Compact device to play Blu-ray ISO from NAS ? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 04:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Compact device to play Blu-ray ISO from NAS ?

I have my collection of physical Blu-ray discs backed up to a central NAS running Ubuntu with ZFS.


One of my rooms is small, and has the TV wall-mounted. This is an HD/3D TV, not 4K or HDR. There is no practical/logical space for a physical disc player near the TV, or a full-fledged HTPC.



I'm looking for small wall-mountable device, or perhaps some streaming stick, that can perform the task of playing ISO blu-rays from the NAS, preferably with menus. Ideally, the same device should also be able to play Netflix and Amazon Prime video also, as the Netflix app on the Sharp TV no longer works, and there was never a Prime video app. But if not, I could get a separate stick for those.



While I'm very much a techie (software engineer by day), I would still like to use the least painful option. What would be recommended, preferably under $100.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 07:08 PM
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A number of media boxes offer small form factor units. Zappiti has the mini, Dune has a couple too. Roughly 4"x4" and could be wall mounted I'm sure. Under $100 is a hard find, as your main requirement seems to be ISO. The streaming sticks don't support ISO, just media files via Plex or the like.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-05-2020, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post
A number of media boxes offer small form factor units. Zappiti has the mini, Dune has a couple too. Roughly 4"x4" and could be wall mounted I'm sure. Under $100 is a hard find, as your main requirement seems to be ISO. The streaming sticks don't support ISO, just media files via Plex or the like.

Thanks. I'm going to look into those.



I read some people have used Kodi with streaming sticks, but whatever that means precisely isn't really clear. Not sure if they can really be made to play BD ISOs from NAS or not.


Seems the price is $250+ for the Zappiti and Dune units. I could justify it for a 4K TV, for but for an older HDTV, it seems a little bit on the high side.


I do have a spare Raspberry Pi laying around. Is it suitable to play blu-ray ISOs from NAS ? Seems like Kodi in theory supports this.
I tried to set it up yesterday, but had no luck. My Pi currently running headless, and I only use it over VNC. But Kodi is not an X application, so it doesn't display under VNC at all. Really painful for just setting up/testing.
Is Kodi worth the time to invest in it ? Seems it has a bunch of limitations with menus. And would the Raspberry Pi be OK to play ISOs from 3D BDs ?
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-06-2020, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
Thanks. I'm going to look into those.
Dune has a couple older pre-HDR models with small form factors. Any number of possibilities in used gear on eBay or the like if all you want is 1080p. That said, the newer 4K/HDR VP chips are faster and better performing whether you need 4K/HDR or not.


I think the Dune 4K Solo is one of the older models with small form factor, there's a thread on it here.
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-06-2020, 05:18 PM
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First thing I would do is download Librelec and try playing those ISO’s with KODI https://libreelec.tv/downloads_new/raspberry-pi-3-3/. Since you already have the Pi you may as well give it a shot. You may need to step up to a Raspberry Pi 4 to get 4K playback.

If for some reason you have difficulty and would prefer a store bought option I would look at the Nvidia Shield or the Zidoo devices. My Zidoo can run KODI and it also has its own built in media player app that also works great.


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post #6 of 16 Old 06-07-2020, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by usc1995 View Post
First thing I would do is download Librelec and try playing those ISO’s with KODI https://libreelec.tv/downloads_new/raspberry-pi-3-3/. Since you already have the Pi you may as well give it a shot. You may need to step up to a Raspberry Pi 4 to get 4K playback.

If for some reason you have difficulty and would prefer a store bought option I would look at the Nvidia Shield or the Zidoo devices. My Zidoo can run KODI and it also has its own built in media player app that also works great.

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Hadn't heard of Zidoo. Looks like $199 is the cheapest one. Have you tried playing Bluray ISOs with Kodi on it?

nVidia Shield is less expensive at $149. This is getting closer.

For the Pi, my use case is for an old HDTV only, so I think the Pi 3 should work, at least in theory. The Pi 4 is in the right price range, but I heard it really needs a fan and I prefer to avoid that, especially as its GPU doesn't support WOL.

