Kodi Box: Build my own PC or buy a prebuilt PC - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 27 Old 09-10-2016, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Kodi Box: Build my own PC or buy a prebuilt PC

I right now have using my Roku 3 to stream my local media (mkv rips from my blu-rays) but I don't want to deal with transcoding any longer for quality reasons, after all, I bought the blu-ray to watch in blu-ray quality in all its glory. I want a system with a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot in case I want to add a graphics card and 3 3.5" hard drive bays or 2 3.5" hard drive bays and a M2 SSD socket. I currently have a spare 16GB DDR3-1600 kit and a spare 6TB hard drive. Actually if I had my 6TB hard drive with my media on it installed in the system, I would not need to local stream from my PC to the other PC and I would prefer it that way so I don't have to keep two PCs powered on when watching a movie and it means less noise and less power consumption as well. Would this be adequate as a Kodi box or should I build my own Kodi box?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-ins...&skuId=4826902

If I build my own Kodi box, it will probably consist of:

i3-4170 with a Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler
16GB DDR3-1600 1.5v (spare kit I have lying around)
120-128GB SSD
m-ATX z97 motherboard
mini-tower case
500-550w power supply (Coolermaster, Corsair, or Antec)
Windows 10 Home
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post #2 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 04:35 AM
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My question would be; Are you sure you want to have that much storage in your KODI box? The computer you describe is overkill for KODI itself, and may be a bit noisy. Consider buying a dedicated KODI box, like a Chromebox with OpenELEC(or LibreELEC) , and a NAS for your big HDDs. For about the same amount of money you'll have a KODI box that is quiet and small near your TV, and a NAS that can be useful for more than just media storage.

I've moved away from building KODI boxes a long time ago since small form factor cheap PCs with good graphics capabilities started coming out.
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post #3 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 07:12 AM
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I agree with DanPackMan, the days of using a big power hungry HTPC just for watching HD videos with HD audio, even 3D playing, are over. There are an abundance of different low powered, but yet powerful devices that run Kodi natively, especially running LibreELEC.
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post #4 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave3000 View Post
Would this be adequate as a Kodi box or should I build my own Kodi box?
Build your own for $75 with 4K and HD audio. Put your hard drive in an USB external case and you should be good to go. A few details in this thread.
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post #5 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 08:00 AM
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I find Kodi on Intel NUC hardware to be a rock solid experience with the best picture quality. I highly recommend the Asrock Beebox 3150, ~ $160, slap in a 120 GB SS HD, 2 GB of RAM, and run the latest stable version of LibreElec on it & you're good to go. For storage I find the ZyXEL Personal Cloud Storage Server [4-Bay] from Amazon (~ $240) to be an excellent solution. I run it w/ 12 TB.
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post #6 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 08:21 AM
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A PC/HTPC is no longer a viable option these days to play the latest formats.

Case in point, I've a couple of i7s and one of them (2nd gen) struggles to decode and play HEVC/H.265 content. All the latest Android TV Boxes though have no issues playing HEVC/H.265 content and they cost $100 or less.

The best solution will be to invest in a NAS (in case you have a ton of ripped content) and buy the latest streamer/Android stick as formats evolve.

With a PC, it will be a more expensive proposition as you'll need to invest in the latest GPU that's capable of h/w decoding of the latest formats.
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post #7 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarkss12 View Post
I agree with DanPackMan, the days of using a big power hungry HTPC just for watching HD videos with HD audio, even 3D playing, are over. There are an abundance of different low powered, but yet powerful devices that run Kodi natively, especially running LibreELEC.
True if you just use Kodi. Not true, if you want to use something like MadVR for high quality upscaling for example.
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post #8 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by TAtED View Post
A PC/HTPC is no longer a viable option these days to play the latest formats.

Case in point, I've a couple of i7s and one of them (2nd gen) struggles to decode and play HEVC/H.265 content. All the latest Android TV Boxes though have no issues playing HEVC/H.265 content and they cost $100 or less.

The best solution will be to invest in a NAS (in case you have a ton of ripped content) and buy the latest streamer/Android stick as formats evolve.

With a PC, it will be a more expensive proposition as you'll need to invest in the latest GPU that's capable of h/w decoding of the latest formats.
That's because your old CPUs are not capable of hardware decoding HEVC. That is no problem for the newer generations.
Also, basically all Android boxes under 100$ are a joke. Only better ones offer decent reliability and playback quality.
That said, I would recommend a Linux based media player, if playback quality (although high-end PC with MadVR beats PQ) is important to you and you want it easy to setup, maintain and want a small and passive device.
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post #9 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 08:53 AM
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That's because your old CPUs are not capable of hardware decoding HEVC. That is no problem for the newer generations.
Also, basically all Android boxes under 100$ are a joke. Only better ones offer decent reliability and playback quality.
That said, I would recommend a Linux based media player, if playback quality (although high-end PC with MadVR beats PQ) is important to you and you want it easy to setup, maintain and want a small and passive device.
I use PotPlayer + madVR myself, and I got my HTPC on the A Game with a GTX 1070.

