Serviio vs. Plex vs. Universal vs. etc - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 27 Old 02-23-2015, 11:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Serviio vs. Plex vs. Universal vs. etc

I have a W7 64 bit PC with an AMD 6 core processor.
My home is networked I use my PC mostly for audio/video content, and because I have televisions of various ages I have various ways of routing content. On my older televisions I run a Boxee Box through cat6 cable. On my newer televisions I run the cat6 directly to the televisions and depend on DLNA technology to stream content.

The problem I'm having is in finding the best media server for my needs. I used Serviio for a long time but because it depends on Java, well Java can be a pain. So I switched to Plex which does not depend on Java, but I find that it eats up my entire CPU capacity. When transcoding a movie to a single television it spikes the CPU usage at 100%. That really isnt gonna work for me because if I'm viewing content on another television it becomes all jerky and basically unviewable.

Any thoughts on the subject? What doent use Java is what I would prefer, and something that doesnt use every bit of a 6core processor to get the job done?

What is easiest on resources?
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post #2 of 27 Old 02-23-2015, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocks911 View Post
I have a W7 64 bit PC with an AMD 6 core processor.
My home is networked I use my PC mostly for audio/video content, and because I have televisions of various ages I have various ways of routing content. On my older televisions I run a Boxee Box through cat6 cable. On my newer televisions I run the cat6 directly to the televisions and depend on DLNA technology to stream content.

The problem I'm having is in finding the best media server for my needs. I used Serviio for a long time but because it depends on Java, well Java can be a pain. So I switched to Plex which does not depend on Java, but I find that it eats up my entire CPU capacity. When transcoding a movie to a single television it spikes the CPU usage at 100%. That really isnt gonna work for me because if I'm viewing content on another television it becomes all jerky and basically unviewable.

Any thoughts on the subject? What doent use Java is what I would prefer, and something that doesnt use every bit of a 6core processor to get the job done?

What is easiest on resources?
Not enough info to give a recommendation. Plex is pegging your CPU because it is trying to transcode as quickly as possible, not just in real time. I'm sure there must be a setting that will let you set the transcode priority a little lower so that other functions don't suffer.

What CPU are you using? FX-6100 or FX-6300? Your source and destination are really important as to how much of your CPU's resources are eaten up. My server, with an FX 6100, is running Mezzmo. Both Mezzmo and Plex use FFMpeg to transcode so the performance should be similar. I can transcode 3-4 DVD rips at the same time and serve them up without much trouble. However, I can choke it on a pure BD rip if I have to transcode to another 1080p destination at the best quality settings. Don't underestimate how much power is needed when you are talking about "real" HD rips. There is a huge difference between a 4GB 1080p file and a 35GB BD Rip.
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post #3 of 27 Old 02-23-2015, 08:30 PM
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I second Mezzmo. I've been using it for about three years to serve media to two Samsung TVs, DirecTV boxes, iPhones and iPads. Mezzmo will allow you to pre-transcode BD rips for your device, maintaining the original resolution and core audio, with a bitrate that the device can handle.

I've never gotten good results with Plex, no matter what I did I couldn't prevent files from excessive stuttering and, sometimes, crapping out entirely.

I am also running an FX6300 with 12GB RAM. FFMPEG will max out your processor, but that's a good thing, isn't it?
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post #4 of 27 Old 02-24-2015, 03:50 AM
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Hi Rocks911,

If I were you, I'd concentrate on sorting out your Java issues and stick to Serviio. If you are also seriously into audio, you'd be better off using a dedicated, very efficient, well supported, music only UPnP media server like MinimServer:
http://minimserver.com/features.html
Serviio is a decent all rounder and especially good for video. However all the device profiling and transcoding facilities are wasted when you are using it to supply standard audio files. There should be no problem running both UPnP media servers on the same machine, at the same time.

