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Chromebox as an HTPC

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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
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So, does the library always default to the new .nfo file that is in the folder with the main movie? My problem is that I started without any .nfo file. Now that I have exported and gotten all of these individual files, I can't figure out how to get XBMC to take the update after they have been edited. Every time I hit <update library> it just goes back to the Internet scraping engine..... wait a minute..... I think I may have had an epiphany. I need to go I. and manage my add-on, don't I?
Yeah, let me know if you didn't get it.

Shouldn't be too bad, then. I'm keeping everything on the server and after he the initial setup on a workstation PC, I exported the library as .nfo files. Will it matter that I did individual files instead of 1 contiguous or can I just re-export that way later?
For me every media file has its own nfo, and I have an nfo for each season and the show as a whole.

Sickbeard does all this for me....
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
I received the Asus Chromebox and hacked it last night to dualboot ChromeOS and OpenELEC. I am very impressed with the Chromebox. It feels just as fast as my i5 desktop. I installed the Plex app on the ChromeOS. It worked fine and felt no different than Chromecast Plex app. OpenELEC was awesome. It played everything without breaking a sweat. Videos that my JB AppleTV would struggle with and wouldn't play properly, the Chromebox played with no problem. I upgraded the ram to 4gb because I read OpenELEC had CPU idling issue with the default 2gb.

This is what GoogleTV should've been. Highly recommended.
Is your Chromebox playing back MPEG-2 (DVD) and VC-1 encoded video or have you just been running .h264 videos through it?

Also, what is the highest bitrate that you have run through it? Will it playback 40Mbps+ Blu-Ray rips without stuttering?
 
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ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
18,003
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Is your Chromebox playing back MPEG-2 (DVD) and VC-1 encoded video or have you just been running .h264 videos through it?

Also, what is the highest bitrate that you have run through it? Will it playback 40Mbps+ Blu-Ray rips without stuttering?
Most of my videos are .h264 and pretty small size since I used JB AppleTV2 as my main XBMC device. The highest bitrate I've tested is only 9Mbit. I don't have any Blu-Ray rips.

However, several posters on the XBMC forum have verified the Chromebox w/ OpenELEC will play full bluray quality rips with HD audio with no issues. Even High-10 content plays back perfectly. http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=185329&page=21

I am now ready to sell all three of my Jailbroken AppleTV2 and Chromecast.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Anyone have an opinion on this?

http://www.vidon.me/

There's a few threads about it in AVSForum but I can't find much about it.

XBMC
Infared Remote
Great specs (AV200 model)
Great codec support and the hardware to run software decode if necessary
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
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the hardware to run software decode if necessary
No freaking way. Can't be.

The cpu is a Cortex&#8482;-A7 Quad-Core 1.3GHz. A7 is the "low powered" ARM chip, not even the top shelf. Even if it was top shelf, no consumer quad-core ARM CPU out there has enough power yet.

To decode a 40Mb/s h264 Blu Ray quality file without any stutter you need a CPU equal to a dual-core 2.4Ghz Core2Duo. MAYBE Apple gets near that with the iPhone 6 CPU, but right now nothing in ARM is close enough to do the job 100% of the time.

Heck I have serious doubts this CPU could even drive the best XBMC skins, or decode a HD track in real time (if you lack something that can take a HD bitstream). Many things in XBMC run off one or two threads, which means stuttering all over the GUI when that one 1.3ghz core is maxed out.



Any ARM box, including this one, is decoding video the same way a Blu Ray player does- dedicated decoding hardware.

A decent x86 box is always a better bet because:

1. GPU decoding is more robust than dedicated chip decoding.

2. If GPU decoding doesn't work, only x86 offers enough power in that form factor to decode a full HD stream completely on the CPU.

At least the Fire TV gets access to Amazon's streaming content. I don't see the point of this box unless you really like Blu Ray menus.
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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No freaking way. Can't be.

The cpu is a Cortex™-A7 Quad-Core 1.3GHz. A7 is the "low powered" ARM chip, not even the top shelf. Even if it was top shelf, no consumer quad-core ARM CPU out there has enough power yet.

To decode a 40Mb/s h264 Blu Ray quality file without any stutter you need a CPU equal to a dual-core 2.4Ghz Core2Duo. MAYBE Apple gets near that with the iPhone 6 CPU, but right now nothing in ARM is close enough to do the job 100% of the time.

Heck I have serious doubts this CPU could even drive the best XBMC skins, or decode a HD track in real time (if you lack something that can take a HD bitstream). Many things in XBMC run off one or two threads, which means stuttering all over the GUI when that one 1.3ghz core is maxed out.



Any ARM box, including this one, is decoding video the same way a Blu Ray player does- dedicated decoding hardware.

A decent x86 box is always a better bet because:

1. GPU decoding is more robust than dedicated chip decoding.

2. If GPU decoding doesn't work, only x86 offers enough power in that form factor to decode a full HD stream completely on the CPU.

