PDA

View Full Version : Any personal recommendations for media streaming devices?



joe33067
07-25-2016, 04:54 AM
I'm currently using WD TV Live, but I have been running into issues with it over the past year, so I am looking at replacing my devices with something else. It's been suggested to go with a Kodi solution, so I have been researching those.

Aside from the reviews on sites like Amazon, or "comparative" websites, I don't have anything else to go on.

Does anyone have any real-world personal experience (good or bad) with any of these devices?

Some of the ones I have been looking at:

- element ti5 android tv box s905
- NextD TV Android Box
- Pigflytech MX3-plus
- Matricom Android G-Box Q2
- NVIDIA SHIELD - 4K

I do not feel like building my own, I just want something which allows me to stream from my own media server, Netflix and Amazon (although Amazon is not a requirement).

And stability. I don't want to need to keep flashing the firmware, or power cycling the device half a dozen times to get it running.

Let me know what you'll think.

Thanks

Joe

DrScanlon
07-25-2016, 07:43 AM
Hi Joe,
I'm currently using a Roku for much of my streaming. I'm also using a WDTV Live Plus. The Roku is good for streaming internet content from sources like Netflix, Amazon and others. To stream my local media (from server) I still occasionally use the WDTV, which permits me to FFWD, Rewind, etc. The Roku is pretty much play and/or pause--no transport niceties like the WDTV. Also, the Roku performs better if the media is transcoded. Both boxes are on a hardwired ethernet (gigabit) network. For local media, it's mostly 720p and some 1080p, with files sizes from 5GB to 15GB. For internet access, the speed is (nominally) 100Mb.

Overall--for local movie viewing--I like the WDTV interface much better with it's simple list format. With ROKU's Sesame Street look, it takes a while to wade through the tiles when searching for a title.

Frank

joe33067
07-25-2016, 09:50 AM
Yeah, I agree. I bought and returned the Roku - it just didn't perform as I wanted. It's media streaming interface was very annoying - imagine having over 3000 titles - even logically broken down alphabetically.

The WD has been my favorite - but lately I've been having to unplug and plug it back in, or re-flashing the firmware to get it to work. It connects to the media server just fine, and everything looks good right up until I press play. Then the spinning arrow will just spin and spin and spin..... frustrating.

That's why I am looking to replace it with something else -

smitbret
07-26-2016, 12:12 AM
Yeah, I agree. I bought and returned the Roku - it just didn't perform as I wanted. It's media streaming interface was very annoying - imagine having over 3000 titles - even logically broken down alphabetically.

The WD has been my favorite - but lately I've been having to unplug and plug it back in, or re-flashing the firmware to get it to work. It connects to the media server just fine, and everything looks good right up until I press play. Then the spinning arrow will just spin and spin and spin..... frustrating.

That's why I am looking to replace it with something else -

Cross posting from your thread about the Search Function. I had a WDTV Live for a couple of years and hated its limited DLNA support but loved its broad codec support. Not to mention the GUI really started to slow down once the library/playlists got moderately large. I traded it off and got this. It blows the doors off of the WDTV Live.

Personally, I would recommend a Raspberry Pi3 and run LibreELEC on it. Pay the extra $3 and get the MPEG-2 and VC-1 hardware support, too.

If you just want to use your smartphone or tablet to control it then you can just tape or velcro it completely out of site behind the TV and be done for $39 and the cost of a 1GB microSD card and a 2+ amp cell phone charger. It will outperform those Android boxes by a country mile as well.

If you want something a little more stylish and or real remote control function, add a FLIRC and a case. The case I have used so far (tried about 4) is actually the metal FLIRC case because it has an internal metal post that contacts the CPU and turns the whole metal case into a heat sink. The FLIRC remote device lets you use any remote control because it is 100% programmable with a PC. With a FLIRC it can be ANY remote control, doesn't even have to be a universal or multifunction. If it has buttons you can program it. I don't even have my FLIRCs in direct line of sight. I still tuck the Pi away, velcroed behind the very top of the tv and the FLIRC is sensitive enough to pick up the signals as it bounces around the room. You can get cheaper IR Receiver/Remote combinations, though. I just like the FLIRC+the older style DirecTV remote control.

https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Pi-...raspberry+pi+3

https://www.amazon.com/FLIRC-FL-0902...keywords=FLIRC

https://www.amazon.com/FLIRC-FL-5319...keywords=FLIRC

https://www.amazon.com/DIRECTV-RC66R...v+rc66+backlit

https://www.amazon.com/PiTech-Raspbe...ds=pitech+2.5a

https://libreelec.tv/

After experimenting with different items for the last couple of years these are the components I have settled on for my RaspPi2 (I haven't upgrade to a RasPi 3, yet, haven't needed to). Many people will already have a microSD card, remote control and phone charger lying around. Just make sure the charger is 2+ amps or you will have problems that will first be revealed by a rainbow colored box in the upper right corner of the screen when you first boot it up.

