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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've dug and dug, done my research, and my head is spinning. I'm just looking for a recommendation on a basic player. I think I'm leaning towards the Box Office, but really don't know.


Requirements:


1) Reliable performance over wireless-g. I don't want a player that will randomly drop out. I don't plan on streaming anything HD or BD or mkv or anything. Just basic xvid / divx / flac / mp3. Will be streaming from my WinXP server over Samba. I've seen complaints about certain players not working with Win7, so that isn't a concern for me.


2) Strong WAF. Currently use Xbox1 w/ XBMC and it has a good enough WAF if that gives you any indication. Looking to replace it because the reliability with connection over wireless-g has been up and down with recent updates of XBMC (see requirement #1).


3) Don't want to spend too much. Probably capping my price point at $150 including any necessary Wifi adapter.


Nice to have:


1) Would be cool if it does Pandora, but I can live without it. Can't care less about YouTube and the like.


2) Audio quality. Would like to hook up to my receiver via digital. Would like the player to pass DD or DTS to receiver but this is by no means a deal breaker. Receiver can do PLII if necessary.


Don't care:


1) Video quality. I'm going to be connecting via composite anyway to my aging CRT, so I don't need HD.


2) Don't need ISO support


Feature of my dreams:


1) I love the fact that XBMC has a web server so I can operate it without the TV on. Do any of the players offer a similar feature?



Is there anything else I can provide that would help in making my decision?
 

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I had some the requirements that you have listed - I went with WD TV Live. I actually bought (still have; will send back) a Patriot Box office but I like the WD TV Live interface better - plus more WAF. There are some known issues with WD TV Live like audio sync etc. - didn't bother me much.


I don't stream much. But in the tests and brief TVserity playing-around, I didn't notice any drop outs. I watched some YouTube stuff and they played without pausing.


I haven't used XBMC - so can't really compare.


WD TV Live should fit the budget - selling for $120 now. Wireless USB adapter might cost $15-$30.


It does Pandora


It can feed DD/DTS to your receiver - but am not sure how it'll do when analog audio is also enabled ... (I used HDMI to connect to TV; TOSLink to receiver)


There are custom firmwares available that allow, in a way, to view/control the box remotely (not full video though). Plus, you can do a lots more with custom firmwares, if you are up for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the reply!


That's interesting that you decided to go with the WDTV after already having the Patriot Box Office. Was there something about the PBO that disappointed you and thus turned to the WDTV? Or did you just get them both and decide to return 1 of them?


Ya, I am concerned about the WDTV Live's wireless reliability. I've seen a couple people post about it dropping out. Not sure how prevalent that is. Maybe I'm making too much of the few posts I read. But I'll gladly deal with a less than ideal UI if it means solid wifi performance and consistency.


I did see there is a little bit of a active hacking community around the WDTV. But I didn't dig into it at all. But if there is a stable firmware that has a web server for remote control ala XBMC, that would be sweet. I wonder how the reliability of the custom firmware compares to the stock factory firmware.
 

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I have had all three of these players. If you plan on streaming and want to use wireless go with the O!Play Air. The WDTV Live is good but wireless usb dongles are a pain, and not cheap. The Air has it built in and so it will be supported. WDTV Live subtitle support is not as good as Realtek based players.


The Patriot Box Office lets you install a 2.5" HD/SSD and is the only one of the 3 that will allow that. It's a nice player but I would make sure that the noise issue with the fan was not something that bothered me.


If you don't need wireless go with the O!Play.


There are other Realtek based players out there. The ACRyan seems interesting especially given the YAMJ support. I haven't had any experience with it.


If time is not a factor then the Boxee Box or PopBox seem very appealing and will have far better interfaces than the players you mentioned.


philip
 
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