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post #1 of 13 Old 09-27-2017, 07:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Exclamation Powerful Android Streaming Box Suggestions?

I want a fast, snappy, and intuitive android box to stream and cast media. But I will never ever ever use it to "game." From what I can gather the Nvidia Shield is one of, if not the most powerful devices to stream media, however I know its geared towards gaming and even ships with a controller that I would probably just leave in its packaging as the unit also ships with a remote.

Are there any options that are just as powerful as the Shield that don't utilize "gaming" or controllers?

1. The box has to be able to download and utilize apps seamlessly (no tricks or installation of third party backdoor or sideloading software).

2. Has to run Kodi as close to flawless as possible (for example no sideloading etc, just want to be able to download and utilize Kodi)

3. Does the Shield run Kodi as any PC would? Are there any limitations/restrictions? Can I run any old repository just like I would be able to on a PC?

4. Is there anything comparable to the Shield in terms of speed?

5. If I do go with the Nvidia Shield, I don't have access to hardline ethernet in the room in which it'll be used. Will it still be noticeably quicker than my AppleTV as an example?

6. Can it utilize Chromecast? As in, if I want to stream (mirror?) a video from my phone/laptop to the Shield, is it simple?

7. ELI5 the difference between the Nvidia Shield and the Nvidia Shield Pro. Is the Pro actually faster, or does it just have more storage??

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post #2 of 13 Old 09-27-2017, 08:44 AM
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The Shield has a "controller-less" option coming out next month for $180. It does everything you outlined above. Not aware of an equivalent in the same space or price range.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-27-2017, 10:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post
I want a fast, snappy, and intuitive android box to stream and cast media. But I will never ever ever use it to "game." From what I can gather the Nvidia Shield is one of, if not the most powerful devices to stream media, however I know its geared towards gaming and even ships with a controller that I would probably just leave in its packaging as the unit also ships with a remote.

Are there any options that are just as powerful as the Shield that don't utilize "gaming" or controllers?

1. The box has to be able to download and utilize apps seamlessly (no tricks or installation of third party backdoor or sideloading software).

2. Has to run Kodi as close to flawless as possible (for example no sideloading etc, just want to be able to download and utilize Kodi)

3. Does the Shield run Kodi as any PC would? Are there any limitations/restrictions? Can I run any old repository just like I would be able to on a PC?

4. Is there anything comparable to the Shield in terms of speed?

5. If I do go with the Nvidia Shield, I don't have access to hardline ethernet in the room in which it'll be used. Will it still be noticeably quicker than my AppleTV as an example?

6. Can it utilize Chromecast? As in, if I want to stream (mirror?) a video from my phone/laptop to the Shield, is it simple?

7. ELI5 the difference between the Nvidia Shield and the Nvidia Shield Pro. Is the Pro actually faster, or does it just have more storage??
I own five NVidia Shields. I have one on almost every TV in the house because they work so well (for my use-case).

1. You *can* sideload apps on Android. That's a nice feature, IMO.
I personally no longer *need* to sideload apps on Shield, because all of the apps that I want are available on the Google Play store.
99% of usage is: HDHomeRun View, Plex, Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Video, Youtube, Google Play Music, Haystack, and gaming
1% of usage is Kodi, PBS Kids, TWITCH, Pluto, maybe 1 or 2 others...
All of which are on the Play Store. Ever since Amazon Instant Video and HDHomeRun DVR got out of Beta and officially supported on the play store, I haven't had a use/need for a sideloaded app... that's been many months now.

2. "As flawless as a PC; no sideloading" - The kodi app is readily available for download on Google Play, and will auto-update if you allow it to.
If there is a Kodi repository "that exists in the world", but it's not one that the Kodi team officially supports... if it's one that if you were to go over to the Kodi website and try to discuss it/ask questions about it, and the Mods would delete your posts... then it's a repository that the Kodi team has made sure does not come "included" with the stock version that you download from the Google Play Store. I feel pretty confident that this is also the case if you were to download Kodi from the Kodi website to a Windows PC...

3. It runs Kodi (and SPMC, which is a variant/fork of Kodi by the guy that used to be in charge of Kodi-for-Android). I've found that it runs some skins (like Titan) better than others that can bog it down a little bit more. I personally prefer Plex. I think it's a little faster/snappier on Shield than Kodi (or Emby) is, while still having the core features that I want (namely cover art for my media and support for TrueHD/HD-MA).

4. Not that I know of....

5. I can't compare it to an apple tv. I don't own one and have limited experience with them. But one of my five Shields is on WiFi, and it works remarkably well/stable compared to other wireless devices on my network. My kids sit at the bar and stream games over GeForce now and it doesn't lag or drop frames much... it's very impressive over WiFi, IMO, and I'm a person who STRONGLY prefers ethernet/hardwire (as the other four all have ethernet to them).

