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Video streaming options.. what is the difference?


akg4y

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I was considering setting up an XMBC PC for all of my ripped DVDs, MP3s, photos, etc, but then I started looking into options like The Popcorn Hour A-110 (http://www.popcornhour.com/onlinestore/), HDX 1000 (http://www.hdx1080.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=3&category_id=1&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=115) and IStar HD (http://www.hdplex.net/product.php?productid=16138&cat=0&page=1&featured), as well as the Netgear 9000.

If I have a NAS to store all of my files, what would be the benefit of setting up an XBMC PC instead of one of these options? Also, I will have video distribution to 12 locations throughout the house from a central HR location using either an Autopatch matrix switch or something like the Neothings Avalon/Borrega. It seems like for $200 one of the above options would be perfect for streaming my video files and would be much easier to control etc than an XBMC PC for C4.

Thoughts?

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Well the Netgear 8000/9000, XBMC already have drivers written to "integrate" like the Sony 777ES does with DVD cover art. The other options you mention, c4 could control via IR, but you would not be able to access your cover art in a central location.

For example:

Video files on NAS, accessed by Netgear 8000

DVDs in 777ES changer

All the coverart shows up in one place. When you pick a movie, the system knows where it is, and performs the correct actions needed to etiher a) fire up the changer, spin around to that slot, change your tv, receiver, matrix inputs if necessary, and start playing the movie or B) flip the inputs on your matrix/receiver/tv to the output of the 8000, tell the 8000 to select that movie's file, and tell the 8000 to start playing it.

http://www.c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=2711

http://www.c4forums.com/viewtopic.php?id=2731

More threads on this exact topic are here, search is your friend :)

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I love how everyone is quick to jump on the 'use the search' function for threads that are related, but dont really answer the question. I did use the search and came up with those same threads but they really dont answer the specific question, which is what is the benefit of XMBC over a NMT. thecodeman, your response answered it... coverart!

Is that still important if you use something like 'Yet another movie jukebox' and are controlling the NMT via an HC300 at a central location with a video distribution system? You can still have the coverart being displayed via the NMT, correct?

http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=9862&pid=73102#pid73102

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The only way to get coverart in the C4 display is by using something that has a 2-way device driver written for it already.

your options are at this time:

Sony 777ES 400 disk DVD changer

Zatabit

Netgear 8000 and the upcoming 9000

XBMC

You can use other systems like Popcorn Hour or Apple TV or Netflix, Roku, etc. and c4 will control them if they have a remote (for the most part), however, you dont get the cool /ease factor of integrated coverart.

I think also with coverart that C4 "knows about", you might even be able to do custom programming based on the selection or action of those items. I know you can with the 777ES based on slots. But I dont have a Netgear or XBMC yet so I can't say for sure.

*I guess to directly answer your question, the big differences between the options you posted and the ones I say are "recommended" is primarily cover art integration, and that the drivers have already been created. The rest are personal preferences of your player's output capabilities and file format compatabilites. At that point it's like saying do you need a car or truck or do you want yellow or red?

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Ok I get what you're saying about C4 integration of the coverart (ie, the C4 interface will actually pull up the coverart, etc) but just to clarify, I have the following setup:

Popcorn hour in basement (connected to HC300) --> video distribution --> Family room TV (connected to a different HC300, receiver, etc)

Now if I push a button on my C4 remote I will be able to have it:

1) Turn on the TV

2) Set the inputs on the receiver & TV to display the video feed from the popcorn hour in the basement.

3) Control the popcorn hour interface on the Family Room TV (which will be showing the coverart via MyJukeBox/LilJukebox/Etc)

I will lose a bit of the integration with C4, but seems to me there wont be that much difference in the ease/cool factor since it will seem seamless. Am I missing something?

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That's pretty much it. I can't say whether or not there's a driver for Popcorn hour, but I'm sure one can be created if there isn't and it uses a standard IR remote.

I think it's just easier in when you pull up the art through c4, you dont have to wait on it to switch inputs or anything, and with some receivers, tvs, matrices there's a blackout as it re-identifies the resolution, etc so it can appear like something's "going wrong" when you loose picture moementarily. Some people dont like that, others it doesnt bother.

