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Old 30-09-2008, 07:41   #1
hxbro
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Question Suggestions for new HD media player

I'm looking to replace my XBMC xbox setup with something newer that can handle h.264 (in it's many various disguises) and HD.

I've looked at the popcorn hour, which looks to cover most of what I need except unable to play dvd's as there's no css support in the chipset. I don't really want to start ripping the dvd collection to harddisc as it'll take time and would need multiple harddrives - I'm not willing to leave my computer on all the time when I want to watch a dvd, it's a waste of electricity.

My other alternatives are xbox 360 (doesn't support all the formats/containers I probably want to play), PS3 - again similar problems.

HTPC - would give me everything I probably need, but might be noisy and expensive, I'd like to keep it under Ł200 (or rather if I told my wife I'd spent more than that she'd probably kill me

Anyone got any other suggestions?
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Old 30-09-2008, 11:04   #2
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In a similar situation. Bit sick of having media PC with drives attached sharing up files.

Looking for a nice neat clean setup.

I have a squeezebox setup for music, and need to play all the usual formats (xvid/mkv etc). Struggling to figure out what would be the best solution.



DLNA NAS box for video -> PS3 (means I have to remux MKV)
Still need to run a PC for SqueezeServer

Or maybe a QNAP, which should handle Squeeze and DLNA, but ueber pricey.
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Old 30-09-2008, 18:42   #3
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If you liked XBMC on the xbox you could always install it on a PC. They've recently released a cross-platform beta which I've tried on a Linux laptop and it played h.264 stuff no problem.

You could install it on something small and quiet (so I'm led to believe, I don't have one) , like this:

Dell
Quote:
Originally Posted by basegreen View Post
In a similar situation. Bit sick of having media PC with drives attached sharing up files.

Looking for a nice neat clean setup.

I have a squeezebox setup for music, and need to play all the usual formats (xvid/mkv etc). Struggling to figure out what would be the best solution.



DLNA NAS box for video -> PS3 (means I have to remux MKV)
Still need to run a PC for SqueezeServer

Or maybe a QNAP, which should handle Squeeze and DLNA, but ueber pricey.
Very happy with my Qnap TS109 Pro, it was expensive but I'd recommend it. Stuck a 1TB disk in (and can still attach another 1TB e-sata disk if need). Quiet, low powered, quick and loads of functionality straight out the box.

Last edited by poissony; 30-09-2008 at 18:44.
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Old 01-10-2008, 13:26   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by basegreen View Post
DLNA NAS box for video -> PS3 (means I have to remux MKV)
Still need to run a PC for SqueezeServer
My Buffalo Linkstation (Pro I think), with the firmware replaced so it's running Debian, can run SlimServer -- version 6.5.4 anyway. I haven't tried 7.0, which is now SqueezeCenter, so I don't know if it'll work. I don't have anything newer than a SqueezeBox2 though so I don't need it (until I buy a Boom at some point).

I also looked at DLNA for a PS3, but the MKV conversion is a real turn-off. (My kernel doesn't support inotify either, so it's a bit more of a pain to update the DLNA library.)

PopcornHour was something I was interested in, but the lack of DVD disc support reduces its utility vastly.

I think the latest XBMC releases (Atlantis in beta) are the ones to watch, since as mentioned earlier it can run on Windows and Linux. A full HTPC might be overkill (I don't fancy the long startup times associated with a PC) but perhaps an existing appliance can be hacked to run XBMC as the original Xbox was. (I understand that inadequate access to the video hardware is what's preventing XBMC from performing properly on the PS3.)

For now, I'm contenting myself with the fact that there's a good deal of HD content on BBC/Sky at the moment.
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Old 01-10-2008, 15:54   #5
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The remux tool I have for mkv literally only takes 15 seconds to run. I got a linkstation live - so need to look into whether sticking debian on that is worthwhile... i tried to run it on an NSLU2, but far too slow.

Last edited by basegreen; 01-10-2008 at 15:54.
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Old 02-10-2008, 14:22   #6
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for those that want to play DVDs from the disc itself, why not just use an upscaling DVD player? They are cheap enough and are probably going to give the same quality as the popcornhour.

Also, if you are not going to stream media onto a popcornhour you need to have either a big disk inside it (which may be noisy and hot) or attach some USB storage.
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Old 03-10-2008, 07:39   #7
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It's another box under the tv, taking up another input on the tv, and another plug socket along with extra wires...

By the sounds of things you don't have a wife

If I can source the parts cheaply enough, then something built around the gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H motherboard (capable of 1080p and has hdmi onboard) with a AMD 4850e cpu (energy efficient meaning can probably run a quiet fan) will probably do it
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Old 03-10-2008, 08:52   #8
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No wife but a girlfriend and a two year old son. The TV cabinet is arranged in such a way that you do not see the wires and the bits of equipment are set back a bit from the front of the cabinet.

People get hung up on one box solutions. I have a cheap HD-DVD player for playing my DVDs and a popcornhour for playing hidef and divx files. Total cost under Ł200 and no need to put things together, install software etc other than the odd firmware upgrade.
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Old 03-10-2008, 09:42   #9
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A one-box solution is unfortunately a necessity in many cases. For example, I only have 2 HDMI inputs on my TV, one of which is taken up by SkyHD. A separate box for HD discs and HD streamed media would require I buy an HDMI switch, or use component for one box (with its possible future disabling for some media, and the fact that the TV won't auto-switch to it). Plug sockets, digital inputs on the amp, and actual footprint space on the cabinets are all at a premium too.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:09   #10
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a dvd player and a popcornhour are pretty small. And can't you get auto switching HDMI boxes for a few quid?

Personally, I just cannot be bothered to spend the time and effort to put together hardware and install software.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:45   #11
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Last I checked the HDMI switches weren't cheap, but I don't know when that was. (And the PCH has other problems too -- again, last time I checked, it looked like I'd be disappointed with the interface and lack of resume-from-last-position after XBMC. The power-off situation was confusing too.)

Anyway, I'm not having a go or anything. Just saying that with all the leads and extra support devices (like a switch), the use of multiple boxes isn't an obviously superior solution. (And I quite like messing about with the hardware and software. ) If the XBMC worked on the PS3 it would be an ideal one-stop box for media, discs (although BluRay wouldn't be multi-region, I guess) and even the odd game.
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Old 03-10-2008, 10:45   #12
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one of these should do you nicely http://www.mini-itx.com/store/?c=47#d945gclf2

allows you to run 1080p in a mini-itx form factor, nice and cheap, then run xbmc for the pc. Jobs a good un.
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