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Movies - Best Media Receiver GUI?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have been trawling the internet searching for solutions for multi-room VOB, IFO, DivX and Xvid playback (no interest in photos or music as I already have Sonos).

At the high end, Kaleidescape is out of reach for most of us. I looked into the MyMovies application for media center but media extender lack of video support makes multi-room playback an issue (even with transcoding). Hence, functionally the digital media receivers seem to offer the best value for money.

The problem is that I haven't really found one that has a decent GUI for movie playback (D-Link, Mediagate etc...)

Most of them just offer folder browsing or a list of all videos. This strikes me as archaic and onerous for those with large collections. When you consider the MyMovies for media center interface, it's clean, uses IMDB to gather movie info and cover art and provides navigation and movie retrieval/playback via genre, actor, cover art, new movies etc...

Do you guys know of any media receivers (or any other solutions) that exist that have any or part of this functionality?
post #2 of 14
A topic that I have much interest in myself.

I really like the look of MyMovies (And the DVD Profiler import is GREAT). While an Xbox 360 is not my ideal platform, if they can clean up the Media Center Extender interface in it with the Vista launch I will have a seriously hard time not getting a Vista system with the new ATI OCUR Cablecard (External Cablecard approved device, may just let us continue to build our own systems AND get PVRish ability!). Then I can run MyMovies in the main room off the PC and use the 360 the kids have to let them get at content.

That said, I would really prefer a solution that allowed a MyMovie like interface in a cheeper media extender. I have a DVR from Comcast, and the Tivo software should make it bearable (if only just)...so the PVR thing is not worth the cost to me really. Now, figuring out how to present 400+ video's (and will grow FAST when I get the solution) in a way that my wife, my kids and I can all understand and find easy to use is the key to me.
post #3 of 14
You should consider an original xbox running xbox media centre. There is a great thread that covers it in detail elsewhere in this forum
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by adi999999999 View Post

You should consider an original xbox running xbox media centre. There is a great thread that covers it in detail elsewhere in this forum

I considered one myself, but the problem is that they are at the end of their life-cycle. With content more and more moving to Hd (VC-1, h.264 etc) they will be unable to keep up.
post #5 of 14
Tvix plays hd transport streams (mpeg2, not h264), vc1 (wmv), xvid, divx, mpeg4, IFO/ISO with full menu support over either the network or optional internal hard drive and now also supports thumbnail navigation support all for like 300 bucks. I have 2 5000's and will pick up a 4000 soon. Plays high bitrate ts's flawlessly over a wired network connection.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tybio View Post

I considered one myself, but the problem is that they are at the end of their life-cycle. With content more and more moving to Hd (VC-1, h.264 etc) they will be unable to keep up.


There is no perfect choice at the moment. XBMC is the only decent GUI I have seen. For the $100 it will cost you it should more than provide worthwhile service while this whole market shakes out. If you want HD and crappy interface buy the TVIX....

Curious where is all this mythical content coming from. HDTV is mpeg2 TS. There are no cracks for BD or HDDVD so where is this H.264 and VC-1 content coming from?

Sean
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post


...

Curious where is all this mythical content coming from. HDTV is mpeg2 TS. There are no cracks for BD or HDDVD so where is this H.264 and VC-1 content coming from?

Sean

For me, it's content I provide. I don't want to have to redo my encoding, and h.264 provides the best format today for long term viability of existing SD content. It's also important for the upcoming services, most all content put out soon will be in h.264. Downloaded or purchased or both. So it makes sense to consider the ability to use it when making a choice. All IMHO naturally
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tybio View Post

For me, it's content I provide. I don't want to have to redo my encoding, and h.264 provides the best format today for long term viability of existing SD content. It's also important for the upcoming services, most all content put out soon will be in h.264. Downloaded or purchased or both. So it makes sense to consider the ability to use it when making a choice. All IMHO naturally

Gotcha... XBMC will play SD H.264 just fine.... Just don't try and play a 720P H.264

Sean
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by sean_w_smith View Post

Gotcha... XBMC will play SD H.264 just fine.... Just don't try and play a 720P H.264

Sean


It will? That's news to me, and good news. As long as I keep the resolution in the default SD on the DVDs XBMC can play it?

I guess I'll have to look again
post #10 of 14
Did you see iTV from Apple? This is what GUI should be.
post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tybio View Post

It will? That's news to me, and good news. As long as I keep the resolution in the default SD on the DVDs XBMC can play it?

I guess I'll have to look again

This is old news... been supported for a long time... see the table about 1/2 way down on this page...

http://www.xboxmediacenter.com/wiki/...Formats/Codecs

Sean
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by v770 View Post

Did you see iTV from Apple? This is what GUI should be.

Agree about the GUI, but they flubbed the rest: AppleTV will play only H.264, only up to 720p and only from iTunes. It's much more about selling me stuff from ITMS than playing the TBs I've already got. Pass.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lsarver View Post

Agree about the GUI, but they flubbed the rest: AppleTV will play only H.264, only up to 720p and only from iTunes. It's much more about selling me stuff from ITMS than playing the TBs I've already got. Pass.

The Apple TV certainly looked the business but its restrictive video support makes it virtually useless for movie playback.

On the positive, I'm hoping it'll give the other manufacturers a kick up the ass regarding improvements in GUI for movie playback.

Media receivers may represent a very embryonic industry at present but I'm amazed no ones tried to emulate the Kaleidescape, Escient, MyMovies etc.. type interfaces in a $200-400 media receiver.
post #14 of 14
Front Ends Gui's is where most of these units fall down, while I don't mind a folder based GUI my wife would'nt use it. I just use my existing Mac Mini and VLC to serve Divx/Xvid files to my Sammy LCD, not the Prettiest option but it works.
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