Pi2 will be a game changer for HTPC - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Defcon View Post
Sorry for another post, but the more I explore the options the more excited I'm getting.

Found this - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NTWFJ9I/

It is a full box with remote, hw decode of everything incl HEVC, and there's an OpenElec image available, which the limitations of Android. How can you beat that price??
My biggest gripe with Android stuff is not being able to gain full control without rooting the device...
If it was possible to choose another OS and customize the way you want, these little boxes could go a long way...
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post #32 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 08:00 AM
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Can something like this efficiently run Plex server for transcoding 1080P media? I have a Roku3 and my media is stored on a Synology DS412+. The Synology doesn't have enough processor power to transcode so I'm looking for an inexpensive option to run Plex server without building up a dedicated HTPC. Minimum requirements for Plex server transcoding are 2.4Ghz dual core but I don't know how that would translate to a slower clock speed quad core device.

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Interesting...

The XU3 lite version looks a lot more interesting... supports HDMI 1.4a... HD audio bitstreaming, 3D et al... but costs more of course...

http://www.hardkernel.com/main/produ...=G141351880955

Insert a USB infrared remote control and the huge HTPC will find itself facing a stiff competition...

I'm having a hard time not ordering one to play with...
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post #33 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 08:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by TH3_FRB View Post
Can something like this efficiently run Plex server for transcoding 1080P media? I have a Roku3 and my media is stored on a Synology DS412+. The Synology doesn't have enough processor power to transcode so I'm looking for an inexpensive option to run Plex server without building up a dedicated HTPC. Minimum requirements for Plex server transcoding are 2.4Ghz dual core but I don't know how that would translate to a slower clock speed quad core device.
Unlikely any ARM based CPUs will be able to transcode 1080p for Plex.
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post #34 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 08:52 AM
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I did a quick check and the first version already can stream 1080P. A quick trip to youtube and you will find people are streaming 1080p 24fps with no trouble.

I think it will have an impact in media streaming.
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post #35 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cburbs View Post
The only place I seen it in stock but almost double the price was here - http://www.canakit.com/raspberry-pi-2.html

Really want one to try out a xbmc and volumio see how much faster it is compared to the model b.
CanaKit is a decent co to deal with... I got two of my three PI's from them, but- $60 plus (probably close to $10) shipping for a $35 item seems like gouging.
Newark was $35 + $5.78 for USPS Priority mail service.
Newark should have them back in stock in two weeks or so... I'd wait rather than paying almost double from CanaKit.

Nice thing is the new Pi 2 fits in the Pi B+ case- they're plentiful and cheap on Amazon.

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post #36 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TH3_FRB View Post
Can something like this efficiently run Plex server for transcoding 1080P media? I have a Roku3 and my media is stored on a Synology DS412+. The Synology doesn't have enough processor power to transcode so I'm looking for an inexpensive option to run Plex server without building up a dedicated HTPC. Minimum requirements for Plex server transcoding are 2.4Ghz dual core but I don't know how that would translate to a slower clock speed quad core device.
LOL, as I said this thing could be 12-core and it's still going to have a tough time transcoding. Well actually maybe then it would be acceptable but you get what I mean.


That's why statements like this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon
These little single board pc's are really powerful.
are misleading. They're not "really powerful" at all, in terms of actual compute performance. They're only "powerful" in the sense that they can do what they're designed to do with the minimal size, power consumption, and computational power they have. The fact that the SOC can do stuff like HD video decoding is similar to how most cellphones can these days too--it's stuff baked into the hardware by design. So yeah might be "powerful" compared to say a P4 in that regard as a regular CPU can't do that stuff in the same way, without a GPU. However OTOH the actual raw computational power is likely much less than even a P4.


