Media Player Box



  • Hi,

    I'm looking for a small form factor appliance, primarily to play media... Something that'll connect to my flat-screen via HDMI ... Something that'll play high-quality Full-HD/4K video, effortlessly .. Must have ...

    Wired & Wireless Network connectivity
    2 or more USB (3.0) ports
    HDMI port(s) ,ofcourse
    SD card slot
    An IR remote would be nice, but not an absolute must
    Price = $100 - $150max

    What makes more sense - One of those Android-based Media Boxes (KODI compatible boxes) or a mini-PC, with an Intel/AMD(?) based processor (Windows or bare-bones)



  • I've been debating which one to get for myself as well. I currently run the old Boxee box downstairs, and run Netflix on our old Wii upstairs. I'm past due for an upgrade and I've been looking at the Roku 4 device. That one does 4K if you really need it and is around your price point.



  • I'll rarely stream any media ( directly from the internet, or otherwise).... I'll be playing the media, off an SD, USB drive, etc ...



  • @Veet said in Media Player Box:

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a small form factor appliance, primarily to play media... Something that'll connect to my flat-screen via HDMI ...

    What makes more sense - One of those Android-based Media Boxes (KODI compatible boxes) or a mini-PC, with an Intel/AMD(?) based processor (Windows or bare-bones)

    RaspberryPi ?



  • I had an Amazon Fire TV for this, $120. It's great for most things but doesn't do 4K and had a few issues. We decided to upgrade to the NVidia Shield TV, $170, and love it. It does serious gaming (Android TV gaming, best unit out there), has an awesome remote, is polished and solid, does pretty much every streaming service out of the box except for Amazon (of course.) It's a Tegra X1 under the hood which is amazing.



  • Doesn't do 4k, but can meet most other requirements.

    http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G143452239825



  • @gjacobse said in Media Player Box:

    @Veet said in Media Player Box:

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a small form factor appliance, primarily to play media... Something that'll connect to my flat-screen via HDMI ...

    What makes more sense - One of those Android-based Media Boxes (KODI compatible boxes) or a mini-PC, with an Intel/AMD(?) based processor (Windows or bare-bones)

    RaspberryPi ?

    I used a friend's Raspberri, and although is an amazing piece of kit, we've noticed that it kind of falls short, when playing HD content ..

    @scottalanmiller said in Media Player Box:

    I had an Amazon Fire TV for this, $120. It's great for most things but doesn't do 4K and had a few issues. We decided to upgrade to the NVidia Shield TV, $170, and love it. It does serious gaming (Android TV gaming, best unit out there), has an awesome remote, is polished and solid, does pretty much every streaming service out of the box except for Amazon (of course.) It's a Tegra X1 under the hood which is amazing.

    Yes, the nVidia Shield seems interesting, and is one of the options I've short-listed, although I'm not into gaming at all .. .

    @jyates said in Media Player Box:

    Doesn't do 4k, but can meet most other requirements.

    http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G143452239825

    I've had my eyes on the Odroid, from the time it released the U3 ... Problem is, there are some availability issues, where I am ..

    I'm wondering if a mini-PC (bare-bones, or with Windows) is an alternative, worth considering, just from a versatility point...

    How does an Intel Celeron or AMD A6/A8 type CPU/APU, stack-up against a Tegra or an Exynos, or some of the other SOCs ?



  • I won one of these and it works pretty good. It doesn't have an SD card reader or DVD drive but I got USB versions of both so that works fine. https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Fanless-Desktop-Windows-storage/dp/B00SCBWF52/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469804604&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=quantumbyte



  • @Veet there are very few games for the Shield, but those that are there are of good quality and play well. Lots of Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy and some later titles. Portal, Half Life, etc.



  • @gjacobse said in Media Player Box:

    @Veet said in Media Player Box:

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a small form factor appliance, primarily to play media... Something that'll connect to my flat-screen via HDMI ...

    What makes more sense - One of those Android-based Media Boxes (KODI compatible boxes) or a mini-PC, with an Intel/AMD(?) based processor (Windows or bare-bones)

    RaspberryPi ?

    No 4k afaik

    But a Lenovo M700/M900 Tiny (1L PC) might be cool. Intel Core i5/i7 (skylake), can do 4k with a good DP 1.2->HDMI 2.0 adapter. Club 3D offers such an adapter for roughly 35$



  • A Raspberry Pi is not very powerful, doing 4K with it would be a miracle.



  • @Veet said in Media Player Box:

    Hi,

    I'm looking for a small form factor appliance, primarily to play media... Something that'll connect to my flat-screen via HDMI ... Something that'll play high-quality Full-HD/4K video, effortlessly .. Must have ...

    Wired & Wireless Network connectivity
    2 or more USB (3.0) ports
    HDMI port(s) ,ofcourse
    SD card slot
    An IR remote would be nice, but not an absolute must
    Price = $100 - $150max

    What makes more sense - One of those Android-based Media Boxes (KODI compatible boxes) or a mini-PC, with an Intel/AMD(?) based processor (Windows or bare-bones)

    I don't think that you would get (reliable) UHD playback in this price range yet. This may change in a year or two.

    The Pi's most notable drawback is its ethernet interface. It's internally connected via USB 2.0. A Banana Pi is way more powerful here but I don't know about its hardware video decoding capabilities. Same for the Orange Pi.

    The Pi itself is fast enough for Full-HD content. When you buy the licenses for hardware decoding, you can even watch high bitrate videos, but again, the Pi's problem is its ethernet interface and USB 2.0 for mass storage. You just can't feed the Pi fast enough 🙂



  • @scottalanmiller said in Media Player Box:

    @Veet there are very few games for the Shield, but those that are there are of good quality and play well. Lots of Grand Theft Auto, Final Fantasy and some later titles. Portal, Half Life, etc.

    So far, the Shield seems like the best option ... The only down-side I see is the closed nature of an embedded system. This too, holds true, if one compares it to a regular mini-PC/HTPC, which I feel are more flexible... Also, I hear that the Shield forces apps to run @ 60hz display, which may affect a video with a frame-rate of 24 fps...

    Btw.. would it safe to assume that the Shield allows apps to be side-loaded...



  • @Veet said in Media Player Box:

    Btw.. would it safe to assume that the Shield allows apps to be side-loaded...

    I don't have one, but I saw someone on here mention that at some point. I think that it does.




Log in to reply