Author Topic: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?  (Read 37999 times)

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Offline Kromag

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BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« on: October 07, 2013, 07:46:27 pm »
Hi,

Has anyone tried to use BeagleBone Black for XBMC?

I've tried to use Raspberry PI (revision A unfortunately - 2 years old) and it looks like it needs some more power...
And that's why I am thinking about BBB, since it has much "better" processor and memory...

Have a nice short!
 

Online dr.diesel

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2013, 08:05:28 pm »
IIRC the BBB has a max HDMI resolution of 1024x768.  Probably a show stopper for most.

Offline Kromag

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2013, 08:49:37 pm »
Yeah, but if the resolution would not be an issue - would it be better hardware for XBMC?

I wanted to use the same hardware for XBMC and for email/http servers (these servers will not be very loaded - just for private use).
I know, I know, if you want to have a professional emails and HTTP - you can pay for some online servers... blah, blah, blah...
 

Offline Prime73

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2013, 08:55:40 pm »
as mentioned earlier resolution issue is a show stopper for BBB. overall I don't see why not to give it a try if the resolution is not an issue. I have a few RPi as well as BBBs and modified AppleTV 1's with hardware mpeg encoders. from all of them I like the good old AppleTV with chrystalbuntu on it.
 

Offline Kromag

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2013, 09:11:29 pm »
OK, thanks for the info!

I hope the resolution will be corrected in some future revisions, although I tried to ask uncle Google and found nothing about improvements in that area for BBB...

Thanks again!

 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 12:15:20 am »
The BBB does have a faster Processor so should outperform the RPI. However, in TI infinite wisdom they decided to put in an older GPU that unfortunatly does not do any of the really high resolution and graphic intensive stuff that the the other Broadcom or Mali based linux boards can do.

So If you want raw CPU power then go for the BBB but if you want better GPU performance, look elsewhere. Maybe a Cubieboard or PCDuino could help, however I'm not sure if they have brought out any Hardware enabled drivers for the A10/12 chipset's yet.
 

Offline johnnyfp

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 12:37:16 am »
But then saying that I did find on Youtube which would suggest that the Cubieboard now have HW decoding
 

Offline Kromag

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2013, 09:53:38 am »
Hmmm, I wonder if BBB will be modified in the near future to include some more powerful GPU. I can understand why it does not have it currently, but... :)

Thanks for the info on Cubieboard!

 

Offline Rasz

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2013, 06:07:14 pm »
on Youtube which would suggest that the Cubieboard now have HW decoding

18fps :)
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Offline johnnyfp

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2013, 02:20:56 am »
You need more than 18fps!!!

Your spoilt.

When I where a lad, It was sheer luxury to have 5fps in 6bit monochrome, not like you fancy modern people and your 1080p.  :P
 

Offline ay00

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2013, 08:15:21 pm »
http://circuitco.com/support/index.php?title=BeagleBoneBlack_HDMI#Supported_Resolutions

According to the CircuitCo website, the max resolution is 1920x1080.  Has something changed since you read about it?  I'm trying to get this project going myself, I'm new to the whole beaglebone/system on a chip thing. I'd like to at least get everything installed so I can do some music playback or something small to start out with on the TV.
 

Offline HeyTom

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2013, 01:48:36 pm »
I'm surprised you have trouble with a pi and XBMC.  I have an original Pi running RaspBMC (http://www.raspbmc.com/), and it runs fine for me.  I also have a friend who runs openelec on his because he says the plug-ins are a bit better under openelec.
 

Offline gnif

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2014, 10:47:04 am »
I'm surprised you have trouble with a pi and XBMC.  I have an original Pi running RaspBMC (http://www.raspbmc.com/), and it runs fine for me.  I also have a friend who runs openelec on his because he says the plug-ins are a bit better under openelec.

I am using an RPi for XBMC (OpenELEC) in my tool shed, I was given one of the first variants as a member of Team-XBMC, many changes were made to make XBMC better suited for the RPi, and unfortunately IMHO to the injury of XBMC. The RPi while works with XBMC and is indeed capable of 1080p h264 output, has a slow processor and struggles to be responsive in the GUI.

I was also donated a Pandaboard which is a much more powerful platform, but support for XBMC on this platform is lacking, which is a real shame as it has some very nice additional features, such as wireless built in and hardware decoding. This brings me to the point of mentioning this, if you go for a platform that does not have hardware decoding support in XBMC, then you might as well not bother with it, even if it has the power in the GPU to do what you want.