You really should not be having problems with Java and a reasonably modern bog standard W7 PC.
What problems are you having with Java, exactly?
Are you using the PC for duties other than providing the media server?
If so, can you move those to another machine and just dedicate the PC to the media server? It should also mean you can get rid of ancillary software, even the antivirus, etc.

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post #5 of 27 Old 02-24-2015, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by smitbret View Post
Don't underestimate how much power is needed when you are talking about "real" HD rips. There is a huge difference between a 4GB 1080p file and a 35GB BD Rip.
Your words resonate with me. This is so under appreciated, especially when I read people talk about pulling an old PC off the scrap heap, attaching some HDDs and making it a media server on the cheap.

I use Mezzmo on a full-power i3 and try to distribute the transcoding whenever possible. I would rather use a media player box on the TV, like a WDTV Live, that can take the original file directly from the server and do what it needs to do locally to feed the TV rather than task the server with the transcoding overhead.

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post #6 of 27 Old 02-24-2015, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocks911 View Post
I have a W7 64 bit PC with an AMD 6 core processor.
My home is networked I use my PC mostly for audio/video content, and because I have televisions of various ages I have various ways of routing content. On my older televisions I run a Boxee Box through cat6 cable. On my newer televisions I run the cat6 directly to the televisions and depend on DLNA technology to stream content.

The problem I'm having is in finding the best media server for my needs. I used Serviio for a long time but because it depends on Java, well Java can be a pain. So I switched to Plex which does not depend on Java, but I find that it eats up my entire CPU capacity. When transcoding a movie to a single television it spikes the CPU usage at 100%. That really isnt gonna work for me because if I'm viewing content on another television it becomes all jerky and basically unviewable.

Any thoughts on the subject? What doent use Java is what I would prefer, and something that doesnt use every bit of a 6core processor to get the job done?

What is easiest on resources?
I'm running Plex on a W7 i3 and don't have any problems when playing video locally (no transcoding) and simultaneously playing video on my Roku (requires transcoding). I wonder if the profile your TV's are using are sub-optimal? You might want to check out the forums here: https://forums.plex.tv/index.php/forum/113-dlna/
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post #7 of 27 Old 02-25-2015, 11:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by smitbret View Post
Not enough info to give a recommendation. Plex is pegging your CPU because it is trying to transcode as quickly as possible, not just in real time. I'm sure there must be a setting that will let you set the transcode priority a little lower so that other functions don't suffer.

What CPU are you using? FX-6100 or FX-6300? Your source and destination are really important as to how much of your CPU's resources are eaten up. My server, with an FX 6100, is running Mezzmo. Both Mezzmo and Plex use FFMpeg to transcode so the performance should be similar. I can transcode 3-4 DVD rips at the same time and serve them up without much trouble. However, I can choke it on a pure BD rip if I have to transcode to another 1080p destination at the best quality settings. Don't underestimate how much power is needed when you are talking about "real" HD rips. There is a huge difference between a 4GB 1080p file and a 35GB BD Rip.

My CPU: AMD Phenom(tm) II X6 1065T Processor, 2900 Mhz, 6 Core(s)

I did lower the transcoding to 3Mbps and transcoding still pegged my CPU.
I'm on a Gigabit network in my home, which is to say my router is a verizon FIOS Gb router, my switch that routes all traffic through my home is Gb rated, and I use a wired Cat6 network exclusively. Plenty of bandwidth.

Plex still pegs my CPU.

Moving back to Serviio. Thanks for the replies.
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post #8 of 27 Old 02-25-2015, 11:53 AM
 
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I run Mezzmo from a Think Serv TS140. It does anything and every thing I need
for every display device I use.

Mezzmo is free to try and $20.00 to buy.

No I don't work for them
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post #9 of 27 Old 02-25-2015, 12:00 PM - Thread Starter
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There really is no comparison, Serviio is using 5-10% of CPU transcoding.

I guess I answered my own questions. Thanks for the input though, always learning.
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post #10 of 27 Old 02-25-2015, 06:27 PM
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There really is no comparison, Serviio is using 5-10% of CPU transcoding.