It is a $90 project if you go with the "premium" setup here but you can always save a little money with less expensive components or by forgoing the case and/or remote control.

I also use an Asus Chromebox with a FLIRC and running the same OS. The experience is virtually identical. The only difference is that the Chromebox will pass HD Audio (True-HD or DTS-MA) and the Pi3 won't. You have to downsample or pass through LCPM.

DrScanlon
07-26-2016, 12:36 AM
I could never get a reliable connection with WDTV when it was on wireless with either WD or WDlxTV firmware. Even the Roku would get a little flaky on wifi. The only way I've found to get reliability from any of the boxes was to 1) go to wired connection and 2) use static IPs (manual network setup). Even with that, the WDTV is horrible for anything internet. My first choice for a dream setup would be a fast HTPC, but it's just too many $.

smitbret
07-26-2016, 09:26 AM
I could never get a reliable connection with WDTV when it was on wireless with either WD or WDlxTV firmware. Even the Roku would get a little flaky on wifi. The only way I've found to get reliability from any of the boxes was to 1) go to wired connection and 2) use static IPs (manual network setup). Even with that, the WDTV is horrible for anything internet. My first choice for a dream setup would be a fast HTPC, but it's just too many $.

Wired is always preferred and my Chromebox is running with a wired connection. My RaspPi2 has a simple n300 USB adapter and works fine. I do have a DHCP reservation set up for it but it has never missed a beat due to the network connection since I installed it a couple of years ago.

jbinkley60
07-27-2016, 09:04 AM
Cross posting from your thread about the Search Function. I had a WDTV Live for a couple of years and hated its limited DLNA support but loved its broad codec support. Not to mention the GUI really started to slow down once the library/playlists got moderately large. I traded it off and got this. It blows the doors off of the WDTV Live.

Personally, I would recommend a Raspberry Pi3 and run LibreELEC on it. Pay the extra $3 and get the MPEG-2 and VC-1 hardware support, too.

If you just want to use your smartphone or tablet to control it then you can just tape or velcro it completely out of site behind the TV and be done for $39 and the cost of a 1GB microSD card and a 2+ amp cell phone charger. It will outperform those Android boxes by a country mile as well.

If you want something a little more stylish and or real remote control function, add a FLIRC and a case. The case I have used so far (tried about 4) is actually the metal FLIRC case because it has an internal metal post that contacts the CPU and turns the whole metal case into a heat sink. The FLIRC remote device lets you use any remote control because it is 100% programmable with a PC. With a FLIRC it can be ANY remote control, doesn't even have to be a universal or multifunction. If it has buttons you can program it. I don't even have my FLIRCs in direct line of sight. I still tuck the Pi away, velcroed behind the very top of the tv and the FLIRC is sensitive enough to pick up the signals as it bounces around the room. You can get cheaper IR Receiver/Remote combinations, though. I just like the FLIRC+the older style DirecTV remote control.

https://www.amazon.com/Raspberry-Pi-...raspberry+pi+3

https://www.amazon.com/FLIRC-FL-0902...keywords=FLIRC

https://www.amazon.com/FLIRC-FL-5319...keywords=FLIRC

https://www.amazon.com/DIRECTV-RC66R...v+rc66+backlit

https://www.amazon.com/PiTech-Raspbe...ds=pitech+2.5a

https://libreelec.tv/

After experimenting with different items for the last couple of years these are the components I have settled on for my RaspPi2 (I haven't upgrade to a RasPi 3, yet, haven't needed to). Many people will already have a microSD card, remote control and phone charger lying around. Just make sure the charger is 2+ amps or you will have problems that will first be revealed by a rainbow colored box in the upper right corner of the screen when you first boot it up.

It is a $90 project if you go with the "premium" setup here but you can always save a little money with less expensive components or by forgoing the case and/or remote control.

I also use an Asus Chromebox with a FLIRC and running the same OS. The experience is virtually identical. The only difference is that the Chromebox will pass HD Audio (True-HD or DTS-MA) and the Pi3 won't. You have to downsample or pass through LCPM.

