Best media player interface - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 02-25-2013, 07:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking for advice on a media player to play off of a hard drive and need your help. There are two thing I'm looking for are 1) compatibility with mkv files using mpeg 2, mpeg 4, and vc1 so that I can do a bit for bit rip of my DVDs and blu-rays and 2) has the easiest and most elegant interface.

Really, I fell in love with kaleidascape but seeing as its close to 20k it's not an option. So, how close can I get to k-scape interface and compatibility?
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-25-2013, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, and compatibility with lossless audio
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 03:18 AM
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Popcornhour A400.

In second place is Pivos XIOS DS running XBMC but it doesn't do HD audio bitstreaming, it's on a to do list and the list is very long so no ETA.
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 05:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alx330 View Post

Popcornhour A400.

In second place is Pivos XIOS DS running XBMC but it doesn't do HD audio bitstreaming, it's on a to do list and the list is very long so no ETA.

i've never heard of popcorn hour but from what little i was able to find it looks quite intriguing. it says on their page that is supports iso files, so am I able to assume it can play full disk iso's? For local storage I saw it has both a harddrive slot and USB/esata. Can these drives all be used to create one large library or would each drive show up separately?

It's a little disappointing that it doesn't support full-bd menus though. Do you know if I just use my MKV rips of the title track if I can still use the nice looking tile interface?

any options that support full bd menus?
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 05:45 AM
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Dune may be worth checking out as well, but, personally, I don't think any streamer comes close to an HTpc.

Every one I've used is slower browsing by a lot, has compatibility issues, and is way more difficult to manage the library than something like a mac mini or windows pc running XBMC, Jriver, etc.
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 05:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nycmtber View Post

Dune may be worth checking out as well, but, personally, I don't think any streamer comes close to an HTpc.

one thing I'm running into in my search is I will find one with great file support but the interface is lacking, or one with a great interface like the popcorn hour but without the full support i'm looking for. the interface is important partially because it's just nice to have a good looking screen but in large part for my wife who wants to be able to access all of our movies and TV shows more easily that rummaging through the box of DVDs and blu-rays. and, since she watches a lot of TV on DVD, having the menus worked out is essential for her.

as far as xbmc or jriver, do they support full iso and menus?
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post #7 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 06:41 AM
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There's nothing close to the beauty of a htpc running xbmc. But you can find many players with better file support and easier set up than xbmc.

Dune being one of those when you use a jukebox for example. Just search YouTube for dune+yadis to have an idea of the final result.
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 06:55 AM
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A Dune is probably your best bet it`s rock solid reliable. If you don`t need full 3D support I would suggest the Dune Smart D1. If you`re looking for a great interface I would also recommend the iPad or Android app for MyMovies for Dune - it`s a great app that not only looks great but makes your collection for more accessible due to the numerous sorting options. As well, it pulls trailer links from the net for your movies and includes IMDB links.

I have tried an HTPC and although it had its benefits a much prefer the Dune, it``s more stable, easier to use and essentially bug free. The only limitation at this point is 3D, though it still is capable of 3D in a side-by-side format.
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 07:09 AM
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I prefer Jriver on my HTpc as it simply plays anything you toss at it both audio and video at the highest possible quality and is very easy to use. I'm not sure how it handles blu ray menus.

I got my parents a Dune smart D1 and put a 2TB drive in it. It plays most everything but I've run into a few videos it will not play. I dont know how it handles music but my guess is not very well if you have a large collection.

One big thing to note with the Dune is if you have a MAC and want to manage a library on the Dune the only software available is pretty bad...duneX. I have a lot of movies I gave them and it took a ton of work to get them imported and properly setup. I was very disappointed to learn My movies does not really work on the mac since it looks like it works great.

it also takes forever to transfer files to the HDD i installed when over the network, and it always seems to mess up whenever I plug a portable HDD directly to the Dune.
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 10:12 AM - Thread Starter
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So to keep it simple as to what I'm looking for, I need it to:

1) play iso files
2) play mkv
3) support bluray and DVD menus
4) have a great interface/control app for my wife to easily use

Am I aiming too high?
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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And any thoughts on the more basic wd TV live? I see conflicting reports on its .iso support for bluray
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 10:40 AM
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I tried really hard to convince my parents to buy a small HTPC instead of the streamer. It's really A LOT better. after you add the cost of the higher end Dune or the popcorn a400, which is what you'll probably want to get, and then get a HDD for it you are looking at the same price for a high quality HTPC which can then act as a media server for the rest of your house and other devices like ipads and laptops, even to other homes or devices on the internet anywhere in the world.