I guess I answered my own questions. Thanks for the input though, always learning.
I think you missed the point since you are somehow convinced that Plex pegging your CPU is a bad thing. It should.

Plex, Mezzmo and I assume any other FFMPEG based transcoder solution should be trying to use every CPU cycle it can. They don't transcode in real time. If they can peg the CPU for 45 minutes and transcode a 90 minuted movie then they will. The benefit is that once the entire file is transcoded you can FF/Rew through the movie. In fact, once Mezzmo has transcoded a file for a specific device, you will never have to transcode again unless you clear the cache folder or it has to delete transcoded files because of space. If it is a matter of overloading the CPU to transcode to multiple devices then just turn down the quality settings. Like I said earlier, factors like the size of the source file also have a HUGE effect on how much CPU is necessary.

If Serviio works and you are comfortable with it, by all means stay with it, but judging the transcoder by how many CPU cycles is not going to give you any reasonable evalution.
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post #11 of 27 Old 03-15-2015, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I think you missed the point since you are somehow convinced that Plex pegging your CPU is a bad thing. It should.
I dont think that pegging my CPU usage is good for the lifespan of the CPU. Because a program can use all of the resources of the CPU, and while it might be argued by some to be a good thing, I dont think for the sake of the life of my CPU that it is a good thing. Not to mention anything that needs doing while the program is hogging every bit of processing power will suffer because of the resource hog.
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post #12 of 27 Old 03-15-2015, 06:34 AM - Thread Starter
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I run Mezzmo from a Think Serv TS140. It does anything and every thing I need
for every display device I use.

Mezzmo is free to try and $20.00 to buy.

No I don't work for them
Thanks for the suggestion, I'm giving it a try right now
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post #13 of 27 Old 03-15-2015, 10:09 AM
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I dont think that pegging my CPU usage is good for the lifespan of the CPU. Because a program can use all of the resources of the CPU, and while it might be argued by some to be a good thing, I dont think for the sake of the life of my CPU that it is a good thing. Not to mention anything that needs doing while the program is hogging every bit of processing power will suffer because of the resource hog.
As long as it is properly cooled, utilizing 100% of the CPU will not affect the lifespan of the CPU.

Set the transcoding priority lower and it will only be a CPU hog when you are not using the CPU for other tasks.

Mezzmo uses the same transcoder, FFMpeg, that Plex uses. You should see similar results from Mezzmo as you saw from Plex.
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post #14 of 27 Old 03-15-2015, 11:33 AM
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I use Mezzmo as well. Compared to Plex it uses way less resources when transcoding. And dont worry about running your processor flat out, if its cooled it isnt going to hurt it. I once ran ran my Xeon E3-1245v3 at 100% for 2 weeks straight on the stock cooler, no issues with heat.
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post #15 of 27 Old 03-15-2015, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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As long as it is properly cooled, utilizing 100% of the CPU will not affect the lifespan of the CPU.

Set the transcoding priority lower and it will only be a CPU hog when you are not using the CPU for other tasks.

Mezzmo uses the same transcoder, FFMpeg, that Plex uses. You should see similar results from Mezzmo as you saw from Plex.
You are correct Mezzmo uses just as much CPU and is even buggier. Try to play a movie and theres several seconds where I dont know that it will play...Please wait....then starts, cant really fast forward, a couple vids were pixilated badly. Just over all buggy.

DLNA is a great theory but in practice it is maddeningly difficult to pull off in any reliable fashion. I've tried half a dozen apps and in the end it looks like I'll just have to go out and purchase a WD player
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post #16 of 27 Old 03-15-2015, 01:39 PM
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DLNA is a great theory but in practice it is maddeningly difficult to pull off in any reliable fashion. I've tried half a dozen apps and in the end it looks like I'll just have to go out and purchase a WD player
IHMO that is what you should have done to begin with. I use Mezzmo as a DLNA server to feed all my BD content to WD Live players and love it. I use Mezzmo for it's organizing features and dependable network interface, not for transcoding which I have completely turned off.

