Looking for a modern XBMC/Kodi hardware box to replace AppleTV2 - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 8 Old 01-18-2015, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Liked: 0
Question Looking for a modern XBMC/Kodi hardware box to replace AppleTV2

I currently have a file server with a bunch of hard drives hosting my personal rips of a large number of DVDs and Blu-Rays as well as purchased DRM-free video content. Piracy is not a factor for me. Currently, I stream to my televisions using AppleTV2s modified to run XBMC. I'm currently running XBMC 13 on both. One ATV2 is hooked up over gigabit ethernet, the other is wireless, and I have a very high end router with excellent performance.

Here are my general feelings about my current setup:
+ The hardware is tiny, silent, and has very low power consumption
+ The remotes control are easy to use and very friendly to older relatives and guests that come to our place
+ Playback performance is fairly good for SD content, and hardware decoding for MP4 content is handy.
+ Netflix's interface on the ATV2 is fairly good
+ YouTube's interface on the ATV2 is fairly good
+ My wife and I have iPhones, so AirPlay is a great option
+ I keep my music library in iTunes so the music streaming stuff is pretty good
- I sometimes run into trouble with 720p content, especially relatively high-bitrate stuff. 1:1 Blu-Ray rips are impossible to play
- UI performance is terrible. It's constantly chunky scrolling through our library. Scanning for new content is not nearly as fast as I'd like it to be. Considering a skin other than the default one would be unfathomable, because the default one is fairly lightweight and even it has a lot of UI performance issues.

I am looking for a replacement hardware setup to upgrade to this year or early next year. Price is not something I really care about, but obviously if I can choose between something that's $99 and something that's $199 and they both work equally well, I'm going to pick cheaper. I'm also very skilled technically and have no problem with devices which require modification to run well.

Here's what I'm looking for in a new piece of hardware:
+ Runs XBMC / Kodi (MANDATORY)
+ Supports some sort of simple remote control (AppleTV remote ideal, but I'm willing to switch to something comparable in size); willing to buy an IR dongle or whatever if the hardware does not support it by default.
+ Runs Netflix (Optional but important)
+ Runs YouTube and supports AirPlay beaming (Optional but important)
+ Fairly small (willing to go larger than Apple TV, but not much larger)
+ Silent (MANDATORY)
+ Low power usage (Doesn't need to be as low as Apple TV, but can't be an HTPC)
+ Strong XBMC / Kodi performance including high bitrate 720p. Being able to play a 1:1 Blu-Ray rip would be great. Hardware acceleration for major containers and formats would be great. Future-proofing for H.265 would be great.
+ Good UI performance on Kodi. I want to be able to scroll through a VERY large library (something like 700-800 films and 500-600 or so seasons of television) and scan for new content very quickly. I want smooth like butter.
+ If it doesn't boot to XBMC, that's fine, but the default interface should be clean
+ Is likely to be supported by XBMC/Kodi actively going forward

I've started some preliminary research, and unfortunately I really can't find a clear option. There's the Fire TV, there are a variety of Chromeboxes, there are those Intel NUC devices, there's the Raspberry PI (which seems to be in a comparable performance class to the ATV2 so not really a good upgrade route). There's any number of Linux-running small boxes. There's the Ouya. Then there's a variety of Micro-ATX HTPC options. There's also the increasingly popular HDMI stick format, Intel just announced one. At the high end, there's the Mac Mini. And I can't really get a sense of where to go. When I bought the ATV2s, they were the obvious choice. The price was great, the size was amazing, getting them to run XBMC was easy, performance was great at the time. But there doesn't seem to be an obvious choice today.

I would love to hear some testimonials about various options, especially for anyone who has experience upgrading from ATV2. Thank you very much for your time.