I'm pretty sure the highest end Dune does blu-ray no problem as it has a built in blu ray drive. Can't say about ISO, should say on their site, but they seem to play pretty much everything besides a few rare files.

if you have a really big TV and sit close enough to it you can sit right on the couch with a nice keyboard/mouse combo, and browse the web and also control the media. For the simpler folk they are left with apps that are fairly basic and easy to learn and work well controlling the software.

You can set both XBMC and Jriver to start up upon booting so all they'll ever see is a nice 10' interface saying something like MOVIES TV MUSIC.

the coolness factor is also way higher with the HTPC.

my wife is able to control XBMC and Jriver easily and she's not a huge fan of messing around with software!

My parents with their Dune, well, my dad who's pretty good with computers can handle the Dune, but he can't manage the software side of things...I have to do all that when I visit.

but I don't think my mother touches it. It's simply too daunting of a task to figure out how to turn everything on let alone control it. Dune has an app for the iphone and ipad that is basically the same as the remote and it works fine.

Now that I see My Movies can work with the Dune I think there's a better chance the Dune will work out for them. I hope to install that this weekend and see how it goes.
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simp1yamazn View Post

So to keep it simple as to what I'm looking for, I need it to:

1) play iso files
2) play mkv
3) support bluray and DVD menus
4) have a great interface/control app for my wife to easily use

Am I aiming too high?

Not at all... an older Dune (Smart, not the new 3D ones) can do all that, when used with a third-party jukebox like My Movies, Zappiti, 10Muse, or Yadis. Setup can be daunting but the living room operation is very friendly. The jukeboxes each have at least a free trial so you can find the one that works best for you.
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post #14 of 19 Old 02-26-2013, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
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I checked out xbmc and it looks pretty nice. Couldn't get the iOS controller to connect though. I enabled controller acces in the settings but even when I manually added the info on the iOS side it wouldn't connect. Any ideas?
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post #15 of 19 Old 02-27-2013, 02:24 AM
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All I can say is I found XBMC required me to learn a lot about settings in windows, my tablets and phones for app control, my network, and the proper naming of files for accurate presentation of TV Series and Movies. For music, XBMC was too difficult to get to work with my very large and often inaccurately tagged files plus much of it is ALAC. Jriver does a really great job sorting it all out automatically but I believe Itunes may have done some of the work over the years before.

To get where I am now with a nearly fully automatic file management where mostly I just have the Cinema view on the TV and control remotely with my ipad, It was a lot of work for me. when I began I probably had about 200 movies and 20 or so series of TV with many seasons. Most were not named perfectly and did not work well in XBMC. Jriver is better at automatically adding movies and music but it's not so great with TV series unless they are named with a certain format. it doesnt, or I don't know how, to get it to automatically rename the file and move it to it's appropriate folder for better organization. Jriver also has a great library editing capability but still requires a lot of work if you have many files that need renaming.

For the file management I mostly use Media center master and there are other options I did not try. I still have to rename TV series manually if I want to add them to the library.. Jriver will play them just where they are as long as it's told to watch that folder with the files in them but it'll get messy unless you move them somewhere else.

This site's faqs were a great help for XBMC and Media Center Master, and Jriver has a really nice wiki of it's own.
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post #16 of 19 Old 02-27-2013, 05:54 AM - Thread Starter
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right now all i have are mac computers so jriver would be a big leap of faith without being able to try it first. i don't need it to handle music, unless it somehow interfaced perfectly with itunes since my receiver already supports airplay and i have an appletv.
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-27-2013, 05:59 AM
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Yep Jriver is out unless you switch to windows. I'm a mac user as well and found learning windows 7 a frustrating experience and I still complain about it every once in awhile.

I did not want a mac mini because it does not do digital surround pass through but otherwise is totally adequate.

Plex is another alternative to check out. I used that for my parents before the Dune. They would stream movies from my server as well as their own iMac using a Roku.

xbmc is great for movies and tv series. Its as good or better than Jriver for that, I think. Especially once you get a good metadata to work with providing lots of art and trailers, reviews, etc for them.
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-27-2013, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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If i do complete iso rips of my movies, is there an easy/automated way to add the metadata?
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post #19 of 19 Old 03-01-2013, 09:50 AM
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If you do complete ISOs of your movies I would say it may be worth considering purchasing of an inexpensive PC to take advantage of MyMovies as its the only indexer I know of that is disc-title based rather that movie-title based. It will not only add movie data but also disc release data including information about bonus features etc. This program works great with Dune players or a media-centre PC.
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