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Rybags

Media players

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I'm thinking of buying a dedicated black-box type media player.  Criteria is that I can do local playback preferably from a DLNA server and handle H.265 / X265 types.  Not critical that it can do that at 4K but would be nice.

From my research, there seems to be fairly limited info around the 'net.  Chromecast Ultra might or might not fit the bill.  Apple TV 4K probably would with the bonus that I can download apps and games.  Though I'm not looking to jump into yet another ecosystem.  I noticed a couple of the Laser 4K media players were reduced at BigW about a month ago but really, they look like cheap and nasty Android boxes and the reviews I've found don't heap much praise on them, or many other Android boxes for that matter.

Another alternative might be a console but really, an ecosystem I don't want and probably an expense I don't want either. 

Current setup is that 95% + of my viewing is done through my BluRay player, using Lynn Kinsky as a control point on the PC to instruct the player to locally stream videos hosted on the PC with Serviio as the DLNA server.
Other criteria - I don't transcode and don't believe in it.  If a playback device can't handle the commonly obtainable video file formats on it's own then I don't really want to know about it.
Those things said - supposedly by default Apple TV and CC Ultra don't satisfy these requirements but apps and hacks mean those obstacles aren't too hard to overcome.

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I wasn't super satisfied that the CCU would handle it all.  So I settled on the normal CC via plex, which can transcode, but hasn't needed to because I've mostly skipped 265 stuff.

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Part motivation for 265 is to reduce archival requirements.  I'd like to get rid a a buttload of DVDs and don't have too much of a problem converting stuff as MediaCoder does NVENC just fine.  The aim being to reduce the number of external drives to hold everything.

Additionally, if a device does 265 pretty well then it's very unlikely to become the cause of stuttering for less demanding codecs.

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My thoughts are along the lines of a consumer blackbox type device like AppleTV or ChromeCast.
As much as I'd like to get into RasPi and the like I don't want to devote time to it at the moment and inevitably it'd either end up as a jack of all or being reallocated to something else.

I'm sort of tempted by Apple TV as gaining knowledge of it would allow me to support it and derive income.  Sort of tempted by CC Ultra since it's not a big spend.
But ultimately I'd like something that I don't have to jump through hoops just to start watching stuff.  With my BluRay all I have to do is turn it on, I have Kinsky running all the time on the desktop so I usually just browse with it and start up a show.

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Are you happy with archiving to 265?  A lot of stuff I've seen using it is basically transcoded TV rips, rather than encoded directly to it, and in that context, it's certainly a smaller file, but it also looks pretty bad.

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265 gives diminishing returns as the resolution goes down.  ie - you'll generally save 50% on a 1080 video but for something around DVD resolution it won't save much over 264 if you want the same quality.

A lot of my old stuff would be lower res so I'd probably not bother with 265 for it. 

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As posted in the purchase thread, Apple TV 4K 64 Gig model picked up on Tuesday.

A big annoyance early on was being constantly asked for AppleID and password - luckily the security can be relaxed in Settings and part reason was I didn't have an iTunes account setup which I rectified and gladly you can have it going without any credit card or bank link.

I haven't played with a lot of apps but first up is VLC which picks up my DLNA server under Windows just fine so you can browse and playback with that.

Next up I installed Plex as well as the PC component.   The nice thing there being that I can launch playback from a PC-based browser or even a mobile phone as well as from the Apple TV itself.
Playback so far has been with only a few problems - first one is I have a file that for whatever reason plays fine on anything else but gets frame swapped with the annoying judder on the ATV under Plex.  Will have to see if VLC has the same problem later.
Next up - more an annoyance and could be fixed in the device settings - if you pause a video the screensaver will come on once it's timeout is exceeded, but when resuming the audio plays but the screensaver is still active.  Whether that's a specific app problem or global, unknown.
Thirdly - discovered while I was reencoding the frame-swapped file.  Some caching going on somewhere in Plex or elsewhere meant that a newly encoded file that replaced a same-named one I'd just tried to play was coming up blank with audio.   Renaming the file solved that.  Entirely possible that's a PC server side issue.

Haven't really tried much in the way of games.  Installed Inside though it's not enjoyable with the Siri remote and not well supported for BT keyboard.

H265 / X265 stuff - so far haven't tried a whole lot of it but what I have tried went fine.

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Did you tell Plex to refresh it's database after you changed the file and kept the same name?

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Can't remember actually.  Though I probably did so it'd pick up the rename, possibly it got mixed up as I tried to play the file before it got it's database in order.

Just installed Infuse which is another player - it can connect to DLNA servers but doesn't seem to appear on the network as a renderer - Kinski on the PC is my preferred control point.
 

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i might be redundant here, but most of my video is encoded mkv at 264, and streams faultlessly from my old qnap ts-212p using kodi as the interface - both under win7 and android

 

you can set up kodi on any generic android media player quite simply, or indeed under linux

 

the benefit in the media htpc is that windoze gives me the required space and drivers to run an asus xonar hdav 1.3 sound card with upgraded opamp ((burson Vi) to max my sound quality signal to the amp

the music is via he same htpc, but i run foobar with asio support, using an interface that looks pretty much exactly like old school i-tunes as the skin

 

a bit clumsy, but i am either watching or listening, and thus never need both simultaneously, atthough kodi will index the music library fine, but the interface is not as nice as the pseudo - i tunes gives me

 

the hardware is an i3 3220 with 4 gig of ram (maybe 8 ?, but it is overkill) in an old antec htpc case, using onboard video

 

 

for 4k you would need a bespoke video card i expect, but the new chinese android media boxen would do fine i think, if you were okay to port audio via toslink, or usb, to a dedicated dac or capable amp

 

i have a nad d3020 which would handle that task, but i prefer the burson opamp's output to the integrated dac in the d3020, although it is very good too, but "different"

 

whew !  hope that might be helpful...

 

 

Edited by scruffy1

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