How to watch 4K HDR movies from HDD?

bjorsa

Novice Member
Hi guys,

I used to be savvy. I built pc's for friends. Now I'm a dad who can't play a bluray film without fail.

We used to run a real old pc as HTPC, built into the furniture in our living room. On the HDDs we have 1080p movies and we streamed some content from the internet, all 1080p or worse. Then our projector self destructed and I picked up a slightly used 4K HDR10 projector. Ohhh, nice. I knew the old pc wouldn't be able to handle 4K mkv material but I thought I'd find some easy solution. Not so. First off, I had to change the goddamn HMDI cable because apparently they're rated just like the old internet cat cables back in the days, and mine was too slow and sh*tty for 4K.

Then my google-fu failed me badly when I tried sort the HTPC problem out. I read about HTPC's downfall, the rise of streaming, consumer electronics taking over and all sorts of new words associated. Found out lots of people use this Kodi thing as some kind of movie streaming interface. I knew windows sucked bad for real HTPC stuff and figured I'd buy some old bluray player that could read the common movie files through an USB port. But noooo. I found a worms nest of new and clever hardware. An Amazon Fire stick that had a complete streaming computer in it, go figure. But it was only for streaming from the internet it turned out. Then I found Vero 4K+ and Odroid N2+ mini computers. Those two are fairly priced but also sported a staggeringly high nerd factor and ran strange software called CoreELEC or something. I have no clue what this means. Clicked the good-sound-recommended N2+ link and expected a pre-installed plug-and-play box. Nope. I found many variations, even more weird software and ugly ass plastic cases looking like the'd fit in a teenage boy's room. Concluded this was it. I'm officially old now. Please help an old man out?

What I have:
*An Optoma UHD51 projector, with a new high-speed HDMI cable.
*An old pc that I'm sort of willing to replace. It has 4TB worth of films stored on the HDDs and it'd be great if I could keep access. (The HDDs connect to the motherboard via SATA.)
*A weird audio setup: the front speakers are powered through (an exceedingly large and nerdy) HiFi 2-channel amp feeding two big-ass front speakers. Center and back are run through an old 5.1 integrated surround amp. The pc has a back-panel with 6-channel 3.5mm headphone jack surround out (the old color coded thing) and I have connected the 2-channel amp to Front and the surround amp to Center and Back accordingly. (Yes, I need to dial in a balanced volume between the two.) The stereo amp has a stand-alone stereo DAC that runs 16/44100 and can take digital SPDIF in. (Yeah, not great, but that DAC is especially made for the Canton Digital 2.1 speakers and makes them sound better so I guess I'd rather keep it? I'm willing to change my mind.)
*The amps themselves lack HDMI connections. RCA is the main analog way in. (There's also TOSLINK for what it's worth.)

What I need:
*Stream 4K HDR movies from a HDD. The projector lacks real USB ports, there's only 2x HDMI.
*Access some 1080p streaming from the internet. Preferably access Youtube and stuff without hickups. I could use the old pc for this, I don't mind. (But if I can avoid running two thick HDMI cables to the projector that'd be preferable.)
*I still want to be able to browse the internet. If I could keep the old pc in the loop for this, all the better.
*Play (stereo) music stored on HDDs. I'm an old audiophile and will go grumpy if the sound is flat and lacking.

Questions:

1. The old pc uses a GF9800GT card. Is there ANY 4K HDR format I can source from that? Could I keep the old pc and convert files to some easy format before playing? The graphics card supports 4096 × 2160. But HDR on windows is a shark-jumping exercise?

2. If I need a Vero or Hardkernel, must I expect to lurk forums and keep ordering dongles for days to get it up and running or is it easier than my first impressions tell me?

3. I noticed the Odroid N2+ has SPDIF out. Can I use that to:
-connect to my 2-channel DAC - 2 channel amp - front spk
-while also pulling analog audio to center and back spk? How do I connect an Odroid N2+ to analog RCA amps?
Some sort of splitter and converter I suppose? But how can I make sure the front-center-back sounds lands in the right place?

4. Need help chosing the right hardware. If I need to buy an Odroid, do I need a big eMMC? What sort of operating system can I expect and how much space does that take? I'm utterly oblivious. I read intro threads but felt dumb.

5. What would you guys do?


I would be forever grateful for any tips.
 

Xenomorph

Member
You're not old and incapable. But I know exactly where you're coming from. I'm a techy person, and also feel out of touch at times. There are so many hardware options these days, and different standards, it can be confusing.
In a world where devices are generally not compatible, I was very impressed that my TV can control my PVR via the HDMI.
Sorry, can't offer advice on the kit, just giving some moral support :)
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Kodi is just XBMC the name changed a while back, its the most popular HTPC software that runs across a wide range of platforms.

For example Vero 4K runs a custom linux OS called OSMC that runs Kodi, Raspberry Pi and other devices run Libreelec that is a custom linux OS that run Kodi.

FireTV, Nvidia Shield run Android OS underneath and can run Kodi which is present in Google app store.

If you have an old PC that was running windows media center as its HTPC front end that is pretty much dead.

