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Old 08-18-2014, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Moving away from HTPC\XBMC

Hello everyone, right now I have a HTPC with the follow specs,
Core 2 Duo
4GB RAM
60GB SSD
Geforce 630GT
XBMCuntu


It works OK.. I don't how much room it takes up and I don't like how you can't turn it on with a remove.. (Lazy ) Also, it doesn't do 24p all that well.. I've wanted a Popcorn hour since they came out.. I saw one a local store for $85 used.. I want to pick it up, but I wanted to check with the AVS peeps first..

The model is the A-210.. The only reason I didn't get it, because I wasn't sure about the PQ and SQ.. I am very picky with it comes to this.. I rip all my BluRays at the highest bitrate. I didn't want to get it, and the thing chokes out.. My AVR is an Onkyo NR809 and my TV is a Samsung 60 8000 Series. Also, all my media is streamed from my NAS..

Is it this going to be a real upgrade for me?
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:41 AM
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A quick thread search popped up two of the larger threads that talk about the A210. You can do a more detailed search.
Popcorn hour c200 or a210?
Boxee Box vs New PCH A210 - need advice

Also take a good look at the WDTV Live-SMP (the "new" model is the WDTV-MP).

- kelson h

The bitterness of poor quality lasts long after the sweetness of the low price is forgotten . . . life is too short to drink bad wine

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Old 08-18-2014, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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A quick thread search popped up two of the larger threads that talk about the A210. You can do a more detailed search.
Popcorn hour c200 or a210?
Boxee Box vs New PCH A210 - need advice

Also take a good look at the WDTV Live-SMP (the "new" model is the WDTV-MP).
Thanks for that. The reason for the post, was that the Popcorn A-210 is older.. I didn't know if it was still an great player or not.. I guess I can buy it and take it back if it isn't worthy :P
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:56 AM
 
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An A-210 is certainly a different beast than an HTPC and brings both advantages and disadvantages dependent on your needs. It is a much simpler approach to streaming, you turn it on or leave it on and it's ready to go and of course has the remote control. The GUI can be a little frustrating on these boxes, it may be slower than you are used to after an HTPC but once you get used to it and learn to navigate around you should be alright. There are plenty of skins and customizations that you can add in if you ever have the itch to spruce up the display. One thing to make sure about is the audio playback. I don't know how the A-210 handles HD audio, if it bitstreams HD audio or not. As you say you are picky about PQ & SQ so you will want to make sure it handles the audio formats you prefer when watching a movie. Some of these boxes struggle with some of the HD audio formats, that is they will have drop outs and pops, that sort of thing. There are plenty of forum threads devoted to these Popcorn hour boxes and I would read them before investing.

I would investigate other brands of streamers as well. I have a couple of WD SMPs and they work pretty well. Both bitstream HD audio and I have no trouble with high bitrate files playing. Anyway, there are a lot of options to choose from and I understand wanting a simple streaming device. I have both an HTPC and several streaming players and use them all depending on my mood at the time. These things become a hobby, plenty of people on this forum have had a half a dozen or more of these boxes. Every time I see a new one come out I'm tempted to try it. Good luck with whatever box you get.
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:21 AM
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Just as a data point... I started with HTPC back in 1999 ... using a DVD drive and hardware decoder card at first. It was actually cheaper than buying a stereo VCR at that time...

Well... I guess that just shows how my data point could be a very different story from yours.. I loved HTPC and the thing I loved most about it at the time was brilliant freeware like Zoomplayer, YXY, Girder, Lirc, ... stuff like that. (I suppose Lirc was a hardware not software but the design was free.)

Anyways,... eventually Unconverting DVD player based on Sigma Designs were super cheap and functioned as well as my HTPC.

I haven't ever gone back to HTPC but recently I learned about WD Live and I'm using one of those now. It's remarkably similar to the type of HTPC I would love to use and I'm really loving it.

-Brian
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bob Olink View Post
An A-210 is certainly a different beast than an HTPC and brings both advantages and disadvantages dependent on your needs. It is a much simpler approach to streaming, you turn it on or leave it on and it's ready to go and of course has the remote control. The GUI can be a little frustrating on these boxes, it may be slower than you are used to after an HTPC but once you get used to it and learn to navigate around you should be alright. There are plenty of skins and customizations that you can add in if you ever have the itch to spruce up the display. One thing to make sure about is the audio playback. I don't know how the A-210 handles HD audio, if it bitstreams HD audio or not. As you say you are picky about PQ & SQ so you will want to make sure it handles the audio formats you prefer when watching a movie. Some of these boxes struggle with some of the HD audio formats, that is they will have drop outs and pops, that sort of thing. There are plenty of forum threads devoted to these Popcorn hour boxes and I would read them before investing.

