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 The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!

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drEmR
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PostSubject: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeTue Feb 02, 2010 11:25 pm

I've been using HTPCs since my Gateway Destination back in 98. You don't want to know what a 37" CRT cost back then, let alone the rest of the system! Luckily many of the features of that amazing HTPC have become mainstream and fairly cheap, and 99% of TVs can take either a VGA or HDMI input now, so no need to spend thousands on a decent HD display since the TV in the living room can do it all!

A little while after coming back to NZ a friend showed me his newly modded Xbox running Xbox Media Center (XBMC) and I was dead keen for a simple and inexpensive media player for the bedroom. It wasn't long before I had half a dozen throughout the house streaming music and video anywhere and everywhere.

Sadly time has passed and the old xbox can't cope with HD video. Even the PS3 and 360 are limited to what they can play and restricted to what they will play, no matter what progs like TVersity you run to help.

So I turned back to the XBMC crew and checked out what they were doing to run HD media, and they had a simple solution of running XBMC on Windows. A decent attempt but with the power hungry Win OSes it just wasn't cutting it. Then I heard about the Linux guys and their XMBC Live side of things. Now, Linux is something I always stayed away from as I thought it's mainly for programmers, geeks and people too cheap to pay for a real OS.

But here's the thing - it sets up a platform that uses almost NO system resources, yet has drivers for almost everything out there. Geeks FTW. I did some research and found out to do full scale 1080p output I needed an nvidia Ion graphics card. Did a lot of shopping around and found a wicked little nettop - an Acer Aspire Revo R3610 with 2Gb of RAM, HDMI and SPDIF output, decent HDD and a dual core processor. Why a nettop? Silence. Passive cooling all the way, and a tiny form factor - half the size of a xbox 360!

So I got it today and spent several long hours setting it up. What did I end up with? A silent standalone media player which handles EVERYTHING - mkv, avi, wmv, mp3, mp4, etc etc - up to 1080p and plays HiDef rips flawlessly. It even came with a small form factor wireless keyboard and mouse which make running it all a breeze without silly remotes (though you can use one if you want instead of the keyboard and mouse) or wires.

Massive props to this guide on the XBMC Forums which was a good reference, but really outdated.

The next step is to set up a dual boot on the Revo for Windows 7 Ultimate so I can check email and use NZHondas on the bog screen.

Prices - my Revo ran about NZ$600, the ones on PriceSpy have more ram and a bigger HDD so they're $850. Nether the ram or larger hdd is needed for the HTPC, particularly if you're streaming from another PC or media server.

Thoughts or questions, ask away, happy to help. I'll get around to putting up some pics eventually.
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HellFire
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 7:29 am

http://www.mediagateusa.com/products.html Have a look at this i have the 350hd its a non HD player . I've had it for a few yers now and it looking for an ungrade now. It's not a pc


Last edited by HellFire on Thu Feb 04, 2010 7:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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HellFire
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 7:29 am

I for got to say that they cost under $200
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drEmR
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 7:36 am

Had one of those when checking out alternatives to the modded xbox running XBMC but believe me when I say that XBMC is the BEST media player available. FYI, you can buy a Linux R3610 for AU$332 on Ebay Australia (including shipping), and installing XBMC takes a couple easy steps which I'm more than happy to write up a quick guide for JKS.

Here's the ebay auction - http://cgi.ebay.com.au/ACER-Aspire-R3610-REVO-320G-2G-RAM-Desktop-PC-Linux_W0QQitemZ140376902058QQcmdZViewItemQQptZAU_comp_dekstop?hash=item20af1d89aa#ht_2716wt_939
(if you make an offer they'll take off a buck or two, but not much)
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HellFire
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 7:45 am

I have 2 xbox's modded for that reason too. Plus my 360 but the 360 doesnt play everything there is a way around it and it takes about 10 minutes depends the file size and your pc. You need to convert it to an mp4 format but you lose surround sound then. As far as the PC on ebay no thanks i would rather burn the money than buy something from Taiwan. If it fucks up you need to check if Acer will accept it here because its an overseas model. Plus you will have to format it and make sure the fans are clean to keep the noise down. Im about to buy one now http://www.itdevice.com.au/live/product_info.php?products_id=1557
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HellFire
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 7:52 am

