Kodi on Chromebox - What OS/settings/etc do you use?

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Nov 20, 2005
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#26
Yep, you're right. Turning off VAAPI kills the problem. I am sure it is ideal that I be able to use VAAPI for quality/etc, but for whatever reason, it hates those files.
Actually the software decoder provides the highest quality possible for upscaling and does a decent job deinterlacing. And it has maximum compatiblity. The only reason to avoid it is if you run into a file where the CPU demands are too great and the file won't play.

Personally I never ran into that with the Chromebox, but I never really pushed it.

In the process of trying to load a box with a GeForce 210 I have laying around to see if it goes any better with that using VAAPI. I would assume all of my other boxes are using software deinterlacing, which is why they are not having a problem... right? I figure that is what you mean by that.
A Nvidia box won't use VAAPI, it will use VDPAU. VDPAU is the best decoding backend possible that allows a higher version of de-interlacing than any Intel or ARM can do. But really need a GT 430 or greater to get there, the 210 is too weak to deinterlace 1080i in hardware.

In my opinion if VAAPI turned off works then problem solved. There is some content (VC1 stuff for example) VAAPI just can't deinterlace. At least a Chromebox has way more CPU power than a Fire whatever to work with.
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#27
Ran a quick test on the GeForce 210. Need to configure HDMI audio, but it would appear that this card prefers VDPAU. I don't see any interlacing issues with the same content. And toggling the settings doesn't seem to result in skipping, black outs, and all the other weird stuff I see on the Chromeboxes.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#28
Ran a quick test on the GeForce 210. Need to configure HDMI audio, but it would appear that this card prefers VDPAU. I don't see any interlacing issues with the same content. And toggling the settings doesn't seem to result in skipping, black outs, and all the other weird stuff I see on the Chromeboxes.
Yeah VDPAU is the golden standard. It wouldn't surprise me.

Be careful going too far down the rabbit hole or you end up like me. I replaced the Chromebox in my living room with a custom HTPC a month ago. Not because of issues, just because I wanted to see Kodi at its best.
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#29
Yeah VDPAU is the golden standard. It wouldn't surprise me.

Be careful going too far down the rabbit hole or you end up like me. I replaced the Chromebox in my living room with a custom HTPC a month ago. Not because of issues, just because I wanted to see Kodi at its best.
Funny you say that, as I was potentially considering the same thing. Part of the reason was that I already had the GeForce 210 laying round. And then, I realized there are better options out there, so I may upgrade that too if I go down that path. Already have the wife's buy in if I want to do it, but trying to make sure I make the right choice.

As it is, it appears for wife friendliness, I need to set VAAPI off on the Chromeboxes, as that is going to be a nuisance to switch back and forth when a video dislikes it.

My limited testing of my old system (E6600 Core2Duo, 2GB RAM, GF 210) is showing Kodibuntu with no issues (still need to get sound out of HDMI, but honestly not worried about that 'issue' as it is one I fixed before, and this is not a permanent box).

All in all, I am considering building a custom box for the bigger TV, potentially with the following components:

http://www.amazon.com/ASRock-Q1900M...F8&qid=1454536338&sr=8-2&keywords=j1900+micro

http://www.amazon.com/EVGA-GeForce-...qid=1454536365&sr=8-1&keywords=nvidia+passive

EDIT: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GGUAUE/?tag=pcpapi-20

(Added the preferred case, if I go down this path)

I have two sticks of DDR3 laying around, and the low power consumption of the Q1900 would be nice. I assume that the 730 would be more feature rich for Kodi than the 210 I already have, but I don't know that for certain. Also have a new ATX PSU around, so just need a case and probably a flash drive to boot from and it's set.

Either something like the above, or something around a Kabini platform, but I as you said Nvidia is the gold standard I'd prefer not to compromise and get a platform I have equally as much trouble with as I do these boxes.
 
