The Little Black Box (with XBMC): Possible Boxee Box Replacement? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 64 Old 07-20-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I moved on to Mede8er after Boxee Box several months ago and haven't looked back, but one thing Boxee Box did (tried to do) right was ease of use, nice UI, with a decent mix of local and Internet content support. Outside of a HTPC, there hasn't been anything else quite like it... which is why The Little Black Box intrigued me. Having owned so many media streamers, I don't have high expectations, but could this possible be Boxee Box evolved?

XBMC remains the ultimate front-end jukebox, but how will this box do as far as:
- HD audio w/o dropouts or any hiccups?
- XBMC add-ons, all supported?
- Performance of UI; speed of box itself?
- High bitrate BD rips playing smoothly over wired network?
- How does one update XBMC itself?
- 3D and 2D DVD and BD ISO's supported?

Their forum is awfully quite for a product just launched in the U.S., but I expect to get mine next week and check it out for myself.

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post #2 of 64 Old 07-20-2013, 04:38 PM
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If your familiar with the G-box midnight it is very similar.

Before either of those I would suggest you look into the G-box midnight MX2 before you purchase.
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post #3 of 64 Old 07-20-2013, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DraZtiK View Post

If your familiar with the G-box midnight it is very similar.

Before either of those I would suggest you look into the G-box midnight MX2 before you purchase.
I looked at the G-box in the past but was turned off by its inability to output real 1080p with XBMC. At the time it could decode/process 1080p but would downscale to 720p for output via HDMI.

Has the G-box software update been released for 1080p output in XBMC or is it still stuck with 720p?
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post #4 of 64 Old 07-20-2013, 07:03 PM
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These things are ideal for 2nd HTPCs or something for your kids playroom.

But if you are asking about perfect playback, HD audio, high-bitrate rips, UI smoothness etc. im sorry to say you will be disappointed. I would put money on it.

Most people who buy a $60 ARM device for XBMC are not videophiles. They play mostly low bitrate rips and don't notice audio dropouts or frame judders. So you need to take their 'reviews' and declarations of perfect playback with a pinch of salt.
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post #5 of 64 Old 07-21-2013, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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As I already ordered it (bit of an impulse buy), I'll report my findings. They do purport to support HD audio, but I don't have a way to test it (in a middle of a home move).

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post #6 of 64 Old 07-21-2013, 11:12 AM
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I don't believe any Amlogic M3 box does HD bitstreaming but I could be wrong or my info out of date.

Certainly XBMC itself can do HD audio decoding and output PCM if that is acceptable to you. Or DTS core passthrough.
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post #7 of 64 Old 07-21-2013, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluechunks View Post

I looked at the G-box in the past but was turned off by its inability to output real 1080p with XBMC. At the time it could decode/process 1080p but would downscale to 720p for output via HDMI.

Has the G-box software update been released for 1080p output in XBMC or is it still stuck with 720p?

I was under the impression it outputs 720p in XBMC GUI only but when playing videos its output is correct in 1080P assuming thats what the source is. If thats the case then I wouldn't care as long as movies playback at 1080P. And I believe it only supports HD audio pass through and will not decode, not 100% sure.
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post #8 of 64 Old 07-21-2013, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by DraZtiK View Post

And I believe it only supports HD audio pass through and will not decode, not 100% sure.

HD audio decode is part of XBMC itself. It should work on any platform provided there is enough CPU power.

It is bitstreaming that is problematic on some platforms like this.
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post #9 of 64 Old 07-25-2013, 10:22 AM
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Anyone get it yet? I'm anxious to hear if it does what it says it does. smile.gif
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post #10 of 64 Old 07-25-2013, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Irishdoom View Post

Anyone get it yet? I'm anxious to hear if it does what it says it does. smile.gif

this guy did. No HD audio.

http://forums.boxee.tv/showthread.php?t=66025&p=295374#post295374

OTA | Netflix | Hulu+ | Amazon Prime | NBA via Ballstreams, MLB.tv & MLS Live with No Blackouts!
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post #11 of 64 Old 07-25-2013, 11:46 AM
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I'm curious to find out how this unit handles full-scale BD video, and larger hard drive support..
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post #12 of 64 Old 07-25-2013, 12:20 PM
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The TLLB is a fork of the Pivos XIOS XBMC linux firmware right down to the same chipset so it has most of the same capabilities and weaknesses as that. I think they do have their own software team working on it though obviously the bulk of the work stems from Pivos.