Hmm lucky i looked in to it that one doesnt have wireless or ethernet back to the drawing board The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! Icon_razz
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HellFire
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 7:55 am

found this one http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=172&products_id=12708 they are shit loads out there you just need to look into them

Edit: Just found a better deal on that http://www.xtreamer.com.au/shop/ you get the wifi, a hdmi cable and free S&H for free
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drEmR
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 8:20 am

Yup I know 360s very well (been running a 360 modding business for 3 years now) and tversity is the best way to stream media to it. Conversion is very timely and a real PITA.
That xtreamer has 128MB DDR SDRAM, 256MB Flash - simply not enough to handle HD properly. Recommend avoiding it at all costs.
The Revo has NO fans, it's passive cooling all the way. It has wifi and ethernet and the one I just linked has no OS, but you could run a dual boot with Win7 (like I do) and not need to format.
You can always buy local, and here's a much higher spec unit for AU$574 locally http://www.getprice.com.au/Acer-Revo-R3610-1-6-4gb-500-w7-1yr-PT-SCX02-034-Gpnc_25--41517354.htm
While you might think a custom built box is the way to go you might want to consider that XBMC has THOUSANDS of users working on an open source program improving it daily and it has more support and information than a single company could ever provide.
http://xbmc.org/
http://xbmc.org/forum/
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drEmR
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 9:13 am

Size comparison to some average things found in the home theater cabinet -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09549
Movie browsing -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09551
Fanart -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09556
Hi Def playback -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09552
TV Show browsing -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09553
Weather -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09557
Screensaver -
The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! DSC09554

Those are just a few of the features, sooo many more...
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lylow
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 04, 2010 11:41 pm

Nice tele Sony - KDL40XBR45 ??? Main board has some issues. Look out it doesnt crap up on you. Wink

My one and only contribution. XBOX's arent my cuppa tea Razz

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drEmR
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeFri Feb 05, 2010 12:01 am

Thanks Lylow, it's a KDL46X4500 any problems with these? Hoping not as it's a bloody 7 grand tele...

Good news - this isn't an xbox, it's a PC running a media player originally designed for the old xbox1. That was a decade ago and it's come a LONG way since, the version I'm using is running on Ubuntu Linux.

Here's a couple more pics.
This is the movie info "scraped" off imdb - very helpful when you're trying to decide what to watch -

The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! Dsc09610


Here's an example of the mindbending milkdrop-style visualizations that play when you have music going. This can be done fullscreen, I just had the info/menu up at the time -

The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! Dsc09611
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lylow
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeFri Feb 05, 2010 12:09 pm

Ah, I stand corrected. The X4500 teles arent too bad. The model sideways (not down) from the 5500 series. We dont get too many troubles with them. I thought it was a XBR45 because of those dainty little speaker grilles on the side - the ones that fall off at a moments notice. Rolling Eyes

Power supplies are really decent. Some trouble with the board that does all the video interfacing between the electronics, and the panel. Very small failure rate - but look out for weird horizontal lines, about 6-8 cm's long with incorrect video on them. They'll start as singles, then turn into 30 of the buggers overnight.

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equip3d
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 20, 2010 12:11 pm

none of it made any sense to me either, but i like what ever program it is showing the movie titles etc, is that just a linux thing then, cause my new comp was going to be hooked up to the big screen in lounge occasionaly, so will a window based program be ok or not ?
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drEmR
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 20, 2010 12:17 pm

The program used on this box is XBMC Live, which is Linux/Ubuntu based and can be run using a dual-boot setup on any PC with your normal OS. XBMC also has a Windows based version but in my opinion it isn't as great as the Live version. You can DL any version and try them from http://xbmc.org/ they're all free.
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PostSubject: Re: The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand!   The Best Media Player - Silent, Standalone, and under a grand! I_icon_minitime

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