Something similar can be seen with crypto-currency mining... Back in the earlier times of mining, people were using like 3-4 AMD cards like 7970s, strung together to do mining at about 250W each and $250 per card... Eventually the cost of electricity was outweighing the money made in mining. Then along came ASIC miners which give 10x and more performance while consuming much less power. Does that mean you can take a purpose-designed hardware miner and use it as an amazing video card? Of course not. When hardware is application specific it can do a given/designed task(s) very well with minimal power, however when asked to do something else it's the actual computational power will be what you'll be using. In the case of the Pi, even the Pi2, this power, the actual power, is very minimal.


The fact is your D2700 CPU (dual-core Atom @ 2.1Ghz) in your NAS is more powerful than Raspberry Pi2 (quad-core ARMv7 @ 900Mhz) already. Granted your NAS has other things to do than just transcode, but still, ARM CPUs are not known for their power, they're known for small-size, minimal [electric] power consumption, and application-specific feats.


All that said, I'm sure you can do some transcoding on Pi but it's very unlikely it's going to trump an Atom (and an Atom is slow like molasses as it is, so that tells you the kind of "power" we're talking about with an ARM CPU).
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post #37 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 11:39 AM
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Thanks. Yeah, when I saw people mention how these things could put HTPCs out of business I assumed they had decent processing power. That's not going to cut it for my needs. Guess I'm back to trying to build something cheap or buy a refurb desktop with a decent cpu.

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Originally Posted by ES_Revenge View Post
LOL, as I said this thing could be 12-core and it's still going to have a tough time transcoding. Well actually maybe then it would be acceptable but you get what I mean.


That's why statements like this:

are misleading. They're not "really powerful" at all, in terms of actual compute performance. They're only "powerful" in the sense that they can do what they're designed to do with the minimal size, power consumption, and computational power they have. The fact that the SOC can do stuff like HD video decoding is similar to how most cellphones can these days too--it's stuff baked into the hardware by design. So yeah might be "powerful" compared to say a P4 in that regard as a regular CPU can't do that stuff in the same way, without a GPU. However OTOH the actual raw computational power is likely much less than even a P4.


The fact is your D2700 CPU (dual-core Atom @ 2.1Ghz) in your NAS is more powerful than Raspberry Pi2 (quad-core ARMv7 @ 900Mhz) already. Granted your NAS has other things to do than just transcode, but still, ARM CPUs are not known for their power, they're known for small-size, minimal [electric] power consumption, and application-specific feats.


All that said, I'm sure you can do some transcoding on Pi but it's very unlikely it's going to trump an Atom (and an Atom is slow like molasses as it is, so that tells you the kind of "power" we're talking about with an ARM CPU).
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post #38 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 11:48 AM
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Really most don't consider an htpc as a Plex server anymore, that's what their server is for

Though being someone who used an all in one for well over a year, I can understand wanting an htpc to do it all

The RPi2 is rally just going to eat the margins out from under the fire sick, fire TV, android TVs, pivos, Chinese arm boxes, etc. All of the android and amazon devices have a separate niche anyway for someone looking to add amazon video, YouTube, Netflix, hulu, casting, etc

However for those looking to buy a small low power box to run xbmc and stream from their server it's going to get difficult to justify anything in the $80-$100 range over the RPi2 since it'll probably now handle audio decoding with breathing room plus it can do vc1 and mpeg2 where most little android boxes still can't do in one form or another
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post #39 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Defcon View Post
The Pi2 with quad core cpu for the same price changes things. From initial reports on the Kodi forum, it now has nothing holding it back. The only issue I can think of is that Pi still doesn't bitstream HD audio.

It is totally silent, can be left on 24/7, decodes pretty much everything, and has a huge dev community.
I don't see it as a game changer for HTPC use. It's an interesting advancement. Sure, it has more CPU to run a more complicated and fluid UI, but there's no improvements to video playback capabilities. It still can't bitstream the HD audio formats, can't decode DTS-HD (MA), doesn't have full LPCM HDMI audio capabilities. Ethernet is still a USB 2.0 peripheral.
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post #40 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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These things lack cpu power, I didn't mean to imply 'powerful' as in computing. But rather in what they enable.

