Really need help selecting a media player for my parents

Discussion in 'Audio/Video & Home Theater' started by stylez777, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. stylez777

    stylez777 Member

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    Hey all I am in some dire need here!

    Little background first: My parents are pretty old school they have a 500 disk CD changer with tons of CD's hooked up to their 13 year old home theater system in the living room. That CD player is probably 8 years old itself and the laser on it died. So my mother bright idea is to go out and buy a bose soundwave to replace it. It took my father about 7 years to learn how to actually use the CD player and HATES change (he almost killed me for changing his cable box to a DVR without asking and it took me a year to teach him how to use it). I could replace the CD changer but that is so old school and CD's get scratched dusty etc. I'd like a new option to get them for X-mas.

    What I want to do is find a media player that has internal storage where I can place their music on it(I will manually rip their CD's to whatever format) and connect it to their A/V receiver so it will play through that. I'm looking for an option that it can be navigated from the couch with a remote preferably on the player itself. The simpler to use the better!

    Now the options I have come up with so far:

    Hook an ipod to the system: seems easy but they would have to get up from the couch and actually manually play around with the ipod to play songs they wanted or create playlists. Don't think this is going to go over well with my father. Also since the receiver is pretty old it has no ipod support or available dock to buy and therefore couldn't be navigated by using the receiver remote.

    WD Live TV Hub: I checked this out and it seems pretty good. Has a TB of internal storage which should be more than enough. Looks simple enough to use and comes with Netflix which they don't have on the TV or current Blu-ray player. The downside is that it has to be controlled on-screen which could cause an issue since my father likes to watch his old 1950's Westerns on mute while listening to his music through the surround sound...sigh I know... another downside I heard about is that the filing system and indexing of music on this WD is pretty poor by modern standards and could make it difficult to navigate to find artists and particular songs. Lastly is that it doesn't have built in wifi which causes a problem because the router is in the bedroom and there is no way to run an ethernet cable to the living room. I can live with an on-screen navigation to play the music if it had a good indexing and filing capability to easily find songs and artists or make playlists.

    and that is all I could come up with. I need help with some other options, anything you can think of. Other standalone media players that play music only or do video and audio. Netflix is a plus, wifi would be manditory if it had to connect to the internet. Internal storage is mandatory too or the ability to connect external storage device instead of internal works too. Nothing that requires a computer to have to be on to strema the music over that is too complicated for my parents to have to figure out. I need simple turn on navigate with a remote select the music and hit play. Any and all options you could come up with will help me a ton!!
     
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  3. Anubis

    Anubis No Lifer

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    i was going to suggest a logitech squeezebox to use either pandora or to steam from a local hub - its what i got for my dad last year and he loves it

    however it seems logitech discontinued it for some stupid reason
     
  4. stylez777

    stylez777 Member

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    Yeah I seen that it might have been a decent option.

    I have been looking at options like: Dune HD media player, Mede8er, Popcorn hour and others like it. The issue I have is a lot of these come form outside the USA and I am having a hard time trying to figure out which type of these would work the easiest and best if I went this route. I'm also seeing that some of these are really not that good for music play back that they lack the ability to shuffle or play a whole album or that the interface is just far too slow.

    So I'm trying to see if anyone can help me come up with another solution or maybe suggest a media player that would fit my needs that easily available in the US and has the ability for internal storage.
     
  5. vshah

    vshah Lifer

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    my cousin has a popcorn hour and he loves it
     
  6. smitbret

    smitbret Diamond Member

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    I have a WD Live Hub and I see a couple of different options here.

    1 - Get a WD Live (non-Hub) and connect an external HDD. The non-Hubs have built in Wireless. You won't even need a big one if you're just doing .mp3 files.

    2 - If there is a PC in the house that is always on, just rip to that PC and stream the content to just about any media streamer, TV or BR player (if it is DLNA compliant) with some good DLNA front end software. There are some great free options like Tversity, PS3 Media Server, Plex, XBMC, etc. I haven't used them all so you may have to do some research. I paid $25 to use Mezzmo. It lets you sort and create libraries, playlists, active sorting and just basically customize the libraries for easier location. The interface will still be dependent on the streaming device, but the front end DLNA software will control how the info is presented.
     
  7. stylez777

    stylez777 Member

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    Ya option 2 would be too complicated for my father to figure out.

    The WD Live TV without hub and using an external HDD seems like a really god option. I was also looking at the Dune HD TV 301. That also has built in wireless and as the ability to add a internal 2.5" HDD. It does lack the Netflix or Amazon live streaming. I have been trying to see if there is any reason other than the ability to add internal storage as to why it's $100 more than the WDTV live. They both use the same Sigma 8670 chip from the research I did.
     
  8. smitbret

    smitbret Diamond Member

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    Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the $$$ difference between the WD and the Dune is mostly due to licensing for features, most notably things like DTS-HD audio playback. There are a lot of Dune users that love the boxes and swear by them, but if you're just looking for a box to play back .mp3 then it will definitely be overkill.

    Keep in mind, too, that the WD Live won't do Amazon streaming either. In fact, there's just a couple of media streaming boxes that do and I think Roku is about the only one that is still widely sold.

    I know option 2 seemed more complicated, and setup might be a little bit. Once your libraries are set up though, it is really much easier to sort and maintain through your software DLNA interface. You basically just set your library folders and as you add more media, make sure to drop it in these monitored folders and all menus and playlists get updated automatically when the software updates its libraries. Not only that, if they ever add any more DLNA or UPNP devices in the house, they'll automatically be picked up and playback enabled at those locations, too. If you're able to set it up, it won't be much different on the user end of things for your parents. Just make sure they leave the PC with HDD turned on.

    Honestly, if they can be talked into it, a PS3 would be a great option. Easy, easy interface and usability with 250GB of internal storage and a BR player to boot.
     
    #7 smitbret, Dec 7, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012