Discuss Your Gaming Environments and AV Setups
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Anapan
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by Anapan Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:45 am

A little late here as well.
IMO , you really want to have H265/HEVC playback (not just for 4K - encoding to it can half the file size of most HD videos without perceivable quality loss in my experience). It's fast becoming the standard for HD video distribution. The drawback is it requires an exponentially larger amount of CPU power to decode compared to previous codecs.

It's also important to be able to access USB drives over 2 TB; The 128 bit indexing perplexes many older linux and android usb stacks - that means many of the external drives are useless on them - Swapping multiple 2TB USB 2 drives is a pain and more expensive than a single larger drive.

If using USB exclusively, Windows (Samba) Share playback isn't necessary, but having just purchased a Roku 3 which won't (not can't - they just didn't program the functionality) do that, having it lacking is horrible IMO.

I've never used MakeMKV - I encode DVD to H264 or H265 in Vidcoder (Handbrake interface) with 3:2 pulldown detelecine. The drawback to that is the individual tweaking necessary for consistent quality. It can get complicated to tweak the aspect ratio, deinterlacing, cropping, audio downmix etc. I also often have to trim large files down to individual episodes or make multiple attempts at an encoding to get the post-processing right. Also, at the quality I use it can take a while, even with a recent i7 processor to encode a final archival-quality video file.

MakeMKV is flawless in it's simplicity - I think you made the right choice considering the number of discs you're processing.

Because you're ripping full lossless DVD quality to MKV, you'll need to ensure that the media player handles the deinterlacing properly when playing it back. The result might be different on a 480i CRT or a HD flatscreen depending on the player. That functionality is kinda a tossup - it's a flag in the open-source Mplayer core most of these media boxes use, and an unknown until it's tested.

The only for-sure I know of with DVD playback is the WDTV media players - they flawlessly play back .ISO DVD rips with full interactive functionality in my experience. I played through the DVD edition of Dragon's Lair on a 2nd Gen WDTV off a thumbdrive. Still unknown if that functionality would hold for a transcoded MKV, tho I'm happy to test this.

If you haven't purchased a media player box yet, I can test a tough-to-deinterlace DVD-to-MKV video on a handful of devices for ya.

Currently around my house plugged into TVs or (mostly) collecting dust:
WDTV HD 2nd Gen. (WDBABF0000NBK-00)
WDTV Live Plus (WDBABX0000NBK-00)
WDTV 2014 "Non Netflix crap edition" (WDBYMN0000NBK-00)
MP018 1080p Media Player (DX:55119)
Netgear NeoTV Max (NTV300SL)
CX-919 Quad Core Android HDMI Dongle (DX:217792)
Sony Blu-Ray w/ Wifi (BDP-S3200)
Roku 3 (4230x1)
Nvidia Shield TV (P2571)

I no longer have any Star Trek-TNG or Voyager DVDs, tho they're the most notorious for being horrible to deinterlace (the starfield in the windows was interlaced at a different synchronization to the live-action). Even Netflix version of Voyager is still a mess.

Except for the last 2 (or 3?) on that list, they're all mostly useless to me and they're piling up. I'd trade most for a handheld cart or $10 and the cost of shipping. Some I've never used, but mostly they're listed in the order of their capabilities.

The 2nd Gen. WDTV overheats if played for over 6 hours (without fail - I've bought tons of these). Some Highcode H264 make it overheat and fail.

The Live Plus is still my favorite - it can't play H265/HEVC so it became obsolete instantly. It needs a dongle to use Wifi.

The WDTV 2014 is a trainwreck. It's USB playback support seems solid. No H265

Mp018 - Never even unboxed - no H265. 5/5 reviews - it is the cheapest one I ever bought.

Netgear - Friend gave it - says it crashed. Might try plugging it in.

CX-919 - Really cool. Wifi and Bluetooth range suck really bad. Best smart TV conversion ever if it could do internet over 10 feet from the router.

Blu-ray - Wins the functionality over previous - interface is all text - Plex support is crazy nested text trees. No Samba share playback. Great device except family abandoned Blu-rays and gave them all away 'cause Netflix.

Roku3 - Commercials and shoehorned functionality. Not used to these limits - it's powerful and cheap. Plex support is fully working - that's all that matters.

Nvidia Shield TV - Most expensive for a reason - it is the most powerful and functional Android device I ever owned.

