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post #1 of 27 Old 08-08-2017, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Cheap Kodi Player

I am thinking of experimenting with Kodi. What is the easiest way to test the waters? I read a thread from a couple years ago talking about Chromebox and Raspberry Pi 2. What about an Amazon FireTV? Or FireTV stick? I had an original Raspberry Pi, but it was painfully slow. I am looking for something that offers a reasonable trade-off between price & performance. Thoughts?
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post #2 of 27 Old 08-09-2017, 05:13 AM
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The easiest TV setup is probably the FireTV Stick, assuming you already have an Amazon account. Check online for instructions to install using the Downloader app. Very easy. You already have a remote so you are in business with little investment. The downside is entering info with the on screen grid keyboard, but its not that bad. I think performance is pretty good. Not as good as a chromebox, but much simpler to get going.

If you have a PC, and just want to check it out, you can just try the windows version. Or the Android app on a tablet

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post #3 of 27 Old 08-09-2017, 03:54 PM
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Bang for the buck, for me...has been the FireTV. It's a little more, but if on the network, wired of course...it performs night and day over the stick. I have both, and though I have pretty good wireless to the bedroom area, (where the stick is located) it still leaves a little to be desired, streaming movies from my server...
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-10-2017, 07:45 AM
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FireTV would probably be the performance/price/ease of use winner. You can use the fire stick, but it will lack the performance of the FireTV. I moved quickly from a fire stick to a more powerful android media player.
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post #5 of 27 Old 08-10-2017, 09:21 AM
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Pi3 or ODroid C2 running LibreElec(Kodi)

C2 is more powerful and offers HD audio passthru while the Pi3 does not but both make excellent cheap Kodi boxes.

My main Kodi client is a C2 running LibreElec.
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post #6 of 27 Old 08-10-2017, 09:32 AM
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the mi box from walmart is far and away the best intro to kodi ..while it doesn't have a wired connection that can be fixed with an adapter... but the beauty is , you DON'T need it... the wifi speed on the mi is outstanding... also you can load kodi straight from the play store with auto updates...and it's $20 bucks cheaper ($69)than fire tv...
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post #7 of 27 Old 08-10-2017, 01:15 PM
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Odroid or Pi3
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post #8 of 27 Old 08-10-2017, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelSmith View Post
Pi3 or ODroid C2 running LibreElec(Kodi)

C2 is more powerful and offers HD audio passthru while the Pi3 does not but both make excellent cheap Kodi boxes.

My main Kodi client is a C2 running LibreElec.
I've been watching that thread for a little while. Those little boxes are amazing. I'm ready to pull the trigger, but I have two daughters headed to college in a couple weeks...My wallet is bleeding like a Nightmare on Elm Street movie...

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post #9 of 27 Old 08-10-2017, 04:42 PM
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One of these with a sd card loaded with Libreelec makes a fantastic Kodi box:
https://www.amazon.com/SUNNZO-Androi...5%3A2470955011

$29 dollars delivered (plus a sd card) and it even does HD audio.

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post #10 of 27 Old 08-11-2017, 08:06 AM
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I also have a couple of Odroid C2's running Kodi.... they're a great little media player.
I retired my Dune Player in favor of the C2 in fact....

FWIW- The C2 has no problems playing HEVC (h.265) encoded content, none of the Pi's can play HEVC.

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post #11 of 27 Old 08-11-2017, 08:38 AM
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One negative about running a FireTV as suggested above...it wont do HD audio through Kodi.
I have one and it would be the perfect box if it did. Because of that one shortcoming I havent consolidated to one box at each TV yet.

Since I retired my HTPC's I now run a firetv and a chromebox running Kodi for the main TV and a firetv along with a S905 android unit running Libreelec kodi
on the bedroom tvs.

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post #12 of 27 Old 08-11-2017, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I ended up deciding to try the ODROID C2. Seems like a fun project. With a case and power-adapter it ran me ~$60 shipped. It is pretty close to the cost of a FireTV, but should be fun to play around with. Side question, one of the main uses of my Roku on my main display is to run Plex. If I put Open/LibreElec on the C2, can it also stream my Plex content? Or does it become redundant? Can I control the Open/LibreElec via an app on my phone/tablet?
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post #13 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spec1alk View Post
I ended up deciding to try the ODROID C2. Seems like a fun project. With a case and power-adapter it ran me ~$60 shipped. It is pretty close to the cost of a FireTV, but should be fun to play around with. Side question, one of the main uses of my Roku on my main display is to run Plex. If I put Open/LibreElec on the C2, can it also stream my Plex content? Or does it become redundant? Can I control the Open/LibreElec via an app on my phone/tablet?
Yes, you can access the plex content a couple of ways.