You need a new GPU for the PC so it supports hardware video decoding of 4K HDR video formats like a GeForce 1650 if you want to cover HEVC 4K HDR but there is currently a shortage of GPU's so might not be the best time to buy.

For commercial set top boxes the Nvidia Shield Pro is the most straight forward option.
1. Supports 4K HDR and will play most things thrown at it (kodi runs well on it).
2. Can play from USB media.
3. Access to streaming services via apps on Google Play store.
4. chrome browser, you can use USB or BT keyboards with the shield.

For music I don't know if the Shield meets audiophile standards, but you can keep your current PC hardware as is for music playback too, there are multiple ways of playing media these days.
 
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bjorsa

Novice Member
Thanks ever so much!

So I can look to simple Android TV boxes. Good to know.
What's so special about the Shield? The Ugoos AM6 does the same thing? I can't even tell what's needed. I'm drowning here.
 

dion 6

Well-known Member
As next010 said a nvidia shield is probably the best all-rounder if you want access to streaming apps as well as a kodi media player with a great customised video library. But if you just want a media streaming player I'd recommend a Vero4K + I'v been using the original Vero4K for 3 years now with no problems and I'm coming up to 65 and not a tech expert by the equipment you have you sound more than capable
 

next010

Distinguished Member
Thanks ever so much!

So I can look to simple Android TV boxes. Good to know.
What's so special about the Shield? The Ugoos AM6 does the same thing? I can't even tell what's needed. I'm drowning here.

The Shield does everything you need reasonably well, it has very capable hardware, its also the most popular official AndroidTV box so gets a lot of support.

Other Android boxes may not match any of the above, some Android boxes use tablet Android instead of proper AndroidTV OS so have clumsy and less slick interfaces, thats kind of what the Ugoo AM6 is.

I strongly recommend installing Kodi on your PC first and just get used to it as it works exactly the same way on Android. It can seem daunting but it's not really, just use arrow keys to navigate and right click on something to bring up a menu, esc backs out. (on android you can use stock remote or keyboard)

1) Go to videos->files->add videos
2) Browse any source USB, HDD, network for media then add folder.
3) If you want a coverart media library when adding a folder it asks 'set content' leave on none for no scanning or set the type as movie for example then it will scan that folder for any movies and populate a new "movie" section on the home screen with artwork/info etc.
4) go to settings->player->videos and enable adjust display refresh rate for 24Hz output.
5) Kodi outputs everything as uncompressed PCM audio by default.
  • you can alter PCM speakers via settings->system->audio->number of channels so if you had HDMI audio connection and wanted 5.1 PCM set it to 5.1 here.
  • for audio pass-through sending DD/DTS etc enable pass-through in same area.

Thats a quick start or look at their own wiki for more details but best to thing to do just play with it yourself.

If you just want to keep using your PC you can, get the new GeForce 1650 GPU though you may have to update to windows 10 as well, install latest version of Kodi and it will playback 4k HDR video auto switching the display to HDR mode.
 

bjorsa

Novice Member
The pc already runs Win10 but I get the impression people are fiddling a lot even with the proper hardware inside. Also, the recommended GPU cost twice as much as e.g. Ugoo AM6 and my old motherboard probably finds a way to mess everything up. It has bad omens written all over it.

I guess I have to splurge on a Shield. But before I do:
What's in the pudding compared to a much cheaper Odroid N2+ 4GB? Seems to do the same job?
 

bjorsa

Novice Member
Even have to get the Shield Pro or there's no USB. Seriously, no USB is gimpy. Then I need to keep the old pc running as a NAS to access the movies over mischievous wifi? People do this?
 

next010

Distinguished Member
The pc already runs Win10 but I get the impression people are fiddling a lot even with the proper hardware inside. Also, the recommended GPU cost twice as much as e.g. Ugoo AM6 and my old motherboard probably finds a way to mess everything up. It has bad omens written all over it.

I guess I have to splurge on a Shield. But before I do:
What's in the pudding compared to a much cheaper Odroid N2+ 4GB? Seems to do the same job?

There is a semi-conductor shortage at the moment so GPU's are very hard to get hold of, not really a good time to buy.

The odroid N2 is whats called an SBC (single board computer) like the Raspberry Pi, it has custom linux, android OS that can run on it but this is a much more DIY approach vs the Shield were everything has a much higher likelihood of just working.

Even have to get the Shield Pro or there's no USB. Seriously, no USB is gimpy. Then I need to keep the old pc running as a NAS to access the movies over mischievous wifi? People do this?

Yes Shield Pro is only model that has USB, there are other cheaper official AndroidTV devices (like latest Chromecast) but they aren't as good as the Shield in terms of it supporting video/audio codecs.

Internet media streaming is increasingly the dominant form of media consumption as such these products are targeted towards people who would never own a NAS or use USB just Netflix, Youtube etc. and are looking for something better than the basic smart TV services built into their TV so something like USB media playback is not a priority on various devices.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
Android is going to be cheapest option.

Else Amazon Fire TV has 4k support, usb port and can run Kodi. Plus of course support for pretty much every streaming app including YouTube. You can pick up older generation of eBay for 50 ish else wait for Amazon sale day.
 