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mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#30
I suppose I should ask, what graphics card are you running? I was looking at some of the how tos, and their suggestion a 900 series Nvidia. And as there is no low power class of 900 series, it would seem the 950 GTX is the lowest model on that lineup...

For me, there's no way I'd throw a $150 at a card to playback TV content. Not sure if the GT730 I was looking at provides much benefit over the 210 I have... or maybe I am missing something. Are people really throwing that massive of a card at their HTPC?

EDIT:

Based on this: https://www.mythtv.org/wiki/VDPAU#Nvidia

I am going to assume that a massive card is not required. It also has me realizing that AMD also supports VDPAU, even with Kabini... should I go down that path if I want a low power usage devices that can do it all?
 
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Nov 20, 2005
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#31
I am going to assume that a massive card is not required. It also has me realizing that AMD also supports VDPAU, even with Kabini... should I go down that path if I want a low power usage devices that can do it all?
No, neither a massive card nor a massive CPU is required with VDPAU. I can play any 1080p/i content I come across at on any GT 430 card or better without any major issue. I have old core 2 duos that do it. Avoid AMD GPU hardware though, NVIDIA invented VDPAU and has a better cross platform driver. My second most used box is a dual core 2.7ghz Sandy and a GT 630. It can play anything non 4k.

With my most used box I went a little crazy and put a 750 ti in there for best case MadVR upscaling, but that really isn't needed (and requires windows).
 
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mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#32
No, neither a massive card nor a massive CPU is required with VDPAU. I can play any 1080p/i content I come across at on any GT 430 card or better without any major issue. I have old core 2 duos that do it. Avoid AMD GPU hardware though, NVIDIA invented VDPAU and has a better cross platform driver. My second most used box is a dual core 2.7ghz Sandy and a GT 630. It can play anything non 4k.

With my most used box I went a little crazy and put a 750 ti in there for best case MadVR upscaling, but that really isn't needed (and requires windows).
Thanks for the info.

At this point, I am considering some new hardware to try out. Quite possible a 730 Nvidia card and a D1800 or Q1800 board/cpu for low power consumption. It did seem that Kodi ran fine on my Core2Duo with the 210 card and the CPU use appeared minimal for playback, so I would assume those low power dual / quad core CPUs would be sufficient.

Would that be a fair guess or should I step up to a bigger platform.

EDIT: This appears to be the parts I would most likely try to go with:

PCPartPicker part list: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dsYZt6
Price breakdown by merchant: http://pcpartpicker.com/p/dsYZt6/by_merchant/

CPU: Integrated with Motherboard
Motherboard: ASRock Q1900M Micro ATX Celeron J1900 Motherboard ($69.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Video Card: Zotac GeForce GT 730 1GB Video Card ($48.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Case: Antec VSK2000-U3 HTPC Case ($38.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Power Supply: Sparkle 300W 80+ Bronze Certified TFX Power Supply ($36.72 @ SuperBiiz)
Total: $194.69
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-02-03 23:55 EST-0500
 
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Nov 20, 2005
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#33
Thanks for the info.

At this point, I am considering some new hardware to try out. Quite possible a 730 Nvidia card and a D1800 or Q1800 board/cpu for low power consumption. It did seem that Kodi ran fine on my Core2Duo with the 210 card and the CPU use appeared minimal for playback, so I would assume those low power dual / quad core CPUs would be sufficient.

Would that be a fair guess or should I step up to a bigger platform.
The GPU is perfect, you couldn't do better.

For the rest of the build, two things:

1. I challenge you to try Mini ITX over Micro ATX. That case will be pretty large overall and its not like you need a large case for a gaming GPU. In fact to be frank that GPU might not fit in that Micro ATX case as the heatsink on it is a little taller than low profile.