I think the question people should be asking is - do we need transcoding at all? Now we can have really cheap clients that do playback in hardware with barely any cpu usage, and thus can direct stream anything. So the only clients that need transcoding are mobile (phone/tablet).

Pi2 etc were never really meant for media server duties, though it can serve as a file server. For client use however, I say that you want your HTPC to be as powerful as needed, no more. A HTPC has very different requirements - it should be silent, low power, small. All of this is hard to achieve with a traditional pc, hence all the effort we spend on HTPC specific chassis, silent cooling etc. All of that is now not needed.
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post #41 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
Really most don't consider an htpc as a Plex server anymore, that's what their server is for

The RPi2 is rally just going to eat the margins out from under the fire sick, fire TV, android TVs, pivos, Chinese arm boxes, etc. All of the android and amazon devices have a separate niche anyway for someone looking to add amazon video, YouTube, Netflix, hulu, casting, etc
That's sure right about the server duties.

I don't know if it will really hurt FireTV or Roku. Those devices are plug-n-play, and let me tell you, I've been on the phone with my father for 2.5 hours today trying to help him fix his PC, and there's no way I'd let him buy a Pi to play with.
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post #42 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ajhieb View Post
I don't really see this as a big downside.

I don't think serious A/V enthusiasts with 100"+ screens and 7.1 DTS full blown theaters are the target for a $35 device. I think the target for these things would be STBs for screens outside of the actual theater.

I gotta be honest, I have no need or want for 7.1 audio in my kitchen or bedroom. When I'm watching in those venues I'm looking to be entertained, not immersed.
Exactly, I would use these in the kitchen and bedroom, but for the main viewing room it's a tad underpowered.

Looky here!
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post #43 of 63 Old 02-06-2015, 08:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Defcon View Post
I think the question people should be asking is - do we need transcoding at all? Now we can have really cheap clients that do playback in hardware with barely any cpu usage, and thus can direct stream anything. So the only clients that need transcoding are mobile (phone/tablet)
Yeah, still need little transcoding clients for your relatives / friends / etc. My upload speed wont support direct play

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Originally Posted by TornadoTJ View Post
I don't know if it will really hurt FireTV or Roku. Those devices are plug-n-play, and let me tell you, I've been on the phone with my father for 2.5 hours today trying to help him fix his PC, and there's no way I'd let him buy a Pi to play with.
  1. I think it'll definitely lower the number of XBMC users who run a FireTV
  2. FIre/Roku are okay for relatives, mine are happier with a Nexus Player now since everyone loves Google Cast
  3. The RPi2 hits the performance upgrade that B+ should have made - an upgrade that should have been made over a year ago
  4. RAM and CPU were sorely lacking, but most "standard" Kodi installations outside of 3D or bitstreaming hd audio can happily run on an RPi2

Still waiting to see how the mediabrowser addon will run on the RPi2, but I'd love to have one running Kodi in my living room in the plexiglass case just to show off my inner geek
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post #44 of 63 Old 02-07-2015, 05:27 AM
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I wasn't trying to imply that it was...

Go buy a quad core windows phone..... And that's how it will run.
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post #45 of 63 Old 02-07-2015, 05:31 AM
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does thing only have ethernet, or wireless too? if no wireless, can you use a usb wireless dongle? without a full OS, wonder if drivers for an external dongle would work.
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post #46 of 63 Old 02-07-2015, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by aliaskary77 View Post
does thing only have ethernet, or wireless too? if no wireless, can you use a usb wireless dongle? without a full OS, wonder if drivers for an external dongle would work.
All versions of the Pi have a wired Ethernet port.
The Pi B+ and the new Pi2 have 4 USB ports- there is built in support of many inexpensive USB wifi dongles built in to the popular OS's for Pi.
http://www.amazon.com/Edimax-EW-7811.../dp/B003MTTJOY
http://www.amazon.com/Wi-Pi-Raspberr.../dp/B00BDW6D7I

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post #47 of 63 Old 02-07-2015, 07:33 PM
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excellent, thanks. looks like a perfect solution to stream to bedroom tv using plex/openelec or similar
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post #48 of 63 Old 02-08-2015, 07:53 AM
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^ no need for plex... just throw Kodi on the Pi2 and you'll be good to go for a bedroom, kitchen, etc... solution.
I ordered a FLIRC dongle for my Pi2 so I can use my Harmony One remote with it too.