6. Item #6 was the primary reason why I wanted to respond (although I wrote a lot above). Yes, you'll be able to "cast screen to", just as easily as a Chromecast. Same with casting video (youtube/netflix/plex) or audio (google play, plex) from a phone/tablet/chrome tab. HOWEVER, two key differences:
- Android TV currently doesn't support voice casting from the Google Assistant (phone/tablet/speaker) the way chromecast does
- Android TV doesn't support being grouped together for whole-home-audio, the same way Chromecast doesn't, but Chromecast audio does

Up until voice casting to Chromecast became a thing, and wasn't support on Android TV via "Google Cast", I thought they were the exact same thing/capability... that basically the exact same chromecast tech was built-in.

7. This was the other main reason I wanted to respond. The "Pro" is actually SLOWER. The smaller hard drive is an SSD. The "pro" is a traditional *spinner*. From a performance standpoint, outside of the obvious (more/less storage), I don't think it matters except I do think Kodi runs faster/better on my four "regular" sets than it does on my one "pro".



You made it very clear you have no intention of gaming on it. The note from the other poster about the $20 discounted version coming soon that doesn't include the game pad is a great alternative for those that don't intend to play games. However, I'd also mention to you that when I bought my first Shield, I had no intentions/interest in gaming on it either... now I have an active GeForce Now monthly subscription, AND I bought myself an NVidia GTX 1060 GPU graphics card to support Gamestream... as I said, this was NOT my original intention. But, these things are pretty cool little gaming machines, at a pretty reasonable/low price. They started taking over my house because they were such an affordable way to get my entire cable package to all of my TVs without renting cable boxes and making my entire blu ray collection available on all screens... then they slowly started to pull us in, as a family, once we started to realize that cloud-based gaming/saves meant we could basically pick up wherever we left off from one to the next. They do it pretty well, is all I'm saying...
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psuKinger View Post
I own five NVidia Shields. I have one on almost every TV in the house because they work so well (for my use-case).

1. You *can* sideload apps on Android. That's a nice feature, IMO.
I personally no longer *need* to sideload apps on Shield, because all of the apps that I want are available on the Google Play store.
99% of usage is: HDHomeRun View, Plex, Netflix, HBO Now, Amazon Video, Youtube, Google Play Music, Haystack, and gaming
1% of usage is Kodi, PBS Kids, TWITCH, Pluto, maybe 1 or 2 others...
All of which are on the Play Store. Ever since Amazon Instant Video and HDHomeRun DVR got out of Beta and officially supported on the play store, I haven't had a use/need for a sideloaded app... that's been many months now.

2. "As flawless as a PC; no sideloading" - The kodi app is readily available for download on Google Play, and will auto-update if you allow it to.
If there is a Kodi repository "that exists in the world", but it's not one that the Kodi team officially supports... if it's one that if you were to go over to the Kodi website and try to discuss it/ask questions about it, and the Mods would delete your posts... then it's a repository that the Kodi team has made sure does not come "included" with the stock version that you download from the Google Play Store. I feel pretty confident that this is also the case if you were to download Kodi from the Kodi website to a Windows PC...

3. It runs Kodi (and SPMC, which is a variant/fork of Kodi by the guy that used to be in charge of Kodi-for-Android). I've found that it runs some skins (like Titan) better than others that can bog it down a little bit more. I personally prefer Plex. I think it's a little faster/snappier on Shield than Kodi (or Emby) is, while still having the core features that I want (namely cover art for my media and support for TrueHD/HD-MA).

4. Not that I know of....

5. I can't compare it to an apple tv. I don't own one and have limited experience with them. But one of my five Shields is on WiFi, and it works remarkably well/stable compared to other wireless devices on my network. My kids sit at the bar and stream games over GeForce now and it doesn't lag or drop frames much... it's very impressive over WiFi, IMO, and I'm a person who STRONGLY prefers ethernet/hardwire (as the other four all have ethernet to them).

6. Item #6 was the primary reason why I wanted to respond (although I wrote a lot above). Yes, you'll be able to "cast screen to", just as easily as a Chromecast. Same with casting video (youtube/netflix/plex) or audio (google play, plex) from a phone/tablet/chrome tab. HOWEVER, two key differences:
- Android TV currently doesn't support voice casting from the Google Assistant (phone/tablet/speaker) the way chromecast does
- Android TV doesn't support being grouped together for whole-home-audio, the same way Chromecast doesn't, but Chromecast audio does

Up until voice casting to Chromecast became a thing, and wasn't support on Android TV via "Google Cast", I thought they were the exact same thing/capability... that basically the exact same chromecast tech was built-in.

7. This was the other main reason I wanted to respond. The "Pro" is actually SLOWER. The smaller hard drive is an SSD. The "pro" is a traditional *spinner*. From a performance standpoint, outside of the obvious (more/less storage), I don't think it matters except I do think Kodi runs faster/better on my four "regular" sets than it does on my one "pro".