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post #17 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
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IHMO that is what you should have done to begin with. I use Mezzmo as a DLNA server to feed all my BD content to WD Live players and love it. I use Mezzmo for it's organizing features and dependable network interface, not for transcoding which I have completely turned off.
Interesting. Why involve Mazzimo at all in such an arrangement?
I will cut out the DLNA function entirely. As I have a wired network in my home I'll just plug the WD player into my network and plug that into the television.

The reason I did not purchase a WD player in the first place is because a couple of years ago when I tried to use a WD player with my home network it would not work with W7. I tried for 40-50 hours (not kidding) to get it to play nice with my W7 pc but it never would, hence the use of DLNA. Hopefully the newer version of the WD player will have better networking capacity...hopefully.
I use Boxee Box on my other televisions to stream from my pc, they were easier to configure.
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post #18 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 07:47 AM
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Interesting. Why involve Mazzimo at all in such an arrangement?
You answered the question yourself.
We share the same experience.
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The reason I did not purchase a WD player in the first place is because a couple of years ago when I tried to use a WD player with my home network it would not work with W7. I tried for 40-50 hours (not kidding) to get it to play nice with my W7 pc but it never would, hence the use of DLNA.
When my Media-PC/server was running Win-XP I never ever had a problem with my WD Live-SMP's connecting over SMB shares (wired). I converted my Media-PC/server to Win-7 Pro so I could expand the disk farm past the 2TB volume limits at which point my SMB networking to external devices went into the toilet. MS really messed up their simple SMB networking. I never knew when I turned on a WD Live-SMP if it would connect to the Win-7 shares or not. I could always see the Media-PC but Win-7 would frequently lock me out and demand access credentials. I could reboot the server and the WD Live-SMP and then the simple anonymous access to the Media-PC would work -- switch to another network source then back to the Media-PC and I'm locked out. Like you, I spent countless hours searching for solutions on the web, configuring the network, changing protections and creating guest accounts -- all to no avail. I installed Mezzmo and access the Media-PC from the WD Live-SMP as a media server (DLNA client). Connection to the content library is immediate with 100% success rate -- that alone would keep me with Mezzmo. All its organization and content aggregation features are nice gravy.

My content is all formatted to play native on the WD Live-SMP. I use no other devices that cannot play that content native. Therefore I have transcoding globally disabled in Mezzmo.

I also have a couple of very low-end linux based NAS units set up for SMB shares that I use for DVD.iso images. The WD Live-SMP has never had a problem connecting to them via SMB shares. This is all an MS-caused networking problem.

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post #19 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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You answered the question yourself.
We share the same experience.


When my Media-PC/server was running Win-XP I never ever had a problem with my WD Live-SMP's connecting over SMB shares (wired). I converted my Media-PC/server to Win-7 Pro so I could expand the disk farm past the 2TB volume limits at which point my SMB networking to external devices went into the toilet. MS really messed up their simple SMB networking. I never knew when I turned on a WD Live-SMP if it would connect to the Win-7 shares or not. I could always see the Media-PC but Win-7 would frequently lock me out and demand access credentials. I could reboot the server and the WD Live-SMP and then the simple anonymous access to the Media-PC would work -- switch to another network source then back to the Media-PC and I'm locked out. Like you, I spent countless hours searching for solutions on the web, configuring the network, changing protections and creating guest accounts -- all to no avail.
I pray the newer WD's are easier to integrate into my network. I'll se in a couple days
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post #20 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 10:32 AM
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You are correct Mezzmo uses just as much CPU and is even buggier. Try to play a movie and theres several seconds where I dont know that it will play...Please wait....then starts, cant really fast forward, a couple vids were pixilated badly. Just over all buggy.

