2012, 04:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Awesome notes on the players, thanks. How does the Dune excell in regards to accessing network shares? I'd need/want it to also access my Netgear NV+ NAS on my network. Also, how easy it is to dump stuff onto from my Mac via the network? I'd have to use DuneX for the video wall feature I believe, but it's all new to me so not a concern.

We have a few TVs so I'll keep the AIOS in mind for the others. Is it realiable reading network shares and would be able to access the Dune's local HDD over the network? I don't want to use UPnP/ReadyDNLA at all so accessing via NFS, SMB or CIFS would need to be available and consistent.
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post #8 of 24 Old 03-13-2012, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Red View Post

Awesome notes on the players, thanks. How does the Dune excell in regards to accessing network shares? I'd need/want it to also access my Netgear NV+ NAS on my network. Also, how easy it is to dump stuff onto from my Mac via the network? I'd have to use DuneX for the video wall feature I believe, but it's all new to me so not a concern.

We have a few TVs so I'll keep the AIOS in mind for the others. Is it realiable reading network shares and would be able to access the Dune's local HDD over the network? I don't want to use UPnP/ReadyDNLA at all so accessing via NFS, SMB or CIFS would need to be available and consistent.

I don't know how your network is set up. However, I've got built an unRaid server where I've got all of my media file and stream throughout the house visa wired Cat5e network using samba.

I'll I had to do was go to the Dune's and AIOS' network and I found the folder share where all of my media was at.

The AIOS requires to do a NFS hack in order for you to make the jukebox work. You can PM Aasoror, and he can help you with that. He helped me with the Linux script to complete my NFS shares and jukebox.

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post #9 of 24 Old 03-13-2012, 12:29 PM - Thread Starter
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My NAS is XRaid and ran Ethernet from the modem to a hub/switch behind my media console.

I just ordered the AIOS from amazon so I'll give a go. Thanks for the pm info.

So if this little baby works it'll move to our bedroom and I'll get the Dune h1 as my main box. If I can justify it with my wife. Looking forward to playing with it.
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post #10 of 24 Old 03-13-2012, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Red View Post

My NAS is XRaid and ran Ethernet from the modem to a hub/switch behind my media console.

I just ordered the AIOS from amazon so I'll give a go. Thanks for the pm info.

So if this little baby works it'll move to our bedroom and I'll get the Dune h1 as my main box. If I can justify it with my wife. Looking forward to playing with it.

AIOS has its own forum at pivosforums.com. You can post on there and there are a lot of people who can help you out with any issue. Aasoror is the main person though since he's the one updating the firmware. I would also suggest to use a harmony remote if you've got one since the stock remote isn't that responsive. I use the stock remote since I've got this unit in the master bedroom.

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post #11 of 24 Old 03-13-2012, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a Logitech 900. Thanks for the tips.
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post #12 of 24 Old 03-15-2012, 01:02 PM
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Don't buy anything from Syabas.
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post #13 of 24 Old 03-15-2012, 06:38 PM - Thread Starter
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I got the AIOS tonight and other than the HIDEOUS UI, it's awesome! Played off the network with ZERO setup. I bypassed UPnP, it saw my volume and showed all my folders with all my videos. I have tried about 8 so far and all played flawlessly.

Wife won't let me get the Dune now for a while since we can buy 3 AIOS for the same price (for additional rooms). Hopefully they update the UI with a firmware update, but I'm so stoked so far.
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post #14 of 24 Old 03-15-2012, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Red View Post

I got the AIOS tonight and other than the HIDEOUS UI, it's awesome! Played off the network with ZERO setup. I bypassed UPnP, it saw my volume and showed all my folders with all my videos. I have tried about 8 so far and all played flawlessly.

Wife won't let me get the Dune now for a while since we can buy 3 AIOS for the same price (for additional rooms). Hopefully they update the UI with a firmware update, but I'm so stoked so far.

That's great. If you use ThumbGen to do the folder, poster files you can have a jukebox and it will look like this:






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post #15 of 24 Old 03-15-2012, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow that looks awesome.

I'm on a Mac, in case it matters, but can you explain thumbgen?
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post #16 of 24 Old 03-15-2012, 07:05 PM
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Quote:
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Wow that looks awesome.

