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Advice on a streaming device would be greatly appreciated

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I *think* I have posted this in the right place. I apologize if that is not the case.


I recently purchased the Panasonic ST50 plasma TV and I LOVE it. I cannot sing this TV's praises enough.

I have tons of video content on my PC that I want to play on my shiny, new PC. These video files come in all file formats and all sorts of strange resolutions . Some play fine on my Panny, while others are stretched (Usually stretched top to bottom, making everything look "skinny".) The same files play on my PC in VLC fine, just with black bars at the top and bottom.

My current setup is: Serviio running on my computer and playing the videos on the TV using DLNA. Serviio works great, except for the stretching issue, which I cannot seem to resolve. The general consensus seems to be that DLNA is, putting it kindly, terrible. This leads me to believe I would be better off getting a dedicated media streaming box.


My question to you is this: What would be the best streaming box for my needs?

1) I need a box that can play multiple file formats.

2) Can read the files from my PC. If I can avoid it, I would rather not fool with an external hard drive or NAS device.

2) Can play all of the goofy resolution files I have without stretching! *THIS IS THE BIG ONE* I'll be fine with the black boxes, just don't stretch my content dagnabit!

Can you all, with much greater knowledge than myself, advice me on this issue?

Thank you in advance!
post #2 of 8
I've had VERY good luck with the WD players, will play most anything you toss at them. The latest WD Live SMP is very nice, plays network streams without a DNLA server, and has a fair amount of streaming options. You can pay more and perhaps get a few more things, but the WD is the sweet spot for me.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Matt,

Thanks for the reply! I didn't know WD made streaming boxes. I will look into them. It sounds like you own one, or have used them fairly extensively. Will they play my files in their native resolution without stretching?

Thanks.
post #4 of 8
90% of my content is .MKV, and a few other things so I really can't be sure the WD will do what you want. Pick one up at Best Buy or someplace with a good return policy if you are concerned. I've got 2 Roku 2 XS units, and original WD media streamer, a Seagate media streamer, and I just added the latest version of the WD Live units. Had I bought it before I got my second Roku I would have went with the WD. It has all the things I normally use the Roku for, netflix, pandora, Vudu, spotify ect plus it's great at streaming my content from my computer. It will not have the obscure stuff Roku does but Roku does not easily stream content. I use MyMedia with the Roku, and it will play most content, but the WD is better.

What do you consider "goofy" resolutions?
post #5 of 8
Panasonic don't make very good media players, the TV itself is the culprit in this case with a poorly designed scaler ignoring the aspect ratio of the media which leads to stretching out all the videos, you could try looking around if the TV has any display settings or view modes specific to the media player.

The WDTV should do a better job at scaling the videos and maintaining the proper aspect ratio.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Matt, to give you couple of examples of what I have dubbed "goofy" resolutions: 1280x528 and 1280x532.

Alx330, that is what I understood after researching this issue. Panasonic and DLNA are not known as the best streamers. I tried adjusting the video settings, to no avail. It either stretched the video or places it in a small box mid screen.

Hence why I am looking for a decent streamer.
post #7 of 8
If you can point me to a clip I can download I'd be willing to run it through my media players and see what results I get.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Absolutely! I'm at work right now, but I will upload one when I get home.

Thank you very much Matt, I really appreciate it.
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