DLNA is a great theory but in practice it is maddeningly difficult to pull off in any reliable fashion. I've tried half a dozen apps and in the end it looks like I'll just have to go out and purchase a WD player
I find your outlook to be a little humorous. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it doesn't work. It has worked just fine for me for several years. Well enough, in fact, that I dumped my WDTV Live in favor of a Mezzmo setup. To get a truly integrated household where all devices work consistently and similarly, there's really no substitute for a proper UPnP/DLNA setup, short of getting the same box (WDTV Live, Dune, PCH, Boxee, whatever) at each location. My house has 4 TVs (with Dish Network Hopper/Joey at each as well as Kodi HTPCs at 2 locations), 3 tablets and 3 smartphones. Because the library and the layout are the same between all devices, it is stupidly easy for anyone in the house to find exactly what they are looking for. If they found something in the living room, they know exactly where to find it when they go to the bedroom or on their tablet in the backyard. Kelson has said many times that he uses Mezzmo for exactly the same reason.

If I could draw a comparison, it's almost like you have been riding in a taxi your whole life where you just hailed the taxi, jumped in the back seat and told the driver where you wanted to go. Now, you are wanting to actually drive the car yourself and don't like the way it handles and are frustrated that you have to actually learn to drive. Not only that, but you are trying to haul lumber and gravel in a Honda Civic.

Yeah, I guess it bothers be that you called it buggy when in reality it's just a lack of understanding that is causing it to fail. In reality, you could probably use Plex or Mezzmo, turn the transcoder off completely and it will probably work just as well as if you had invested in an add-on box. Had you tried that, yet? It will depend on the codec support of the playback devices, though.
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post #21 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 12:37 PM
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To get a truly integrated household where all devices work consistently and similarly, there's really no substitute for a proper UPnP/DLNA setup, short of getting the same box (WDTV Live, Dune, PCH, Boxee, whatever) at each location.
A common interface goes a long way towards family harmony. In my case I stuck with using WD Live-SMP's so even the boxes interface to get to the uniform content interface was the same. I actually got grief when I had a Live plus mixed in -- I had to replace it with a Live-SMP and put the Live plus on a display that only I use.

Ultimately, family would be most happy if TiVo were to implement a DLNA (or Plex) client.

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post #22 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 12:51 PM
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My house has 4 TVs (with Dish Network Hopper/Joey at each as well as Kodi HTPCs at 2 locations)
I take it those are Kodi/Chromeboxes.
What does Kodi do with Mezzmo? Does Kodi have a DLNA client? Can the Kodi (XBMC) interface make use of the meta-data that Mezzmo collects for titles? The WD Lives can only use the Mezzmo playlists to display organized/sorted title lists -- no meta-data displays. I'm not unhappy with that but just curious what Kodi offers in this situation.

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post #23 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 01:05 PM
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I take it those are Kodi/Chromeboxes.
What does Kodi do with Mezzmo? Does Kodi have a DLNA client? Can the Kodi (XBMC) interface make use of the meta-data that Mezzmo collects for titles? The WD Lives can only use the Mezzmo playlists to display organized/sorted title lists -- no meta-data displays. I'm not unhappy with that but just curious what Kodi offers in this situation.
One is a Chromebox and the other is a RaspPi2 (previously a Model B). I use FLIRCs for the remote IR sensor but if you want to use phones and tablets instead it's not necessary. We're still old school remote control users, though.

I don't know how familiar you are with Kodi, but you can set it up to work a couple of different ways. If you use the native, Confluence Skin, then you simply navigate to the 'Videos' tab and add Mezzmo as a UPnP source, similar to adding a network or local drive. Then when you go to the "Videos" tab in the future, you can find it under the list of files.

I didn't like that, though and wanted Mezzmo on the 'blade' for quicker 1-click access. There are about 5-8 skins that let you add favorites to the blade so I just mark Mezzmo as a favorite and then link that favorite to the blade. I've even gone so far as to hide the normal video, music, television, movies links from the blade completely. I use the Aeon Nox skin for this and it works beautifully. My family turns on the TV and just scroll across the blade until they get to "BrettFlix" (that's what I have named the Mezzmo Server) and it pulls up Mezzmo as you and I know it.