I'm on a Mac, in case it matters, but can you explain thumbgen?

Is just a movie scrapper. You can read about it here:
http://thumbgen.org/

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post #17 of 24 Old 03-15-2012, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah, it's a PC app. Oh well, thanks for mentioning. I'll have to look for a Mac alternative.
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post #18 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, it's a brick now. It was a glorious first day, second day disaster just like with the Live. The unit flashed a USB warning (no usb devices are plugged in) and the first few times I was able to hit cancel. However, my kids were watching a movie today and didn't know what to do and the unit went to a "Enter USB OTG mode..." and is stuck on that screen now. Pivosforums said must be a lemon. So now I'm thinking that why I should have gone with a Dune. I'll have to return it to amazon, and then order a new one and go without movies for two weeks because they don't exchanges on defective items.

Bummer
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post #19 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kid Red View Post

Well, it's a brick now. It was a glorious first day, second day disaster just like with the Live. The unit flashed a USB warning (no usb devices are plugged in) and the first few times I was able to hit cancel. However, my kids were watching a movie today and didn't know what to do and the unit went to a "Enter USB OTG mode..." and is stuck on that screen now. Pivosforums said must be a lemon. So now I'm thinking that why I should have gone with a Dune. I'll have to return it to amazon, and then order a new one and go without movies for two weeks because they don't exchanges on defective items.

Bummer

That sucks. Stories like yours have been increasing with other media players as well. It appears that quality control is lacking nowadays. However, this can happen with anything.

I know when I order my A300, and I got it, I was excited. Then all the bugs started to come out, and I was just getting frustrated. It was also the holiday season, so I wasn't able to get in contact with tech support. I had to info. from the net, which helped a lot, but didn't fix the most annoying bug, which was losing HD sound. I ended up returning, and I had to wait for almost 2.5 months to get a refund.

I got tired of waiting, and I had to order another media player. That's when I order the Mede8er and the AIOS. The Mede8er was a good player. It played all of my files, but the wife and kids for some reason or another didn't like it even after changing the UI and graphics. I put the AIOS in our master bedroom and the wife got used to it, and she like it. I kept the AIOS, and I sold the Mede8er. Thereafter, I bought the Dune, which is the one I should of bought the first time.

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post #20 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, my wife was right. She suggested "wait 10 minutes unplugged and try it again". And wouldn't you know it booted to the UI screen. Since I had the firmware on a USB stick, I went ahead and updated. My kids are watching the rest of their movie as we speak. It's all good now.

Good thing too, I was about to hit the submit button on the 'return' screen at amazon.com when I had to go do something.

I just need a mac-friendly video wall/thumb thing and I'll be set.
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post #21 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
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Well, my wife was right. She suggested "wait 10 minutes unplugged and try it again". And wouldn't you know it booted to the UI screen. Since I had the firmware on a USB stick, I went ahead and updated. My kids are watching the rest of their movie as we speak. It's all good now.

Good thing too, I was about to hit the submit button on the 'return' screen at amazon.com when I had to go do something.

I just need a mac-friendly video wall/thumb thing and I'll be set.

I don't know of any mac friendly wall/thumb scrappers sorry.

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post #22 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Well it did the black USB screen again and a 10 minute unplug didn't work his time.
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post #23 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
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Well it did the black USB screen again and a 10 minute unplug didn't work his time.

There's always the Boxee Box which has a vg UI. I had a PCH-C200 for ages and never had any problems with networking. The UI was very basic until they came out with a graphical one. Never used the built in one but rather Oversight which is very nice for libraries which change a lot. It can be managed from a Mac. There's also YAMJB which is more complicated to set up (on a Mac) but once it is set up it's very nice. Oversight has the advantage of living on the device and doesn't require a computer.

philip
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post #24 of 24 Old 03-16-2012, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
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Well it did the black USB screen again and a 10 minute unplug didn't work his time.

What format are you movies in? You can try the Popbox V8 for $129.99. Or the PCH-A300, I believe they've got a new FW and may be the bugs are fixed. Or if you've got the money go for the Dune.

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