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Cheapest PC for 1080p videos

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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
any hardware sold today can play 1080P, even my 3 year old android phone plays it smoothly
That is an overstatement. 1080p isn't all equal. Will your phone play a 1080p h264 file that keeps within common encoding standards? Sure.

But throw a 1080p VC1 file at it, or a 10 bit h.264 high profile 1080p file, and your phone will choke (even a Pi chokes on the second one).

If you want a device that can truly play everything, you need a decent level of CPU power, a level that currently only x86 reaches.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
That is an overstatement. 1080p isn't all equal. Will your phone play a 1080p h264 file that keeps within common encoding standards? Sure.

But throw a 1080p VC1 file at it, or a 10 bit h.264 high profile 1080p file, and your phone will choke (even a Pi chokes on the second one).

If you want a device that can truly play everything, you need a decent level of CPU power, a level that currently only x86 reaches.
Is there a way to get a UPnP source into the crossbar? It would be nice if I could do something similar to what happens when you add movies via network share and then you get "Movies" in the crossbar.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Is there a way to get a UPnP source into the crossbar?
By default UPnP file sources can't be scanned into the local library. So there is no way to add those sources to the default "movie" and "tv" sections.

BUT they can provide metadata as well as the files themselves, and many skins (such as AEON Nox) allow you to add in custom items to the crossbar such as direct links a "folder". So you could just add the share under videos, then create a custom menu item to point to that shortcut.

One thing to note: if you want shared library functionality by far the best (maybe to the point of being the only) option is SMB shares....
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
By default UPnP file sources can't be scanned into the local library. So there is no way to add those sources to the default "movie" and "tv" sections.

BUT they can provide metadata as well as the files themselves, and many skins (such as AEON Nox) allow you to add in custom items to the crossbar such as direct links a "folder". So you could just add the share under videos, then create a custom menu item to point to that shortcut.

One thing to note: if you want shared library functionality by far the best (maybe to the point of being the only) option is SMB shares....
I have the SMB shares loaded up and populated on the crossbar. I just like how Mezzmo organizes my library since it is a lot more customizable than XBMC and also provides much better parental controls. I would just like to "Kid and Wife Proof" the setup by putting the UPnP source on the front page of XBMC.

I'm surprised no one has figured a workaround or Add-On of some kind like this. It's not as if I'm the only one using a UPnP/DLNA server (Plex, Serviio, Twonky, Mezzmo, Tversity, etc.).
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I have the SMB shares loaded up and populated on the crossbar. I just like how Mezzmo organizes my library since it is a lot more customizable than XBMC and also provides much better parental controls. I would just like to "Kid and Wife Proof" the setup by putting the UPnP source on the front page of XBMC.

I'm surprised no one has figured a workaround or Add-On of some kind like this. It's not as if I'm the only one using a UPnP/DLNA server (Plex, Serviio, Twonky, Mezzmo, Tversity, etc.).
The way the XBMC local library works is dependant on static file paths. This fanart and this description is dependant on this media file being in this exact place. Since UPnP has dynamic file paths, it completely breaks what the local library expects.

In fact, I haven't even heard of development for having dynamic file paths in the local library because so much is dependant on exact file paths. All the scrapers expect a static file path, the library setup they built in MySQL needs a static file path (that is why you have to use SMB, so each machine has the exact same file path to the content), etc.

With that said, from my understanding XBMC does play with others and a UPnP source CAN provide metadata. If you have everything setup in Mezzmo how you want when you point to that source it should be presented in the exact way you like best with metadata and you don't need a local library. Is it not loading your metadata properly?

I get your issue with things like parental controls, XBMC is way behind on that. As it is now the closest approximation is to have two profiles- one with a kid friendly local library and one with all the R movies and whatever loaded in. I guess not enough XBMc developers are parents so real parental controls (aka on the content level) haven't been a priority. You can at least put passwords on your profiles though.

Maybe that is a solution though as skin settings are saved to the profile.

So on one profile (aka the one for the kids and the wife) make "Movies" and "TV" on the main blade links to those UPnP sources (and hide the traditional Movies and TV path in the skin) then on the other profile leave the traditional links to the local library.

Honestly though, if you are getting metadata from your UPnP source and its setup in a way you prefer then I don't see the advantage of a local library to you whatsoever. Just use a skin like AEON that lets you customize the blade in the manner I described above. Or let me know what the XBMC library can't do for you that Mezzmo can do. Maybe a mix of skins and plugins can approximate those features in the local library.
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
The way the XBMC local library works is dependant on static file paths. This fanart and this description is dependant on this media file being in this exact place. Since UPnP has dynamic file paths, it completely breaks what the local library expects.

In fact, I haven't even heard of development for having dynamic file paths in the local library because so much is dependant on exact file paths. All the scrapers expect a static file path, the library setup they built in MySQL needs a static file path (that is why you have to use SMB, so each machine has the exact same file path to the content), etc.

With that said, from my understanding XBMC does play with others and a UPnP source CAN provide metadata. If you have everything setup in Mezzmo how you want when you point to that source it should be presented in the exact way you like best with metadata and you don't need a local library. Is it not loading your metadata properly?

I get your issue with things like parental controls, XBMC is way behind on that. As it is now the closest approximation is to have two profiles- one with a kid friendly local library and one with all the R movies and whatever loaded in. I guess not enough XBMc developers are parents so real parental controls (aka on the content level) haven't been a priority. You can at least put passwords on your profiles though.

Maybe that is a solution though as skin settings are saved to the profile.

