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recommend a media player

Old 03-11-19, 10:59 PM
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recommend a media player

i am looking for something
- where i can plug in a USB 3.0 external drive to a media player to play back videos onto my tv (using HDMI)
-Needs to have a remote.
-Also Looking for something where u can update the software whenever there are new codecs and formats.

a plus would be to be able to play 4K since i might upgrade to a 4K tv later on.

any suggestions?
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Old 03-11-19, 11:23 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Have you considered using Plex? It's not exactly the same thing. But I've been using it to watch videos through my Roku, and it does a great job.

I store videos on an external drive connected to my computer. Plex runs in the background and streams to all my TVs via Roku. It upgrades itself, keeps my video collection organized, and has tons of great features.
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Old 03-12-19, 09:27 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Get an Nvidia Shield. It's the best catch all since the WDTV. That said, it doesn't support Dolby Vision HDR if that's an issue for you (it supports HDR10).
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Old 03-12-19, 10:20 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by TheBigDave View Post
Have you considered using Plex? It's not exactly the same thing. But I've been using it to watch videos through my Roku, and it does a great job.

I store videos on an external drive connected to my computer. Plex runs in the background and streams to all my TVs via Roku. It upgrades itself, keeps my video collection organized, and has tons of great features.
Seconded. Never looked back after i started using Plex.
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Old 03-12-19, 02:06 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Get an Nvidia Shield. It's the best catch all since the WDTV. That said, it doesn't support Dolby Vision HDR if that's an issue for you (it supports HDR10).
i looked into the Nvidia shield but thought it might be overkill for me.
I don't plan to use it for games. I already have a nice computer/graphics card.
anything similar but cheaper?
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Old 03-12-19, 02:49 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

I use Plex with my Roku, but if you need to have an external drive connected to a player with a remote, perhaps the Rokus with USB ports can handle that? (not sure if you can plug external drives in those or just USB sticks)
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Old 03-12-19, 03:24 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Any reason you glossed over the Plex suggestions? If the media is being sourced via your PC, it's a much easier solution than using an external HDD and hoping the media player will be able to handle the different formats. Then you can get any Fire Stick/Roku...etc.
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Old 03-12-19, 03:41 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
Any reason you glossed over the Plex suggestions? If the media is being sourced via your PC, it's a much easier solution than using an external HDD and hoping the media player will be able to handle the different formats. Then you can get any Fire Stick/Roku...etc.
its not so convenient. my computer is in my bedroom and tv in living room.
1. i would need to turn on and leave my computer on when using it
2. not sure if the signal can travel so far wirelessly and thru multiple walls
3. I'm guessing the movie plays on computer? so how would i control it (pause/start/stop) without going back to my bedroom.
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Old 03-12-19, 03:42 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by timewaster View Post
its not so convenient. my computer is in my bedroom and tv in living room.
1. i would need to turn on and leave my computer on when using it
2. not sure if the signal can travel so far wirelessly and thru multiple walls
3. I'm guessing the movie plays on computer? so how would i control it (pause/start/stop) without going back to my bedroom.
1. Yes, this is true. PC must always be on.
2. Both my PC and Xbox are wireless and on the other sides of the house. No issues with playback for me.
3. Plex itself plays the movie and you control it via the media player remote (Fire Stick/Roku/Shield...etc), like you would any other movie service. If you stop half-way, next time you start up Plex, you would be able to pick up right where you left off.
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Old 03-12-19, 04:40 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

I'm a fan of Plex as well. Works great.
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Old 03-12-19, 04:44 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
1. Yes, this is true. PC must always be on.
2. Both my PC and Xbox are wireless and on the other sides of the house. No issues with playback for me.
3. Plex itself plays the movie and you control it via the media player remote (Fire Stick/Roku/Shield...etc), like you would any other movie service. If you stop half-way, next time you start up Plex, you would be able to pick up right where you left off.
#2 is extremely circumstantial though. Personally, I wouldn't rely on a wireless media server solution unless I was absolutely certain of the wifi coverage throughout my living space.

I used to use Plex, but found the need to have an always-on server application running on a PC to be unpalatable, much like the OP. Since then I've transitioned to using the Kodi app to play/manage media that's on a shared network drive attached to my router. The things I personally like about this are:
  • I like to support software that is free and open source. Kodi is open source, but Plex is not.
  • There's no need to have a media server application running anywhere. The Kodi client can access the media directly from the network share. The minor downside is that the client has to be configured separately on each device to access the media, but that's effectively a minimal, one-time-per-device effort.
  • Kodi is highly customizable.
@timewaster - if your router has usb ports that support network-attached storage, the above might be an option for you. You'd just need a device that supports the Kodi app. I'm not sure which ones do, but I know Android TV-based devices do.
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Old 03-12-19, 06:40 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

I went full Plex after ditching the WDTVs, you can try some of the chinese knock off style Android boxes or you can try a Fire TV Cube - You may have to jump through a couple hoops to get it setup initially for USB Harddrives: http://www.aftvnews.com/everything-y...-otg-and-more/
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Old 03-13-19, 04:20 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Why is Plex so popular? The power requirements and nuisance of keeping your PC on all the time wouldn't make this viable for me. I can understand wanting a power-efficient, standalone, self-contained media player, but I'm at odds myself, as to what an excellent one of those would be, if it even exists. Personally, I'm able to view all my movies on various and sundry hard drives (both internal SATA and external SATA) on my old $29 Sony Blu-ray player, via its very handy (usb 2.0 only) port in front. It still plays everything I throw at it, sans 4k content. I do need a AC powered USB cable, though when I use internal SATA drives, but not with external drives whose current draw is < 1A.