Short version: Have a file server streaming to AppleTV2 XBMC/Kodi. Looking for an upgrade path to get better playback and UI performance. Would love if there was a 2015 ATV that ran XBMC/Kodi, but there isn't. What's my closest replacement option?
throwaway_needhelp is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 8 Old Yesterday, 08:22 AM
Advanced Member
 
smitbret's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: East Idaho - Pocatello
Posts: 500
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by throwaway_needhelp View Post
I currently have a file server with a bunch of hard drives hosting my personal rips of a large number of DVDs and Blu-Rays as well as purchased DRM-free video content. Piracy is not a factor for me. Currently, I stream to my televisions using AppleTV2s modified to run XBMC. I'm currently running XBMC 13 on both. One ATV2 is hooked up over gigabit ethernet, the other is wireless, and I have a very high end router with excellent performance.

Here are my general feelings about my current setup:
+ The hardware is tiny, silent, and has very low power consumption
+ The remotes control are easy to use and very friendly to older relatives and guests that come to our place
+ Playback performance is fairly good for SD content, and hardware decoding for MP4 content is handy.
+ Netflix's interface on the ATV2 is fairly good
+ YouTube's interface on the ATV2 is fairly good
+ My wife and I have iPhones, so AirPlay is a great option
+ I keep my music library in iTunes so the music streaming stuff is pretty good
- I sometimes run into trouble with 720p content, especially relatively high-bitrate stuff. 1:1 Blu-Ray rips are impossible to play
- UI performance is terrible. It's constantly chunky scrolling through our library. Scanning for new content is not nearly as fast as I'd like it to be. Considering a skin other than the default one would be unfathomable, because the default one is fairly lightweight and even it has a lot of UI performance issues.

I am looking for a replacement hardware setup to upgrade to this year or early next year. Price is not something I really care about, but obviously if I can choose between something that's $99 and something that's $199 and they both work equally well, I'm going to pick cheaper. I'm also very skilled technically and have no problem with devices which require modification to run well.

Here's what I'm looking for in a new piece of hardware:
+ Runs XBMC / Kodi (MANDATORY)
+ Supports some sort of simple remote control (AppleTV remote ideal, but I'm willing to switch to something comparable in size); willing to buy an IR dongle or whatever if the hardware does not support it by default.
+ Runs Netflix (Optional but important)
+ Runs YouTube and supports AirPlay beaming (Optional but important)
+ Fairly small (willing to go larger than Apple TV, but not much larger)
+ Silent (MANDATORY)
+ Low power usage (Doesn't need to be as low as Apple TV, but can't be an HTPC)
+ Strong XBMC / Kodi performance including high bitrate 720p. Being able to play a 1:1 Blu-Ray rip would be great. Hardware acceleration for major containers and formats would be great. Future-proofing for H.265 would be great.
+ Good UI performance on Kodi. I want to be able to scroll through a VERY large library (something like 700-800 films and 500-600 or so seasons of television) and scan for new content very quickly. I want smooth like butter.
+ If it doesn't boot to XBMC, that's fine, but the default interface should be clean
+ Is likely to be supported by XBMC/Kodi actively going forward

I've started some preliminary research, and unfortunately I really can't find a clear option. There's the Fire TV, there are a variety of Chromeboxes, there are those Intel NUC devices, there's the Raspberry PI (which seems to be in a comparable performance class to the ATV2 so not really a good upgrade route). There's any number of Linux-running small boxes. There's the Ouya. Then there's a variety of Micro-ATX HTPC options. There's also the increasingly popular HDMI stick format, Intel just announced one. At the high end, there's the Mac Mini. And I can't really get a sense of where to go. When I bought the ATV2s, they were the obvious choice. The price was great, the size was amazing, getting them to run XBMC was easy, performance was great at the time. But there doesn't seem to be an obvious choice today.

I would love to hear some testimonials about various options, especially for anyone who has experience upgrading from ATV2. Thank you very much for your time.

Short version: Have a file server streaming to AppleTV2 XBMC/Kodi. Looking for an upgrade path to get better playback and UI performance. Would love if there was a 2015 ATV that ran XBMC/Kodi, but there isn't. What's my closest replacement option?
Asus Chromebox running OpenELEC with a FLIRC and a lifetime subscription to PlayOn.

