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post #1 of 9 Old 06-23-2019, 03:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Streamer - Boxee Box - HTPC

I have a couple Boxee Box's that was streaming local content from my DIY NAS to a couple TV's in the house. My content contains of 1 to 1 digital copies of DVD's. A few weeks ago, it seems that the servers that it connects to has been shut down as the boxes are stuck on the sign in screen for one of them and the set up network (I did a factory restore on one of them) ... both are connected to the network, but it says no internet (or can't connect to the internet) ... I'm assuming this is because the servers they connect to are now dead links. I don't know how to hack these to get it to skip the internet & sign in part.

I was looking at this video on YouTube titled: Build a Raspberry Pi 3 Media Center - about using a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ to stream the content from my NAS to the TV, however would like to know if it'll work. Right now I have standard DVD copies, possibly soon to be Blu-Ray copies ... and maybe down the line 4K UHD Blu-Ray copies (or 4K files). I have 2 TV's to set up, with a limited budget at the current time, so I was looking for something in the Pi price range (at least for now) where the 2 TV's would cost around $150 vs. $200+ for each TV. The one in the game/office can be wired or wireless, but the one in the bedroom wireless as I haven't ran a ethernet cable to that room (and not looking to go into the attic with vaulted ceilings, especially in the summer Florida heat).

I'd like it to have a screen like the Kalidescape, where it has the DVD cover art and shows info about the movie.


I'd also like to have these sections

TV Shows - TV Show Files, and TV Shows from DVD
Movies - DVD Movies, Blu-Ray, Movie Files

So all the TV Shows are grouped together, no matter what source they are (video file or from DVD), and the same with movies.

At some point I'd like to do a HTPC and make it around the size of a cable box (as I'm limited to the space below a wall mounted TV and a shelf below it). But with roughly $60 for a case, $50+ for a mobo, $50+ for RAM, CPU unless it's intergrated on the mobo, cooling fan, etc. is more than I can spend at the moment. So when I do build them, I might have to piece mill it (a part or two a month, etc.).

Parts & ideas for a HTPC:

Case: a horizontal case about the size of a cable box

A couple I kind of like the style of are:

The Micro-linux-android-core-i5-6200u-thin and the origen ae s10v


I like the second case because of the flip down door in the front where it can hide USB ports or even a Blu-Ray (or 4K) drive, instead of needing a DVD player as well ... Make it a streamer as well as a DVD player. But the case is around $250 to $350.

Be low power consuming (also less heat - less fans - less noise, etc.). Be able to play DVD file formats (ISO/VOB files), possibly able to change 4:3 into somewhere close to a 16:9 (without pixelating the image), be able to attach surround sound, have both wired and wireless capability. Have a free (or low cost) OS/Program where it'll boot quickly and load/open the media playing program (for example using a light weight version of Linux as the OS and have something like Kodi, load and open full screen after booting).

I'm thinking of using a Alfawise A8 Wireless Keyboard Fly Air Mouse - Night Style II for the remote as it has a QWERTY keyboard and some are backlit.


1.) What options do I have on setting up something cheap for streaming now, until I can build a couple systems (at some point I'll need to do 3, 1 for the game/office room, 1 for the bedroom and 1 for the living room).

2.) What options/suggestions for a DIY HTPC build, with the above specs ... i.e.: what case (preferably black), mobo, etc? Also, without spending a ton of money for each one as I'll be needing 3 at some point.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-23-2019, 03:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Also, I'd like to keep the DVD copies in a format that'll allow the Menu, Subtitles, Special Features, etc. to work, So I'd rather not convert it to use Plex, unless I can keep these.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-23-2019, 09:39 AM
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It’s hard for me to recommend an HTPC anymore unless you are going to use it for MADVR.

Have you considered a box running Android TV OS like the Nvidia Shield?

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-ho...iscussion.html
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/39-ne...t-top-box.html

It’s a bit pricey if it isn’t on sale, but you can find them for $150 US or less when there’s a sale. I “think” Kodi on the Shield would handle the DVD menus and ISOs, but someone else will need to confirm that. There are some other Android TV boxes that are less expensive.