As mentioned above I like my Intel NUC running Kodi either in OpenElec (likely to be LibreElec soon) or Windows 10 mode. I currently have it dual boot. This is great for my main system which powers my 4K TV and does upscaling. I have a Pi 2 B I use for whole house audio but have been looking at either 2 more NUCs or possibly Pi 3 Bs to replace my WD Live boxes. On question I have is what bitrates are your 1090P files ? I rip mine Blu-Rays at full bitate which often can hit close to 40mb/s. Are you running hit bitrates ? If so, how high ?

smitbret
07-28-2016, 05:59 AM
As mentioned above I like my Intel NUC running Kodi either in OpenElec (likely to be LibreElec soon) or Windows 10 mode. I currently have it dual boot. This is great for my main system which powers my 4K TV and does upscaling. I have a Pi 2 B I use for whole house audio but have been looking at either 2 more NUCs or possibly Pi 3 Bs to replace my WD Live boxes. On question I have is what bitrates are your 1090P files ? I rip mine Blu-Rays at full bitate which often can hit close to 40mb/s. Are you running hit bitrates ? If so, how high ?

My Raspberry Pi Model B couldn't do full bitrate BD Rips; couldn't do anything that was more than 30-32mbps for longer than 5 seconds. The RaspPi 2 has no problem.

jbinkley60
07-28-2016, 08:56 AM
My Raspberry Pi Model B couldn't do full bitrate BD Rips; couldn't do anything that was more than 30-32mbps for longer than 5 seconds. The RaspPi 2 has no problem.

Thanks. I an thinking of Pi 3 Bs. For the cost I might as well build one and see what happens. Are you doing any 4K upscaling with LibreElec ? I've been running OpenElec 6.0.3 on my Intel NUC but when doing 4K upscaling I get intermittent video drops and a sec of a black screen. I tried the latest OpenElec beta, which has newer Intel drives but it is even worse. Video drops out consistently with 4K upscaling. When I dual boot into Windows 10 running Kodi 4K upscaling is rock solid. I've been eyeing LibreElec as an option.

smitbret
07-30-2016, 03:17 AM
Thanks. I an thinking of Pi 3 Bs. For the cost I might as well build one and see what happens. Are you doing any 4K upscaling with LibreElec ? I've been running OpenElec 6.0.3 on my Intel NUC but when doing 4K upscaling I get intermittent video drops and a sec of a black screen. I tried the latest OpenElec beta, which has newer Intel drives but it is even worse. Video drops out consistently with 4K upscaling. When I dual boot into Windows 10 running Kodi 4K upscaling is rock solid. I've been eyeing LibreElec as an option.

I literally have zero experience with 4k anything. I haven't upgraded my TVs or invested playback equipment for 4K. I am a surprisingly late adopter for things like that. I haven't been nearly impressed with the jump from 1080p to 4k as I was from 480p to 720p/1080p so I will wait until the tech comes down in price. I am kind of the opinion that 4k might end up like the 3D thing where it's fun to play with but might never catch on mainstream.

jbinkley60
08-06-2016, 06:54 PM
I picked up a Raspberry Pi 3 and added a Flirc I had lying round, loaded it up with LibreElec and the Kodi add-on and so far things are working well with playing Blu-Ray full bitrate videos. I ordered a set of heatsinks for it just to keep it a bit cooler and I am still playing with some of the remote control keys with my Logitech Harmony remote. But so far I am pleased with the results for less than $100.

jbinkley60
08-17-2016, 11:45 AM
I've continued testing with my Rasberry Pi and things are going well. I moved to an internal GPIO (http://www.ebay.com/itm/IR-Remote-and-Receiver-for-Raspberry-Pi-works-with-Kodi-XBMC-Media-Center-/172243997535?hash=item281a8ad35f:g:ZiEAAMXQWzNSj2s b) infrared receiver which is working very well. I also ended up ordering both the MPEG2 and VC-1 licenses from the Raspberry folks. I am able to play full bitrate Blu-Ray quality videos for AVC, Mpeg2 and VC-1 encoding. The only problem I have noticed is with VC-1 and I use the plugin resume from a specific time option. I get pixalation and such. If I started from the beginning and time jump or skip it works fine. I don't see this on any other platform (i.e. NUC running Kodi, PC running Kodi etc...)

digital-2k
08-18-2016, 01:00 AM
Joe,

To get this thread back on target, I have tested a number (6) of my WD Live units. It seems that a recent firmware upgrade broke the box/Mezzmo combination. I too have been getting the spinning wheel of death. I tested and confirmed this theory by doing a plug-and-play replacement with a unit that is been in the closet. If fired up and found the Mezzmo collection without a hiccup. To confirm the situation, good testing practices call for restoring the questionable configuration. Sure enough the updated unit did not function again. So in my opinion, this problem falls on WD. I did not as yet test a reset to factory of one of the broken boxes. That will be this evening's experiment.