One option that has come to my attention recently is DLNA. The old TV supports DLNA. Apparently it may be possible to play Bluray ISOs over LAN/WLAN using JRiver Media center running on a PC in another room. I'm looking into this option first as it would be a $0 option.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-07-2020, 06:58 PM
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I bet you can find an AppleTV for this purpose. The new 4K units are more expensive than $100 but a used one could do. Here is a post about my set-up.
As most HT enthusiasts, we are always looking at how to upgrade our system(s). Except for the new Yamaha Preamp, my biggest upgrade was to integrate a Synology 1515+ NAS with 40 TB of hard drives into the system. I have a large collection of CDs and DVDs. I used to have two 200 disc Sony ES CD jukeboxes and one 200 disc Sony DVD jukebox as sources for my system. The two CD jukeboxes were great and worked for years. They had great sound. I actually still have them stored in a bin in my garage. The DVD jukebox was lower end and had difficulty handling the discs. Occasionally, it would only partially pull out a disc and swipe it across all the other discs like a card in a bicycle’s spokes. This would scratch up all the discs 😭. I know I sold it in a garage sale for $20. The real issue with the CD jukeboxes was the limited capacity. My coworker told me about his NAS. I saw great potential and he helped me pick out the Synology and the WD Red Hard Drives. This started a huge effort by me to rip all my CDs and DVDs to the NAS. I have spent many hours using DVPoweramp (for CDs) and MakeMKV (for DVDs) softwares Ripping my collection. I ripped all the CDs in WAV (CD quality) format. I did not want to compromise my music quality. I decided to rip the DVDs in standard definition. The blu-ray files took 5 times more data space than the SD files. Many DVDs are not available in blu-ray format. The video can be upconverted to 4K by the Yamaha and the TV. The soundtracks are still 5.1 Dolby digital and can be upconverted to Dolby ATMOS. My collection continues to grow as I rent or borrow media. I use a software called PLEX to organize all my media. All this media would be overwhelming and not practical without PLEX. This software is normally a yearly subscription but I invested in a life time membership on special for $120. I can play my media on both my HT systems using AppleTVs. I can play it on any internet connected PC, I-Pad or I-Phone with PLEX apps. I can also airdrop to the HT through the AppleTVs. This was a big investment, but my collection has great value and can be passed down to my family for generations. It would be illegal to try and sell this media because of copyright laws.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-07-2020, 07:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TMessers View Post
I bet you can find an AppleTV for this purpose. The new 4K units are more expensive than $100 but a used one could do.
Thanks. This is for my old TV in a small guest room that will only be occasionally used, and where I won't have any fancy setup. There won't be any amp or external speakers. Right now the TV itself and the only content I can get on it is Vudu. None of the other built-in apps work anymore. I just tried DLNA but couldn't get it to work at all either somehow. Maybe some configuration on the JRiver side.

Technically, there is a pair of speakers in the ceiling in that guest room too. But the wires end up in a different room, in my home theater, where they are connected to an old receiver with a Chromecast audio on it. I doubt there is a way to play video on the TV and have the audio play on the CCA, but who knows ... That isn't a priority to get working.

I don't want to convert any of the file content on my NAS. I want to keep it stored in ISO format. Thus, I don't want to use MakeMKV. Is there a way to play those files from my NAS on an AppleTV over wireless LAN ?

Last edited by madbrain; 06-07-2020 at 08:14 PM.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-08-2020, 01:06 PM
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I've heard that the Infuse app for AppleTV (the latest one) can play Blu-Ray isos via SMB or NFS shares but I don't own the hardware to try it. Always been curious about it.

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post #10 of 16 Old 06-11-2020, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaNaix View Post
I've heard that the Infuse app for AppleTV (the latest one) can play Blu-Ray isos via SMB or NFS shares but I don't own the hardware to try it. Always been curious about it.

I confirm, it is supported since early 2019 and it's working fine. Infuse make the ATV a very good media center.

If you go this way I strongly suggest the one time buy vs the subscription.
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post #11 of 16 Old 06-11-2020, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking into using Kodi on my Raspberry Pi 3. It is supposed to play Bluray ISO, even 3D.
Setup is non trivial, though. But gotta love the price. I did buy an extra USB wireless keyboard/mouse that arrived today to facilitate setup in front of the TV, since Kodi couldn't be used over VNC. Also ordered an IRETV IR receiver that I may end up using either with the Pi or with my Fire stick in my home theater in a different room. That should arrive tomorrow.
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post #12 of 16 Old 06-15-2020, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
I'm looking into using Kodi on my Raspberry Pi 3. It is supposed to play Bluray ISO, even 3D.
Setup is non trivial, though. But gotta love the price. I did buy an extra USB wireless keyboard/mouse that arrived today to facilitate setup in front of the TV, since Kodi couldn't be used over VNC. Also ordered an IRETV IR receiver that I may end up using either with the Pi or with my Fire stick in my home theater in a different room. That should arrive tomorrow.
So, I tried the Pi3 with the latest LibreElec. Set it up with the USB wireless keyboard/mouse.