At least the Fire TV gets access to Amazon's streaming content. I don't see the point of this box unless you really like Blu Ray menus.
Thanks for the info. I'm not up on my mobile vs. x86 CPUs. The FireTV is pretty much out because of its lack of VC-1 and MPEG-2 support, not to mention that I'd have to get a FLIRC to use my Harmony Remote with it.

I don't give a crap about BR Menus.

I just have a hard time stomaching $200 to get into a media player.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
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I just have a hard time stomaching $200 to get into a media player.
I completely understand.

If you have a good Windows machine to act as server, there is nothing wrong with Plex on a Roku 3:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dTbusj_Lh0

Basically you move the need for compute from the settop box to whatever system has the Plex Server apps installed and does the transcoding. Most people already have a decent desktop sitting around so this makes for a cheaper option. With Plex you get things like household library sync "free" as well.

XBMC on x86 is the high-end option: the Bentley of local playback devices. Not everyone needs or wants all the extra functionality.
 
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smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
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I completely understand.

If you have a good Windows machine to act as server, there is nothing wrong with Plex on a Roku 3:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dTbusj_Lh0

Basically you move the need for compute from the settop box to whatever system has the Plex Server apps installed and does the transcoding. Most people already have a decent desktop sitting around so this makes for a cheaper option. With Plex you get things like household library sync "free" as well.

XBMC on x86 is the high-end option: the Bentley of local playback devices. Not everyone needs or wants all the extra functionality.
I'm familiar with Plex and actually chose Mezzmo as my back end server instead just because of better support for random devices. I am just trying to get away from transcoding on my main devices (Living Room & Master Bedroom) because of the random limitations you get as a result, not the least of which is loss of FF/Rew while the file transcodes. I've also fallen madly in love with the XBMC interface since I started experimenting with it on a Raspberry Pi as the Master Bedroom HTPC.

Then your talk of unifying the library with MySQL has really given me the itch. This is all your fault poofyhairguy. I was just fine with my WDTV Live Hub till you came along.
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
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I'm familiar with Plex and actually chose Mezzmo as my back end server instead just because of better support for random devices. I am just trying to get away from transcoding on my main devices (Living Room & Master Bedroom) because of the random limitations you get as a result, not the least of which is loss of FF/Rew while the file transcodes.
I completely understand that. Plus transcoding ALWAYS loses some of the quality. I personally would never do it on a livingroom device but I get why people do.

I've also fallen madly in love with the XBMC interface since I started experimenting with it on a Raspberry Pi as the Master Bedroom HTPC.
It is hard not to love it. A skin like AEON on hardware that can run it is the biggest "wow" interface in HTPCland.

Then your talk of unifying the library with MySQL has really given me the itch. This is all your fault poofyhairguy. I was just fine with my WDTV Live Hub till you came along.
Sorry smitbret. If it makes you feel any better you are not alone- I have gotten many people hooked on the power that is XBMC on x86.

Heck it is much better now than in 2010 when you needed to spend $300+ for a nice x86 streaming box. At that time my thing was talking people into spending the extra $100 or whatever for a cheap SSD to help speed up the GUI....
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,594
471
126
One of the biggest issues with transcoding for me is the butchering of stylized subtitles. If you want any anime, transcoding is pretty much out of the picture... unless they're very simple old-timey subtitles. Heck, Plex Home Theater crashed the other day when it encountered a specific stylized subtitle. I had to go watch it in Media Player Classic - Home Cinema instead.

It is hard not to love it. A skin like AEON on hardware that can run it is the biggest "wow" interface in HTPCland.
There is an AEON skin for Plex Home Theater (the client software); that's what I use on my Windows-7-based HTPCs.
 

yacoub

Golden Member
May 24, 2005
1,938
4
81
A Chromecast (I assume that is what you mean as a Chromebox is just a neutered NUC) works fine if you have a Plex server.
Chromecast only works with wireless devices. For those of us with a PC networked via CAT-5 to our router, the Chromecast is borderline worthless from what I've seen so far.

If we have a Synology NAS with the Plex app installed, can we control it via our hardwired PC and in turn somehow manipulate the Chromecast to display the content on the HDTV its plugged into?

Or heck, is there some way to directly send media from my hardwired PC with a Plex server app installed, through my router, straight to the HDTV via the Chromecast?
 
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poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
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Chromecast only works with wireless devices. For those of us with a PC networked via CAT-5 to our router, the Chromecast is borderline worthless from what I've seen so far.
If you don't have a wireless network then skip a Chromecast and use Plex with a Roku box instead. Those can be hooked up via CAT cable.
 

yacoub

Golden Member
May 24, 2005
1,938
4
81
If you don't have a wireless network then skip a Chromecast and use Plex with a Roku box instead. Those can be hooked up via CAT cable.
Would that scenario still run into the same transcoding limitations of the NAS itself? I'm trying to replicate what is currently working great for watching media on my iPad, only I want to do it on my HDTV instead. Source.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Would that scenario still run into the same transcoding limitations of the NAS itself? I'm trying to replicate what is currently working great for watching media on my iPad, only I want to do it on my HDTV instead. Source.
That will depend on the codec support of your devices.