My biggest complaint with the WDTV Live was how slow it was to navigate the libraries once it got above about 500 titles. My overclocked (from 700MHz to 900 MHz) RaspPi was just as quick and the Chromebox smokes it. My second complaint was the metadata support, or lack thereof. I got tired of the poster art, titles and a whole bunch of "N/A" everywhere else. Kodi does MUCH better at supporting the metadata than the WDTV Lives do. Kodi reads the Title, Poster Art, Year, Duration, Genre(s) and Plot Summary. It still leaves off actors and directors but I can live with that. Each skin has about 10 different choices for how to display the library and most of them don't even display those fields anyway. It took me about 1 week with my first XBMC install on a RaspPi before I knew it was time to sell the WDTV Live Hub and get a Chromebox. Before I made the switch, I was actually using the Media Library feature of the WDTV Live and just use Mezzmo as the backup if the network connection went down, as it seemed prone to do about once or twice a month.

If you'd like, I'd be more than happy to film how I scroll through the library and e-mail it to you. You'll be able to see the metadata that's displayed.

The hardest part was converting from edited .xml files to .nfo files. It really wasn't necessary since Mezzmo will now scrape either one but Kodi uses .nfo and by the time I figured things out I was invested in .nfo over .xml. Once I figured out how to use TinyMediaManager to scrape and edit the media info it was pretty easy. With the WDTV Live, I had just scraped with the box's scraper and then edited the .xml files from WordPad if I wanted to. Then I started using WDTV Live Info Editor and that was OK. TinyMediaManager was a lot faster since I just pulled it up and it scraped everything to .nfo files and I could also edit things in batches, too.

The kids use the Mezzmo App on their tablets. Same organizaion and thumbnails they see on the TVs so it makes it easy and can administer parental controls for all of the devices from the server side.

If you want to get a feel for it, just download Kodi to a network connected PC and mess with it there. I try out all of my add-ons and changes on my PC first so that it doesn't interrupt the main TV viewing until I get things working smoothly. If you wanted to step up further, I would get a RaspPi2 with the MPEG-2 license (for DVD rips) and the VC-1 license (for those few BD Rips). It's pretty smooth and is really solid as an HTPC for 2nd location use like the master bedroom.

Last edited by smitbret; 07-17-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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post #24 of 27 Old 03-16-2015, 01:27 PM
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@smitbret
Thanks a lot for the write-up. I have little familiarity with Kodi other than what I read people doing here. The interaction with Mezzmo you have explained has caught my curiosity so I went to the Kodi website and took a look around. When I get some free time I think I'll install it on my Win-7 desktop and play with it and Mezzmo.

Who knows. If I like it, a Chromebox may be in my future.

- kelson h

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post #25 of 27 Old 03-20-2015, 06:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I got the WD player in. Took 3 minutes to connect into my home network, zero problems. Plays everything... pause, fast forward, full functionality zero pixilation. Clearly they have improved their product since I last tried to incorporate their player.

I'm done with DLNA! Claims of my not understanding it notwithstanding, I had a lot of problems with every piece of DLNA software out there. The WD works flawlessly for me.

Cheers.
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post #26 of 27 Old 07-17-2015, 08:25 AM
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@smitbret

Thanks for the informative write ups. As someone who is beginning to setup a home media network, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of some places where I can educate myself prior to spending time and money.

Cheers
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post #27 of 27 Old 07-17-2015, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronin1978 View Post
@smitbret

Thanks for the informative write ups. As someone who is beginning to setup a home media network, I was wondering if you could point me in the direction of some places where I can educate myself prior to spending time and money.

Cheers
If you are thinking of Kodi, naturally the best place is www.kodi.tv

If you just want some general ideas to point you in the right direction, this site is hard to beat: http://assassinhtpcblog.com/
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