3-4 years ago media players were a hot thing, what happened? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 07-28-2012, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
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I've had about 8 different media players. Western Digital, Xtreamer just to name a couple. I ended up keeping a Dune Prime 3.0 and a Popcorn Hour A210. Both players are stable and have played just about anything I have tried with them. I do consider the Dune model a higher end product that sits above the rest out there. Now, after 3 or 4 years I'm looking around to "maybe" upgrade. Not that I need to, but I usually like to keep up to date and do like gadgets. Are there any NEW players out there that compare to the reliability and playability of the Dune type player? I see so many Chinese type players just pushing out cheap players with never updating firmware that just don't compare. After reading lots of threads on here, even the newer players are crashing and people aren't happy with them. I guess I just miss the days of new players coming out every other month and Sigma announcing new chipsets all the time. Looks like those days are over.
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post #2 of 44 Old 07-28-2012, 10:36 PM
 
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Cinavia!!!
( figured I would post it before Kelson got here)
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post #3 of 44 Old 07-28-2012, 10:42 PM
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I would vote for an Apple TV2 + jailbroken + XBMC. YOu also get Airplay for music and video and Home Sharing. Pretty powerful for $100-$200.
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post #4 of 44 Old 07-28-2012, 11:03 PM
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I'm new to all this, and mostly a lurker.
What I've learned while lurking is the amount of grief (varying degrees) with most of the media servers.
I've had more than my share of Netgear hassles with bad switches and routers, and their endless games of honoring their warranty.
I'm not interested in more of that grief.

I don't mind ponying up the cash for a Dune, but the No Return policy, and skimpy warranty do not impart a level of confidence for that much $$$.
The thought of being stuck with a dead $300 turnip is not thrilling.

Also, I'm in the middle of Yet Another Caviar Green 2TB disk crash.
Half of a RAID1 pair bit the dust, so I had to immediately take a full copy to a 3rd 2TB drive from my stock.
The chances of the 2nd drive failing during the rebuild process is too risky.

NAS4Free and the others do offer the ZFS file system and ZRAID2 or ZRAID3 protection.
But... the chronic failure of 2TB drives makes this a real annoyance.
It takes three (reliable) 640gb drives to match the capacity of one flaky 2TB model. Very pricey.

It seems so much less hassle to just stick a BD disk into a BD player and be done with it.
I'm 38 years into the computer service business, so perhaps I'm just a bit jaundiced... biggrin.gif
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post #5 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowmah View Post

I would vote for an Apple TV2 + jailbroken + XBMC. YOu also get Airplay for music and video and Home Sharing. Pretty powerful for $100-$200.

Not Apple's utter trash. If it has an "i" in it its utter rubbish. Horrific compatilbility and you are locked into Crapple 100%.

As to the OP, streamers are now a commodity. Innovation is basically dead/stagnating. What more is there? A few big players and little change.
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post #6 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 08:52 AM
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A short little history....

Really, there have only been 2 reliable and capable units in this market. The first was the Rokulabs HD-1000 that came out in 2001. It used an ATI chipset and was an excellent MEDIA player. It could play photos, music and videos over smb and nfs without skipping, had an open interface development standard and was inexpensive. Roku abondoned that product, but no viable replacement came on the market until the Dune 3 series in 2008 with the 2008 generation of Sigma chip. At that point blu-ray .iso files could be reliably streamed. No progress on photo or music playback has been made since that original Roku product in 2001 and no stable progress has been made on video playback since 2008.

The chip makers are not keeping up with technology and the OEM manufacturers are limited by the grey nature of the legality of media streaming products in general. Due to this, the only current alternative to advancing media playback is to use a general purpose processor computing device (PC). This gives the ability to playback just about any media, but has the limitations of administrative and operational overhead as well as providing a more cumbersome environment for use.

My clients have now been purchasing "locked-down", purpose-built, computers to do what a small, easy appliance should be able to do.
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post #7 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 09:01 AM
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post #8 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 09:21 AM
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I struggled with this for a while after my old xbox with XBMC died. I spent a year or so in limbo had some very bad experiences with Blu Ray and eventually went the dreaded HTPC route anyway and installed XBMC.

