Acer Revo RL70 w/XBMC12, WMC or Boxee = Quite Impressive 1080p & HD Audio Streaming for ~$300 - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 77 Old 07-07-2012, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Just set-up my new Acer RL70 with XBMC 12 (nightly build with new audio engine embedded) & I'm quite impressed for a $300 pre-built HTPC. I'm starting this thread here in the media streamers section as I feel this nettop may be a viable alternative to users with or considering Boxee Box, PCH, Dune, etc.

Even though the RL70 only comes with 2GB of memory, I'm having no issues streaming 1:1 BD rips in full 1080p and with both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. Will be adding another 2GB to make the unit run a little snappier. What impressed me about the RL70 was how easy it was to set-up. Installed all Windows 7 updates, then installed the latest nightly build of XBMC. Added my movies share (SMB) and the gorgeous MQ3 skin. Went into XBMC setting and checked the Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD 'capable' options, then tested a bunch of BD rips. Smooth video and hd audio playback! No tricky configuring, no worrying about codec packs to install, etc.

I had the Acer Revo 3600 in 2010, but ended up selling it due to its sub-par performance (at least for me). The RL70 blows it away however. There is a wireless keyboard and mouse included, and surprisingly even a WMC remote (similar to Boxee's, but nicer).
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Teardown pics and some interesting discussion in this UK thread.

Also, using WMC for live OTA HDTV via networked HDHomeRun tuner. So, for the price, this appears to be a winner for what you get and can do with it.

Check out the Acer RL70 thread over at XBMC forum.

Update 8/19: HD audio also works via WMC (w/Shark codec packs) and via Boxee for Windows.

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post #2 of 77 Old 07-07-2012, 04:52 PM
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Ah, Brajesh, you found yourself a pre-built PC afterall. I am glad to hear that it is working so well for you. Honestly, I had never seen this Acer model before. Now you have piqued my interest. Thanks!

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post #3 of 77 Old 07-07-2012, 05:19 PM
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That's awesome. My dad has been asking me to make him something similar to my set up, but didn't want to spent too much $$$, and I think this might be something to look into rather than going the Dune or PCH route.

Where did you end up buying it at?

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post #4 of 77 Old 07-07-2012, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Got it at bhphotovideo.com. Two things of note though: the RAM should be upgraded to 4GB. An extra 2GB stick cost me just $13 shipped from Amazon. And, for now, when I use VLC to play videos I'm getting playback issues with high bitrate material, so need to figure out how to make that work. The same videos via XBMC are perfect. Maybe I'll try Media Player Classic.

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post #5 of 77 Old 07-08-2012, 01:23 AM
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Can the remote turn the computer on?

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post #6 of 77 Old 07-08-2012, 08:41 AM
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why do you care about vlc, probably not using hw drivers by default sounds awesome
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post #7 of 77 Old 07-08-2012, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Can the remote turn the computer on?
No, seems to only work with WMC.
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why do you care about vlc, probably not using hw drivers by default sounds awesome
Well, I'm finding a few videos XBMC is having trouble with. One's an Eagles concert HD DVD rip. It's 1080p, VC1, 29.970fps, with DTS-MA audio. Audio plays fine, but video won't display. But, by in large, most videos are playing well.

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post #8 of 77 Old 07-08-2012, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Looking at the Radeon 6320 card specs, the RL70 may support Blu-ray 3D as well. What would be a good program to try... PowerDVD 12 Ultra?

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post #9 of 77 Old 07-09-2012, 04:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Balthazar2k4 View Post

Ah, Brajesh, you found yourself a pre-built PC afterall. I am glad to hear that it is working so well for you. Honestly, I had never seen this Acer model before. Now you have piqued my interest. Thanks!
Thanks BTW for your suggestions, but this one was just about as straightforward as I could get.

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post #10 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Got it at bhphotovideo.com. Two things of note though: the RAM should be upgraded to 4GB. An extra 2GB stick cost me just $13 shipped from Amazon. And, for now, when I use VLC to play videos I'm getting playback issues with high bitrate material, so need to figure out how to make that work. The same videos via XBMC are perfect. Maybe I'll try Media Player Classic.

Got one coming from B&H too. Do you mind giving me a link to the RAM that you bought from amazon?