I guess the first priority is to figure out which can play your MKVs. I'll use MakeMKV on the Gorillaz - Slowboat to Hades disc and see which device fares best with it's obscure "tour" interface for video payback - once I sleep off some beers.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by Jagosaurus Sat Aug 20, 2016 2:36 pm

Thanks for the info Anapan. Check out those players, @ that price I'd be interested if they'll play MKV & MP4. AVI would be a small bonus.

I viewing all content on HD LCD sets via HDMI in.

My current LG BR player handles the 480 interlaced signal well which makes sense as it also handles DVDs.
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by CRTGAMER Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:52 am

Jagosaurus wrote:Currently I am moving a USB external HDD around from PC (VLC Media Player App) to my LG BPM33 Blu Ray player in my living room. This BR player has subpar reviews and spotty wifi IMO... but plays every .mkv, .avi, and .mp4 file I throw at it via USB.

I am hunting another box that will do the same for me in my game room and possibly add some functionality as a bonus. Access to netflix, youtube, Kodi etc is a plus but not a must.

For any player that has ethernet input, that would be the fastest route. In addition you can plug in a more powerful Wifi receiver into the player ethernet jack.

For the spare room you could get another all in one Bluray player that has the USB input; many (even older models) support Netflix. Make sure the USB jack is at least 2.0 for speed. A compact enclosure hard drive a better route over a USB memory stick due to larger size as well as access speed.

LG makes great players, I own the LG BD370 and BD390 models which support Netflix and USB drives. However the BD370 will not play videos off the USB input, but the BD390 does. Love the older fatter players due to better anamorphic stretch support.
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by noiseredux Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:39 am

anyone have a recommendation on good software for watching Blurays? They are pretty pricey so it'd be nice to hear why one is preferred over another. Also, support for some kind of remote control would be nice - especially if you can recommend one of those as well :lol:
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by Jagosaurus Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:07 am

noiseredux wrote:anyone have a recommendation on good software for watching Blurays? They are pretty pricey so it'd be nice to hear why one is preferred over another. Also, support for some kind of remote control would be nice - especially if you can recommend one of those as well :lol:


Just to watch them on your PC? VLC Media Player is the way to go. It'll play any file you throw at it & will allow you to navigate disc menus via point & click. I use a wiresless mouse. It's free, definitely try this before buying anything.

If you're interested in compressing blu rays for HDD space savings, Handbreak seems to be the software of choice with many options. I personally keep them full lossless BR quality after ripping from Make MKV, but it is eating up some serious storage at 25GB or so per movie lol. MKV & handbreak are also both free.
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by noiseredux Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:12 am

yeah, I'm just talking about "put a BR disc into the PC. Press play. Watch movie."

I had looked into VLC in the past, but it seemed like BR support is not included by default and seemed like I had to do some other stuff to get it working. Also I wasn't sure if I could easily use a media remote to control the disc via VLC either?

Basically, I want something with a really easy UI that is as easy as inserting a disc and hitting play on the remote. If I have to pay a bit to get that, that's alright.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by Jagosaurus Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:57 am

I know the free version of VLC I have works fine with an external blu ray drive. Maybe the newer DLs require a fee for that advanced feature?

I'm moving more onto playing the ripped BR MKVs via the $35 VonHaus media player I bought on Amazon. Has a remote, can read external drives, & 1080p HDMI out. If you're ok taking the time to rip them, this wold accomplish what you're looking for at a low cost.
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by noiseredux Thu Sep 15, 2016 9:59 am

yeah I'm way way too lazy for that.
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Jagosaurus
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by Jagosaurus Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:48 am

noiseredux wrote:yeah I'm way way too lazy for that.


Ha! It's been a slow process for me but finally about to have most of the BRs/DVDs I don't plan on keeping on a HDD. Just doing a few at a time.

I'd try VLC first. I didn't even know there was a paid option for VLC honestly. I've never tried a TV style remote on a PC app. Would be interested as a curiosity what you find out.
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Re: Recommend TV Media Box for Me – Movies via USB

by noiseredux Thu Sep 15, 2016 10:51 am

about a decade ago I spent MONTHS ripping thousands of CD's to an external HDD. That HDD has been in a closet for the past 3 or 4 years thanks to Spotify, Youtube, etc. So yeah. I'm not gonna spend another minute ripping anything I don't have to haha.
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