XBMC has a separate video player engine that is used on the RPi, and a seperate audio layer... both tuned specifically for the RPi. I gave up on the idea of a RPi for my HTPC and forked out the cash for an ASUS eeebox, threw Debian on it and use it as a HTPC, and as an added bonus, a NAS server with USB storage attached, CUPS server and SANE server. The RPi is simply let down by it's core, it is simply not fast enough to be as responsive as it should be in the GUI.

In short, unless the CPU has enough power to decode your video, or you want to spend the time writing the code to leverage the GPU to decode it for you (which is often not possible due to NDAs on the GPU, licensing, and the like) then your best option is to opt for a platform that is supported by XBMC, such as RPi, or a proper x86 based solution.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2014, 10:55:48 am by gnif »
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Offline Rasz

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2014, 06:54:16 pm »
I am using an RPi for XBMC (OpenELEC) in my tool shed, I was given one of the first variants as a member of Team-XBMC, many changes were made to make XBMC better suited for the RPi, and unfortunately IMHO to the injury of XBMC. The RPi while works with XBMC and is indeed capable of 1080p h264 output, has a slow processor and struggles to be responsive in the GUI.

You have got to be joking? Changes to XBMC were positive, but still not deep enough. XBMC is fundamentally broken in a way it draws UI. Its not pees fault someone wrote UI toolkit that cant display simple text field without eating 800MHz.
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Offline gnif

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2014, 10:02:01 pm »
I am using an RPi for XBMC (OpenELEC) in my tool shed, I was given one of the first variants as a member of Team-XBMC, many changes were made to make XBMC better suited for the RPi, and unfortunately IMHO to the injury of XBMC. The RPi while works with XBMC and is indeed capable of 1080p h264 output, has a slow processor and struggles to be responsive in the GUI.

You have got to be joking? Changes to XBMC were positive, but still not deep enough. XBMC is fundamentally broken in a way it draws UI. Its not pees fault someone wrote UI toolkit that cant display simple text field without eating 800MHz.

Some changes were, but the removal of some of the attractive features that made XBMC stand out was a bit silly IMO. The new AudioEngine was almost stripped out because the RPi couldn't do Float computations fast enough, and I spent more then a few hours writing NEON intrinsics to try to improve performance on it. XBMC is a heavily multi threaded application and it would have benefited greatly if the MCU had an additional core, even if the entire device was clocked slower.

While I agree the GUI should perform faster, you have to remember that XBMC is doing a heck of a lot of additional stuff due to the Python layer, as well as all the extra background processing it does (ie: library, media scanning, etc). The theme system is also very complex and allows pretty much complete customisation of the entire thing, which is also a performance drain in itself. So yeah, I believe that the RPi is a rather bad platform for XBMC.
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Lurch

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2014, 12:13:42 am »
I'm surprised you have trouble with a pi and XBMC.  I have an original Pi running RaspBMC (http://www.raspbmc.com/), and it runs fine for me.

No it doesn't. ITYM "it runs", it is definitely not fine though. I have a Pi and thought it would be ideal for XBMC. Xbian generally doesn't work, RaspBMC is ridiculously slow (and the devs an idiot) and OpenELEC is usable, but still not "fine". This is down to XBMC I think though.

I run XBMC on a dual core 3Ghz 8GB RAM Win 7 x64 machine and it is barely fine on that.
 

Offline gnif

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2014, 02:17:13 am »
I run XBMC on a dual core 3Ghz 8GB RAM Win 7 x64 machine and it is barely fine on that.

Then you are doing it wrong, I am running it on a Intel Atom, 64bit, 2GB RAM and it performs extremely well. The main difference here is it is a box dedicated to XBMC, it is running Debian, and doesn't have to contend with the mess that is Windows, or the background tasks you may have running. 8GB of ram is ridiculous if all you are doing is running XBMC, it simply will NEVER use that much.

XBMC is best supported in Linux, most of the developers are Linux developers, myself included, and as such normally performs way better under Linux. Also make sure you have a video card capable of hardware decoding of at-least h264 and is well supported under Linux, pretty much any nVidia based card can do this via VDPAU which XBMC supports out of the box.

Previously I had XBMC running on a 2GHz P4 with 512MB of RAM and it was quick enough for 1080p playback using VDPAU, the move to the Atom was simply due to power consumption reasons. So like I said, there is something wrong with your setup.
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Lurch

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2014, 02:31:42 am »
I run XBMC on a dual core 3Ghz 8GB RAM Win 7 x64 machine and it is barely fine on that.

