My ideal streamer - Roku + XBMC - does this exist? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 82 Old 06-10-2013, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been looking for a solution to put in a few rooms at our house. While I've never tried the Roku, it seems like it has most of what we want, except the local content. Yes, I've read about Plex but I've heard some not so good comments about it, and it doesn't seem to play movies ripped in multiple VOB's, which is what I have all of my media in.

I guess I could migrate the to a new format and then use Plex on the Roku, but I think what I'd really like is XBMC.

I did read up on some of the Android players, but here I found some so-so comments also. One that stood out to me was on the Pivos player and the Netflix app. They said navagation was really difficult and basically you have a very difficult time watching anything that's not on the main screen.

That being said, is there any plans to put XBMC on Roku? Or is there another player that has good online content, plus XBMC, that's fairly family-oriented plug and play?
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post #2 of 82 Old 06-10-2013, 07:27 AM
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Doesn't exist, outside of building a HTPC that is. Boxee Box came close to being that 'best of both worlds' solution (online and local content), but ultimately didn't happen. If you need both a solid local and online streamer, I'd suggest Roku and a separate local streamer. My blog post here may help you.

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post #3 of 82 Old 06-10-2013, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the thoughts. I did try the PopBox and Boxee several years ago, but ended up returning both.

I'd like ot think that XBMC may eventually get into a Roku private channel, but perhaps not. And I guess I could always just take my separate VOB's and re-encode them to MKV and go with Plex. Or go seperate like you said. All options with pros and cons, of course.
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post #4 of 82 Old 06-11-2013, 02:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amheck View Post

Thanks for the thoughts. I did try the PopBox and Boxee several years ago, but ended up returning both.

I'd like ot think that XBMC may eventually get into a Roku private channel, but perhaps not. And I guess I could always just take my separate VOB's and re-encode them to MKV and go with Plex. Or go seperate like you said. All options with pros and cons, of course.

The Roku is not powerful enough to run XBMC. Plex is as close as you will get.

Philip
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post #5 of 82 Old 06-12-2013, 10:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

The Roku is not powerful enough to run XBMC. Plex is as close as you will get.

Philip

That's an incorrect statement since the Raspberry Pi can run XBMC and it uses the same CPU as the Roku...or least the Roku 2's. The problem with the Roku though is it's closed source and no one has hacked into it to install custom ROM's so there is little chance we will see XBMC on a Roku box anytime soon. That being said I would suggest looking into an Android based device which seem to be coming along quite fast. Good site to start at is http://www.xbmcandroid.com/. I actually am using a Minix Neo G4 running XBMC and so far so good, but I only just got the device a few days ago, so I'm still in the trial phase. When I get a chance I'll try playing some movies in VOB's to see what happens.
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post #6 of 82 Old 06-12-2013, 05:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Let me know what you think of the Android device. I read up on the Pivos a bit and most seem to think the Linux version of XMBC runs ok, but the Android version isn't all that quick. And you have to turn all of the skins off or it really gets bogged down.

I think having an android based system would be neat, but I want to make sure it works. Like I mentioned before, I also read that the Netflix and other apps are really meant for touch screen control, so trying to control them with arrow keys can be a bit of a nightmare.

I'm started to realize there is no perfect solution. And I'm even wondering if there's even a good solution. smile.gif Seems everyone has good ideas but just doesn't execute on it 100%
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post #7 of 82 Old 06-13-2013, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bac522 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pmcd View Post

The Roku is not powerful enough to run XBMC. Plex is as close as you will get.

Philip

That's an incorrect statement since the Raspberry Pi can run XBMC and it uses the same CPU as the Roku...or least the Roku 2's. The problem with the Roku though is it's closed source and no one has hacked into it to install custom ROM's so there is little chance we will see XBMC on a Roku box anytime soon. That being said I would suggest looking into an Android based device which seem to be coming along quite fast. Good site to start at is http://www.xbmcandroid.com/. I actually am using a Minix Neo G4 running XBMC and so far so good, but I only just got the device a few days ago, so I'm still in the trial phase. When I get a chance I'll try playing some movies in VOB's to see what happens.

Well running well is really the point. I can only say that the Pivos XIOS unit ran XBMC under Android but it was painful. Much better under Linux. As it is the Roku is hardly a speed demon with support for a limited type of video.