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Thanks... seems like a great solution, particularly since XBMC cant play MKV files as far as I know, plus saves me from having to build a media center PC and leaving a computer on 24-7 running XBMC. Too bad none of the NMTs have quite the full feature set in this generation, otherwise it would be perfect.

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the real problem with xbmc, and why I believe imho that it is inferior to the other products, is that you can't stream 1080p or 720p(?) from an xbox. but, if you just have standard def material, then its an excellent piece of software.

tum

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the real problem with xbmc, and why I believe imho that it is inferior to the other products, is that you can't stream 1080p or 720p(?) from an xbox. but, if you just have standard def material, then its an excellent piece of software.

tum

XBMC capability on a standard Xbox (Intel 733Mhz PIII CPU):

720x480p video output to 720x480p = OK! (eg not upscaled).

720x480p video output to 1024x720p = OK! (eg upscaled to 720p).

720x480p video output to 1920x1080p = OK! (eg upscaled to 1080i).

1024x720p video output to 1024x720p = FAIL! (eg native 720p).

1920x1080i video output to 1920x1080i = FAIL! (eg native 1080i).

Note! All above that sais FAIL don't actualy fail to play, it's just that the Xbox CPU is to slow to decode and render the high resolution so they will play so slow (dropped frames) making it unwatchable.

So, having said that, the best thing that you're looking for, from what I can tell, is the new Netgear 9000, which plays HD content quite nicely AND supports MKV AND has a nifty integrated driver for C4 (or should as the 8000 does already)

http://www.engadget.com/2008/11/28/netgear-digital-entertainer-elite-media-streamer-says-hello-to-t/

Personally, this is what I will be using in my house too. I have a few, uh, ISO files that ended up on my NAS.

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IMO, I'd rather have XBMC manage the collection rather than C4. Also, I've always been a proponent of displaying media collections (DVDs, video files) on the largest display device, that's a TV/Projector, not a control panel. And frankly C4's media management is not anything special, it's rather basic. Never played with the Netgears so I don't know how they handle collections.

There's a good point above about being able to program based on media inventory, not sure though how much this will be used. Either way, it's all good.

Has anyone tried XBMC on a Mac Mini? The dual-core should be able to handle the resolutions below that fail on the original Xbox.

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XBMC can play MKV files.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matroska#Software_support

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC

You dont have to run XBMC on a pc 24/7. You could use an Xbox.

Thats interesting, the lastest release of XMBC is on my Xbox and it isnt playing the MKVs I have. Perhaps it is x.264? Ill take a look at the files when I get home and see.

I could use an Xbox but I dont haven't done the power on-off mod. Do you have a link to a tutorial on where to solder the wires for that to use an HC-300 relay to turn the xbox on and off?

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the real problem with xbmc, and why I believe imho that it is inferior to the other products, is that you can't stream 1080p or 720p(?) from an xbox. but, if you just have standard def material, then its an excellent piece of software.

tum

Yeah thats why I was initially planning on using XBMC from a PC... so I guess my last post is moot in a way.

thecodeman... Will the netgear 9000 allow use of jukeboxes such as YAMJ and MyLilJukebox? Also, do you have any info on whether or not it will be able to output to both HDMI & component video at the same time?

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The netgear 9000 and XBMC are designed to be players of content that is stored on a drive or NAS somewhere. I have no knowledge of YAMJ / MyLilJukebox so I can't answer that question.

The device is also slated to be "officially announced" at CES and start shipping q1 of 2009, so we also dont know yet if it outputs hdmi/component simultaneously.

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  • 2 weeks later...

EVA9000 from Netgear (when it ships) would be your best bet for 100% integration. 2nd best bet would be building a system and putting XBMC onto it. Both will fully integrate with Control4.

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I posted over in the mediaportal forums and someone pointed me towards this link:

http://www.team-mediaportal.com/files/Download/Plugins/Automation/BasicHomeAutomation/

It is some form of home automation integration plugin for MediaPortal, but the terms etc are a mystery to me. Can anyone interpret that page as to whether there is anything that would make MediaPortal functional with C4?

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