A case like this would be the size of a shoebox and come with its own power supply that is more than sufficient:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811147131

I have an older version of that case and it fits any single slot GPU like the one you are looking at perfectly. There are plenty of other good Mini ITX cases nowadays if you don't like that styling, here are two more options:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811129198

(that one is a little bigger and needs a PSU)

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811163256

(that one looks amazing but needs a SFX PSU)

2. The single core performance of one of those Bay Trail quad cores is actually worse than a Chromebox. That doesn't matter for playback, but I don't see a reason to go backwards on Kodi GUI performance (which is directly dependant on a CPU's single thread power). I would look at a big core Celeron combo instead. In light of my first recommendation look at this combo:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813135350

But overall I think you are on the right path.
 
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mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#34
In reviewing that case, I probably should consider what you mention. I don't mind the looks of the antec case. I also found a coolermaster that is a bit less expensive and seems quite similar:

http://www.amazon.com/Cooler-Master-Elite-110-Mini-ITX/dp/B00HJOJJ6Q

Only trouble with it is the USB is on the side, which kind of kills it for me due to the remote dongle on the front of the box.

Aside from that, the 1037U doesn't seem like a bad idea, but my biggest issue there is the lack of options other than ECS that also have a PCI x16 slot. I wouldn't say I hate ECS, but I have used some of their products over the past 20 years and they're certainly on teh lower tier of manufacturers (unless that has changed).

That said, I am starting to open up to other options. The Pentium G3XXX and similar Celerons perhaps. I also happened to find something that compared the AMD 5350 to the 1037U:

http://cpuboss.com/cpus/Intel-Celeron-1037U-vs-AMD-Athlon-5350

Not sure how accurate their charts are, but this path would allow me to try out the Kabini GPU and see what I get. If it needs help, I drop in the 730.

The only other consideration is back with the J1900, but to bypass my VAAPI issues, the only way of getting around that is to either drop in my old 210 or buy a new 7xx card.

Decisions I guess. Also keeping on eye on Microcenter, as the wife and I might take a weekend vacation to Kansas City and if I can hit it at the right time, they have some excellent MB/CPU deals.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#35
Sounds like you have a lot to think about! Let us know what route you go!
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#36
Ugh ugh ugh... since turning off VAAPI deinterlacing, the Kodi box has been repeatedly getting stuck 'working' after starting a show.

CPU use seems high, but playback is fine. Despite that, I constantly see 'working' with the spinning circle in the bottom right corner(the circle does not spin). And the system will not allow input from remote or otherwise until that goes away, which is a major pain. Just this morning, it has lasted for a full episode of Nature Cat.

EDIT: I went ahead and moved this box to OpenElec, no problems. Granted, I did try a few settings, but I was pretty much tired of dealing with this and wanted my TVs ready for the game tomorrow.
 
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mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#37
The Chromeboxes have been solid now running Openelec, but still without VAAPI.

I ordered and received:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U8IS8BW?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00F4J5D9K?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KPRWAZQ?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

And will soon be receiving:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A1ZTZOG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

For the time being, I plan on running the GeForce 210 on this platform and see how things go. My eventual plan is to replace the 210 with a 730 when I decide that this platform is doing everything I want with Vdpau (or simply need more GPU power).

I've not been able to test much yet, but I did notice that after installing Kodibuntu that the sound was working. I went through and ran updates and updated Kodi, and the sound quit. Have had very little time to work on it, but I am sure a combination of kernel adjustments or package installs I should be able to get it all corrected.

Only other thing I have noticed is the CPU always shows as running at 800MHz. Granted, even while playing video the CPU barely goes above 10% per core, so it doesn't seem to be doing much... however, I am curious if Intel Speedstep is working properly. More to come when I actually have time to put this thing to use.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#38
For the time being, I plan on running the GeForce 210 on this platform and see how things go. My eventual plan is to replace the 210 with a 730 when I decide that this platform is doing everything I want with Vdpau (or simply need more GPU power).
Should be fine. If you have any problems with 1080i stuff just try a different de-interlace setting. Everything 1080p should be perfect. The 730 really only unlocks advanced de-interlacing.