The closed nature of the Roku is not a problem. It brings about a defined solution which people can either accept or reject. Obviously people have taken to it and that other closed unit the ATV. Just because you have a million worker bees toiling away trying to get something out doesn't mean you'll end up liking the result. It's beginning to sound like the Borg all over again.

I have yet to use XBMC on a non computer platform with any real satisfaction. The Pivos unit is really the only one that has come close and it is terrible using Android.

Philip


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post #8 of 82 Old 06-13-2013, 09:14 AM
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I have a Roku XD in my bedroom and like it. The Minix Neo G4 I just got is for the living room when I don't feel like booting up the main HTPC with XBMC. I'm impressed with the Minix, XBMC runs just as fast on it as does on my HTPC...moving through the menus that is. The only problem I've seen is some plugins can be temperamental, for example the Pandora plugin with XAF XBMC crashes out XBMC, but being a very early user of XBMC on Linux I remember similar problems with it way back when. I know over time the XBMC devs will work out most issues on Android.
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post #9 of 82 Old 07-26-2013, 07:52 AM
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While I've been waiting for the 'perfect' solution to come along myself, I've been reading a ton of good things about XBMC (Windows) + Add-ons + Plex Media Server.

I'm mostly waiting for my financials to support the expense, but I think I'll be going the Windows-based XBMC HTPC route (but I want the box for gaming as well, so I'll be building a considerably beefy HTPC). Lifehacker has some great articles on building fully featured HTPC's for under $500.

The XBMC plugins running on XBMC for Windows (like the Netflix plugin) have really high marks with the users as far as I've seen, and it's fairly simple to setup a user on the computer that launches into XBMC as it's shell, which saves time and resources and is really slick. Then you have another user setup with the traditional explorer shell to login to when you need to service the machine.

Use plex to transcode and stream your library to other devices that doesn't run XBMC. (like a xbox 360s, phones, tablets, etc).


Have you meandered through the list of streaming services that are supported in XBMC through add-ons? I'm not a huge streaming viewer myself, but they seem to have a pretty complete list.


(EDIT: Nevermind. I just saw that you mentioned that your requirements are for (what I like to call) secondary media players that are relatively cheap to go in secondary rooms. My solution doesn't really cover multiple rooms, sorry. Carry on!)
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post #10 of 82 Old 07-26-2013, 08:18 AM
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I'm in the same boat as many here, hoping for that perfect combo device. I've actually started to think I need to just go back to my Boxee Box and forget about HD Audio. The funny thing is I don't even think I can tell the difference between HD audio and regular old DTS or whatever. So I have to ask myself, what did I NOT like about the Boxee Box?

  • The remote is meh
  • No Hulu Plus or Amazon VOD
  • HD Audio issues

Maybe I was just being silly retiring it to the basement for the WDTV SMP, which plays everything just fine but with a UI nowhere near as nice.
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post #11 of 82 Old 07-26-2013, 02:11 PM
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I gave up and converted all my .iso to mkv

wife uses roku3 with plex, easy for her to use and everything combined

When we both watch a movie I use the HTPC
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post #12 of 82 Old 07-26-2013, 11:07 PM
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I have been through all of this, many streamers, etc. I have settled to a roku, and a celeron nuc running openelec.
Full hd audio, no drivers, windows pia. I am in IT used to love the htpc thing but so burnt out on it, just want a set and forget, love openelec. No windows wanting to update, or some other service causing issues, or issues, issues, etc. I am not sensitive or it is not there to my eyes with the 24p thing, I do not notice any dropped frames on full bd mkv with hd audio, it looks and sounds great. You can also add plex through plexbmc if you need it. For around 200$ the celeron nuc is small quiet, and hd audio sweetness. there is no one box that will give you the on-line options, and local playback hd-audio, auto scraping etc.
Maybe one day?
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post #13 of 82 Old 07-27-2013, 06:14 AM
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I've gone through this exercise also and decided that you need two devices; especially if you want HD Audio and streaming:

1. Movie playback with HD Audio: HTPC or one of the capable streamers (Dune, etc).
2. Streaming: Roku, Bluray player, ATV, etc.

