DVD player that plays MP4 from USB?

Bill1234

Novice Member
l want to get a DVD player that plays MP4 videos on a USB flash drive. Most models l've done research on do not support MP4. Some state support for MPEG4. ls that the same as MP4?
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
"Some state support for MPEG4. ls that the same as MP4?"

No be careful there, the two (MP4 the container specification and MPEG4-AVC the video compression standard) are not necessarily equal/interchangeable.

MP4 is a container (think of it as a folder) which can (and often does) contain a H.264/MPG-4-AVC video stream (likely encoded using x264) along with a separately encoded audio stream (most likely AAC). But importantly it can also contain audio and video encoded with other formats/codecs.

So even if you player can handle a MP4 container it won't necessarily be able to decode the audio/video streams found inside it. So you need to check that your player supports not only the container (like MP4 or MKV) but also the audio (AAC, AC-3, DTS etc.) & video (H.264, H.265, H.262) codecs used to encode the content inside that container.

Personally I prefer using MKV as a container as it allows multi-channel audio formats like DTS and AC3 to be passed though to your AVR untouched, as well as support for chapter markers. It also allows 'soft subtitles' to be included which can then be toggled on and off in your player, rather than having to be burnt into the video. If you're ripping your own DVD/BluRay's MakeMKV is perfect for this task. If you want to further reduce down the size of the video track you can run the resulting MKV file though Handbrake. H.264 (x264) with the frame rate set to 'same as source' is probably a safe starting point. I'd leave the audio tracks alone (set to 'passthru' under the audio tab) if your player (or TV/AVR) can handle them without conversion as the reduction in file size there will be minimal.

Remember MKV and MP4 are containers, it's what is in the container that a player will likely have the issue with, not the container format itself.

(* the major exception here is Apple's official apps which don't support MKV as a container)

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The issue with DVD players (at least cheap DVD players) is that it's an old technology and so even the players that 'support MP4' (see above for why this isn't clear cut) are likely to have very basic interfaces for browsing/playback and will likely be running a firmware that hasn't been updated in ages — and so may have issue with any encodings that deviate slightly from the norm.

If you have a spare HDMI port you may be better off getting a cheap device that can run Kodi.

Not only will Kodi play back (almost) any file format you throw at it, but it will also scrape metadata and index your movies into a nice interface. It's also free / open source and gets regular updates. You can try out the Mac/PC version of Kodi to get a feel for how it works.

If money isn't the limiting factor then a Vero 4K+ (designed solely to run OSMC's install of Kodi) would be my recommendation for an easy life, as it will just work out-of-the-box without issues.

But if you just want something super low-cost to simply play back the occasional file then there is a whole world of cheap 'Kodi boxes' on eBay/Amazon, but you'll need to do some homework to find out which of those are issue free for your use cases. The cheapest boxes (<£30) are likely struggle with 4K content and advanced audio codecs, but for basic MP4/MKV (1080p / H.264) playback they should be fine.

You can also side-load Kodi on to an Amazon Fire (which is likely a better & more stable option than a no-name 'Kodi Android Box' off eBay) or install Kodi/OSMC yourself on a small/cheap SBC like a Raspberry Pi. But both of those will require some additional work/steps in terms of initial setup.
 
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Captain Ron

Well-known Member
I too am looking for such a beast although flac is my preferred audio file format.
Preferably one that has HDMI output AND supporting gapless playback when playing album folders is absolutely essential. Could be a bluray player or just a tiny portable media player but the HDMI output and gapless support are essential for my requirement.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
I too am looking for such a beast although flac is my preferred audio file format.
Preferably one that has HDMI output AND supporting gapless playback when playing album folders is absolutely essential. Could be a bluray player or just a tiny portable media player but the HDMI output and gapless support are essential for my requirement.

A Vero 4K+ (which comes pre-installed with Kodi) will get you a HDMI output and gapless playback.

But if your main use is going to be audio playback rather than video, you may be better off with a dedicated network audio streamer rather than a generic media player for a variety of reasons.
 
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Captain Ron

Well-known Member
Vero 4K+ (which comes pre-installed with Kodi) will get you a HDMI output and gapless playback.

But if your main use is going to be audio playback rather than video, you may be better off with a dedicated network audio streamer rather than a generic media player for a variety of reasons.
The specific use I want it for is to feed the audio via HDMI into the head unit of my car stereo which only has bluetooth input and HDMI input and no Aux or CD player. I can't just rip out and replace the head unit because it's tightly integrated with the satnav and all the car controls on the steering wheel and an information display not only in the head unit but also in the instrument binnacle.
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
The specific use I want it for is to feed the audio via HDMI into the head unit of my car stereo which only has bluetooth input and HDMI input and no Aux or CD player. I can't just rip out and replace the head unit because it's tightly integrated with the satnav and all the car controls on the steering wheel and an information display not only in the head unit but also in the instrument binnacle.

That makes sense, the Vero 4K+ should work fine for that and can be powered via a standard 5v 2A PSU. You can try Kodi out on your desktop/laptop first to see if it looks like it would work for you.

But if you're up for some DIY and hiding it out of sight anyway, then might be worth looking at putting together a RPi based audio streamer (running Volumio or LMS/PiCorePlayer) which will also have a HDMI output. If you have a touchscreen in your car then I think both PiCorePlayer and Volumio should be able to support it, but I'd double check yourself to be sure as I have never done that myself. You could also go the RPi route with Kodi by running OSMC/Kodi on a RPi4 2GB board yourself.
 

Captain Ron

Well-known Member
The Vero does indeed look it would fill my need and it's cheap enough to give it a go. :)
 

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