I would investigate other brands of streamers as well. I have a couple of WD SMPs and they work pretty well. Both bitstream HD audio and I have no trouble with high bitrate files playing. Anyway, there are a lot of options to choose from and I understand wanting a simple streaming device. I have both an HTPC and several streaming players and use them all depending on my mood at the time. These things become a hobby, plenty of people on this forum have had a half a dozen or more of these boxes. Every time I see a new one come out I'm tempted to try it. Good luck with whatever box you get.
Thanks for your reply.. I may get the WD One.. However, I still don't know.. Bitstreaming is better right? if your AVR supports it?
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Old 08-18-2014, 08:49 AM
 
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I think so. I prefer to let my AVR handle all the audio chores but as you note, if the AVR can handle it. Most of these streamers can deliver the at least core HD audio to older receivers. The WD player is a decent little box for the price, certainly not perfect but darn good. You can get used ones for about $45 off ebay plus shipping. Whatever you choose, hang onto your HTPC until you try out one of the streamers. You might end up using both.
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Old 08-18-2014, 07:31 PM
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I had the Popcorn Hour A-100 which had some issues that were never sorted out with firmware issues. I had followed them for a while after and each model seemed to have its little issues that never got sorted but the A-210 isn't even supported anymore. You would be buying a device that was released early 2011 I believe..

The Amazon Fire TV box is a very popular box right now. It has XBMC/Kodi running on it. I'm not sure if it passes HD tracks but its worth looking into.

http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=191109

Last edited by kneedragger; 08-22-2014 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:04 PM
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I am in the same boat as you, I have an extensive library on my network and have been doing the HTPC's for many years. Now that my existing PC won't keep up with BluRay I started looking in to various players, I tried several in the past and they always went back. I picked up a Micca Player from Amazon and honestly for the price it does what I want and has played everything that I've thrown at it but doesn't have any kind of a scrapper in it.

I recently picked up a Mede8er MED600X3D and absolutely love it! I feel that it has excellent PQ and passes out whatever source your audio is either through HDMI or Optical. The remote it great and I really like the interface their built in scrapper app is one of the best I've seen and it is very responsive.

Here is their product matrix.

http://www.mede8er.com/mede8er_product_matrix.htm

As other said going with a player isn't the same as a HTPC but simplifies everything.
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:36 AM
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I'm enjoying a WDLive for now but there are 2 ... almost 3 things wrong with it that may have me considering swapping it out for a HTPC eventually.

1)= No Gapless audio playback ..... so to me it's useless for music.

2) No support for 3D Blu Ray file playback without converting to SBS or some other format where you toss out half the resolution.

If there's a third... no Amazon instant video support but I actually don't do that in the HT anyway... that gets used elsewhere pretty much.

-Brian
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Old 08-21-2014, 07:09 PM
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The smooth interface and reliability of the Apple TV3 have been my solution for years. Of course there's the time for transcoding, but for me it's been well worth the effort. There's a dedicated repurposed PC that serves only as an iTunes server and encounters no problems, updates, nothing but smooth sailing. IPads make for great user interfaces and allows for direct streaming of content.
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Old 08-22-2014, 05:03 AM
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The smooth interface and reliability of the Apple TV3 have been my solution for years. Of course there's the time for transcoding, but for me it's been well worth the effort. There's a dedicated repurposed PC that serves only as an iTunes server and encounters no problems, updates, nothing but smooth sailing. IPads make for great user interfaces and allows for direct streaming of content.
Interesting solution. If you have to put all your eggs in one basket the iTunes solution is certainly a good choice.

So ... you don't care about 3D and Blu Ray quality and hi rez audio?.. ??
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Old 08-22-2014, 07:16 AM
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I have in theory "moved away" from one of them. That being HTPC in the dedicated room. However XBMC is another story via OpenELEC. With a low-end NUC (bootable via USB flash drive) or a Chromebox both at roughly $150 you pretty much have the best of both worlds. A PC and dedicated streamer. Installation and configuration takes minutes. There is zero PC tweaking involved and OpenELEC will update itself with one click of your remote.

I kept bouncing between the "power" of the HTPC and "ease" of a streamer and now that I have my Chromebox installed I'm good to go.
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:52 PM
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I have in theory "moved away" from one of them. That being HTPC in the dedicated room. However XBMC is another story via OpenELEC. With a low-end NUC (bootable via USB flash drive) or a Chromebox both at roughly $150 you pretty much have the best of both worlds. A PC and dedicated streamer. Installation and configuration takes minutes. There is zero PC tweaking involved and OpenELEC will update itself with one click of your remote.

I kept bouncing between the "power" of the HTPC and "ease" of a streamer and now that I have my Chromebox installed I'm good to go.
Yeah I've been using OpenELEC for years and love it. I'm still using an Acer Revo 1600 (single core with Nvidia) in my bedroom.

A lot are going with the NUC now and slowly the Chromebox is getting steam for Kodi/XBMC users. Last I checked with the Chromebox you needed to dual boot and hold a key down to pick the XBMC OS. I'm wondering if they are past this??
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Old 08-22-2014, 02:58 PM
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Last I checked with the Chromebox you needed to dual boot and hold a key down to pick the XBMC OS. I'm wondering if they are past this??
If you open her up you can configure it to default to OpenELEC or remove the dual boot entirely. Links to the details are in the Chromebox thread I started in this forum.
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Old 08-22-2014, 03:39 PM
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If you open her up you can configure it to default to OpenELEC or remove the dual boot entirely. Links to the details are in the Chromebox thread I started in this forum.
I will check it out, thanks!
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