And the power consumption is next-to-nothing (approx 6 watts total), I can plug-and-play, and an a happy camper.

What's better than an old Sony BD player with USB port? Enlighten me, if you will. Why use plex and 100+ watts of electricity when 6 watts will get the job done very well indeed?
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Old 03-13-19, 07:29 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

It's popular because it works great. Along with being a media player it also auto categorizes your files, pulls all metadata from the internet (including things like trailers, cast list, cover art, RT scores...etc), and it's extremely reliable. My wife and I can stream two different things to two different rooms with no lag. I can access the full library from my phone/laptop/tablet wherever I am, whenever I want. If I'm traveling I never have to think about if I have media to keep me busy. Plus, I doubt that Sony BD player will work with all file types. Would it be able to play a 10+ gig high bitrate mkv?
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Old 03-13-19, 07:37 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

It also can be a picture server and an organized music server (with playlists and such). I also use it as a DVR for OTA TV broadcasts. Big feature for me is that I (and my family/friends that I allow) can access it easily remotely.
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Old 03-13-19, 07:39 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
It's popular because it works great. Along with being a media player it also auto categorizes your files, pulls all metadata from the internet (including things like trailers, cast list, cover art, RT scores...etc), and it's extremely reliable. My wife and I can stream two different things to two different rooms with no lag. I can access the full library from my phone/laptop/tablet wherever I am, whenever I want. If I'm traveling I never have to think about if I have media to keep me busy. Plus, I doubt that Sony BD player will work with all file types. Would it be able to play a 10+ gig high bitrate mkv?
Plex is awesome and has changed the way I interact with my media.
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Old 03-13-19, 07:43 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Timewaster - Didn't mean to derail your thread; I was just curious why you hadn't considered a service like Plex.

For actual media players to use a HDD with, I'd say an Xbox is your best bet.
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Old 03-13-19, 08:48 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

zyzzle does have a point though, the Sony UHD Blu-ray players also support USB and do a pretty solid job, they support 4K as well (obviously enough)
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Old 03-13-19, 08:51 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
zyzzle does have a point though, the Sony UHD Blu-ray players also support USB and do a pretty solid job, they support 4K as well (obviously enough)
Is it able to decode all file types though? I guess that's a non-issue if your library is consistent but I always had issues using a player like that for media files. I'd always end up with some which it wouldn't read.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:09 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

i have a samsung blueray player but its old and now cannot play alot of formats.
Its not possible to update the software on it. That's why i am looking for another option that will allow you to update the software.
I was reading that Nvidia Shield can run vlc? I think that would work for me. vlc is great and has been able to run just about anything i throw at it. Plus they push out updates for new formats.
Xbox will also be overkill for me and would costs more.
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Old 03-13-19, 10:17 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by timewaster View Post
i have a samsung blueray player but its old and now cannot play alot of formats.
Its not possible to update the software on it. That's why i am looking for another option that will allow you to update the software.
I was reading that Nvidia Shield can run vlc? I think that would work for me. vlc is great and has been able to run just about anything i throw at it. Plus they push out updates for new formats.
Xbox will also be overkill for me and would costs more.
Nvidia Shield runs Android and can run pretty much anything that exists for the OS -- including VLC. If you have time to wait, it goes on sale from time to time for about $129 (no Game Controller) It generally only goes lower during big holiday sales.

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
Is it able to decode all file types though? I guess that's a non-issue if your library is consistent but I always had issues using a player like that for media files. I'd always end up with some which it wouldn't read.
It ran everything I threw at it, but didn't support certain high-end audio codecs in certain containers (which is apparently a common issue)

Last edited by RichC2; 03-13-19 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 03-13-19, 11:18 AM
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Re: recommend a media player

Nvidia Shield TV. It can do everything you need and should be powerful enough to handle stuff for years to come.
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Old 03-13-19, 01:07 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Well, thanks to this thread I discovered I can use the Nvidia Shield as a Plex server. Sweet.
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Old 03-13-19, 07:07 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Originally Posted by Noonan View Post
It's popular because it works great. Along with being a media player it also auto categorizes your files, pulls all metadata from the internet (including things like trailers, cast list, cover art, RT scores...etc), and it's extremely reliable. My wife and I can stream two different things to two different rooms with no lag. I can access the full library from my phone/laptop/tablet wherever I am, whenever I want. If I'm traveling I never have to think about if I have media to keep me busy. Plus, I doubt that Sony BD player will work with all file types. Would it be able to play a 10+ gig high bitrate mkv?
Yes, Plex does offer the convenience of being able to stream multiple streams apparently simultaneously to various places on a NAS. That's about all it offers over the $29 Sony Blu-ray method!

Yes, I play 30 to 50gb high-bitrate mkvs all the time on this lowly $29 Sony player. It even plays 24/192 FLAC embedded in the mkvs, and supports bitrates of 50 mbits/sec on mkvs. There is no studder or jerkiness, the files just play perfectly, smoothly. It seriously has played everything I've thrown at it over the years -- except 4k because it is not a UHD player. Can't think of a single codec it dosen't support or play well except h.265. It won't play or mount iso's like a firmware-modded Oppo player, however.
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Old 03-18-19, 01:07 PM
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Re: recommend a media player

Plex all the way for me.
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