Then you are doing it wrong,

I know!

I am running it on a Intel Atom, 64bit, 2GB RAM and it performs extremely well. The main difference here is it is a box dedicated to XBMC, it is running Debian, and doesn't have to contend with the mess that is Windows, or the background tasks you may have running. 8GB of ram is ridiculous if all you are doing is running XBMC, it simply will NEVER use that much.

It isn't dedicated to XBMC, it is my everyday PC so that will probably have some bearing on the matter. Don't get me wrong, it does run without any issues, just not as smooth as you might expect considering the specs of the host. I would say this is, as we have both already pointed out, down to Windows more than XBMC. It does happily display 1080 video streams from a NAS and does live TV from a TV server, it's just the UI is sometimes a bit jerky but then I also run Firefox so that is probably using 7GB of the memory and 50% CPU.

That aside my main point was that XBMC on a Raspberry Pi isn't "fine", but then considering the processing power available in my machines I must say I am disappointed with pretty much anything I use as it is all slow and jerky so on balance XBMC is probably not the worst offender by far.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2014, 08:50:50 pm »
Which version of RaspBMC are you using? I have Rpi(s) at my student home, and one at parent's house.

Student home has NFS server for all content, on average takes 2 seconds to open Movies page with ~200 movies and 3-4 seconds to start playing content. You can turn down fanart and iconart resolution to speed it up a bit more, that is with 720p fanart (1080p GUI) and 512p image art.

At parent's house it's a little slower because the USB driver is a bit more aggressive in putting the drive to sleep.  So if you haven't used it for a while, there's about 5 seconds extra delay waiting for drive to spin up.

I'd say overall the GUI is usable with minor lag, given the cost of hardware it's pretty good. I'm awaiting XBMC v13, which is a lot faster, this video is XBMC v13 with Amber skin:


Built in CEC hardware is great, tested and works fine on Panasonic, Sharp and Samsung TVs out of the box. Android/iOS support is neat, obviously not unique to Rpi but somewhat overcomes parts of the GUI which lag in places.

A key element of a complete Raspbmc install IMO is a fast, 8GB minimum SD card. I've been using 30MB/s cards from SanDisk. The SD card interface maxes out around 24MB/s on this card.

Complaints: minor lag now and then, fastfoward/rewind is laggy on streams with lots of network data, max 45Mbit/s network (would prefer dedicated USB bus for ethernet chipset.)

Also, if you want to get content over the network, avoid wifi where possible. It's just too laggy except for the lowest bitrate content, and there will be more contention with other hosts. Every room in the student house is networked directly to with 100Mbit/s minimum, so this works fine. I can play 40Mbit/s bluray rip of Life of Pi, Avatar, Iron Man 3, etc. with absolutely no lag or buffering.

For it's price though, I'm hardly complaining. It's an amazing bit of kit, given I can basically throw RaspBMC on to an SD card, stick it into a Pi and tell it where to find the content, and it's done. Minor tweaks can be done for better performance later.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 08:58:46 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline gnif

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2014, 09:43:18 pm »
I'd say overall the GUI is usable with minor lag.

That minor lag is what bugs me and the family, if you were running XBMC on a dedicated PC before you used the rpi you get spoilt by the snappiness of everything. I am feeding mine via wired lan, NFS shared files.
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Lurch

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2014, 10:10:28 pm »
Which version of RaspBMC are you using?

None. I was on the latest, as of when I stopped using it which would be 6 Months ago. I think the problems I had were down to the power supply in the end but while I was playing I found OpenELEC much more responsive. The Pi I am using is one of the first ones though so yours may have double the RAM of mine.

Student home has NFS server for all content, on average takes 2 seconds to open Movies page with ~200 movies and 3-4 seconds to start playing content. You can turn down fanart and iconart resolution to speed it up a bit more, that is with 720p fanart (1080p GUI) and 512p image art.

Yeah, I find browsing to be usable on default settings. Not amazing, but usable. I use the Pi on a 2nd TV (well 3rd if you count the office PC) so I haven't done much tweaking. I definitely wouldn't put up with it on a main TV.

I'd say overall the GUI is usable with minor lag, given the cost of hardware it's pretty good.

A key element of a complete Raspbmc install IMO is a fast, 8GB minimum SD card. I've been using 30MB/s cards from SanDisk. The SD card interface maxes out around 24MB/s on this card.

