AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been scouring this site, and following all the links that are still active, for information on media streamers. It seems that most use the same chip and have very similar features. A big consideration for me is SAF (Spouse Acceptance Factor), so the GUIs that these units put up are important - but I haven't been able to find screen shots of what it looks like when you're browsing for songs or movies to play, and no discussion of how to find the 1 thing you want to play when you've got hundreds of discs ripped and stored in 750GB.


Whether I get a Tvix, Eureka, Iamm, DLink, Netgear, or even the Acoustic Research or Apple units will probably heavily depend on the UI experience. Except for the Apple, I'm assuming that the UI essentially is a Windows Explorer type interface - browse folders and filenames. Is that correct?


What I'd want is to have icons depicting the DVD and CD covers, which would be displayed after a search for artist, title name, actor name, director, etc.. CD ripping software often uses the CDDB to provide info on the CD, including album art, but when ripped to the hard disk all that info, except track titles, is essentially lost. I have to "encode" the album title and artist name into the folder name - right? That means I need to be consistent whenever I rip. Or, do I need to rip into MP3s that have this info in metadata? And, the situation with DVDs is even worse, no? Are there external tools for managing the metadata?


If I've misrepresented how this works, my apologies and please correct me. Right now these boxes seem aimed at tech savvy early adopters. I can deal with that, but my family can't. I'm willing to do an extra step at ripping time to have good metadata if that'll help the subsequent choose/play experience. But, if what I get doesn't have a good UI, I'll probably get beat up at home for not getting the AppleTV. But, I have concerns about the functionality of that unit, particularly with regards to DVD playback (seems ideal for photos, though).


HiDef is only a concern for me with regards to digital photos. I'm on DirecTV HD and don't live in a spot where getting OTA HD is really an option. I assume there's no good way to get HD shows off my HR20-700 box into one of these streamers: again, if I'm wrong please tell!



Sorry for the long post. At any rate, I'd sure appreciate it if owners of the boxes discussed here would either post UI screenshots or supply the links to them I've been unable to find. Any discussion of how responsive the boxes are to remote commands, how easy it is to find the CD or DVD you want to play to when you've got 500 to choose from would also be appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
If your main concern is the user interface you ought to give serious consideration to a modded xbox running XBOX Media Center (XBMC). General consensus is that its UI is considerably better than most everything else out there. Have a look at the following thread for more information (including UI screenshots):

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=635294


I am extremely happy with mine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maolq /forum/post/0


...give serious consideration to a modded xbox running XBOX Media Center (XBMC).

The setup for this would be:

1) Get a used XBox (any version is OK, right?)

2) Mod it via software procedure, chip, or service

3) Get a 500GB (max) harddrive, 5400rpm or more

4) Install the XBMC software


And then I need to load my CDs and DVDs onto the XBox harddisk, or my networked PC. I know nothing about XBoxes - do they have ethernet ports?


How well do high resolution photos display?


How do I control the thing from my remote (Universal Home Theatre MX-850)?


Sorry for all the naive questions. The XBMC interface does look good.


thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
If you want a good interface the ONLY option is XBMC. All the others (as you said) are filesystem based. None of the manufacturers put any time or effort into the interface (and questionable effort into the actual hardware). There really isn't a demand yet for these devices so until there is the makers are going to half-ass it. I too am waiting for one to come out that covers all the bases and does it well and I've been waiting a few years with nothing really in site yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeAlletto /forum/post/0


....I too am waiting for one to come out that covers all the bases and does it well and I've been waiting a few years with nothing really in site yet.

Has anyone seen what the interface the AppleTV box puts up? Apple typically gives considerable thought to its interfaces.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
smorgasbord,


A couple of comments in regards to your questions about xbox.


The general procedure you describe is correct. I'm not certain about the xbox version issue; i thought there were some really old versions of the xbox that wouldn't run xbmc but I could be wrong. You should be able to goolge more details about this. There are lots of websites that provide the details on how to soft mod or chip mod your xbox. The following is an example:

http://www.productwiki.com/microsoft...0_minutes.html


A new option has appeared recently for obtaining xbmx binaries if you don't want to use a torrent site. This makes it a lot easier to get either the latest point (ie. stable) release or the latest available beta image:

http://t3ch.xil.us/


You do not actually have to upgrade the harddrive if you plan on accessing all of your media from a networked PC or a NAS raid server such as the ones from infrant or buffalo. The xbox has an ethernet port so you can simply connect it to your home lan. You can even connect it to a wireless bridge, which will work fine for just music but is a little more problematic for video.


For control, the best option is to buy the DVD add on kit for xbox which consists an IR dongle that plugs into one of the controller ports and a remote control. In my case, I just used the xbox DVD remote to program my universal.