@Charles R also has a thread at https://www.avsforum.com/forum/76-ht...ia-client.html about using the Odroid as a media streamer.

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Last edited by dfkimbro; 06-23-2019 at 09:47 AM.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-24-2019, 02:16 AM
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A simple $40 FireTV stick will load KODI. I not sure about Menus as I personally hate them and enjoy going straight to the main feature without all the FBI warnings, previews and ads.

"Smart enough to know better, to old to care" ------ Dedicated Bat Cave Home Theater, JVC RS49U/Mitsubishi HC7900DW Projector, 110" 16:9 Jamestown screen with variable power masking for CIW 2.50:1 to 16:9, Marantz 7009 with 7.1.4 Atmos with Ohm mains,3 DIY Subs (2 15" (1 ported, 1 sealed and a 12" 4th order bandpass), 1 DIY butt kicker, Custom Built HTPC, 18TB DroboFS NAS
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-24-2019, 09:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rekbones View Post
A simple $40 FireTV stick will load KODI. I not sure about Menus as I personally hate them and enjoy going straight to the main feature without all the FBI warnings, previews and ads.
I thought about a Firestick, but I'd rather have it be remote based as sometimes I don't have my phone in the bedroom. Plus the 3rd one will be for a living room and my roommate doesn't know smart phones so would rather have something more on the style of a cable box/TV kind of remote, rather one that uses an app and casting.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-25-2019, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jthorpefl View Post
I thought about a Firestick, but I'd rather have it be remote based as sometimes I don't have my phone in the bedroom. Plus the 3rd one will be for a living room and my roommate doesn't know smart phones so would rather have something more on the style of a cable box/TV kind of remote, rather one that uses an app and casting.
A FireTV stick/box is remote based with Alexa voice support. It comes with a Bluetooth voice remote. Your thinking of a Chromecast.

"Smart enough to know better, to old to care" ------ Dedicated Bat Cave Home Theater, JVC RS49U/Mitsubishi HC7900DW Projector, 110" 16:9 Jamestown screen with variable power masking for CIW 2.50:1 to 16:9, Marantz 7009 with 7.1.4 Atmos with Ohm mains,3 DIY Subs (2 15" (1 ported, 1 sealed and a 12" 4th order bandpass), 1 DIY butt kicker, Custom Built HTPC, 18TB DroboFS NAS
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-25-2019, 07:45 AM - Thread Starter
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[quote=dfkimbro;58218096]It’s hard for me to recommend an HTPC anymore unless you are going to use it for MADVR.

Have you considered a box running Android TV OS like the Nvidia Shield?

It’s a bit pricey if it isn’t on sale, but you can find them for $150 US or less when there’s a sale. I “think” Kodi on the Shield would handle the DVD menus and ISOs, but someone else will need to confirm that. There are some other Android TV boxes that are less expensive.




MADVR?? I know what a DVR is, but not what a MADVR...



I'm looking for a HTPC, in a cable box size/form. Where it'll stream video files from a NAS (reg DVD copies, Blu-Ray copies, and possibly 4K in the future). Have a DVD/Blu-Ray (or 4K) drive in it where it'll play DVD's locally like a DVD player (I have 1,500+ DVD's, so a page where it shows the DVD cover artwork, and has the ability to show the description is ideal). Basically combine everything into one box, so that under the wall mounted TV it would be just the HTPC and cable box.

Where I can watch TV from the cable, watch a movie stored on the NAS, watch a movie (or TV Show) from a disc locally if it's not stored on the NAS, use Netflix, YouTube (possibly), etc. I'd like not to spend hundreds on a OS (like Windows, etc.), so something like a free/cheap Linux distro or something of that nature. No need for a DVR as the provider I'm with has one for the whole house that can do 6 programs at a time. So something basic and low cost, but able to play the formats listed above.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-25-2019, 11:23 AM
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[quote=jthorpefl;58224628]
Quote:
Originally Posted by dfkimbro View Post
It’s hard for me to recommend an HTPC anymore unless you are going to use it for MADVR.

Have you considered a box running Android TV OS like the Nvidia Shield?