The point I'm trying to make is the ROI from a HTPC is just not worth it... and yes $100 is the low end, but the high end does not go really beyond $200 (NVIDIA Shield, Roku 4, plus many Android TV Boxes).

A gaming PC is another matter... you need the upgrades. For streaming video content a HTPC is an overkill and a bad ROI. Case in point, a Pi 3 with OpenELEC handles all things 1080p and H.264 without any issues.
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post #10 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by TAtED View Post
Case in point, a Pi 3 with OpenELEC handles all things 1080p and H.264 without any issues.
It won't handle Atmos or DTS:X. On the PC side unless you want to upscale or process the image (such as adding edge enhancement) its additional power is wasted. I prefer native content...

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post #11 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 11:21 AM
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I find Kodi on Intel NUC hardware to be a rock solid experience with the best picture quality. I highly recommend the Asrock Beebox 3150, ~ $160, slap in a 120 GB SS HD, 2 GB of RAM, and run the latest stable version of LibreElec on it & you're good to go. For storage I find the ZyXEL Personal Cloud Storage Server [4-Bay] from Amazon (~ $240) to be an excellent solution. I run it w/ 12 TB.
Beebox 3150 is the solution I finally went with and I am very glad I did. Far far better experience than I had trying to get Kodi on the Nvidia Shield and the PQ is better.
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post #12 of 27 Old 09-11-2016, 12:32 PM
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Beebox 3150 is the solution I finally went with and I am very glad I did. Far far better experience than I had trying to get Kodi on the Nvidia Shield and the PQ is better.
Yep, in terms of sheer image quality in a purely 1080p environment, the Beebox is excellent. All my serious 1080p library playback is done on it. Confirmed ATMOS & DTS: X pass-thru.

I have relegated Kodi + Shield to playback of all my 4K demo files. Heck, I don't even use the Shield that much anymore except for 4K demo files & the occasional game...I cast all those apps now to my P-65.
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post #13 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 01:55 AM
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It won't handle Atmos or DTS:X. On the PC side unless you want to upscale or process the image (such as adding edge enhancement) its additional power is wasted. I prefer native content...
No it won't. I am not much of a Kodi or OpenELEC guy unless it's for online streaming… I'm all for PotPlayer + madVR for all of my local content and Blu-ray rips.

Just wanted to mention that Raspberry Pi 3 with OpenELEC is an amazing deal for local playback as well as online streaming especially considering what it costs.
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post #14 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Karnis2 View Post
Yep, in terms of sheer image quality in a purely 1080p environment, the Beebox is excellent. All my serious 1080p library playback is done on it. Confirmed ATMOS & DTS: X pass-thru.

I have relegated Kodi + Shield to playback of all my 4K demo files. Heck, I don't even use the Shield that much anymore except for 4K demo files & the occasional game...I cast all those apps now to my P-65.
@Karnis2 and @RafaelSmith
What was the issue with the Shield and why did the BeeBox turn out so much better? I had pretty much though the Shield was the way to go.
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post #15 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 07:18 AM
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@Karnis2 and @RafaelSmith
What was the issue with the Shield and why did the BeeBox turn out so much better? I had pretty much though the Shield was the way to go.
My biggest issues with "Kodi" and Shield were;

With SPMC/16:

1) Random lip-sync issues when using HD Audio Passthru. Seemed ok decoding to PCM.
2) Occasional audio/video drop outs. One or the other would pause for a few seconds.
3) Flacky UI.....periodically crashing.

Things were a bit better using the Krypton 17 Beta but still had random crashes. Also had several problems accessing my SMB shares with 17. (no SMB problems with SPMC/16).


Interestingly enough, using latest Krypton 17 Beta on the Intel beebox did not have any of the sync and crashing issues. Also no issues with the SMB shares. Installed latest Libreelec, configured media...and it just works....Passthru and all. Leads me to believe that its just something with Android TV. I do not have a very good warm and fuzzy about the future of Kodi on Android TV given my experience and judging from some of the stuff on the Kodi forums.

As for PQ.....would not call Kodi on the Shield bad by any means........just seemed "softer" than Kodi on the Intel box.