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post #49 of 63 Old 02-08-2015, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by balky View Post
Interesting...

The XU3 lite version looks a lot more interesting... supports HDMI 1.4a... HD audio bitstreaming, 3D et al... but costs more of course...

http://www.hardkernel.com/main/produ...=G141351880955

Insert a USB infrared remote control and the huge HTPC will find itself facing a stiff competition...

I'm having a hard time not ordering one to play with...
http://www.solid-run.com/products/hu...pecifications/


Android and Linux images available. Built in IR with the i.MX6 Dual


No experience with it but it looks interesting.
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post #50 of 63 Old 02-09-2015, 12:18 AM
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Originally Posted by vladd View Post
http://www.solid-run.com/products/hu...pecifications/


Android and Linux images available. Built in IR with the i.MX6 Dual


No experience with it but it looks interesting.
Definitely interesting... especially the i2eX board... only there is no HW acceleration support for VC-1...
Other than this, it is a really good board for the $110 price point...
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post #51 of 63 Old 02-10-2015, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by balky View Post
Definitely interesting... especially the i2eX board... only there is no HW acceleration support for VC-1...
Other than this, it is a really good board for the $110 price point...
I guess I don't get this board. The Pi2 is a great client at about $60 with power supply, case and SD card. One of these cards will run you $135 by the time it is up and running. At the price why not just get a real computer like at HP Stream Mini for $180 and have the capability and flexibility.

http://store.hp.com/webapp/wcs/store...bName=features
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post #52 of 63 Old 02-10-2015, 09:45 AM
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I'm not interested in a HTPC and since I already have a decent sized NAS I'd prefer not to invest in a server. I was just looking for something simple that can handle transcoding duties for my ROKU3 when necessary. Although I guess all I really need in a "server" is MOBO, CPU, RAM, and a smallish HDD for OS and applications. I'd just let the NAS continue to do the storage duties. It could love n my media cabinet and I remote in if necessary. Sorry - guess I'm getting off topic. Bottom line is the Pi2 and other units mentioned are not suitable for media transcoding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
Really most don't consider an htpc as a Plex server anymore, that's what their server is for

Though being someone who used an all in one for well over a year, I can understand wanting an htpc to do it all
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post #53 of 63 Old 02-10-2015, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
The RPi2 is rally just going to eat the margins out from under the fire sick, fire TV, android TVs, pivos, Chinese arm boxes, etc.
Will it really though? Think of the people that buy such HDMI "sticks" and streamer boxes. Though there are some of us tech-savvy people that buy them because they're very simple devices that do the job with very small size and with great ease-of-use. For these people sure, perhaps a Pi would be an alternative. But the reality is the vast majority of people that buy these things are just "regular consumers" that just want to take them out of the box, plug them in, and go--use a remote and have everything just work. How many of these people would have even the first clue what to do with a Raspberry Pi, if you just handed them the board?


Pi is a niche device. It is very cool for what it does and it has some commercialisation potential but it's not huge and I don't think the designers ever intended it as such anyway (wasn't it started for educational use--for use in schools particularly in lesser-world countries?).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
However for those looking to buy a small low power box to run xbmc and stream from their server it's going to get difficult to justify anything in the $80-$100 range over the RPi2 since it'll probably now handle audio decoding with breathing room plus it can do vc1 and mpeg2 where most little android boxes still can't do in one form or another
Sure, for those that know what a Pi even is, and how to set one up and use one. Apart from these folks (who honestly don't make up a huge segment of the market), I seriously doubt Roku et al are feeling threatened.
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post #54 of 63 Old 02-10-2015, 12:06 PM
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But the reality is the vast majority of people that buy these things are just "regular consumers" that just want to take them out of the box, plug them in, and go--use a remote and have everything just work. How many of these people would have even the first clue what to do with a Raspberry Pi, if you just handed them the board?