If you can compromise on your Movie audio and video quality, you can use one box for movies and streaming. Some leading choices are:

1. Roku w/Plex (requires computer running Plex Media Server but won't handle VOBs or ISOs. Plex will transcode to suite the playback device)
2. Bluray player or other device that has a Plex app available. Bluray players are good clients because they can handle MPEG2 DVD .MKV files without Plex transcoding. (requires computer running Plex Media Server)
3. ATV (requires computer running iTunes and movies need to be in Apple friendly format - M4V. Handles up to 1080p and AC3)

The benefit of the Plex and iTunes solutions is that your content will also be available on just about any device:
Plex - anything that has a Plex app and web browsers
iTunes - Apple devices

To suit my needs, I did both. I have a HTPC in my Home Theater with full rips of my DVDs and Blurays. This gives me full resolution video and audio in my Home Theater. The HTPC also records TV and runs Plex Media Server so I can watch the recorded TV shows on other devices. In the other rooms, I have AppleTVs. I don't care about the HD audio because the speakers aren't that great and I need high WAF. iTunes runs on my Mac Mini and the M4V videos only take up about 1TB. It's not a problem for me to have two sets of media: 1. Full rips, 2. Compressed. I've been compressing all my media with Handbrake since the beginning so I can fit it on laptops, tablets, phones etc.

Think about what you want to accomplish in each room and pick the solution that meets your needs.

Add TV recording and playback into this mix and it gets much more complicated!

Tim
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post #14 of 82 Old 07-27-2013, 12:52 PM
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Been kicking around that OUYA. Bought it only for XBMC and it's sort of buggy ATM. Menu is super fast but cannot play my blue ray rip folder structures (m2ts) that I have been using in my Popcorn Hour A200 (menu super slow) but HD audio stream works. My entire family is used to the Popcorn Hour Movie Wall I set up but it's a pain to add new custom content since I end up addding custom cover art and create my own nfo files to get things right.

I have been a fan of XBMC since the solderless chip mods of the original Xbox (what I used to run around the house), but I'm old now with kids...ha ha. I just want a quick XBMC box solutoin. I still think nothing can beat an XBMC solution but I do not want to babysit an HTPC anymore. Ouya looks promising and perfect for standard def content and music. May move it to my weight room. Maybe if Ouya releases faster hardware chipsets and android development improves it will be a solid solution and if they just cost $100 I'm in.

Rob
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post #15 of 82 Old 07-28-2013, 07:09 PM
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Quote:
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Been kicking around that OUYA. Bought it only for XBMC and it's sort of buggy ATM. Menu is super fast but cannot play my blue ray rip folder structures (m2ts) that I have been using in my Popcorn Hour A200 (menu super slow) but HD audio stream works. My entire family is used to the Popcorn Hour Movie Wall I set up but it's a pain to add new custom content since I end up addding custom cover art and create my own nfo files to get things right.

I have been a fan of XBMC since the solderless chip mods of the original Xbox (what I used to run around the house), but I'm old now with kids...ha ha. I just want a quick XBMC box solutoin. I still think nothing can beat an XBMC solution but I do not want to babysit an HTPC anymore. Ouya looks promising and perfect for standard def content and music. May move it to my weight room. Maybe if Ouya releases faster hardware chipsets and android development improves it will be a solid solution and if they just cost $100 I'm in.

Rob

Good luck with that one. As far as I know all the devices that cost less than $100 dollars android or linux do not support HD sound due to licensing cost. If they were to support HD sound, they would not be selling at $100 or less. At the moment, the best set up I've found for my family and I are Dune D1 and Dune TV303D for streaming all of my ripped movies, and use PS3 / XBOX 360 for Netflix.

I tried the HTPC route, and it is just too much work trying to maintain it. My wife and kids are much happier with the Dune's and their jukebox is easy to use.

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post #16 of 82 Old 07-29-2013, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I tried the HTPC thing too and it was just too much work. I used to enjoy building PC's. Now with work, family and everything else, I just want something I can turn on and have everyone be able to use it.