I think Shield is highly regarded because it is a good box and as close to an all-in-one as we can get. I just think the software side of things.....especially with regards to Kodi are unreliable. I have no issues with other apps like Vudu or Netflix on the Shield. Really hoping Sony VUE comes to android TV then my Shield would get alot more use. Just not for local media (BD .mkv) playback. That gets the dedicated Intel box.
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post #16 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave3000 View Post
I right now have using my Roku 3 to stream my local media (mkv rips from my blu-rays) but I don't want to deal with transcoding any longer for quality reasons, after all, I bought the blu-ray to watch in blu-ray quality in all its glory. I want a system with a PCI-E 3.0 x16 slot in case I want to add a graphics card and 3 3.5" hard drive bays or 2 3.5" hard drive bays and a M2 SSD socket. I currently have a spare 16GB DDR3-1600 kit and a spare 6TB hard drive. Actually if I had my 6TB hard drive with my media on it installed in the system, I would not need to local stream from my PC to the other PC and I would prefer it that way so I don't have to keep two PCs powered on when watching a movie and it means less noise and less power consumption as well. Would this be adequate as a Kodi box or should I build my own Kodi box?

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-ins...&skuId=4826902

If I build my own Kodi box, it will probably consist of:

i3-4170 with a Hyper 212 Plus CPU cooler
16GB DDR3-1600 1.5v (spare kit I have lying around)
120-128GB SSD
m-ATX z97 motherboard
mini-tower case
500-550w power supply (Coolermaster, Corsair, or Antec)
Windows 10 Home
I too would recommend against a big whirling PC for this. The day of HTPC is gone, handily. Lots of solutions are small, silent, and do the same thing, easier, without the size, power and expense of a PC.

If your goal is just to run Kodi and playback Bluray rips, see the above suggestions. There's plenty to do it for less than $200. A mass storage can be plugged in via USB or over network via NAS or similar. I prefer wired myself to avoid network hiccups during playback. I say this also as someone with 1300+ ripped movies on mass storage, that moved away from HTPC (and I still have one!) because having a big noisy box, compared to something that can handle it the size of a little deck of cards basically is great.

Very best,
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post #17 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 08:49 AM
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In line with advice from others about keeping the media client thin and storage on the network, for the price of a Raspberry Pi 3B ($35) and MicroSD card (e.g. $8.99 for 32 GB Samsung EVO) you should look at OSMC - a well maintained Kodi on Raspbian platform, or for £99 (currently 10% off) you can buy a more powerful Vero 2 device running OSMC from the folks who make it.



I happily run OSMC on two Raspberry Pi 2Bs, but am not otherwise affiliated.
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post #18 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by amheck View Post
@Karnis2 and @RafaelSmith
What was the issue with the Shield and why did the BeeBox turn out so much better? I had pretty much though the Shield was the way to go.
Development of Kodi on Android hasn't been moving along well. Android HW in general just can't compete with Intel HW in terms of sheer picture quality, plus Kodi development on Intel HW is waaaaayyy more advanced, resulting in a sharper image, better colors, better deinterlacing and much more reliable audio passthru on HDMI.

The Beebox in particular has a noticeably sharper output than many of the other Intel Braswell NUCs out there. It also has an IR receiver built-in, which makes it play nice with most remotes like Harmony out of the box.

For me, the Shield has been a big disappointment in terms of being a top flight HT media player.
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post #19 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 01:44 PM
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For me, the Shield has been a big disappointment in terms of being a top flight HT media player.
I think I would specifically say that 'Android TV'/APP support has been a big disappointment in terms of top HT Media player. Shield itself is actually about as good as you can get with Android TV. Fire TV is sorta a different story and works nicely for me as well for Vue, Netflix and Vudu. But for now, for my Kodi/Plex/.mkv playback needs in my HT room....its the Beebox.

Since getting the beebox and setting it up with Kodi....I have watched countless movies....with HD audio passthru and all without a single sync or hiccup or any client crashes. Far cry from my experience with Kodi on the Shield.
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post #20 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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I tried the Skylake i3 NUC and the Pentium N3700 NUC with OpenELEC and LibreELEC installed and had artifacting (flashing squares) issues on both of them in VC1 files when hardware VC1 VAAPI acceleration was enabled. I also tried the latest development build of OpenELEC on the Skylake i3 NUC with the same issue. I also tried a Shield TV and it had a squealing power supply that I could hear from 3 ft away with the pitch varying. Also on the Shield TV, running SPMC, when I had set refresh rate to same the frame rate of the video enabled, for the first 2 seconds of a video there is no sound. Also I did have a stutter once when set refresh rate to the same frame rate of the video was enabled when running SPMC on the Shield, but again on my PC that has a 4930k CPU, I experienced a stutter once in Kodi with that same refresh rate setting enabled.

