XBMC Hardware beginner advice

Discussion in 'Video Streaming Boxes & Services' started by GTunney, Feb 18, 2014.

  1. GTunney

    GTunney
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    Hi All,

    I'm currently looking at moving from my current setup a Dune HD running Zappiti Video jukebox to an XBMC setup. My amp with built in airplay just won't work anymore so a new solution is needed and I thought I'd make the switch to have an All in one unit that does movies and airplay.

    I'm looking for hardware capable of running XBMC smoothly, be able to play back 1080p and output DTS HD audio. All moves are stored on an 8TB NAS and streamed over a gigabit LAN. Most movies are x.264 mkvs.

    I have seen so many different suggestions and ideas i'm baffled. I'd consider something like Raspi or TLBB but i've heard the experience isn't entirely smooth when navigating the UI.

    Budget is ideally around £250 maybe £300 tops.
     
  2. next010

    next010
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    The only thing that does DTS-HD audio properly & cheaply with XBMC right now is an Intel NUC just install Openelec on the unit and your all set. Alternatively the Asus EeeBox as it has an Nvidia GPU would also be a good option for HD audio and is fanless too, same thing install Openelec on it.

    For various reasons HD audio isn't yet viable on Android/Arm devices. There are two boxes out there but one doesn't really run XBMC well and the other (vidonme) does claim HD audio bitstreaming and XBMC support but according to their own forum DTS-HD pass-through is unstable.

    There is a guy on the XBMC forums working on an Intel based box, that would be a more complete unit like a set top box than the NUC but he says March is the launch target.

    Pivos unit according to them has been pushed back to later this year which would have been another candidate as it would have been one of the first proper XBMC with working HD audio Android boxes.
     
  3. GTunney

    GTunney
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    Thanks for your detailed and informative reply.

    I've been looking over night after posting this and decided that Intel NUC would be the way to go. Plan is too sell my Dune and Headless PC and replace with a NUC.

    HD Audio isn't essential as my current Dune doesn't handle HD audio but just wanted to future proof incase I ever do go HD Audio.

    Would a NUC be capabale of running xbmc, iTunes, Sabnzbd and couch potato? I thought about running openelec on it but because of the iTunes requirement I'm guessing i'll have to stick Win7 on there.
     
  4. next010

    next010
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    Yeah iTunes is Win/OSX only.

    It would be a lot more expensive at £500 but if you saved up for a Mac Mini, it is virtually silent and very powerful plus it works with the AppleTV remote by pairing it with the Mac. In addition if planning on using it as an iTunes Homesharing server iTunes itself can be left running in the background (hide iTunes option in menu).

    But the NUC will do what you want too just via windows, there is an app called iHomeserver which runs on desktop windows too that makes iTunes run in the background of windows (sort of).
     
  5. GTunney

    GTunney
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    Thanks again, iTunes would be run in the background with XMBC over the top. I was then wanting to use the Apple remote app to control itunes.
     
  6. Smallclone

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    I have a NUC, and can confirm it is the dogs danglies. I don't go near apple stuff though.

    What 8TB NAS have you got?
     
  7. GTunney

    GTunney
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    I've been looking at now building my own NUC type box as it will work out cheaper with much better specs.

    I've got a ReadyNAS NV+ running 4 x 2TB disks in RAID0, works out about 5.5TB with one disk redundancy.

    Heres what I'm planning to build as the HTPC, would appreciate peoples thoughts?

    Kingston 4GB 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM SR x8 - £33.24
    Antec ISK 110 Mini ITX Case with VESA Mount - £65.82
    Gigabyte GA-H77N-WIFI Socket 1155 Mini-ITX Motherboard -£83.19
    SanDisk 64GB Pulse SSD - 2.5" SATA-III - Read 490MB/s Write 240MB/s - £41.99
    Intel Core i3 3225 3.30GHz Socket 1155 3MB Cache Retail Boxed Processor - £97.67

    Total is £321.91 delivered. Roughly the same price as a NUC but with a much more powerful CPU.
     
  8. Smallclone

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    NUCs are available for £100 these days (minus RAM and SSD / USB) - they will do all that you want.

    That system will be hugely overpowered in my opinion.
     
  9. GTunney

    GTunney
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    It's the iTunes and the fact it has to run Windows 7 that bumps it up. What NUC do you have? I figured for an extra £30 over a decent NUC i could build my own HTPC with better specs.
     
  10. Smallclone

    Smallclone
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  11. GTunney

    GTunney
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    I just know how resource hungry iTunes can be and it's going to be running xbmx over the top of itunes as well. It all has to be wife proof which means it must run smoothly. She doesn't take to crashes :p

    What OS you running on your NUS?
     
  12. Smallclone

    Smallclone
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    Fair enough. I know nothing of iTunes.

    Openelec on a 16GB USB3 is fine for me.

    Xbmc demo, Intel NUC, Openelec
     
  13. GTunney

    GTunney
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    Thats pretty slick and quite nippy. Wish I could go with Openelec and the cheaper option but sadly the powers that be will not step away from iTunes and their remote app.
     
  14. Smallclone

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    Nevermind. Give me spotify anyday!
     
  15. ChefMan

    ChefMan
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    I have run Acer Revo's 3700's as XBMC machines for years.
    Dont be tempted by a 3610 as they only have the 1st gen Ion chipset whereas the 3700 has the Ion2 which can handle HD content perfectly.
    I have a 5Tb server and the IMDB scraper adds the correct info provided the files are named correctly.
    I also have a couple of Pi's running XBMC in the bedrooms and an OUYA as well.(Plus my Tab2 and S4)

    Although given your situation you might be better off withn Apple TV2 JB with XBMC (Although the ATV2 is only 720)
    Or an upgraded Original ATV with the Crystal HD mod that does 1080.
    That way your wife can still use the Apple TV remote to control it.
     

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