DELUCAS

Distinguished Member
If your after Ultimate Picture Media Movie playback in all various Audio formats ……..
with Dolby Vision VS10 and Supporting projector and
You tube playback .

But does not support Netflix , Amazon prime etc

Then Zidoo offes that with various models .
 

DELUCAS

Distinguished Member
Will the Pro play 4kHDR movies from an attached USB drive ?
Thnx.

If that message is for me yes

usb 2.0,
usb 3.0
Hard drive
ssd drive
All Audio formats
3D
1080p
4K
HDR10+
Dolby Vision VS10
One of the Best out there Home Theater Movie Posters with Auto Trailer playback .
 
Last edited:

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Using Vero 4K+. Plays 4K HDR, 3D, bitstreams all audio formats and its inexpensive as well. (£107).
 

old rocker

Active Member
Great post OP, you echo many of my thoughts and feelings. I hope I am not hijacking this thread (mods-feel free to move it). I am looking to replace a Seagate Go Flex media player which contains a good bit of film and music video tracks. I output HDMI for vid and optical for sound to a Yamaha RXA2A. TV is a 10 year old Panasonic 42" soon to be updated, but not going 8k or the like. It seems the Vero 4K+ is a contender, is there any other reccomendations? Not pushed on streaming netflix etc as broadband has a meager data limit.

Thanks ~
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
Nvidia Shield ( pro ) is the Daddy.
It put the final nail in the coffin of HTPC's
Its well supported with updates
It works for just about everything , does 4K with Dolby vision ( latest model ) and just works.

There are many cheaper black boxes like it , but all fail at some point and it ends up being the case that it would have been cheaper to just buy the shield in the first place.
Buy cheap and buy twice.

Just Get the Shield , set it up , and forget about media tech again for another 10 years.
 

old rocker

Active Member
Nvidia Shield ( pro ) is the Daddy.
It put the final nail in the coffin of HTPC's
Its well supported with updates
It works for just about everything , does 4K with Dolby vision ( latest model ) and just works.

There are many cheaper black boxes like it , but all fail at some point and it ends up being the case that it would have been cheaper to just buy the shield in the first place.
Buy cheap and buy twice.

Just Get the Shield , set it up , and forget about media tech again for another 10 years.
Thanks for the reply. I take on board what you are saying but it is really pushing the budget and seems to have a lot of features which I would likely not use. Hmmmmmm
 

DELUCAS

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the reply. I take on board what you are saying but it is really pushing the budget and seems to have a lot of features which I would likely not use. Hmmmmmm

Agree i came from a Shield though a very good piece of kit Gaming was not Req or streaming .
If your only in to Movie Playback via Mkv etc
or storage of your Movies ……..
there are other better Media playback devices about

But all in one it ticks many but not a perfect device for some .
 

old rocker

Active Member
Agree i came from a Shield though a very good piece of kit Gaming was not Req or streaming .
If your only in to Movie Playback via Mkv etc
or storage of your Movies ……..
there are other better Media playback devices about

But all in one it ticks many but not a perfect device for some .
I only require it for playback from Hard Drive. I dont use Netflix etc due to data limits, I'm in a very remote area. I have all my music on laptop in the setup, dont stream music in the sitting room tho do in the office pc, not a Gamer. I guess an old fashioned almost pensioner lol!
 

dion 6

Well-known Member
I only require it for playback from Hard Drive. I dont use Netflix etc due to data limits, I'm in a very remote area. I have all my music on laptop in the setup, dont stream music in the sitting room tho do in the office pc, not a Gamer. I guess an old fashioned almost pensioner lol!
I'd go for a Vero4K + it seems overkill to buy a Nvidia shield pro when you won't use the apps or the gaming and save yourself about £70 I've used a Vero4K for 3 years with no problems
 

DELUCAS

Distinguished Member
I only require it for playback from Hard Drive. I dont use Netflix etc due to data limits, I'm in a very remote area. I have all my music on laptop in the setup, dont stream music in the sitting room tho do in the office pc, not a Gamer. I guess an old fashioned almost pensioner lol!

The Zidoo is great for Movie Storage playback & now Music storage playback also but still polishing of the music side of things .
with Gapless playback to .
 

oneman

Well-known Member
I only require it for playback from Hard Drive. I dont use Netflix etc due to data limits, I'm in a very remote area. I have all my music on laptop in the setup, dont stream music in the sitting room tho do in the office pc, not a Gamer. I guess an old fashioned almost pensioner lol!
£42 inc delivery. Play back pretty much any media from either USB or streaming. No fancy extras.
Amazon product
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
That's the claim, but do you have one?

A lot of the cheap Android boxes are bugged, don't get updates or fixes.

I have no experience with that specific box which is why I ask.
 

oneman

Well-known Member
That's the claim, but do you have one?

A lot of the cheap Android boxes are bugged, don't get updates or fixes.

I have no experience with that specific box which is why I ask.
I have that very box, it gets updates every now and then but I decided to install Kodi from Kodi website in the end which isn't hard to do and can be done on any android box.
 

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