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Shield console or Chromebox?

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
tl;dr Right now, would you buy a shield console or a Chromebox for Kodi/Plex in the living room?

So my bedroom PC finally died and I've been able to forcefully-with-nightly-battles remove WMC from at least one viewing station. It has been a rough few weeks in the bedroom (errr, TV related only). My wife's "I like media center" complaints are slowly weakening, along with her hatred for Kodi, so I figure I should press my luck and build another Kodi box for the family room! Good plan, right? I feel like I should write a book about how to piss off the wife with technology. ;)

I've done the chromebox thing and it works great as a premium Kodi platform. I've also done the FireTV and Rpi2 thing and they work well for budget android kodi platforms. I haven't tried the shield in person so I don't know how the overall experience is. It is very intriguing though.

So...how does the Shield console work as a primarly HTPC-oriented platform? Is it worth getting over the Chromebox, assuming none to minimal gaming? Cost isn't really relevant. The most important factor is the user experience as the HTPC platform.
 

JeffMD

Platinum Member
Feb 15, 2002
2,026
19
81
I have plex and my movies on an older laptop with a dual core2, and mainly use chromecast dongles on my TVs to access. Works like a champ, no bulky boxes around or the need for any extra pc hardware. Although I don't have any 5.1+ setups so if I needed special audio arrangements I would probably need to look into a higher tier of media streamer.

Doesn't seem like you are new to any of this though, you should know what you want. Nothing has changed afaik.
 

Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
Actually, a lot is changing, but primarily in the android area. I just haven't used any of these android boxes nearly as long as I have used the windows and linux versions of WMC and kodi.

I might just grab a Wetek Core and have both - dual boot android 5.1 and openelec.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
I still think a Chromebox is better for pure non-4K Kodi use. Easily bitstreaming HD audio, REAL 24p support and not a hack, combined with maximum plugin compatibility. Also a Chromebox has better single core performance, which matters for many Kodi skins (aka GUI performance).

But a Shield has a lot outside of Kodi like games and streaming services that a Chromebox won't ever have. So really it is all about making tradeoffs and what matters to you.
 

ctark

Senior member
Sep 6, 2004
726
1
0
I still think a Chromebox is better for pure non-4K Kodi use. Easily bitstreaming HD audio, REAL 24p support and not a hack, combined with maximum plugin compatibility. Also a Chromebox has better single core performance, which matters for many Kodi skins (aka GUI performance).

But a Shield has a lot outside of Kodi like games and streaming services that a Chromebox won't ever have. So really it is all about making tradeoffs and what matters to you.

Shield now has all those things.
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Shield now has all those things.
It now has proper 24p support but people who use HD audio on the Shield decode it on the box and pass it along as PCM. It is cool Kodi can decode DTS HD now, but that isn't the same as bitstreaming. I am also so-so on the Shield's deinterlacing which makes it sub optimal for live TV use.

But they are improving it quickly I will admit. At this rate it will end up being a top rate playback device.
 
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Binky

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,046
4
81
I ended up buying the Shield. I just couldn't resist the $175 promo price, including the $50 remote, which I might just ebay.

Testing and configuration are ongoing. The interface is simple and game console style, but effective. Kodi is very fast. Plex is very fast. The ability to easily get Kodi and Plex running on a small power efficient box is nice. I still haven't done much with it though. So far it's an impressive little box that should appeal to a lot of people.

Live TV via ServerWMC is giving me trouble, but getting that running on Kodi is always a pain. I haven't watched recorded OTA content on it so I can't comment on the deinterlacing performance.

Trying to move files around with ES Explorer using the remote makes me want to throw the box out the window - incredibly frustrating. It took me 20 minutes to move two simple playlist files from a USB drive to the userdata folder! Maybe I was just being dense, but that ES interface is really not intuitive. This thing really needs a usable file explorer.

Hitting escape on a keyboard in Kodi drops you out of Kodi entirely, which seems like odd behavior. Kodi continues to run so you can jump back in where you left it, but this is a bit annoying Must...use...backspace.

It boots in a few seconds, and wakes up via a touch on the remote. Instant remote device wake up without hassle is very nice (not sure if this can be done via IR).
 

poofyhairguy

Lifer
Nov 20, 2005
14,612
315
126
Thank you for the update. I would love to know how it does with interlaced or VC1 content if you ever get the chance.
 

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