For it's price though, I'm hardly complaining. It's an amazing bit of kit, given I can basically throw RaspBMC on to an SD card, stick it into a Pi and tell it where to find the content, and it's done. Minor tweaks can be done for better performance later.

Only reason I put up with it is because it's cheap. After using it on other machines though I may have to reconsider as I now realise how poor it is in comparison to even a low spec HTPC setup.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2014, 11:42:07 pm »
RAM is critical. I ordered an original 256MB Pi by getting up at 6am only for Farnell website to crash and got it like 3 months later. That one lags like nothing else; the GPU eats 128MB for itself, and XBMC uses about 90MB. That leaves about 30MB for the kernel to cache and buffer, which isn't enough for a good disk cache, so it's about 10 seconds to open the movies page on that one. I use that in my bedroom, I can put up with it, but I do plan to upgrade it in the future.

When using a 512MB pi, the RAM available to the kernel is essentially multiplied 10x. XBMC uses about the same (it seems RAM agnostic, more or less, at least on the Pi), and so does the GPU, leaving around 300MB for the kernel to cache disk pages. I can flick through my entire movie library with only one/two flickers of the ACT LED (which is SD Read/Write indication), showing that 90% of the thumbnails and database are cached in RAM.

Also, apparently XBMC v13 adds support for hardware accelerated JPEG decode (maybe a rumour?), which allows the GPU to decode JPEGs. It's surprising how much CPU that can take up on a screen full of thumbnails.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2014, 11:44:57 pm by tom66 »
 

Offline tom66

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2014, 11:58:02 am »
You don't need to buy either of those licences for 99% of content. For low bitrate/resolution content the RPi can decode MPEG 2 in software (IIRC).  You do need it for anything broadcast like, XBMC can play transport streams just fine though I do not know if FTP will be fast enough to stream files, it's a laggy protocol...

HDMI-CEC is supported by many LCD and plasma TVs with a HDMI port. What make and model TV do you have? It may be labelled, for example Sharp AQUOS-LINK, Panasonic  Viera Link, Toshiba REGZA Link, Sony EX-Link, Samsung AnyNet+...
 

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2014, 04:45:19 pm »
Off-brand TVs rarely support CEC despite the protocol being quite simple.
 

Offline amwales

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2014, 03:17:29 pm »
I know this is off topic (not raspi or beaglbone) but you may be looking for the same solution
to the problem I had. Bringing media from the computer to the big screen living room tv. How
would you feel about a closed source solution that came with a powersupply, wifi, remote
control and running plex client for £9.99? Take a peek at nowtv

http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/av-distribution/now-tv-10-minute-hack-10-wireless-plex-media-player.html

ok its not 1080 but it does 720.
 

Offline sigxcpu

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2014, 03:44:58 pm »
I would feel pretty moneyless, given that PLEX requires a transcoding server so lots of CPU power (aka KW$).

I know for sure that Pi eats <6W (5V/1.2A power supply) so no, PLEX was never a comparable option. BTW, PLEX is supported on SmartTVs (at least Samsung does it, I've tested it).
 

Offline amwales

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2014, 03:53:54 pm »
The nowtv supports hardware decode for x264 ( it's really a rebranded roku lite ). So far I am running it at 720 with mp4, x264 and it works a treat without transcoding anything.
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2014, 04:03:49 pm »
I don't have HDMI CEC ( I think) so what is the best method to get remote control? I think IR remote would be preferable.
Many flatscreen TVs has an RS-232 port on the back for remote controlling. The commands are usually specified in the user's manual.

HDMI-CEC is supported by many LCD and plasma TVs with a HDMI port. What make and model TV do you have? It may be labelled, for example Sharp AQUOS-LINK, Panasonic  Viera Link, Toshiba REGZA Link, Sony EX-Link, Samsung AnyNet+...
I have a little Grundig and never seen "link" mentioned.
What Grundig model do you have?

Grundig calls CEC for DigiLink: http://www.grundigvision.ro/en/search?keyword=DigiLink
Quote
DigiLink
You can connect up to 11 devices via the digilink function to your Grundig television.

What is it?
The DigiLink function uses the CEC protocol (Consumer Electronics Control). This permits the usage of external devices connected to HDMI slots via an HDMI cable (ex; DVD player) only by using the remote.