As for other boxes to try, we use Brightsign and work because they need to run 24/7. But that's why they are pricey, because they do work without constantly trying to outsmart the equipment. Another personal opinion, I gave up playing with Arduino and Raspberry because there just isn't enough time in the day to reinvent something that a manufacturer is already done the R&D on. Also remember that Conceiva, as with all manufacturers, test their software/hardware under precise scenarios and therefore only support and guarantee such combinations and conditions.

-Dave

digital-2k
08-18-2016, 01:42 AM
Joe,
This may help too.

From the forum....

Tip: If you regularly experience disconnection problems from your device when streaming videos at the 20-30 minute interval, you can try changing Mezzmo's advertisement value to 86400 (which is 24 hours).

Tip: If your device has trouble detecting Mezzmo, then you can try reducing the advertisement interval to 180 (which is 3 minutes).

Important: You must restart your Mezzmo server after making any changes to the Server advertisement interval setting.

I will test this evening. - Dave

visiter555
08-18-2016, 04:06 AM
I dumped all my WD Lives and moved to several ChromeBox units (Celeron) dual booting and now running LibreELEC (V7 including Kodi 16.1). I started with OpenELEC and it has been super easy to update and then upgrade to the new LibreELEC.

It was extremely easy and the WAF was very high. I have now done more than 10 boxes for family and we have four in our house. Cheap and usable for other things.

I got lucky and got the ChromeBoxes all for $99 and the family ones were $149 less a $25 coupon back in the spring.

Asus, Dell, and so on make the better ones and good luck. I went the same path you did, and the WDs were good, the ChromeBoxs and even better and better supported over at the Kodi forums.

john9832
12-21-2016, 05:37 PM
I recommend

HD Subs z100 Android Media Box.

jbinkley60
12-22-2016, 10:08 PM
Thanks. I an thinking of Pi 3 Bs. For the cost I might as well build one and see what happens. Are you doing any 4K upscaling with LibreElec ? I've been running OpenElec 6.0.3 on my Intel NUC but when doing 4K upscaling I get intermittent video drops and a sec of a black screen. I tried the latest OpenElec beta, which has newer Intel drives but it is even worse. Video drops out consistently with 4K upscaling. When I dual boot into Windows 10 running Kodi 4K upscaling is rock solid. I've been eyeing LibreElec as an option.

I've been running my Intel NUC with Kodi for about a year now. The black screen issue with 4K upscaling ended up being an HDMI cable issue. I am running the Intel NUC 5I7RYH with the latest version of LibreElec and the Kodi plugin. With this I can do full Blu-Ray quality streaming, 4K upscaling, bitstream HDMI passthrough of all audio formats at 7.1 audio and the flexibility of all of the Kodi addons. The Raspberry Pi 3Bs have been great and a cheaper solution for 1080P streaming.

john9832
01-04-2017, 05:20 PM
There are various types of streaming box available in market but not all of them provide equal features to end users.

So, i recommend HD Subs streaming box for live internet entertainment.

HomerRamone
01-09-2017, 06:02 AM
Im interested in this too (simialr reason - my WD TV is showing signs of stress).

I just tried (another) android box and that will now be winging its way back to amazon tommorow. Think it was a coolead one or something.
I tried the version of Kodi on it and it had the same issues ive always seen - Kodi caches the playlists and restart is the only way to have it refresh them. Also I didnt seem to be getting DTS from the streamed audio.
I also tried running the mezzmo android app and had issues with the interface and still wasnt getting any digital audio thru.

Some of my media is DTS and some is DD - So I need something that can let both passthru to my surround amp.

(Im amazed that given how old the WD box is there still seems to be nothing that can equal it !)

jbinkley60
01-09-2017, 07:41 AM
Im interested in this too (simialr reason - my WD TV is showing signs of stress).

I just tried (another) android box and that will now be winging its way back to amazon tommorow. Think it was a coolead one or something.
I tried the version of Kodi on it and it had the same issues ive always seen - Kodi caches the playlists and restart is the only way to have it refresh them. Also I didnt seem to be getting DTS from the streamed audio.
I also tried running the mezzmo android app and had issues with the interface and still wasnt getting any digital audio thru.

Some of my media is DTS and some is DD - So I need something that can let both passthru to my surround amp.

(Im amazed that given how old the WD box is there still seems to be nothing that can equal it !)