I was hoping for ROKU with a DLNA client, but I guess the best that I can do is use another PC and have it run Plex Server. Only thing is, we don't have any wired desktops - everything is wireless and I'm not too sure how that will go. I guess I'll need a dedicated PC wired for the best of both worlds.
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post #17 of 82 Old 07-29-2013, 07:39 AM
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I am in the same boat. I have an 2 HTPCs (using XBMC which works great) and a media server (ubuntu) plus older Blu-ray players being used for mostly netflix and I want to simply use one device for netflix as well as personal content. This week I install Plex on the media server and it sync'd with everything I had (mkv, mpg3, etc.). I even used my Mac as a plex client and it played everything great. Now I am going to try a couple of Roku devices to see if all this works together. If not, then maybe an ATV since there is a Plex client app for it now, or so I've heard.
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post #18 of 82 Old 07-29-2013, 01:56 PM
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I use plex on my roku. And while I do not have any vob files I do have a ton of MKV's and they all play flawlessly and I get 5.1 audio too. Gives me cover art, synopsis, I love it!

I also have a couple of HTPC's. Once I got them setup correctly I haven't had any issues in years and they play everything including HD audio. Nothing to maintain on them.

Now I only use the HTPC for my bluray rips where I really want the HD audio such as action movies. For all other video i'm using the roku now.

HTPC: Intel e6300 2.8ghz, Intel DG45ID, 2gb DDR2, Radeon 5570, MCE IR receiver, Yamaha RX-V663 receiver via HDMI, panasonic ax100u, 145" S-I-L-V-E-R painted screen, 2x Roku 3's, chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Vizio M602i-B3
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post #19 of 82 Old 07-30-2013, 06:57 AM
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I'll always use my HTPC (XBMC) for my home projector w/120" screen - the picture is awesome and it's used only for high quality HD video and audio. For netflix and other streaming media a HTPC is overkill esp. for smaller screen playback which is my I am looking for a single box approach. I currently have two boxee boxes but they have become flaky now and really slow so I am looking for their replacement. I wish there was a blu-ray player that could play all the major networked video streams as well as local video content and do music decently - now that would be a perfect combination.
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post #20 of 82 Old 07-30-2013, 08:47 AM
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Roku and an OpenELEC box, along with a well programmed Harmony remote seems to be my best solution right now. I still have hopes that an Android device will come along that can handle Netflix DRM along with XBMC & support audio needs. Then, for euphoria, add DRM support for network cable-card tuners & take Windows Media Center out of the loop.

For all my Time Warner hatred, I'll admit their Roku channel is pretty nice for that spare bedroom TV.
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post #21 of 82 Old 07-30-2013, 09:04 AM
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Yup, a Roku blu ray player ftw.
+1 on the openelec roku combo I am using the same setup
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post #22 of 82 Old 07-30-2013, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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For all my Time Warner hatred, I'll admit their Roku channel is pretty nice for that spare bedroom TV.

I'm waiting for Bright House to catch up and offer this. Since the cable boxes are $8/month, a nice Roku in the kids rooms would be great along with the cable app.
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post #23 of 82 Old 07-31-2013, 05:54 PM
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Our Roku players are now gathering dust (have 2 Roku 2 players and a Roku 3). They have been replaced by Apple TV 3's running PlexConnect, a PCH- A400 running Plex and Oversight/Eversion and an Intel NUC running XBMC under Windows 8.

The PCH-A400 is great with Plex and Oversight and the ATV is just so much nicer for us than the Roku, which is still a very good choice.

It is really impressive how far PlexConnect has come.

Philip
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post #24 of 82 Old 08-01-2013, 09:29 AM
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A jailbroken ATV 2 is probably your best bet to have a XBMC streamer box. This 3 year old box is 720p but most of the content on XBMC is only available at 720p. Although this box came out in 2010, the video playback is nice and smooth. With this box, I have no need for a HTPC. This is a good thing since I don't want to maintain another computer. Also with XBMC, there is no need for me to rip movies or maintain a library of movies. I have also cancel all my premium satellite channels.

ATV 3 can not be jailbroken and therefore you will not be able to install XBMC. I do not recommend ATV 3 for the OP.

ATV 2 is available on ebay but expect to pay a premium for this device. They are in high demand. People are selling non-jailbroken and jailbroken ATV 2 here. Do your research on tethered jailbreak and non-tethered jailbreaks. The latest two ATV 2 firmwares only support tethered jailbreak. You can buy a jailbroken ATV 2 but these could sell for up to $350. I suggest you do the jailbreak yourself and save some money. There are plenty of resources on how. If you want to have a non-tethered jailbreak, you will have to purchase an ATV 2 on an older firmware or wait until a non-tethered jailbreak comes out for the current version of iOS.

I don't have any experience with XBMC on Raspberry Pi so I can't say what the performance is like.