You made it very clear you have no intention of gaming on it. The note from the other poster about the $20 discounted version coming soon that doesn't include the game pad is a great alternative for those that don't intend to play games. However, I'd also mention to you that when I bought my first Shield, I had no intentions/interest in gaming on it either... now I have an active GeForce Now monthly subscription, AND I bought myself an NVidia GTX 1060 GPU graphics card to support Gamestream... as I said, this was NOT my original intention. But, these things are pretty cool little gaming machines, at a pretty reasonable/low price. They started taking over my house because they were such an affordable way to get my entire cable package to all of my TVs without renting cable boxes and making my entire blu ray collection available on all screens... then they slowly started to pull us in, as a family, once we started to realize that cloud-based gaming/saves meant we could basically pick up wherever we left off from one to the next. They do it pretty well, is all I'm saying...
Wow great reply thank you so much for your time, I'd like to start by saying if your number 7 remark is true that is insane. From everything I read, never did I read that the Nvidia Shield comes with an SSD while the Pro has an old school HDD, thats just bonkers. Good think I purchased the Nvidia Shield base edition, I would've returned the PRO.

Now, I'm reading a bit about SPMC and it sounds like I for sure want to give it a go as its actually geared towards Android devices. My fallback can always be Kodi. However, I'd also like to give Terrarium TV a shot... are you familiar by chance? I know that unfortunately I have to "side load" TTV and I have no idea how to do that seeing as how I've never owned an Android TV. If you can offer any help that'd be great.

What exactly is HDHomeRun View, and what are you DVRing?
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post
Wow great reply thank you so much for your time, I'd like to start by saying if your number 7 remark is true that is insane. From everything I read, never did I read that the Nvidia Shield comes with an SSD while the Pro has an old school HDD, thats just bonkers. Good think I purchased the Nvidia Shield base edition, I would've returned the PRO.

Now, I'm reading a bit about SPMC and it sounds like I for sure want to give it a go as its actually geared towards Android devices. My fallback can always be Kodi. However, I'd also like to give Terrarium TV a shot... are you familiar by chance? I know that unfortunately I have to "side load" TTV and I have no idea how to do that seeing as how I've never owned an Android TV. If you can offer any help that'd be great.

What exactly is HDHomeRun View, and what are you DVRing?
I don't think it is an SSD. It is on-board flash memory like in a phone.

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post #6 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't think it is an SSD. It is on-board flash memory like in a phone.
Are you familiar with Terrarium TV by chance?
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post #7 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bryansj View Post
I don't think it is an SSD. It is on-board flash memory like in a phone.
Are you familiar with Terrarium TV by chance?
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 06:32 AM
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Are you familiar with Terrarium TV by chance?
I don't think Terrarium TV is legit and probably shouldn't be discussed here.

Quote:
Q2. Is watching videos on Terrarium TV illegal?

No. Terrarium TV uses streaming technology instead of torrenting (P2P). Unless you share or upload videos, you’ll be ok.
What a joke.

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post #9 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 07:33 AM
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I know that unfortunately I have to "side load" TTV and I have no idea how to do that seeing as how I've never owned an Android TV. If you can offer any help that'd be great.
It's not hard. I'm definitely not a power user... if I can pull it off, anyone can.

I haven't done it in a while, but if I remember correctly:
1) Find the proper ".apk" file for the program you want to sideload from the internets. Copy the file to a USB thumb stick (or put it on a networked/shared drive).

2) Install a file browsing app from the Google Play Store (I use ES File Browser - it sucks without a keyboard and mousepad, but it'll get the job done as a temporary solution)

3) navigate to the APK you downloaded and click to install...

Simple as that.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cctaylor88 View Post
What exactly is HDHomeRun View, and what are you DVRing?
It's an app that works with Silicon Dust TV tuning products (Prime for Cable subscribers who rent a cable card, Extend and Connect for OTA Antenna users).

It's free for live TV; like $35 a year or so for DVR capabilities.

There are other solutions, both for live tv and DVR, too. Android Live TV comes free with the box. It'll tune Silicon Dust tuners too... local DVR features for it I believe were provided via a previous Shield update. I believe it's as simple as hanging a USB drive off one of the USB ports on the Shield...

PlexPass subscribers can also DVR tv shows using a SD HDHR tuner too...

FYI.
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-28-2017, 07:41 AM
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I don't think it is an SSD. It is on-board flash memory like in a phone.
That's probably true. My mistake.

Regardless, the four I have with the flash memory are faster than the one that doesn't. The only time I've ever really found it to have a significant impact to performance is when using certain "heavier" skins in Kodi (I can't remember the name of the one I liked the most, but it was "heavy" and made my Shield kinda sludgy; Amber/Titan/etc always worked better for me, especially on my PRO unit).
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Why Android?
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post #12 of 13 Old 09-29-2017, 11:26 AM
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I don't think Terrarium TV is legit and probably shouldn't be discussed here.
After looking at their website for a few minutes, it's definitely not legit and shouldn't be discussed here.
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post #13 of 13 Old 10-03-2017, 08:11 AM
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So something like this is what you are looking for?

https://www.cloudmedia.com/?product=...-rockbox-basic

I am interested in this box. I have to assume that since it can run Kodi that it can read DVD ISO's and supports SMB shares. I have not been able to find out much more about it since it seems like a new product.

Laters,
Jeff
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