Install the Plex Kodi addon. https://www.plex.tv/apps/computer/kodi/

or what I do:

Just point Kodi straight to the same content your Plex server uses. This way you are accessing the same content directly but not really using plex. My plex server still has access to the content and can stream to devices that use Plex client.

Basically with Kodi, you really don't need Plex unless you like the Plex interface or want artwork and such to be consistent across all clients.


As for controlling the C2. Not aware of any phone apps. I control mine via Bluetooth adapter with my Harmony Hub.
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post #14 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spec1alk View Post
I ended up deciding to try the ODROID C2. Seems like a fun project. With a case and power-adapter it ran me ~$60 shipped. It is pretty close to the cost of a FireTV, but should be fun to play around with. Side question, one of the main uses of my Roku on my main display is to run Plex. If I put Open/LibreElec on the C2, can it also stream my Plex content? Or does it become redundant? Can I control the Open/LibreElec via an app on my phone/tablet?
Quote:
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Yes, you can access the plex content a couple of ways.

Install the Plex Kodi addon. https://www.plex.tv/apps/computer/kodi/

or what I do:

Just point Kodi straight to the same content your Plex server uses. This way you are accessing the same content directly but not really using plex. My plex server still has access to the content and can stream to devices that use Plex client.

Basically with Kodi, you really don't need Plex unless you like the Plex interface or want artwork and such to be consistent across all clients.


As for controlling the C2. Not aware of any phone apps. I control mine via Bluetooth adapter with my Harmony Hub.
^^This...
Kodi can access all your network shares easily...all you have to do is point it in the right direction.

Could he not use the Kodi Remote app? I don't use it, because I have it on my FireTV's...but I have used it in the past, via PC.

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post #15 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 08:57 AM
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Just point Kodi straight to the same content your Plex server uses.
This is what I do (NFS). I use LibreELEC/Kodi 98% of the time and Plex the rest. MySQL Server is installed where the content resides for multiple clients. Simply point each device to the server and it will keep track of content, viewing activity and whatnot.

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post #16 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I forgot to ask. How hard is it to configure a harmony remote to send commands to the odroid via its IR sensor?
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post #17 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 01:01 PM
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I forgot to ask. How hard is it to configure a harmony remote to send commands to the odroid via its IR sensor?
With my Harmony I add the Ortek remote as a device and I'm good to go. Although I use a separate IR sensor as the C2 is hidden in a closet. Harmony already has the C2 in its database...

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post #18 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Lp85253 View Post
the mi box from walmart is far and away the best intro to kodi ..while it doesn't have a wired connection that can be fixed with an adapter... but the beauty is , you DON'T need it... the wifi speed on the mi is outstanding... also you can load kodi straight from the play store with auto updates...and it's $20 bucks cheaper ($69)than fire tv...
I will 2nd that! I just obtained a Mi Box while traveling. I was quite impressed, real Android TV ... and the remote grew on me real quick. Have not had a chance to use Kodi extensively yet, both Kodi proper and SPMC worked well. Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo did quite nicely in varying wi-fi situations on non-4k TV's. Did some limited chromecasting of personal pictures and videos from several android phones.

So if you are looking for something that has more than just Kodi capabilities, the Mi Box is worth a consideration. As a pure Kodi box, ah, what can I say, the remote is nice. :-) (i.e. is the bluetooth remote worth the extra you a paying over a ODROID C2?)

Be warned, the remote has true micro switches in it that are not the quiet type. If you are sensitive to that type of thing it is a no go. If you are concerned about responsiveness and durability, it is great!

I look forward to giving a ODROID C2 a spin at some point. I do enjoy messing with my Asrock Beebox (Kaby Lake i3), though the Mi Box was very convenient. I am likely biased by my recent learning experience with a less than stellar Android TV box. I am quite certain you will get what you expect from a ODROID C2 running Kodi on Linux.

One bonus of the Mi Box is standalone streaming with hotel wi-fi. You can download (hopefully in advance, or hotspot your phone) the android-tv web browser and do the authentication with minor annoyance using it, nothing else required.