Specifically this model : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Attached to a Powerline networking AV1200, there was not enough bandwidth to play Blu-ray - only about 12 - 18 Mbps sustained.

I then tested it with a 1 Gbps Trendnet USB NIC attached to a Unifi NanoHD access point acting as a bridge to my main network. There is >120 Mbps bandwidth on a speedtest. That's enough for Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. And it works fine.

I'll check with the built-in Pi3's Wifi N NIC next. Afraid it might not quite have the bandwidth/reach.

Haven't tried the IR receiver yet. It's the following model :

https://www.amazon.com/Inteset-Recei...tronics&sr=1-2

I'm using one successfully with the Fire Stick 4K in my home theater (different room). I may not need the IR receiver for the PI at all since the wireless keyboard/mouse works fine as remote. Only thing is the TV remote still needs to be around to power it on/off.
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post #13 of 16 Old 06-16-2020, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by madbrain View Post
So, I tried the Pi3 with the latest LibreElec. Set it up with the USB wireless keyboard/mouse.

Specifically this model : https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Attached to a Powerline networking AV1200, there was not enough bandwidth to play Blu-ray - only about 12 - 18 Mbps sustained.

I then tested it with a 1 Gbps Trendnet USB NIC attached to a Unifi NanoHD access point acting as a bridge to my main network. There is >120 Mbps bandwidth on a speedtest. That's enough for Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D. And it works fine.

I'll check with the built-in Pi3's Wifi N NIC next. Afraid it might not quite have the bandwidth/reach.

Haven't tried the IR receiver yet. It's the following model :

https://www.amazon.com/Inteset-Recei...tronics&sr=1-2

I'm using one successfully with the Fire Stick 4K in my home theater (different room). I may not need the IR receiver for the PI at all since the wireless keyboard/mouse works fine as remote. Only thing is the TV remote still needs to be around to power it on/off.

Glad to hear the pi worked out for you. As long as you don’t need 4K, HDR or bitstreaming for immersive audio playback you should be fine.


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post #14 of 16 Old 06-17-2020, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by usc1995 View Post
Glad to hear the pi worked out for you. As long as you don’t need 4K, HDR or bitstreaming for immersive audio playback you should be fine.
Yes. I tested the built-in Wifi though : definitely not good enough for streaming Blu-ray. It only gets about 20 Mbps max. That's with the Ubiquiti NanoHD wireless AP (used as wireless bridge) set to 40 MHz and located inches from the Pi. And HD/3D Blu-ray needs 36-50 Mbps. A 5 GHz wireless NIC might do the job. For now I use an ethernet cable between the AP and Pi3. And an Ethernet hub too, since the TV is also hooked up via Ethernet. TV supports 5 GHz Wifi though, so ethernet may not be strictly necessary.
I think for 4K HDR, the Pi4 might do the job. However, I'm not sure if it will do 3D. I think the video drivers on the Pi4 don't support 3D yet. You probably only need one or the other, since only older TVs support 3D, and only newer ones support 4K. My use case is with a 3D TV here.

I will need a case for my Pi3 as my old case fell apart. And I need something wall mountable preferably.

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post #15 of 16 Old 06-18-2020, 08:33 AM
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Kodi's support for Blu-Ray menus isn't very good. They claim it's an outdated format so I don't expect it to improve any either. You might want to test a bunch of your titles before fully committing to it.

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post #16 of 16 Old 06-18-2020, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by xiaNaix View Post
Kodi's support for Blu-Ray menus isn't very good. They claim it's an outdated format so I don't expect it to improve any either. You might want to test a bunch of your titles before fully committing to it.

Yes, I have found that to be the case with menus. Not sure what else out there has better support. I think JRiver Media Center does, but I'm not sure if the Pi3 is powerful enough for it to play HD Blu-ray. And JRiver MC doesn't support 3D on the Pi3.
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