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post #11 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I believe this is the memory I got.

Having used this nettop for a little over a month now, I'm still happy with it. With XBMC, you need to make sure DXVA is enabled for smooth video playback. It's under 'render method' and 'hardware acceleration' in video settings. I started with Aeon MQ3 skin, but found the UI a little sluggish, so switched to Nox, which works better for me via XBMC nightly. For WMC, I followed the stickied thread in the HTPC section and installed the 32- & 64-bit Shark codec packs w/the suggested settings. I'm getting good video playback and hd audio via Windows Media Player as well.

Haven't tried 3D BD-ISO's yet via something like PowerDVD, but from what I've read (in the XBMC hardware forum if I recall correctly), it doesn't work well.

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post #12 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 11:07 AM
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Sounds really nice. I think it's hard to beat these HTPCs. Way better than media players in my opinion, despite my current infatuation with Sony's new Google TV box.

Philip
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post #13 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Except they're not convenient as media players. It still feels like a PC. I leave mine on all the time, but find myself toggling between the full keyboard/mouse to a Lenovo mini-keyboard to my Harmony remote. Also, XBMC still seems to have trouble with certain 1080i and 1080p files, namely 60fps ones, whereas PCH, Mede8er, etc. play them with ease. But, HTPC's like this are hard to beat as all-in-one boxes.

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post #14 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 01:41 PM
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Yep on the 1080i video issues but I never use anything with XBMC other than harmony. I dont ever use my HTPC keyboard except for sysadmin. XBMC is totally driveable via IR remote.
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post #15 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Except they're not convenient as media players. It still feels like a PC. I leave mine on all the time, but find myself toggling between the full keyboard/mouse to a Lenovo mini-keyboard to my Harmony remote. Also, XBMC still seems to have trouble with certain 1080i and 1080p files, namely 60fps ones, whereas PCH, Mede8er, etc. play them with ease. But, HTPC's like this are hard to beat as all-in-one boxes.

I have a silent Shuttle running XBMC under windows. I use my Harmony with it and can launch either XBMC or Plex. The only thing I can't do with the Harmony is turn the unit on, but since I also never turn it off that's not a major issue. With an SSD, 4gigs and so on this thing has been just as convenient as any of my media players. I will grant you that the PCH will play more files, but I have rarely run into that problem. It seems to me that the media player world is dying and these types of HTPC's are far better than most of the low cost experimental units out there. With Realtek getting out of that world you have Sigma and the ARM camps left. ARM will probably dominate, but the current offerings are not anyway near what is available for the sigma devices or net tops. Once XBMC gets its arm act together, which could take ages, things will change. On the other hand, one little change from Apple, namely opening up an ATV app shop, would swamp the Pivos's of the world. In the meantime the Sony GTV2 is just fine for those of us with ears that can take non-HD audio.

It's a very volatile time in this hobby. Paid streaming is changing a lot and making it hard on the small players.

Philip
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post #16 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 02:39 PM
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Wow this little box looks great and just bought PCH a300...LOL. If I had only heard about this little gem sooner tongue.gif
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post #17 of 77 Old 08-15-2012, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

I believe this is the memory I got.
Having used this nettop for a little over a month now, I'm still happy with it. With XBMC, you need to make sure DXVA is enabled for smooth video playback. It's under 'render method' and 'hardware acceleration' in video settings. I started with Aeon MQ3 skin, but found the UI a little sluggish, so switched to Nox, which works better for me via XBMC nightly. For WMC, I followed the stickied thread in the HTPC section and installed the 32- & 64-bit Shark codec packs w/the suggested settings. I'm getting good video playback and hd audio via Windows Media Player as well.
Haven't tried 3D BD-ISO's yet via something like PowerDVD, but from what I've read (in the XBMC hardware forum if I recall correctly), it doesn't work well.

Thanks for that and the advice!

This is probably a dumb question and is directed to anyone whom will answer. Can I install the extra RAM module prior to setting up computer for the first time or should go through the initial startup first?

Steve
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post #18 of 77 Old 08-16-2012, 04:46 AM - Thread Starter
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You can install it prior.