I also picked up a hub with it at Walmart: blackweb 7-port usb 3.0 hub w/ 2.4A high-speed usb charging port (Walmart rebranded, BWA17H0010, IPC 681131158817)
... that worked well with the Mi Box, including connecting a 3TB portable drive. I would not be comfortable using a high power draw USB 3.0 drive directly plugged into the USB port; same would go for the ODROID C2.
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post #19 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 01:55 PM
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If you have a spare PC or are willing to plug your PC into the TV you can use Kodi there and see what it offers you. Use what you have instead of buying something for a test. Provided you have a way to hook the PC up to your TV etc

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post #20 of 27 Old 08-12-2017, 02:23 PM
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If you have a spare PC or are willing to plug your PC into the TV you can use Kodi there and see what it offers you.
I tend to disagree. The experience is so different when using LibreELEC. Now if you configure the PC to boot LibreELEC via a flash drive you are getting a little closer but still not there.

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post #21 of 27 Old 08-15-2017, 11:24 AM
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start here for info on what is available to run Kodi on.

https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=252916

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post #22 of 27 Old 08-15-2017, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelSmith View Post
Y
.......
Just point Kodi straight to the same content your Plex server uses, or at least understand how that will be managed between the two. This way you are accessing the same content directly but not really using plex. My plex server still has access to the content and can stream to devices that use Plex client.

Basically with Kodi, you really don't need Plex unless you like the Plex interface or want artwork and such to be consistent across all clients.
.
Just be careful to not have both Kodi and Plex updating your metadata, art, and info. Another option to be aware of is simply adding your Plex server as a UPNP source (which you can browse to and select when adding a source). I do this for music, but haven't for movies.
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post #23 of 27 Old 08-18-2017, 12:46 PM
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I have a similar question. I run a Plex server and also Kodi on a Pi3. It works okay but I like the Plex interface but no matter what I do I can't get the right interface to show up on the Pi, though it clearly is accessing the content.

Also for an unknown reason, I can't control my Pi via my TV remote since the CEC interface fails on startup (it could be because the Pi is connected to the TV via my AVR and it blocks the CEC commands to the TV?)

Anyway I am looking at replacing all my various media players (Amazon Fire Stick, BD player, PS3) with one device that can both play local content using Plex and also the streaming content.

The Nvidia Shield looks like it would do the job but with the plethora of Android TV boxes out there I was wondering if they might be a lower cost option?

My requirements would be

1. Could run Kodi but that isn't critical since I don't access illegal streams :-)
2. Can pass all HD audio streams through to the AVR. I notice some of the Android TV boxes don't seem to be able to pass Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master while my Pi3 running Openelec has no such problem
3. Runs an official Android TV build so can access the Play Store and get timely updates.

Have read a bunch of reviews and videos on YT but most don't discuss (2) since that doesn't seem to be a factor for most users (happy to pass DD 5.1)

Thanks
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post #24 of 27 Old 08-22-2017, 08:51 AM
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2. Can pass all HD audio streams through to the AVR. I notice some of the Android TV boxes don't seem to be able to pass Dolby TrueHD or DTS HD Master while my Pi3 running Openelec has no such problem
Hmm, unless something has changed recently the PI3 does not support HD audio pass through? Are you sure its not decoding to Multi-CH PCM?
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post #25 of 27 Old 08-22-2017, 02:57 PM
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Just be careful to not have both Kodi and Plex updating your metadata, art, and info
This cannot happen. Plex can "read" NFOs with the appropriate server plugin, and it can use local media assets to build your metadata but it will not update folder level metadata. After it pulls in metadata, if you go to refresh it later it only modifies the "Plex" metadata stored within your PlexMediaServer data location
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post #26 of 27 Old 08-22-2017, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
This cannot happen. Plex can "read" NFOs with the appropriate server plugin, and it can use local media assets to build your metadata but it will not update folder level metadata. After it pulls in metadata, if you go to refresh it later it only modifies the "Plex" metadata stored within your PlexMediaServer data location
Thanks for clarifying. I was also a bit concerned about KODI renaming of files, but I think the same conventions apply and so that might not normally be a problem either.
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post #27 of 27 Old 08-23-2017, 10:04 AM
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I have not had any problems with Kodi & Plex mixing metadata....The file/directory level where the media is stored is not updated by either.
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