Pi is a niche device. It is very cool for what it does and it has some commercialisation potential but it's not huge and I don't think the designers ever intended it as such anyway (wasn't it started for educational use--for use in schools particularly in lesser-world countries?)

Sure, for those that know what a Pi even is, and how to set one up and use one. Apart from these folks (who honestly don't make up a huge segment of the market), I seriously doubt Roku et al are feeling threatened.
No it probably won't end up eating margins out from FireTV and Roku all on it's own. "Regular consumers" aren't going to have servers or use WMC or have even heard of an htpc to begin with

There is a trickle down effect that comes from niche communities though. Did the Fire Phone sell very well? No, so why did the FireTV do so well in sales? I don't think it has anything to do with "regular" consumers, but it got a lot of geeky favorable reviews for how much it could do "outside" of amazon prime and that tends to create a tidal wave of purchasing by "regular" consumers

The same thing happened for the SGS3 and SGS2. They were hugely popular in AOSP since they were powerful and customizable. SGS4 and 5 have been locked up tighter than fort knox, but samsung is popular now because the laymen-reporting hiding under the facade of "tech" sites like cnet favorably review samsung. This stemmed from their niche popularity, but the niche (AOSP) doesn't use samsung at all anymore. Anybody really interested in android (purist) can't stand samsung anymore but the "regular" consumers haven't caught up yet. With the RPi2 vs Roku vs FireTV vs AndroidTV comparisons coming about there will inevitably be a race to the bottom on price vs features, and I don't think it will have anything to do with "regular consumers" or whether or not they can plug the thing in and use it . . . the price effect will still be there. Android TV is already going to be embedded in some sets, Roku is already embedded in some sets at Walmart I believe and sold alongside many sets. Amazon dips way down into margins to shovel subscriptions, but the rate of progression in ARM technology makes it difficult for the margin cutting strategy to truly pay off in a dominating way
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post #55 of 63 Old 02-10-2015, 12:38 PM
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I agree it's not really relevant to the average Roku/Fire stick crowd. But it's really nice for me since until this came along I was thinking of spending $200 for a HTPC Client. I like the idea that for $60 a pop I can get set up with an XBMC client that pulls media from my main HTPC which now is really going to be a server because I plan to move it to the basement with one of these at each TV, something I would not have done for $200 per client at each TV.
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post #56 of 63 Old 02-11-2015, 09:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark_Slayer View Post
With the RPi2 vs Roku vs FireTV vs AndroidTV comparisons coming about there will inevitably be a race to the bottom on price vs features, and I don't think it will have anything to do with "regular consumers" or whether or not they can plug the thing in and use it . . . the price effect will still be there. Android TV is already going to be embedded in some sets, Roku is already embedded in some sets at Walmart I believe and sold alongside many sets. Amazon dips way down into margins to shovel subscriptions, but the rate of progression in ARM technology makes it difficult for the margin cutting strategy to truly pay off in a dominating way
I don't mean to keep this discussion ongoing, lol, but it seems to me this is more just a description of economies of scale in practice, than having something to do with RPi2 per se.


I was certainly expecting these sticks and what not to come down to less than $50 in the next couple years, even for the higher-end ones...RPi notwithstanding.
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post #57 of 63 Old 02-11-2015, 10:20 AM
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I don't mean to keep this discussion ongoing, lol, but it seems to me this is more just a description of economies of scale in practice, than having something to do with RPi2 per se.
No it's more than just that. Bigger name companies have no reason to drop under a price threshold whether or not economies of scale support price drops until a cheaper solution is accepted by a large number of people starts to impact their online reviews and google product comparison hits

