Best HD movie streamer, with artwork and synopsis?

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by alexjholland85, Aug 2, 2012.

  1. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Hey, I stream my HD movies from my iMac (using Yazsoft's excellent 'Playback' software) to my PS3 or XBox 360 which are both connected to my 42" Panasonic plasma and 5.1 kit, controlled by a Logitech harmony remote.

    It's an elegant, efficient system - however I am starting to find sorting through and choosing from movies is difficult when they just have file names.

    I'd like a media streamer which provides artwork and, ideally, a mini-synopsis. I've seen the Boxee software does this; and I've seen Popcorn Hour devices do this - although their latest device has been called overpriced and mediocre by some reviewers.

    Here are my criteria:

    - Artwork and, ideally, movie synopsis information
    - Great picture quality (at least as good as PS3 or XBOX 360 for streaming)
    - Compatibility with Logitech Harmony
    - Support for XVID/AC3 5.1 minimum, MKV with 5.1 would be a bonus!

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  2. bym007

    bym007

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    Do you have an old/spare PC lying at home. If you do, then check XBMC out. Its a great free software, which allows what you exactly want, and can work on pretty low specc'd computers.
     
  3. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    No, that's not my style. I want to buy a purpose-designed media streamer.
     
  4. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    I have used the boxee, still own popcorn devices and i use harmony 1100 to control everything
    Looking at what you will like to achieve, either of the two players should be fine.

    The Boxee Box has a nice, very slick GUI and so far the most user friendly media player i have used. It has a fully automated media scraping & integrated jukebox BUT last time i checked, it had issue with some HD audio (TrueHD & DTS HD MA) This should not be a problem since you're only interested in ac3 5.1

    Popcorn hour A-210 - Will also play all your files, handle all audio formats including HD audio BUT the UI is not as slick as the boxee's. If you will like access to the fancy jukebox you'll have to use a 3rd party application "YAMJ" to create your jukebox. I am currently running evZAP skin on the A-210. You can view some screenshots and here:
    http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=58298

    Popcorn hour A-300 - Same as the A-210 but GUI is faster and it has an inbuilt jukebox NMJ v2
    I use both the inbuilt jukebox and the same evZAP skin as the A-210. Both popcorn players use the same YAMJ database.
    You can view the screenshots and videos of the inbuilt jukebox here: http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=55384
    Screenshots and Videos of the evZAP "modified" skin here: http://www.networkedmediatank.com/showthread.php?tid=58729



    Other Media Player you should consider : Dune Smart Series (H1 or D1) - Again this will handle all your video & audio formats including HD audio. You will also have to use a 3rd party applications "Zapitti, yaDIS etc. " to create your fancy jukebox - Zapitti, yaDIS etc.
    You can view some screenshots here:
    yaDIS: Guide: Setting up yaDIS 2.0 For the Dune
    zappiti: Zappiti - Ultimate Media Center for Dune HD Players

    Have fun deciding :)
     
  5. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Actually Boxee is looking best for me so far!

    User interface is very important. It was Boxee on my sister's laptop that originally caught my eye; seeing my list of movies converted into attractive covers and synopsis. I find it difficult to choose films as I have so many, so these features and user ratings will be fantastic.

    I love cohesion, so want ONE device for my viewing. With exception of blu-rays, it looks like Boxee can handle all media features of my PS3 and XBOX?

    - iPlayer HD
    - 4OD
    - Netflix
    - YouTube
    - Logitech Harmony compatibility

    The iPad compatibility is just another bonus.

    Does it support .mkv with 5.1?

    If it can do all the above then I don't really see any reason to look further!
     
  6. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    And just to check, the Apple TV does NOT play nice with XVid AC3 5.1s and that sort of thing?
     
  7. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    I am not sure all the apps you have listed currently work. You might want to do more research on the "available" apps on the uk boxee box.
     
  8. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    Not sure if you are aware but the Boxee Box remote is RF (radio frequency) rather than IR (infrared) like most remotes. So if your Harmony is also RF compatible then no problem, but if it is IR only then it wont control the Boxee Box.

    Mark.
     
  9. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Damn. I have a Harmony 525. Apparently you can buy an IR dongle? I also have to buy an HDMI splitter and a larger optical splitter than my current one (which has three inputs).. Which in total will jack up the price by £50 perhaps!
     