The TLBB claim they are not upscaling 720p and outputting true 1080p, dont know about that someone would have to confirm, all other Amlogic boxes at this time upscale 720p.

The Amlogic 8726-M3 chipset plays BD video (no menus), HD pass-through requires licensing and software support, the audioengine on the Arm linux branch of XBMC has some issues I think so HD audio is off the table until those are sorted out.

Watch out though as the TLBB does not appear to have an SD card slot, XBMC media library if you use it will eat up that internal storage eventually, they are probably compressing the hell out of it to begin with, anyway with no way to offload the data to somewhere else that would be an issue. The Pivos XIOS uses it's micro SD card slot to save everything onto that instead of using internal flash storage.
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post #13 of 64 Old 07-25-2013, 12:42 PM
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I just need to seriously ask myself - Does HD audio REALLY matter? Maybe I should just put the Boxee Box back on my main TV.
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post #14 of 64 Old 07-26-2013, 04:27 PM
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Does anyone know if the LBB will play 1:1 Blu-Ray ISOs - I talked with a LBB reseller who wasn't sure, but IM'd someone who he said was, while I was on the phone with him... and the 1st answer was "yes, it will play BD folder structure, m2ts and BD MKV rips" -- so I asked again, clearly stating that I was talking about BD ISOs, and the 2nd answer from the person on the other end of the IM said "yes"

Given the scenario as to how I got the answer... I'm still wanting to hear it from someone who has actually "Played" a BD ISO on the LBB!
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post #15 of 64 Old 07-26-2013, 04:52 PM
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I just want to see a YouTube demo of this unit, playing high-bitrate HD A/V, with an info screen. That is all.
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post #16 of 64 Old 07-26-2013, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Mine was supposed to be here this week, but Post Office messed up and looks like I'll have it next week. HD audio would've been nice, but if TLBB can play BD rips w/o stutter, that's already a win combined with what you get with XBMC. Won't be my dedicated home theater player, but if it works as expected, just fine for secondary displays.

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post #17 of 64 Old 07-26-2013, 08:05 PM
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I am really cofused. I just received The Little Black Box. I first synched the remote to the box. I was playing with it and I did something but don't know how to change the look back to the default. How do I return it back to the settings when I first received it?
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post #18 of 64 Old 07-27-2013, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd suggest asking in their forums here.

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post #19 of 64 Old 07-27-2013, 08:33 PM
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I am new to xbmc. How do you install addons, specifically 1 channel, ice films, live tv shows, sports (Nascar/Formula 1 racing)? I thought that when they said preloaded it would be pre-installed.
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post #20 of 64 Old 07-27-2013, 10:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulo72 View Post

I am new to xbmc. How do you install addons, specifically 1 channel, ice films, live tv shows, sports (Nascar/Formula 1 racing)? I thought that when they said preloaded it would be pre-installed.

If available, you should find them under (videos) ---> add-ons. No add-ons are preinstalled, hence the name "add-ons". Only the program itself is preinstalled. Addons are done by third party programming.
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post #21 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 05:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulo72 View Post

I am new to xbmc. How do you install addons, specifically 1 channel, ice films, live tv shows, sports (Nascar/Formula 1 racing)? I thought that when they said preloaded it would be pre-installed.

Most of the add-ons you want are not in the official XBMC repository and cannot be discussed on XBMC forums.

Try XBMCHub or SuperRepo. You will find guides on both sites.
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post #22 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 08:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Got this box and it's lacking. Performance is very sluggish, buggy. Several of the remote's buttons don't work, namely playback controls when playing Internet or local video content (can't pause; pressing 'Stop' mutes audio). High bitrate BD rips stutter. Couldn't test HD audio, but it apparently isn't supported as claimed. This box may be fine for smaller filesize MKV's and XBMC add-ons. Not worth $130 + shipping. Mine's going back (if returnable); if not, eBay. Bad impulse buy frown.gif.