So on one profile (aka the one for the kids and the wife) make "Movies" and "TV" on the main blade links to those UPnP sources (and hide the traditional Movies and TV path in the skin) then on the other profile leave the traditional links to the local library.

Honestly though, if you are getting metadata from your UPnP source and its setup in a way you prefer then I don't see the advantage of a local library to you whatsoever. Just use a skin like AEON that lets you customize the blade in the manner I described above. Or let me know what the XBMC library can't do for you that Mezzmo can do. Maybe a mix of skins and plugins can approximate those features in the local library.
Not complaining at all. It's not a big deal and certainly not unique to XBMC. Most streaming devices require an add'l step or two to access the DLNA/UPnP servers. I was just curious if there was some way to get a shortcut on the Home Screen of XBMC so that the family can more easily find it without going to "Videos -> Files -> UPnP Server". I just like to make things as Dummy Proof as possible.

I don't think I have the background to understand why a UPnP server isn't Static or why that matters when getting a shortcut placed in the Crossbar. The files reside in the same place; the exact same location as the SMB share and it's only a shortcut that points to the same place as going to "Videos -> Files -> UPnP Server Name". The Crossbar must have some functionality beyond what I assumed.

Mezzmo (UPnP Server I use) does pass through all of the Metadata. XBMC doesn't read all of it, but enough to make it user friendly and certainly more than the WDTV Live Hub did. Still get Album Art, Length, Custom Titles and Plot Synopsis. Mezzmo uses the rest of the metadata for the library organization behind the scenes so it works fine.

I will play with some of the skins and see what happens. I am assuming Blade=Crossbar (my label for it). So it sounds like certain skins let me customize the Blade, right? Or is it still limited to SMB shares? I haven't ventured into that neighborhood, yet. If I can create a shortcut ANYWHERE on the Home Screen to the UPnP, then that is all I am looking for. I will play with some skins and see what happens.

The Harmony Remote Control + FLIRC + XBMC combo had some issues that it took me a few hours to track down. Got that squared away and everything is as good or better than I expected at this point.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I will play with some of the skins and see what happens. I am assuming Blade=Crossbar (my label for it). So it sounds like certain skins let me customize the Blade, right?
Yes. Some let you create new blade items that can be shortcuts to anything listed in your video sources list. Then you can call that blade item whatever you want (Media for example).

One other option that is way easier- make that source a favorite. Every skin gives access to favorites. That is two clicks- favorites then source.
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Yes. Some let you create new blade items that can be shortcuts to anything listed in your video sources list. Then you can call that blade item whatever you want (Media for example).

One other option that is way easier- make that source a favorite. Every skin gives access to favorites. That is two clicks- favorites then source.
Aeon Nox + Favorite + Custom1 linked to the Favorite = WINNER!!!!
My UPnP source is now in the blade.

Thanks for all of the help on everything. I may have to get back with you on the MySQL thing but that's probably a little ways out.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Aeon Nox + Favorite + Custom1 linked to the Favorite = WINNER!!!!
My UPnP source is now in the blade.

Thanks for all of the help on everything. I may have to get back with you on the MySQL thing but that's probably a little ways out.
Glad you got it all working smitbret. Welcome to the club!

If you need anything else let me know!!!
 

javier_machuk

Member
Jul 28, 2011
60
0
66
i just wanted to tell you that i finished installing openelec on standalone mode without any issues following this guide:
http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=ASUS_Chromebox
well i did have one issue, i couldn't do the backup of the system that is recomended before wiping out the system, it said that it coldn't mount the volume, tried different pendrives but none would work.. finally i just jumped that part and continued, luckily without any other problem.
Now i have a dedicated openelec htpc for $180 in a very good looking device, i'm very happy.
 
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JustMe21

Senior member
Sep 8, 2011
319
45
91
I had considered a Chromebox for a Plex server, but I didn't want to have to deal with any bypassing or workarounds, so I built one based off an AMD 5350 processor. All my DIVX and X.264 1080p videos play fine. I did try running the Plex server from an Atom tablet with the 1.33 GHz Z3740 processor, but it ran a little choppy.

I was tempted to get a motherboard with the Celeron J1900 Baytrail, but the Pentium J2900 Baytrail seemed more appealing since they are both 10W TDP. ECS seems to be the only one that has a J2900 board out that is widely available, but I didn't like its layout.

Of course, after I bought everything, I came across the ODroid U3, which has an ARM based 1.7 GHz Quad core Exynos 4412 Prime processor and the board was only $65. The lower power usage would have been awesome, but I wonder how it would have handled transcoding.

http://www.hardkernel.com/main/main.php
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I had considered a Chromebox for a Plex server, but I didn't want to have to deal with any bypassing or workarounds, so I built one based off an AMD 5350 processor. All my DIVX and X.264 1080p videos play fine. I did try running the Plex server from an Atom tablet with the 1.33 GHz Z3740 processor, but it ran a little choppy.

I was tempted to get a motherboard with the Celeron J1900 Baytrail, but the Pentium J2900 Baytrail seemed more appealing since they are both 10W TDP. ECS seems to be the only one that has a J2900 board out that is widely available, but I didn't like its layout.

Of course, after I bought everything, I came across the ODroid U3, which has an ARM based 1.7 GHz Quad core Exynos 4412 Prime processor and the board was only $65. The lower power usage would have been awesome, but I wonder how it would have handled transcoding.

http://www.hardkernel.com/main/main.php
I think you did great. No way that Exynos could handle high bitrate transcoding.
 
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