Don't go the RaspPi route. With a few tweaks and some overclocking they work great as a 2nd location like a bedroom, but they are still a little clunky. By the time you add a case, SD Card, USB drive, IR sensor and WiFi adapter (optional if you can get a cable to it) then it's not much cheaper than a FireTV and doesn't perform as well. I bought mine just as a cheap way to get introduced to XBMC and then upgraded to the Chromebox. Just kept the RaspPi cuz it works well enough that there is no real need to replace it.
smitbret is online now  
post #3 of 8 Old Yesterday, 10:55 AM
AVS Special Member
 
dan4081's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,135
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 35
Tough choice here.
The Chromebox is amazing....but there doesnt seem to be an easy way to get Netflix on it.
Another option is the Fire TV...dont have one myself but from what I have read it seems to be very similar to what the Apple TV 2 was with XBMC. It can be hacked and XBMC loaded on it, and it also has Netflix and amazon prime video.
(I also had apple tv's hacked with XBMC and have replaced them over the past couple of years for pretty much the same reasons you listed.)

In my living room I have a home built HTPC running windows 8 and XBMC. I use the windows 8 app for netflix. It works great, but...if it ever dies, I will replace it with a chromebox.

In my bedroom I am now running a chromebox that is set to boot directly to XBMC. Couldnt be happier. I enjoy it every bit as much as my HTPC, except its quieter, more energy efficient, smaller, and since its loaded as a stand alone set up its ONLY purpose is to run XBMC.
I solved my Netflix dilemma by adding a ROKU 2 that I bought refurb from newegg for about $50.
IMO, the 2 box system is the perfect set up.

Unbelievably, you can sell a jailbroken, XBMC loaded Apple tv 2 for over double what you paid for it on ebay right now. They are consistently selling for over $200. That would pay for a Chromebox AND a Roku....probably with a couple dollars left over!

Revo Ion...XBMC For Windows...Dharma RC2
dan4081 is online now  
post #4 of 8 Old Yesterday, 12:17 PM
Advanced Member
 
smitbret's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: East Idaho - Pocatello
Posts: 500
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post
Tough choice here.
The Chromebox is amazing....but there doesnt seem to be an easy way to get Netflix on it.
That's what the PlayOn is for. Makes it a piece of cake.
smitbret is online now  
post #5 of 8 Old Yesterday, 12:20 PM
AVS Special Member
 
dan4081's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,135
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Liked: 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by smitbret View Post
That's what the PlayOn is for. Makes it a piece of cake.
Hadnt heard about that. Since I'm about to add another Chromebox for my computer room I'll look into it!
Thanks

Revo Ion...XBMC For Windows...Dharma RC2
dan4081 is online now  
post #6 of 8 Old Yesterday, 12:53 PM
Advanced Member
 
smitbret's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: East Idaho - Pocatello
Posts: 500
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 180 Post(s)
Liked: 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by dan4081 View Post
Hadnt heard about that. Since I'm about to add another Chromebox for my computer room I'll look into it!
Thanks
If you are already locked into Kodi and just want to get some NetFlix, Amazon Prime, HBOGo or anything like that and aren't insisting on 1080p (limited to 720p) then it works pretty smoothly. You'll need to be running Helix to get HD.

The interface isn't perfect and has limitations because it is working via DLNA protocol but since I am already spending the money on NetFlix and have an Amazon prime Account, for a one-time cost of $50 (including PlayLater) it has provided a nice fill-in service for my system(s) and opens up a lot of streaming content to my Kodi installations.
smitbret is online now  
post #7 of 8 Old Yesterday, 07:08 PM
Member
 
nba23tsc's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 48
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 16 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I have been digging these forums for a few months already and everytime I hear the same thing along the lines of:

Chromebox + Kodi for local content which solves most of your problems. Then another player to solve your online streaming needs.

Since I don't care about online streaming, it is an easy choice for me.

Thanks.
nba23tsc is offline  
post #8 of 8 Old Yesterday, 10:51 PM
Member
 
apple888's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 23
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked: 11
I would suggest Open Hour Chameleon:

http://www.cloudmedia.com/products/o...hameleon-combo

Its work fine for me and come with 4K features.
apple888 is offline  
Reply Networking, Media Servers & Content Streaming

Tags
hardware , kodi , streaming , upgrade , xbmc



Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off