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post #23 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 08:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Got this box and it's lacking. Performance is very sluggish, buggy. Several of the remote's buttons don't work, namely playback controls when playing Internet or local video content (can't pause; pressing 'Stop' mutes audio). High bitrate BD rips stutter. Couldn't test HD audio, but it apparently isn't supported as claimed. This box may be fine for smaller filesize MKV's and XBMC add-ons. Not worth $130 + shipping. Mine's going back (if returnable); if not, eBay. Bad impulse buy frown.gif.

Thank you, for the heads-up.. I'll be looking into a compact HTPC.
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post #24 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, for the heads-up.. I'll be looking into a compact HTPC.
Same here. Need a pre-built PC (nice form factor) that can do HD audio, play full 3D ISO playback (via external player like TMT), and do stutter-free playback of uncompressed 2D BD rips.
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post #25 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 05:05 PM
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I ordered my TLBB from Box Top Theatre. Cody who works there is the US rep for the TLBB. I was informed the auto installer is being worked on which will install the addons for you. It should be coming out in an update shortly. In the next update. all of the buttons will work.

Checking the TLBB forum the update is available today, although it mentions that alot of the buttons still won't work, not even the Power button or the
settings button.. The performance is supposed to be improved. It is usable but did freeze up a bit on me. I hope it doesn't take too long to fix the remote.
http://tlbbforum.com/threads/1-0-1-firmware-update-7-29.92/#post-630
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post #26 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Even with that, TLBB is fine for undemanding needs, namely compressed 720p and 1080p MKV rips and XBMC add-ons. Boxee, even with all its flaws, performs better as a local media streamer.

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post #27 of 64 Old 07-28-2013, 07:34 PM
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Brajesh, thanks for taking the hit to inform the rest of us. smile.gif

Sounds like "Another one bites the dust..."

It may be time to bring the Boxee Box back out of retirement, and look to put together one of those Intel NUC HTPCs in the future. Though I guess I still could consider the Mede8er as well, but if I'm spending $200, part of me says just go all the way to an NUC.
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post #28 of 64 Old 07-29-2013, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brajesh View Post

Got this box and it's lacking. Performance is very sluggish, buggy. Several of the remote's buttons don't work, namely playback controls when playing Internet or local video content (can't pause; pressing 'Stop' mutes audio). High bitrate BD rips stutter. Couldn't test HD audio, but it apparently isn't supported as claimed. This box may be fine for smaller filesize MKV's and XBMC add-ons. Not worth $130 + shipping. Mine's going back (if returnable); if not, eBay. Bad impulse buy frown.gif.

Just wondering are you streaming from a linux based NAS, a Windows based PC or the old WHS platform, if WHS that's a strong likelihood as the part of the problem with stuttering.

For those who don't know ideally on any linux/XBMC based Amlogic box your order of preference should be (with WHS being about the worst possible option) For the record I have a Pivos XIOS and a QNAP NFS server and it plays raw BD video with no stuttering or problems.
1) Linux based NAS running NFS shares
2) Linux based NAS running Samba shares
3) Windows running NFS server shares
4) Windows SMB shares

Ideally these boxes need a dedicated & standalone UPnP/DLNA server that is compatible with XBMC's media library, ala Plex but that's something that will have to come later.


If you still have the box I would be interested to know if it lives up to its true 1080p output claims, this video if played on PC will show lots of thin lines bunched together that is 1080p but if it's upscaled 720p then the lines will appear thicker and more spaced apart.
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post #29 of 64 Old 07-29-2013, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Streaming from a Synology NAS via NFS. I do notice that if I reboot the box, let it sit for a few minutes and play an uncompressed BD rip, it plays fine. However, if I try to pause, stop or do other things, playback starts to get screwed up. Also, I tried the high bitrate Birds clips of 'Planet Earth'. Only the 60 Mbps plays fine (again, if it's playing fresh, when the box isn't doing anything else, like updating your library or add-ons in the background). The 70, 80 and 90 Mbps Birds clips stutter like crazy.

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post #30 of 64 Old 07-29-2013, 10:39 AM
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Interesting thanks for the info, guess they didn't leave it cooking in the oven long enough especially with the big deal they made about the remote & not having the buttons properly mapped.

The 70, 80, 90 ones are unlikely to play and I don't think they are really a big deal as they are well outside any normal video specification.
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