Some real time waste but best solution I could find. I'd rather XBMC make a dedicated trouble free streamer themselves but whatever. I can access my stuff now. Very disappointed at how this has evolved over the last 10 years. I would have thought this was an easy slam dunk.

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post #9 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 09:24 AM
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* Most devices from TV's to set top boxes have a basic DLNA player present in them these days, the vast majority of people are happy with this despite how crappy DLNA is so they have no need for a dedicated media player like in the past.

* Arm chipsets designed for tablets/phones/STB's are eating away at everything in the embedded market. The traditional media player chipset vendors are being pushed out by these due to cost but also due to the fact that mips based media player chipsets have been technologically very behind the times.

* Sigma Designs is the only one of the old school left in the game, they are relying on a port of XBMC to wow next generation players,

* However XBMC has already been ported to Android and anyone who buys an Amlogic based Android set top box (like Pivos XIOS DS) will get full XBMC no restrictions plus lifetime updates for as long as it's supported. In addition access to Android apps for streaming media. Plus Pivos are rumoured to be pepping a linux option for the player for those who don't even want Android.

The only reason to even consider buying a Sigma based media player is if your very fussy about a certain feature missing from Android/XBMC or looking for a more mainstream interpretation of XBMC with fewer options enabled.
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post #10 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiddles88 View Post

Not Apple's utter trash. If it has an "i" in it its utter rubbish. Horrific compatilbility and you are locked into Crapple 100%.

This is just more childish pollution of the forum which is preventing any meaningful discussion of the topic. In the end no one serious will bother coming to these forums.

Philip



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post #11 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 01:53 PM
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@Opentoe

It does appear to be as you say. I remember when the Mvix USA Ulteo came out there seemed to be a period when there were new media players coming out every couple of months and , like you, I bought most of them to satisfy the live of gadgets thing. I think the current situation is actually not that different. There are new players, largely divided between the ARM and Intel HTPC camps. Realtek is now out of it and it supplied the core of mostly interchangeable players. Sigma still is hanging in there but appears to be falling behind. When the Boxee Box came out many of were happily that there was finally an alternative to Sigma, which from a GUI point of view was in the stone age.

The current situation is actually quite exciting. The players are largely following the trend away from disk sales and so playback of Blu-ray backups at the highest level is not a priority, add to the legal murkiness of that whole thing. There is the Apple Ecosystem which is reliable and well supported. There is now a bunch of Google TV and Android 4.0 based players which seem really neat. There are Smart TV's, Smart Blu-ray players and Smart TV upgraders. There is the very interesting Roku2 line. PCH is still hanging in there with good general players. Plex is on a lot of devices, XBMC is making its way to ARM, etc ... There are also small HTPC quiet systems that handle XBMC and/or Plex. Wireless is taking off, remote playback, AirPlay. The Xbox is developing into an interesting general entertainment centre.

Heck, it is actually the golden age of "media players". What it isn't is a good time for people looking for excellent general purpose media players playing every codec, all types of containers and so on ... PCH and Dune appear to be the remaining options there and they will have a tougher time of it as the Sigma chips fall further behind in return/cost. DRM, legal issues and the move to streaming will eventually do them in I suspect.

Things are moving towards more mobile solutions. Tablets and so on ... Plex has the right idea and the Android players are now becoming very interesting, especially with XBMC almost available.

Of course this is just an opinion and disks may end up being more popular than I am predicting. I hope that there remains good options for serious collectors. They ensure that the quality arrow is pointed in the right direction for everyone else. For now though, small and mobile seems to be the way of the future.

Philip
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post #12 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 02:39 PM
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This is the same thing that happened 3-4 years ago. Before the standalones hit the market everyone was building HTPC there was no options outside of it, Then standalones came along, And ruled the space now ARM is making a push to rule that space.

My input is until DUNE, PCH, or med8er get behind an adroind based player we will not see much out of it. No one wants to put up the money for DTS/DD/truehd/dts-hd on any arm devices so even if they play video fine they are severely crippled in the audio department and will be until someone with money gets behind one. Im sorry to say but I dont see pivos putting up the money for it they might but doubt it. Even sigma had a chip that ran android but it never made it to market.