I had the exact situation as you with the WD boxes and moved to Kodi. It had the issues of caching, sorting improperly etc. I've moved to an Intel NUC, running LibreElec with the Mezzmo Kodi plugin. It does everything you want including running Kodi, HMDI 7.1 passthrough (DTS HD/MA, True-HD etc...), fixes the caching issue, fixes Kodi sorting, HW GPU decoding including H.265 and I do 4K upscaling with it. I no longer have any WD boxes and have moved to this or Raspberry PIs running LibeElec.

HomerRamone
01-09-2017, 06:35 PM
Is it the Kodi plugin that resolves this then ? I did get a HTPC a while back whilst looking for alternatives but with the caching issues and stuff I gave up on Kodi pretty much. I was playing stuff OK so perf was good (though I forget now if I was getting true HD Audio)

I also tried a simialr thing with a PI but found in practice a PI couldnt cut it with a 1080p movie. (Though it was a Mk 1 PI - maybe the newer ones are better).

[Thanks for the info]

jbinkley60
01-09-2017, 11:25 PM
Is it the Kodi plugin that resolves this then ? I did get a HTPC a while back whilst looking for alternatives but with the caching issues and stuff I gave up on Kodi pretty much. I was playing stuff OK so perf was good (though I forget now if I was getting true HD Audio)

I also tried a simialr thing with a PI but found in practice a PI couldnt cut it with a 1080p movie. (Though it was a Mk 1 PI - maybe the newer ones are better).

[Thanks for the info]

The plugin fixes the main Kodi issues including caching, improper sorting etc. It also has the ability to resume playback, display whether a video has been played and the resume playback option can be shared across Kodi devices so you can start watching a movie in one room, go to another and pickup where you left off. None of this requires you to install the Kodi database sharing and similar. The Mezzmo folks did a great job and this is all shared in the Mezzmo database and is seamless.

I run Raspberry 3B Pis and they will do 1080P but there are limitations depending upon the underlying encoding method (i.e. VC-1 etc..) I use it for bedroom TVs and similar where the usage is casual. The Intel NUCs (I prefer the NUC6i5SYH model) will handle pretty much anything you throw at it. The wireless in it can handle 1080P streaming across 5Gig with no issues. I run native Blu-Ray 1090P (up to 40Mb/s) across its wireless, do 4K upscaling and the CPUs stay around 8%. It's a little more pricey than the WD and other options but with Kodi you have many options to extend functionality.

smitbret
01-10-2017, 03:58 AM
Is it the Kodi plugin that resolves this then ? I did get a HTPC a while back whilst looking for alternatives but with the caching issues and stuff I gave up on Kodi pretty much. I was playing stuff OK so perf was good (though I forget now if I was getting true HD Audio)

I also tried a simialr thing with a PI but found in practice a PI couldnt cut it with a 1080p movie. (Though it was a Mk 1 PI - maybe the newer ones are better).

[Thanks for the info]

I will kind of echo what jbinkley has said. I have been running Kodi on an Asus Chromebox (Dual-Core Celeron) and a couple of RaspPi 2's with FLIRCs and DirecTV remotes at each location. The RaspPi Model B that I started out with really struggled with uncompressed BD Rips but the RPI2 hasn't had any trouble. In fact, based on my couple of years experience I have found the RPI2 to be less problematic than the Chromebox. The Chromebox occasionally struggled with updating the library or getting the artwork all mixed up. I never had those problems on the RPi.

jbinkley60
01-10-2017, 11:40 AM
One thing to think about is H.265. If you plan to go there then the Raspberry Pi and many other devices won't handle it. The NUC model I mentioned does H.265 partially in hardware and I've tested 1080P @ 24Mb/s with H.265 and no issues. The CPU was around 8%. The brand new NUCs can do H.265 in HW, with 10 bit (HDR) and at 4K. Here's a link (http://www.anandtech.com/show/10959/intel-launches-7th-generation-kaby-lake-i7-7700k-i5-7600k-i3-7350k/6) comparing the GPU capability of the NUCS.

maytinh23
01-10-2017, 02:22 PM
i recommend HD Subs streaming box for live internet entertainment.

HomerRamone
01-10-2017, 07:14 PM
I have a lot of h.264 stuff but not 265 (I dont think - I usually use handbrake so...)

Im not desperate for 4K stuff currently as generally use a projector to watch movies. 4K projectors are way beyond budget ATM. TBH I think the NUC models mentioned above are more than Im looking to spend on a media player.

Lots of useful pointers here though folks.Much appreciated ! Thanks !

gurudhev
09-26-2018, 12:07 AM
I am also using My Roku device. Which is different from other streaming devices. The only need is the Roku device and Roku activation code. By using this device one can watch their favorite shows without any interruptions.