The developer of a fantastic remote control app for XBMC (Yatse) enables anonymous statistics that you have to opt out of. He's mentioned some stats in the forums a few times, and he noted that in july-2014 the app had over 100k daily users and 70% were RPi. One year previous (2013) the top margin was windows.
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post #58 of 63 Old 02-11-2015, 10:38 AM
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No it's more than just that. Bigger name companies have no reason to drop under a price threshold whether or not economies of scale support price drops until a cheaper solution is accepted by a large number of people starts to impact their online reviews and google product comparison hits
You may think that, but that's just not how "technology products" work in reality. This can be seen in countless examples throughout history. There doesn't need to be any alternatives accepted, just the actual thing being accepted and being bought/used in larger quantities is enough. If what you say were true regular consumer-level DVD players would have still cost $500 or so in 2000, which was five years after release. Of course this was not the case. There were no large number of people accepting any other cheaper solution, there were just a large number of people accepting DVD as the solution. Similarly PS3 and 360 dropped in price several times before PS4 and Xbone were released and before any other "cheaper solutions" were developed by anyone else in console gaming.

These are just two out of countless examples throughout history since perhaps the industrial revolution if not earlier. IMO you are simply describing economies of scale. More people merely buying/using streamer devices, it being integrated into TVs, etc. as it has been, this will all bring the price down on its own. Other products will do it faster but even without them the price will come down.

As for the change from Windows and XBMC, sure, that might lower the price of Windows, and may well help to increase the price of streamer devices, but XBMC is still a niche. 100k is still an order of magnitude or perhaps even two (?), below the size of the market for consumer-level streamers and similar devices.

As said, I'm not really going to bother arguing something already clearly in history (and a topic, the RPi, I'm not really that interested in) so I'll just leave it at that. You seem to think RPi is revolutionising thing; I still think you go into a Best Buy or whatever and stand beside the Roku products and ask everyone that picks one up if they know about RPi and how to use one and how they could use one instead, and you're not getting many YES responses.

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post #59 of 63 Old 02-11-2015, 11:06 AM
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As said, I'm not really going to bother arguing something already clearly in history (and a topic, the RPi, I'm not really that interested in) so I'll just leave it at that. You seem to think RPi is revolutionising thing; I still think you go into a Best Buy or whatever and stand beside the Roku products and ask everyone that picks one up if they know about RPi and how to use one and how they could use one instead, and you're not getting many YES responses.
You can keep hardlining your baseless assumption that the only thing I said was "The RPi was going to kill off Roku sales" all you want and continue to ignore or sidestep my points after I've already conceded it would never directly effect sales of any big name device to anybody uninformed-enough to use best-buy for anything other than a live-demo showroom. However, I believe what I said. I know how economies of scale work on paper. I know that the PS3 didn't sell for crap until they finally dropped the price to x360 parity around the 2011 holiday season. I know that smartphone manufacturers still think they can rake customers over the coals on flash ROM upgrades even though economies of scale don't support that argument. In the smartphone arena, improvements per year have not justified the price stagnation over the course of 7 years (prices should have been coming down, but it doesn't end up correlating with economies of scale just like Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV pricing will not)
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post #60 of 63 Old 02-11-2015, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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People shouldn't underestimate the effect lesser known and niche devices have. e.g. long before Chromecast came out, there were $40 Android streamer sticks and boxes you could buy which had a ton of content. They were not well known to the public and had zero marketing but I'm sure they were a factor in the bigger companies deciding this was a viable segment.

Many things go into selling a commercial product like FTV/Chromecast vs a kit like Pi/Odroid, but you can bet that they are related.

There is also another angle to consider - HTPC. Kodi etc is very much extremely niche with 99.99% of people completely unaware that such a thing even exists let alone knowing about these products and options. The media companies don't want you to know, and will never officially support things like AmazonPrime/Netflix, HBO Go on these smaller devices.

People who buy Roku etc still do so primarily to play OTA content. As these consumers get educated and we get more cord cutters, these other devices will get more popular.
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