If someone can take something like the curent Ouya project and turn it into a player with the same audio/video capabilities of current gen standalones and with the price tag of 99-129$ it would be golden.
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post #13 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 04:08 PM
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As many have mentioned, limitations are there. I find a dedicated HTPC works the best but with overhead, time to boot up, wireless mouse etc..., kind of a pain but it works well. Thank goodness there is ATV2 + jailbreak + XBMC.
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post #14 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 04:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

This is just more childish pollution of the forum which is preventing any meaningful discussion of the topic. In the end no one serious will bother coming to these forums.
Philip

Work for Crapple? Horrible deliberately locked down rubbish for sheeple who don't know better.
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post #15 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 05:59 PM
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Work for Crapple? Horrible deliberately locked down rubbish for sheeple who don't know better.

+1

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

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post #16 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 06:27 PM
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Work for Crapple? Horrible deliberately locked down rubbish for sheeple who don't know better.

While it's pretty crappy for local video content, i have both Dune players and a pair of ATV3s connected in both my HT setups. Dune in my opinion is best for local video content but the ATV3 combined with an iPad makes for a pretty nice gadget.
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post #17 of 44 Old 07-29-2012, 09:50 PM
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How can anyone who has used an ATV2 with XBMC call it crap? It's obvious they have not used it.
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post #18 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 12:02 AM
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How can anyone who has used an ATV2 with XBMC call it crap? It's obvious they have not used it.

ATV2 by itself is meh ATV2 with xbmc while expands on the ATV2 it still severely lacks A lot of things not 1080p no HD audio the list goes on, its not for everyone I would not call it crap but not worth the money in itself for what it does.
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post #19 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 01:06 AM
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ATV2 by itself is meh ATV2 with xbmc while expands on the ATV2 it still severely lacks A lot of things not 1080p no HD audio the list goes on, its not for everyone I would not call it crap but not worth the money in itself for what it does.

I see what you mean. No HD audio, may not play all 1080p content. Having said that, many users have reported that it plays many 1080p videos (not mp4 or mv4) (and even over 5GH Wifi) and proved that Apple is conservative with their spec'ing. Either that, or users have been suggesting that they spec based on Apple formats. XMBC is not playing apple formats. As long as you know what you are getting into, I would ask that at the $100 mark, what out there beats a jailbroken ATV + XBMC. It even has Airplay / Home Sharing to boot.
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post #20 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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How can anyone who has used an ATV2 with XBMC call it crap? It's obvious they have not used it.

I have used it and woul not call it "crap" but merely "meh" as some others have. the lack of HD audio is huge and the 1080p as well..
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post #21 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 12:38 PM
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I see what you mean. No HD audio, may not play all 1080p content. Having said that, many users have reported that it plays many 1080p videos (not mp4 or mv4) (and even over 5GH Wifi) and proved that Apple is conservative with their spec'ing. Either that, or users have been suggesting that they spec based on Apple formats. XMBC is not playing apple formats. As long as you know what you are getting into, I would ask that at the $100 mark, what out there beats a jailbroken ATV + XBMC. It even has Airplay / Home Sharing to boot.

If you are into airplay and home sharing you will not find a substitute. but the 100$ mark is pretty easy to find these days you have the v8 coming in at 129$, You have the micca's coming in between 70-115$. It all depends on your wants and needs, the players I posted will play HD audio pretty much any 1080p video even if its anime speced with 16 ref frames and such, but you lose out on no airplay, and the ease of use some people like with atv,
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post #22 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 01:07 PM
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If you are into airplay and home sharing you will not find a substitute. but the 100$ mark is pretty easy to find these days you have the v8 coming in at 129$, You have the micca's coming in between 70-115$. It all depends on your wants and needs, the players I posted will play HD audio pretty much any 1080p video even if its anime speced with 16 ref frames and such, but you lose out on no airplay, and the ease of use some people like with atv,

what do you mean by HD audio? does it play SACD .iso files, DVD-Audio .iso files .flac files at 6-channel 192/24? How about dsd .dsf and .dff? Can it play alac files? What about .ape files? Can it output HD audio over HDMI and decimated analog over rca connections at the same time for multiple zone use?