I am really excited to see what you can do with that G3258 on that mobo. Also that case kicks ass.

I've not been able to test much yet, but I did notice that after installing Kodibuntu that the sound was working. I went through and ran updates and updated Kodi, and the sound quit. Have had very little time to work on it, but I am sure a combination of kernel adjustments or package installs I should be able to get it all corrected.
Did you do a dist-upgrade?
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#39
Should be fine. If you have any problems with 1080i stuff just try a different de-interlace setting. Everything 1080p should be perfect. The 730 really only unlocks advanced de-interlacing.

I am really excited to see what you can do with that G3258 on that mobo. Also that case kicks ass.



Did you do a dist-upgrade?
I was working on a dist-upgrade when I left, but last I knew I lost the 720 resolution on the TV I have this running from. Eventually this box will be moved to the bigger TV once I have it game ready.

I'll have time this weekend to get it going... just not there yet.
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#40
Well, got it all put together the other day and have been using it for a little while, and the one thing that continues to happen is autodimming during dark scenes. I have not seen this on any other device that I have had plugged into my TV including the Chromebox, Nexus Player, FireTV Stick, PS4, etc.

Been watching a SD rip of A Few Good Men and you can when the scene changes, it's as if it take a second or two to read the image and then it compensates and darkens the picture. Then it brightens when it goes back to a more bright picture. I've read around that it may be a TV setting, but I haven't seen anything on my TV thus far that it would be. I suppose it could be the Pioneer HDMI receiver I have it plugged into... still digging.

Aside from this, playback seems fine in most areas. I did watch a 1080 recording and it seemed to be a little less than smooth. I am guessing the post processing setting may be too much for the GPU to handle at 1080, but honestly I don't think post processing should be done at 1080... just at lower res where the picture needs more cleaning up. Still playing with it, but figured to let you all know how it's been going.

EDIT: I should add that this happen both during playback and also while using the interface. I have disabled the screensaver based on some suggestions. I have noticed that when pulling up the reboot menu, it dims more there. I messed around in the Lubuntu base, and never noticed it there. Not sure if this is a Kodi thing, an Lbuntu thing, an Nvidia thing, etc...
 
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mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#41
Switching to the limited color range is thus far the only that appears to have stopped the auto-dimming function. It did appear to change the colors I am seeing, so I may not want to leave it this way... unless I am supposed to for some reason.
 
Nov 20, 2005
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#42
Switching to the limited color range is thus far the only that appears to have stopped the auto-dimming function. It did appear to change the colors I am seeing, so I may not want to leave it this way... unless I am supposed to for some reason.
Oh duh. Sorry should have realized that.

Pretty much all content out (99.999999%) is for the limited color range. If you change the range your TV then is in charge of how it is handled, and some TVs handle it poorly (my plasmas hate full range). The setting is there for people who use Kodi on a desktop PC with a monitor who also want to watch content. For you there is no harm what-so-ever limiting the range. In fact I recommend it.
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#43
Oh duh. Sorry should have realized that.

Pretty much all content out (99.999999%) is for the limited color range. If you change the range your TV then is in charge of how it is handled, and some TVs handle it poorly (my plasmas hate full range). The setting is there for people who use Kodi on a desktop PC with a monitor who also want to watch content. For you there is no harm what-so-ever limiting the range. In fact I recommend it.
At one point I read that somewhere...

I still find it strange that this is the only time it became a problem. But hey, it works fine now.
 

mvbighead

Diamond Member
Apr 20, 2009
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#44
Forgot to mention, I had at one time updated the kernel to 4.4.2, but that killed the graphics for me, and reverted the display to something like 800x600. I tried removing/installing driver packages, but nothing helped. Rolled back to 3.19.x and the display was right back, and everything worked fine. Still had the dimming without the limited color range.
 

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