I can buy a NUC with the Pentium N3700 CPU that comes with 2GB RAM, 32GB integrated SSD, and Windows 10 Home for $220 and try Kodi on that NUC in Windows 10 Home since I had the VC1 hardware accelerated artifacting issues with OpenELEC and LibreELEC on the Pentium N3700 and Skylake i3 NUC. At least I would save money on buying a Windows 10 Home license this way if Kodi in Windows Home does not have this issue on this NUC with VC1 files. Here it is: http://www.microcenter.com/product/4...rebones_PC_Kit
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post #21 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 03:13 PM
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I was happy with my Rasp. Pi2b until I upgraded to Atmos and DTS:X. Found out the Pi is not capable of bitstreaming audio. Decided to get an Asus M004 chromebox and installed LibreElec/Kodi. Now I'm having lip sync issues. Tried the latest stable and alpha LibreElec versions, both had lip sync issues. Kodi has an audio offset setting in the GUI but it's not sticky, has to be set for each movie. There's also an advancedsettings.xml file where the delay can be set globally. Going to try that next.
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post #22 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 04:44 PM
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Intel decoders have problems with some VC-1 content so switch to SW decoding for that stuff.
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post #23 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 04:58 PM
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I have learned that the latest and greatest hardware isn't the greatest thing for Kodi. Best to research and use tried and true hardware.
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post #24 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Karnis2 View Post
Intel decoders have problems with some VC-1 content so switch to SW decoding for that stuff.
I tried that but it resulted in black being dark gray, tested in OpenELEC 7 beta. I did not have a spare copy of Windows 10 or any Windows version for that matter and was not willing to buy a copy of Windows 10 Home because I did not want to spend more money into these NUCs unless I know for sure Windows 10 does not have VC1 hardware acceleration issues with the Skylake NUC. I was heading into the pricing of a normal prebuilt desktop PC territory if I would have bought a copy of Windows 10 Home and in a desktop PC I can always add a graphics card if I ever have a compatibility issue with onboard graphics and it would also be more powerful to boot, not that I would need all that power for local media streaming.
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post #25 of 27 Old 09-12-2016, 07:37 PM
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I tried that but it resulted in black being dark gray, tested in OpenELEC 7 beta. I did not have a spare copy of Windows 10 or any Windows version for that matter and was not willing to buy a copy of Windows 10 Home because I did not want to spend more money into these NUCs unless I know for sure Windows 10 does not have VC1 hardware acceleration issues with the Skylake NUC. I was heading into the pricing of a normal prebuilt desktop PC territory if I would have bought a copy of Windows 10 Home and in a desktop PC I can always add a graphics card if I ever have a compatibility issue with onboard graphics and it would also be more powerful to boot, not that I would need all that power for local media streaming.
Sorry, I should have been more clear....Intel HW w/ Linux drivers have VC-1 issues.
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post #26 of 27 Old 09-13-2016, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DanPackMan View Post
My question would be; Are you sure you want to have that much storage in your KODI box? The computer you describe is overkill for KODI itself, and may be a bit noisy. Consider buying a dedicated KODI box, like a Chromebox with OpenELEC(or LibreELEC) , and a NAS for your big HDDs. For about the same amount of money you'll have a KODI box that is quiet and small near your TV, and a NAS that can be useful for more than just media storage.

I've moved away from building KODI boxes a long time ago since small form factor cheap PCs with good graphics capabilities started coming out.
My one and only PC functions as a Gaming PC, Office PC, and a Media Server. It's also near my TV (close enough to connect it to my TV via HDMI) but it's closer to my desk. So I will still be hearing the fans of my PC even if I get a dedicated small media box client as my PC is my media server as well. I don't have another place in my house to keep my PC. I can just connect my buiky PC to my TV and use it just for gaming and Kodi and buy a small $400 desktop PC for office work/web browsing. I thought about this because I just don't like the idea of doing office work on a PC I use for gaming, but the problem is the company I work for won't reimburse me if I buy a PC just for office work done from home.
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post #27 of 27 Old 09-14-2016, 09:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I rebought the Skylake i3 NUC. I also bought 8GB Crucial DDR4-2400, Samsung 750 EVO 120GB SSD, and a retail copy of Windows 10 Home. I don't get the artifacting (squares) in VC1 encoded files in Kodi 16.1 in Windows 10, so that's good. Still I hope that the VC1 issues with hardware acceleration I was having in OpenELEC get solved in a future OpenELEC version. I got the NUC on sale for $240.
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