HD audio means different things to different people just like hd video does. Please quantify.
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post #23 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 04:02 PM
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what do you mean by HD audio? does it play SACD .iso files, DVD-Audio .iso files .flac files at 6-channel 192/24? How about dsd .dsf and .dff? Can it play alac files? What about .ape files? Can it output HD audio over HDMI and decimated analog over rca connections at the same time for multiple zone use?
HD audio means different things to different people just like hd video does. Please quantify.

HD audio = truehd/dts-hd and most players that support dts-hd/truehd also support 6 channel 192/24 flac. going into format specifics like ape, And ALAC is just making it more confusing anyone looking for specifics like that more then likely are not going to be looking at a video player They will go for a true audio player.
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post #24 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 04:22 PM
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Personally I'll be building a HTPC for my next media player. My current Micca is fine, but nothing can beat a HTPC for its flexibility. With AMD's updated range of APU's it will last for years. It will not falter or choke either.
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post #25 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 04:56 PM
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Personally I'll be building a HTPC for my next media player. My current Micca is fine, but nothing can beat a HTPC for its flexibility. With AMD's updated range of APU's it will last for years. It will not falter or choke either.

I would not waste time on the AMD APU's they still can struggle its not a full proof will last for years. an ivy bridge i3 would be the better way to go they should give good performance in a small package. Should be fast enough a GPU is not even needed unless you want to play games.
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post #26 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 05:42 PM
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Work for Crapple? Horrible deliberately locked down rubbish for sheeple who don't know better.

What kind of child are you? You don't go and call millions of people sheep and uninformed just because you don't like their choices and feel superior. It's people like you that are turning this place into a far less appealing forum. I would suggest that you go back under the rock from which you emerged. This very reasonable conversation started by the OP has degenerated into an Apple bashing thread with little content. Why couldn't you just contribute to the topic without betraying your issues?

philip
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post #27 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 06:13 PM
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What kind of child are you? You don't go and call millions of people sheep and uninformed just because you don't like their choices and feel superior. It's people like you that are turning this place into a far less appealing forum. I would suggest that you go back under the rock from which you emerged. This very reasonable conversation started by the OP has degenerated into an Apple bashing thread with little content. Why couldn't you just contribute to the topic without betraying your issues?
philip

Locked down trash for sheeple. Yes, everyone knows apart from those who buy said trash. As for degeneration you are the child for constantly picking on what I say. No one else has.
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post #28 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 06:29 PM
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Locked down trash for sheeple. Yes, everyone knows apart from those who buy said trash.
I'm not an Apple fan, but as an engineer, I can't dispute that Apple has technology what beyond what most CE manufacturers have. It is the only reason they can get away with locking it down.

There is no technology that compares to AirPlay, although Sonos comes close. An AppleTV will perform exactly as advertised. My iPod (the only Apple device I own) has the best UI of any player I own. The iPhone may be the most copied device in history. So I personally think terms like "crapple" and "sheeple" are inappropriate descriptions. You sound rather biased, to me.
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. . . picking on what I say. No one else has.
Most of us try to ignore it.
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post #29 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 06:41 PM
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Autonomic anyone? Mirage media server is pretty impressive and is up for an award at CEDIA this year.
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post #30 of 44 Old 07-30-2012, 06:47 PM
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I would not waste time on the AMD APU's they still can struggle its not a full proof will last for years. an ivy bridge i3 would be the better way to go they should give good performance in a small package. Should be fast enough a GPU is not even needed unless you want to play games.

+1 for the ivy bridge i3. An i3 in a micro ITX is a good compromise for power consumption vs performance.

I too have got a tad jaded with all the claims made by media player makers that don't add up. The pile of them in my cupboard can attest to that.
So far the only thing that is close to universal is a HTPC running XBMC or similar.

I have culled everything down to a NAS, HTPC with slimline BD player and a WDTV Live SMP and that covers most things.

BTW, I got a new Sony Google TV box for the novelty and something to play with but realize that was prolly just a waste of money.
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