Roku is fairly robust in supporting .mp4, .mkv and many other common codecs but there is a chance that certain files will contain incompatible streams.

iPad only supports .m4v files so if you have .mkv or .avi files you will have to transcode or remux at the very least.

Your TV will have it's own list of codecs and streams it supports.

Ultimately, if you get your files from iTunes, Amazon or another major player it will probably be in a compatible format that won't need it. If you are ripping yourself, you'll need to make sure you are ripping/encoding to compatible formats. If you are getting your media from less savory sources, then you'll never know till you try.
 

yacoub

Golden Member
May 24, 2005
1,938
4
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Transcoding done on a Windows box is not a problem. You can basically transcode anything provided the right codecs and libraries are present. That's why running the AirVideo (or Plex) server app on my PC makes it simple to stream media to a TV. But when the media is placed on a Synology NAS, it sounds like you lose the power of the PC's ability to transcode everything, and are at the mercy of whatever the Synology NAS can hardware transcode since software transcoding is either not an option due to OS limitations or it's simply too slow to be viable?
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Transcoding done on a Windows box is not a problem. You can basically transcode anything provided the right codecs and libraries are present. That's why running the AirVideo (or Plex) server app on my PC makes it simple to stream media to a TV. But when the media is placed on a Synology NAS, it sounds like you lose the power of the PC's ability to transcode everything, and are at the mercy of whatever the Synology NAS can hardware transcode since software transcoding is either not an option due to OS limitations or it's simply too slow to be viable?
The power needed to re-encode a 1080p stream is around a 2.4-ish GHz Core 2 Duo. Many NASes are lower power devices that lack that CPU power.

You don't always need to re-encode. Sometimes just the container is wrong (aka a device that won't play an mkv but would play the same stream if it was a mp4) and then very little power is needed. But if you are relying on a transcoding solution, eventually you will need the power.
 

rdyott

Junior Member
Jun 29, 2014
1
0
0
Most of my videos are .h264 and pretty small size since I used JB AppleTV2 as my main XBMC device. The highest bitrate I've tested is only 9Mbit. I don't have any Blu-Ray rips.

However, several posters on the XBMC forum have verified the Chromebox w/ OpenELEC will play full bluray quality rips with HD audio with no issues. Even High-10 content plays back perfectly. http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=185329&page=21

I am now ready to sell all three of my Jailbroken AppleTV2 and Chromecast.

i have a chromebox. with the i3 chip. i put openELEC on it, and its awesome.
its small and came with the tv bracket to mount it on the back.
 

smitbret

Diamond Member
Jul 27, 2006
3,388
22
81
Yep, I wouldn't buy another streaming box unless I absolutely had to have a specific service that I couldn't get through XBMC (i.e. Amazon Streaming).

My Celeron based Chromebox is awesome with XBMC. The key was finding the right skin and configuring it just the way I liked. Replaced my WDTV Live Hub and haven't thought twice about it.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
18,003
1,640
126
Yep, I wouldn't buy another streaming box unless I absolutely had to have a specific service that I couldn't get through XBMC (i.e. Amazon Streaming).

My Celeron based Chromebox is awesome with XBMC. The key was finding the right skin and configuring it just the way I liked. Replaced my WDTV Live Hub and haven't thought twice about it.
You can stream Amazon Prime Streaming through ChromeOS and Chrome browser. It's why I chose the dualboot route instead of standalone OpenELEC option. I spend more time viewing TV programming through ChromeOS than OpenELEC. I don't use Amazon Streaming but regularly stream TV shows from OndemandKorea and Bada.TV. Chromebox is awesome device for web browsing and XBMC. It's pretty much the perfect topset box if you don't need to game.
 

ponyo

Lifer
Feb 14, 2002
18,003
1,640
126
Ponyo, take a look at these plugins packages and maybe you can avoid all the dual booting:

https://code.google.com/p/bluecop-xbmc-repo/

https://code.google.com/p/xbmc-korea-addons/downloads/list

Always nice to a have a ten foot interface for the TV.
Bluecop's Hulu and Amazon Prime plugins used to be great before the changes. I used it in the past with AppleTV2 XBMC.

I installed Chromium browser plugin for OpenELEC. http://openelec.tv/forum/chromium-browser
It works really well but there are two minor problems. I can't figure out how to type in Korean with Chromium, and I can't seem to log in to my Google account to sync and use Adblock Plus.

I don't mind dual booting. I really like ChromeOS and Chromebox boots so fast it doesn't bother me at all. ChromeOS or OpenELEC boots in like 5 seconds. I like having all my extensions for the Chrome and it's worth the 5 seconds to reboot into ChromeOS so I don't have to see ads in videos. The ads are far more annoying and last like 15 to 30 seconds.
 
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