It’s a bit pricey if it isn’t on sale, but you can find them for $150 US or less when there’s a sale. I “think” Kodi on the Shield would handle the DVD menus and ISOs, but someone else will need to confirm that. There are some other Android TV boxes that are less expensive.

MADVR?? I know what a DVR is, but not what a MADVR...

I'm looking for a HTPC, in a cable box size/form. Where it'll stream video files from a NAS (reg DVD copies, Blu-Ray copies, and possibly 4K in the future). Have a DVD/Blu-Ray (or 4K) drive in it where it'll play DVD's locally like a DVD player (I have 1,500+ DVD's, so a page where it shows the DVD cover artwork, and has the ability to show the description is ideal). Basically combine everything into one box, so that under the wall mounted TV it would be just the HTPC and cable box.

Where I can watch TV from the cable, watch a movie stored on the NAS, watch a movie (or TV Show) from a disc locally if it's not stored on the NAS, use Netflix, YouTube (possibly), etc. I'd like not to spend hundreds on a OS (like Windows, etc.), so something like a free/cheap Linux distro or something of that nature. No need for a DVR as the provider I'm with has one for the whole house that can do 6 programs at a time. So something basic and low cost, but able to play the formats listed above.
I probably shouldn't have capitalized MadVR that way. In short, MadVR is video rendering software for HTPCs that provides the best possible rendering and upscaling for standard and high definition formats so you get the best possible 1080p or 4K image on your display. It's not a DVR. The first few threads on this forum usually contain one of more threads about MadVR. In my mind, MadVR is the only compelling reason to use an HTPC these days, and it requires at least a moderately powerful GPU.

My point was that nothing you've listed, except using a DVD/Blu-ray drive for playing a movie from a disk, requires an HTPC, and is probably easier to do (and likely less expensive) using a streaming device (like a Shield TV or Apple TV or Firestick) and a standalone blu-ray player. Watching a blu-ray directly from the disk using an HTPC (and getting the disk menus) will require additional, potentially expensive software. Unless you're watching a lot of blu-rays, I think you're better off ripping them to a hard drive and streaming them, like you do your ripped DVDs, or just use a standalone blu-ray player.

Setting up and maintaining an HTPC can get to be a real pain and is not the same (mostly) smooth user experience as a consumer electronics device.

Most of the streaming devices (Shield, Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, etc.) will stream video files from a NAS just fine at a lower price and less hassle than an HTPC, and do a much better job with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, etc. Additionally, you can probably use a streaming cable replacement service like YouTube TV, DirectTV Now, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, or Hulu to get rid of the cable TV box/DVR.

Just my 2 cents as someone who has almost completely quit using my HTPC after 6 years of it being my family's primary way to watch cable TV using WMC with HDHomerun Primes and cablecards, ripped movies, and DVD disks (no blu-ray disks because of the issues I mentioned above). I too had a vision of an HTPC being the one device to rule them all, but I found that i spent all my time tinkering and maintaining the thing and fixing a problem every week or two when a family member just wanted to watch a sitcom. After we switched to a Shield TV for Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and YouTube TV to replace Comcast, my family all admitted that they always thought the HTPC was too problemtic and hard to use and were enjoying watching things a lot more.

if you want a new time-consuming, attention-consuming hobby, then an HTPC can be fun to build, setup and tinker with. if you just want to watch your content, i think there are better ways to go that didn't exist a few years ago.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-26-2019, 06:12 AM
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If you want a small form factor HTPC for playing back files from a server then consider getting a 1st or 2nd generation Intel NUC. They're nice and compact and smaller than a cable box. You can use them for watching HD content, but not 4k. The newest models may be capable of that but they;re also more expensive. I have three 1st generation NUCs and an unRAID server in addition to my main HTPC. However, the cost of even a used NUC may run you about the same as a Nvidia Shield which can also stream from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. It can also work with Plex for streaming content from a server. I have two Shields as well for Netflix and Amazon and they both work with 4k material.

You can probably set up unRAID on your NAS and configure it with shares. Each share spans across all drives and any content you place in a share folder will appear as though all content is on the same drive. You can set up separate shares for TV shows, movies, and anything you like. There are other similar programs that may have the same feature, but I like unRAID and have been using it for over ten years.
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