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post #19 of 77 Old 08-17-2012, 10:26 AM
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Hi,

I just received this pc with Linus on, I tried to update the bios to the version on the acer website a02 and it says that the I'd is not compatible?

Does anyone know how to install the current a02 bios located on the acer website (official) onto the RL70 that shipped with Linus?

Every time I try it says not compatible and therefore I can't update. From what I know this means I can't transfer my windows 7 licence from my current HTPC to my new HTPC as the Linus machine comes without slic bios frown.gif

Please say this is not true...
Can anyone help?
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post #20 of 77 Old 08-17-2012, 11:55 AM
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I would send it back and get the one with Windows on it. Where did you order this from?
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post #21 of 77 Old 08-17-2012, 01:01 PM
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I would send it back and get the one with Windows on it. Where did you order this from?

Ebuyer Europe.
An online search seems to state that the Linux models are designed not to work with the windows bios.. They have 2 bioeses ... 1 for L (Linux) ad one for windows (with slic) ...

I don't think it's faulty, but we must be able to install our own windows surly? I have a licence on my current revo I can move as I'm replacing old hardware.

Without slic bios this is not possible and I not want to rebuy another windows licence for nearly £100 difference in price.

Linux model £170
Windows model £250-300

Why pay more when I can legally move my win7 licence to my replacement HTPC.
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post #22 of 77 Old 08-19-2012, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Beale View Post

Ebuyer Europe.
An online search seems to state that the Linux models are designed not to work with the windows bios.. They have 2 bioeses ... 1 for L (Linux) ad one for windows (with slic) ...
I don't think it's faulty, but we must be able to install our own windows surly? I have a licence on my current revo I can move as I'm replacing old hardware.
Without slic bios this is not possible and I not want to rebuy another windows licence for nearly £100 difference in price.
Linux model £170
Windows model £250-300
Why pay more when I can legally move my win7 licence to my replacement HTPC.

actually you cant legally move your license either and there is copy protection in windows that will prevent you from re-using your existing key so legally and practically your out of luck regardless of the BIOS issue.

good luck
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post #23 of 77 Old 08-19-2012, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Another plus with this nettop is if you install Boxee for Windows, you'll get hd audio w/o any dropouts via Boxee. Maybe Boxee should go with AMD instead of Intel for its next set-top box.

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post #24 of 77 Old 08-20-2012, 07:22 AM
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Bios update - Search for acer "Acer RL70 bios" on google, Check 3rd listing down on MDL forum, hope that helps.......
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post #25 of 77 Old 08-20-2012, 01:17 PM
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Well my RL70 came on Friday and I spent the most of my free moments over the weekend updating and setting it up. I put an extra two GB's of RAM in too. I got XBMC installed but, I have two problems. I can't figure out how to scrub my library to get artwork and of all that. And more importantly, Hi-Def (Blu-ray ISO's) videos do not play well at all. I have DXVA enabled and I've went through the Catalyst Control Center and picked what I thought were the correct settings but, no video love.......

Steve
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post #26 of 77 Old 08-21-2012, 07:27 AM
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Hello Stevetd!

I'm really considering getting one of these little boxes! Have been over to the xmbc forums at all? Or the HTPC forum here?
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post #27 of 77 Old 08-21-2012, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Steve, for scraping your movie/TV library, see this. Re: videos, I believe the reason yours don't play is because XBMC doesn't natively support Blu-ray ISO's I don't think, only DVD ISO's. You need an external player set-up for it, like PowerDVD. I'd ask in the XBMC forums. Almost all my files are MKV, with some TS/M2TS, MOV, MP4, etc.

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post #28 of 77 Old 08-21-2012, 03:19 PM
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XBMC now has BD lite code courtesy of boxee but its still BD lite. I'm guessing thats where the issue is.
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post #29 of 77 Old 08-21-2012, 04:52 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I'll get busy looking at those sites and software.

Steve
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post #30 of 77 Old 08-23-2012, 01:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, adding 2GB RAM for 4GB total helps noticeably. MQ3 worked pretty well for me, but where it was a little sluggish was while viewing my movie jukebox. I have over 1,300 titles, so I'm guessing the large library was the issue. I plan to still try MQ4 when it's out, but for now settled on Aeon Nox.

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