With regards to the Apple TV device, I imagine the interface will be pretty good. I have heard concerns that the device will really target streaming content from itunes (both music and video). I'm not sure there are good options for using it to play your own ripped DVDs (maybe, but I have read some concerns). I have also read that you probably won't be able to stream from a NAS raid device. Again, because it has not been released, there are still lots of unanswered questions.


Hope some of this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the advice and pointers.


Is there anything like an XBMC for the XBox 360? Seems like an obvious thing to try.


The XBox 360 already can play music, hi-res JPEGs, and some video from a Windows box. Is there a way to rip DVDs to a PC (something like AnyDVD or DVDShrink) such that the XBox 360 can play them via Windows Media Player 11? Is this a codec issue?


The advantage to the 360 over the old XBox would be hi-res (for JPEGs only now, but HD movies in the future). Does anyone use an XBox 360 as a streamer?


thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
for hi def with a good interface for video,audio and photos, check out the rokulabs hd1000 with Mplay and slimroku or sonica. If you can wait, take a look at the Netgear eva8000 or build an HTPC upon Vista Ultimate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez /forum/post/0


check out the rokulabs hd1000 with Mplay and slimroku or sonica.

My understanding was that the HD1000 with MPlay doesn't support DVD menu navigation nor DTS. Is that incorrect?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mlknez /forum/post/0


If you can wait, take a look at the Netgear eva8000 or build an HTPC upon Vista Ultimate.

I'm definitely keeping an eye on the EVA8000. I signed up for Netgear email notices, but haven't received squat yet.


BTW, does Vista mean that Windows Media Center Edition is dead? I note that NewEgg is selling an OEM version of MCE 2005 that includes a coupon for an upgrade to Vista.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,313 Posts
The lack of a decent UI is one of the reasons I used a software engine and an HTPC to build my own UI. Pretty darn straightforward as I chose an engine that did the dirty work and all I had to do was learn how to paint the correct screen and link the back-end hardware.


Check out my site for screenshots.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,180 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by smorgasbord /forum/post/0


My understanding was that the HD1000 with MPlay doesn't support DVD menu navigation nor DTS. Is that incorrect?

Correct.


I miss DTS and subtitles. The lack is explained by half-assed firmware from Roku, not lack of interest from MPlay's developers. However, I believe menu support is under development and a fix for (external) subtitles may yet emerge. Check the PhotoBridge and MPlay Mplay forums.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,031 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by smorgasbord /forum/post/0


Has anyone seen what the interface the AppleTV box puts up? Apple typically gives considerable thought to its interfaces.

The apple tv interface is, well, apple like, but the product itself and features are severely lacking. It is basically an iPod and dock with more outputs. I don't like that it is linked so tightly to itunes. I don't like that it only supports mpeg4 video.


Apple had the chance to make it great and smash all the competition, but they half-assed it just like all the other companies.


I am looking at the new Netgear one to see what that ends up being like, but if it doesn't support DVD iso's with full menu navigation then it'll be just one more to check off the list.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
Not very much, and not everybody needs storage for 400 DVD's ...

This is a bit overkill for most ... And anyway, at the current cost of storage ( which are only going down anyway ) and an expandable setup, storage becomes a none issue. My slug hooked up with 1/2 terabytes of disks is enough for me and still has room for more.

Patrick S.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
XBox about 50 bucks, mod chip about 20 bucks. Storage? You would have to buy storage for the Escient thing also so thats a wash but if you want to know, about 150 or so for a 500GB HD. So for 400 DVDs at max size of 8.5GB a disk you'd need 6 of those drives, thats $900 even IF you want to store that much which is not the norm. So we are talking a grand for disks and xbox all setup. Add a case to hold those disks, a cheap mb, cheap processor, OS is free, cheap memory, would probably put you at about 1200. Still less than 2 grand. You could get buy with a lot less space by just ripping the movie and not the entire disk. I don't need that much storage or even any drives. Already have a linux box with 500+GB of space. Or most people would just use the internal storage of an xbox with a bigger HD swapped in.


2k IS too much for a media player when you could mod an xbox or buy a $300 all in one thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The Escient things don't need extra storage, but they do need a changer for DVDs. They don't support DVD ripping, only music CD ripping. So, the options are:


SE-D1 for $1K plus $600 for DVP-CX777ES. You then get 400 discs (video/music). No storage. MX-111 for $2K plus $400 for cheap changer. You then get 400 discs plus 160GB of music storage. Either way, they're very pricey.


If you've got lots and lots of discs, then getting one of the Escient models that can control 4 players (1600 disks) might actually be not that bad per disk compared to buying enough storage to hold 1600 ripped DVDs.


But, at the quantites many of us have, they don't make that much sense dollar-wise, although the interface is pretty nice.
 
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top