I've tried installing XBMC on Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4. Video playback on 720p content was really choppy. This gives me a bad feeling about any of the android streamers. I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't a dedicated video processors on these boxes. My iPhone 4 played XBMC videos smoothly. My only guess is that video playback is offloaded from the main processor to the video processor.

This is my experience. I hope this info helps.
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post #25 of 82 Old 08-06-2013, 09:50 AM
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I can't find the thread where I said I found a possible inexpensive HTPC. So, I am going to post the link here, and hopefully the person I told them I would find this will read this:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856102002&nm_mc=EMC-IGNEFL080613&cm_mmc=EMC-IGNEFL080613-_-EMC-080613-Index-_-MiniBooksizeBareboneSystems-_-56102002-L06C

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post #26 of 82 Old 08-09-2013, 09:44 AM
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Like everyone else I am also looking for the ideal XBMC solution and to-date that has eluded me - although things are getting closer as each day passes :-)

Currently I am using a Hyundi T7 cheapo Chinese tablet running Android 4.04 based on an Exynos quad core cpu running at 1.2ghz.. I use the libstagefright version of XBMC with hardware accelerated video and in all fairness it runs fine with most of the video I have thrown at it through its usb connection to an external 2TB hard drive and streaming from the net within XBMC. The downside is that it has no Ethernet port so its a little gimped!

The guys at Hardkernel have just released an interesting and powerful android device that will run Unix flavors as well as Android 4.2:

http://www.hardkernel.com/renewal_2011/products/prdt_info.php

This device should be man enough to run most video you could throw at it but I don't know what the sound processing will be like for the pros (it will probably be fine for me). I guess the other option would be to go down the NUC road but they are quite expensive here in the UK.

Anyway I thought I would share my two pennith.
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post #27 of 82 Old 08-09-2013, 11:38 AM
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Nuc, Nuc , Nuc.

Just got my i3 Nuc (and 32gb msata ssd plus 1600MHz ram) installed OpenElec and BAM!

you get a perfect STB

using Yatse app on your smartphone/tablet you can wake on lan the nuc and command it to your needs.

Nuc is fast, silent and with openelec 3.1.5 you got an awesome xbmc experience!

Much better then my dune smart , himedia 910, neotv 550, ouya...

the Celeron version (847) is enough for openelec and even with (not to much) heavy skin you get no lag

BHH

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post #28 of 82 Old 08-09-2013, 11:45 AM
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+1. Been loving my i3 NUC with Win7 and XBMC installed. Now trying to configure TMT6 for 2D and 3D ISO playback.

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post #29 of 82 Old 08-09-2013, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzqw View Post

Nuc, Nuc , Nuc.

Just got my i3 Nuc (and 32gb msata ssd plus 1600MHz ram) installed OpenElec and BAM!

you get a perfect STB

using Yatse app on your smartphone/tablet you can wake on lan the nuc and command it to your needs.

Nuc is fast, silent and with openelec 3.1.5 you got an awesome xbmc experience!

Much better then my dune smart , himedia 910, neotv 550, ouya...

the Celeron version (847) is enough for openelec and even with (not to much) heavy skin you get no lag

BHH

Are you going to sell your Dune Smart then? hint hint!

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post #30 of 82 Old 08-09-2013, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kpump View Post

I have been through all of this, many streamers, etc. I have settled to a roku, and a celeron nuc running openelec.
Full hd audio, no drivers, windows pia. I am in IT used to love the htpc thing but so burnt out on it, just want a set and forget, love openelec. No windows wanting to update, or some other service causing issues, or issues, issues, etc. I am not sensitive or it is not there to my eyes with the 24p thing, I do not notice any dropped frames on full bd mkv with hd audio, it looks and sounds great. You can also add plex through plexbmc if you need it. For around 200$ the celeron nuc is small quiet, and hd audio sweetness. there is no one box that will give you the on-line options, and local playback hd-audio, auto scraping etc.
Maybe one day?

I do IT for a living as well and last thing I want to do when I sit down to watch a movie is mess with a computer.
I have a I3 Nuc in my livingroom with Openelec and just built a mini pc with a Celeron 847 for the bedroom also running Openelec. Openelec is the perfect platform in my opinion as it turns your average computer into a Media appliance. No messing around with drivers or updates on a daily basis, just install and enjoy.
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