I found a thread for the Chromebox in the HTPC forum although I consider it more of a streamer than PC so I decided to start/post a thread here. As far as I know the ASUS and HP models are identical outside of their respective cases. I happen to prefer the HP and wanted to get Smoke Silver which Amazon has for $150 (at the time of my purchase). I noticed Best Buy has the HP (Snow White) and decided I could live with it and priced match Amazon. If I decide to punt I can return it to Best Buy without a restocking fee and I believe Amazon charges one.
The process is very simple and very well documented at the following two URLS...
I had zero issues setting up dual boot as I didn't want to "gut" the device before my return period expired. Total time was roughly 30 minutes and only requires a small USB flash drive. I did the installation in my den. The only thing that wasn't install friendly is my wireless keyboard isn't recognized at boot time. Perhaps a BIOS setting can be changed. Once booted it worked like a champ as well as my Harmony remote via a IR sensor.
The debate as been going on for a while now whether the NUC or Chromebox is better. My take is they are more apples and oranges and based on your needs one will be the clear winner. In this case I went with the Chromebox for two reasons. I have played with a good dozen NUCs and I know I wouldn't get a desire to install Windows on the Chromebox. It would require too many upgrades... but never say never.
First pass XBMC is running great and has already upgraded itself. Yes HD audio is supported. Beyond that I can't comment at least for a few days.
A few points of interest...
Recommended video settings
- The Celeron version is more than powerful enough to run Kodi "without compromise"
- The HP has only one memory slot (ASUS two) - adding additional memory won't increase its performance (My HP running Kodi reports 1719MB free)
- The HP fan spins slightly faster (a little louder) by default
- The custom firmware reduces the fan noise to being virtually non-existent
- Under System Power Saving you can configure if and when the display is turned off after x minutes of being idle
- When selecting Suspend as you exit XBMC you can "wake it up" with a (harmony) remote
- CPU details
- Following the links above you can always return your Chromebox to its original state
- If you are using HDMI you can't use DisplayPort as well (two displays)
- If you want to use a IR remote (Harmony?) you will need a sensor - I have used this guy for years and it's very powerful (one of the strongest I have seen) - http://www.amazon.com/Ortek-Windows-...=wmc+ir+remote
- Kodi's limited 3D support
- Additional Kodi information/support
System - Video
- Limited Colour Range - Selected (based on how the rest of the chain is calibrated - if selected add autostart.sh to /storage/.config with the following xrandr --output HDMI1 --set "Broadcast RGB" "Full"
- Vertical Blank Sync - Enabled during playback
Video - Acceleration
- Use VC-1 VAAPI - Selected
- Use SW Filter for VAAPI - Selected (not available with Kodi (14.x)) | Deselect Prefer VAAPI rendering for 14.x
I recommend reading this post/thread
for further information regarding calibrating your display.
I recommend using putty
to remotely access the Chromebox. Log in using root with password: openelec
As an example to view the various output settings you would enter: xrandr --verbose
Which displays similar to the following - you can arrow up and down to view the various lines (note there was no active display when I did such)
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 320 x 200, maximum 32767 x 32767
HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
CRTCs: 0 1 2
Transform: 1.000000 0.000000 0.000000
0.000000 1.000000 0.000000
0.000000 0.000000 1.000000
aspect ratio: Automatic
supported: Automatic, 4:3, 16:9
Broadcast RGB: Full
supported: Automatic, Full, Limited 16:235
supported: force-dvi, off, auto, on
Mounting a Network Drive
To mount a network drive at boot time simply add the mount command to the /storage/.config/autostart.sh file - if it doesn't exist you will need to create it. There is a working sample in the image attachments... of course you need to change the username, password, share (//192.168.1.136/tv) and mounting point (/storage/videos) to match your values. Be sure the mounting point exists or it will fail.
(sleep 10; \
xrandr --output HDMI1 --set "Broadcast RGB" "Full"
mount -t cifs -o username=Media,password=password,rw //192.168.1.112/tv /storage/videos; \
Here's a link
to a few popular commands. If you know vi (text editor) it helps when you need to create and or edit files. However in many cases you can create the file in Windows and simply drop the file into the appropriate SMB share. Just be sure it's stored in plain text without a default file extension.
I have installed OpenELEC 5.0.8 (Kodi 14.2) via Standalone. For live TV and recordings I'm using the DVBLink Add-on with DVBLink
running on my NAS.
If you are interested in using the Chromebox/Kodi for TV viewing check this thread
for one option. Another is using ServerWMC
covered in my WMC thread.
What is Kodi (XBMC) and OpenELEC
If you use the following software please consider making a donation to one or both of the groups. What would they cost to purchase as a commercial software package?
- XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OSX, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user interface for use with televisions and remote controls. It allows users to play and view most videos, music, podcasts, and other digital media files from local and network storage media and the internet.
- Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) is a small Linux distribution built from scratch as a platform to turn your computer into an XBMC media center. OpenELEC is designed to make your system boot fast, and the install is so easy that anyone can turn a blank PC into a media machine in less than 15 minutes.