Products with this feature
LED TV: 55 VLE 9372 BL 47 VLE 9372 BL 42 VLE 9372 BL 50 VLE 930 BH 46 VLE 8270 BH 40 VLE 8270 BH 46 VLE 830 BL 40 VLE 830 BL 32 VLE 830 BL 32 VLE 8130 BH 46 VLE 7230 BH 40 VLE 7230 BH 32 VLE 7230 BH 26 VLE 7101 BF 22 VLE 7120 BF 40 VLE 5323 BG 32 VLE 5323 BG 40 VLE 4322 BF 32 VLE 4322 BF 32 VLE 4140 C
LCD TV: 32 VLC 6121 C 32 VLC 3100 C 26 VLC 3100 C 22 VLC 2100 C 19 VLC 2100 C
« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 04:05:27 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #28 on: February 17, 2014, 04:12:47 pm »
I know this is off topic (not raspi or beaglbone) but you may be looking for the same solution
to the problem I had. Bringing media from the computer to the big screen living room tv. How
would you feel about a closed source solution that came with a powersupply, wifi, remote
control and running plex client for £9.99? Take a peek at nowtv

http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/av-distribution/now-tv-10-minute-hack-10-wireless-plex-media-player.html

ok its not 1080 but it does 720.
The article links to a "Roku LT" search on Amazon.co.uk. But the cheapest "Sky Now Tv Box" I can find there is this for £22.00: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sky-WITH-PLEX-same-roku/dp/B00HRD4BWG/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?m=AN9VNWLFANFB3

It's sold here for £9.99: https://shop.nowtv.com

There's 1 customer review at the Amazon link above giving 1 out of 5 stars:
Quote
22 Jan 2014
By M. Reeves

This box is available at 9.99 from nowtv (aka sky). It is also not a full roku LT but a cut down version locked to nowtv. It will not run Netflixs, lovefilm etc. which a real roku LT will (and you can get the roku LT cheaper at the moment too!). It also will not directly run plex as the advert suggests (unlike a real roku LT). You have to get into developer mode and side load plex so it is cheeky showing plex on the advert.

« Last Edit: February 17, 2014, 04:20:04 pm by AndersAnd »
 

Offline AndersAnd

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #29 on: February 17, 2014, 07:22:16 pm »
The nowtv supports hardware decode for x264 ( it's really a rebranded roku lite ).
The review at Amazon says it's not just a rebranded Roku LT:
Quote
It is also not a full roku LT but a cut down version locked to nowtv.
 

Offline amwales

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #30 on: February 17, 2014, 09:45:12 pm »
ok, for those that may be interested. The nowtv is available from here https://shop.nowtv.com/ for 9.99 a friend told me that a highstreet retailer was selling them for 8.99. It is possible to register it without paying for any subscription services. I'm surprised anyone would buy one from amazon since you can order them direct with free postage from nowtv.com.

I had never used plex before but what excited me was the idea that the server stored the metadata and the plex clients were just dumb clients with nice UI. You get the idea, all very xbmc https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=plex+ui&espv=210&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=iH8CU9C6PIq47Qa7pYEI&ved=0CDoQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=667

The plex client is not officially supported and must be side loaded via some button pressing combos, but once its done, it stay in the list of apps even after reboots.

The bad - It's wireless, if you have wireless issues you are going to be unhappy. I had wireless issues for a while but finding a better channel fixed the issue.

My daughter loves to watch recorded cartoon shows with us in the morning, I set one up in the master bedroom and we can watch all the shows there. It worked so well I bought a second one for the living room connected to a the plasma.

I run the media server on a hp proliant microserver, you can get them for £99 after cashback. It consumes about 35Watts and I just use it as a cifs server and now plex server. I have quite a large collection of films and the nowtv only has issues with some 1080p videos that I don't watch.

Anyway, I was after a solution like this for ages and at the price I just couldn't believe it. I have several raspis, I'm a linux dex but to be honest all the pissing around and cost I'm very happy with this new setup.
 

Offline sigxcpu

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Re: BeagleBone Black used for XBMC?
« Reply #31 on: March 07, 2014, 09:17:47 pm »
Your PLEX suggestion is valid if you have all your media encoded as H.264, which is not always the case. So, the PLEX mediaserver has to transcode from whatever source format (DIVX/XVID) to H.264 in order to be played by a PLEX client (e.g. Samsung SmartTV).

And let's not talk about adding subtitles, as PLEX adds them as an image overlay instead of a separate text stream, so a transcoding is required regardless of the source format.

So again, no, PLEX is not an option compared to Raspberry Pi. You can have your mediaserver as a simple, dumb fileserver and Pi will be able to stream almost any format from there.
 


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