  10. awink1

    awink1
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    I think that the WDTV Live SMP might just be the streamer for you. The price is more than OK and does everything you want it to, plus a few things more :thumbsup:

    You won't have to change your Harmony either :smashin:
     
  11. rolandrat

    rolandrat
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    Ive got boxee and wdtv live, Ive had a million types of network streamers. Out of those two I would go with the boxee. The remote isnt a problem as you can get a cheap windows media center remote with usb receiver and plug that into it, not ideal but it works with harmony no problem.
    You might actually find that as the boxee remote is so small and user friendly with its few buttons, you might actually find yourself using anyway.
    Ive had problems with the wdtv live with lip sync and subtitles, and the gui for artwork isnt as good.
     
  12. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Yeah even with the remote issues, Boxee is most appealing to me. The interface on the PC app was great - and the reason I originally considered a streamer.

    As mentioned, the artwork/synopsis/reviews is most important. I really struggle to choose movies at the moment, as I have so many - and this would really help!

    Hence, I will buy one at the end of this month!

    My only decision, is whether to get the D-Link or a new version by Iomega TV?

    Someone mentioned Iomega TV's version has iTunes server. I would like to play iTunes music on my Boxee - does the standard version not do this?
     
  13. Smallclone

    Smallclone
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    Boxee. All the way.

    It's far better than WDTV Live which I've also had.
     
  14. atsoc15

    atsoc15
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    What about a roku 2 player and plex on your mac?

    I am currently in a similar situation so just throwing that option out there as something I am considering
     
  15. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Roku 2 looks naff. Nothing good is said about it's artwork; and I already use Yazsoft's awesome 'Playback' software, which there seems no need to change.

    Regarding the remote guys, I do have an iPad. Does that replace all the standard remote's functions?
     
  16. atsoc15

    atsoc15
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    If you use the boxee though you will need the boxee media manager running on your mac.

    Plex in my opinion is a better media manager, however boxee is the better streaming device.
     
  17. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    What? My PS3, XBox 360 and countless other devices can read Playback. Are you telling me Boxee cannot?
     
  18. Trollslayer

    Trollslayer
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    I have used media players and now have a mini PC (Zotac although a Revo would do as well) with XBMC for the reasons in the original post.
     
  19. atsoc15

    atsoc15
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    From reading the boxee site it says that boxee media manager is required. So I am assuming you need that running. I have just tried out both plex and boxee on my pc and using their iPad apps and I definitely prefer plex. Especially the way it adds all the artwork, film information etc
     
  20. paulmcp2403

    paulmcp2403
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    Have you thought about a Mede8er player? Check out their site...5 year warranty on thier models...and very good forum support.
     
  21. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Looks pretty old and naff. Again, does it do the artwork/synopsis/review better than Boxee?
     
  22. paulmcp2403

    paulmcp2403
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    Yep...uses YAMJ...loads of skins, so don't swayed by the bog standard naff ones. They have very user friendly forums..check out the support forums ...also check out their new 3d media player...I am actually going for this over all the others you mentioned...

    Ps for me a 5 year warranty tells me its a quality product.
     
  23. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    - Boxee is a no-go, due to an absence of Netflix (which I've just got into) and the absence of native IR remote support (even with a dongle, it won't turn on with one). Their company clearly has no idea about business; or any interest in surviving.

    - Mede8er does not support Netflix, so - again - is off.

    - Popcorn Hour is the only box I've seen that does Netflix and adding artwork to my movies, but the cheapest one of those is still nearly £200.

    Basically, I'll wait for now. There seems to be a major gap in the market for a decent, adaptable all-in-one and when I've moved into my new flat (and got Sky HD) I'll take a fresh look at my needs.
     
  24. Tboggie

    Tboggie
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    There is no netflix support on any popcorn hour device
     
  25. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Oh. Then no-one, anywhere has made a media streaming device worth me purchasing.

    XBox and PS3 can both handle Netflix AND media streaming; all I want is the artwork too..
     
  26. planthead

    planthead
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    Hope I am not missing something, have you looked at the wdtv live?
     
  27. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Looks close (Netflix and IR remote), but looks like you have to add cover art manually.

    I'm presuming there are no automatic synopsis added either? That's the main reason I want a media streamer.
     
  28. planthead

    planthead
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    It has it's own scraper, and media library function
     
  29. alexjholland85

    alexjholland85
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    Ok. All the forums I saw mentioned manually copying in JPEGs? Have you got any more information on this scraper/media library function? Basically, if I can get artwork + synopsis automatically, then I'll probably buy it
     
  30. planthead

    planthead
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    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012

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