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View Full Version : apple tv alternative?




kevindosi
Jul 25, 2010, 02:31 AM
i'm looking for a box that i can hook up to my tv and watch all of my movies from. i have all my dvds backed up on a hard drive and would like to be able to browse\watch them using a box with either a large internal hard drive or a box that will allow me to attach a 2tb hard drive to. it would be nice if it had an attractive interface too.
currently, i use dvdpedia and its frontrow plugin to browse\watch my movies, but my computer and external hard drive have to be plugged in. ideally, i would love to use a box that had this same interface because it shows cover art, summaries, etc for each movie. that's probably not possible though, so i'm just looking for a box that will get the job done. i'm looking at the argosy with 2tb internal drive. any recommendations?



roidy
Jul 25, 2010, 04:06 AM
If your looking for a nice interface then these media players like the Argosy, Popcorn Hour and the WDTV all suffer from the same problem, the interfaces suck, there slow and clunky.

If your looking for a nice interface then you only really have 3 options.

1. AppleTV
+ Fantastic interface
+ Easy to use
- Needs to be hacked to use a external HD
- Very limited format support without being hacked

Note:- there is a dvdpedia plugin for the AppleTV, but you need to hack the unit to use it and how well it works is anybodys guess.

2. Mac Mini with Plex
+ Again a fantastic interface
+ Supports almost every format you could need
+ Easy to attach external storage.
+ Fully skinable interface
- Far to expensive to be justified as a media playback device

3. Atom/Ion mini PC with XBMC eg Asrock 330 or Revo 3610
+ Another fantastic interface (Plex is based off of XBMC so the interfaces are almost identical)
+ Supports almost every format you could need
+ Easy to attach external storage.
+ Fully skinable interface
+ Much cheaper than a Mac Mini
- Linux versions (which are the best) can take longer to setup and get running right.
- Not as nice looking as a Mac Mini, however the Revo is so small you can mount it to the back of a monitor/TV
- Some, like the Revo, don't come with a remote so it's an extra purchase

If you've already got a PC/Mac then try running XBMC/Plex on it and see if you like it.

These are just my opinions, you may like the Argosy's interface or think the Mac Mini is worth the money. Ultimately only you can decide which suits all of your needs.

phillipjfry
Jul 25, 2010, 09:00 AM
You could also go with a playstation 3. I've been able to play a multitude of video files using PS3MediaServer AND by also attaching an external HD to the PS3 itself. It has a nice interface etc, plays blurays, netflix, and ps3 games!

Also, I just got an LG network blu-ray player and it has all the features above, except that I would probably have to find some kind of compatible DLNA server to stream to the blu-ray player. Other than that, you could just as easily setup your/a computer to have a network share over SMB and just use the blu-ray player to connect to that over the network

You're hard pressed to find a blu-ray player that plays xvid/divx over DLNA, FYI
I haven't tried plugging in a hard drive but it will work just the same

bradandbree
Jul 25, 2010, 05:49 PM
Note:- there is a dvdpedia plugin for the AppleTV, but you need to hack the unit to use it and how well it works is anybodys guess.

Just to comment on this one point... I have a patched ATV and use DVDpedia extensively. I was excited about the prospect of using the plugin on my ATV, but it does NOT work on the ATV 3.0.2. I emailed the support address of the plugin designer (not Bruji Software which makes the app itself), and they said they were working on a 3.0.2 update. That was months ago, so I'm not holding my breath. The web site for the plugin says it's compatible with 3.0.1, but when I got my ATV, it had 3.0.2 installed so I never had a chance to test that previous compatibility.

JonathanU
Jul 26, 2010, 07:47 AM
If your looking for a nice interface then these media players like the Argosy, Popcorn Hour and the WDTV all suffer from the same problem, the interfaces suck, there slow and clunky.

If your looking for a nice interface then you only really have 3 options.

1. AppleTV
+ Fantastic interface
+ Easy to use
- Needs to be hacked to use a external HD
- Very limited format support without being hacked

Note:- there is a dvdpedia plugin for the AppleTV, but you need to hack the unit to use it and how well it works is anybodys guess.

2. Mac Mini with Plex
+ Again a fantastic interface
+ Supports almost every format you could need
+ Easy to attach external storage.
+ Fully skinable interface
- Far to expensive to be justified as a media playback device

3. Atom/Ion mini PC with XBMC eg Asrock 330 or Revo 3610
+ Another fantastic interface (Plex is based off of XBMC so the interfaces are almost identical)
+ Supports almost every format you could need
+ Easy to attach external storage.
+ Fully skinable interface
+ Much cheaper than a Mac Mini
- Linux versions (which are the best) can take longer to setup and get running right.
- Not as nice looking as a Mac Mini, however the Revo is so small you can mount it to the back of a monitor/TV
- Some, like the Revo, don't come with a remote so it's an extra purchase

If you've already got a PC/Mac then try running XBMC/Plex on it and see if you like it.

These are just my opinions, you may like the Argosy's interface or think the Mac Mini is worth the money. Ultimately only you can decide which suits all of your needs.

The Mac Mini doesn't come with a remote either does it? Can you use the Apple Remote to control Plex or do you need to but a wireless keyboard and mouse?

Does the Apple Remote control Apple TV too or do you have to use the remote app on the iPhone/ iPod?

Thanks!

alicantino
Jul 27, 2010, 05:49 PM
i'm looking for a box that i can hook up to my tv and watch all of my movies from. i have all my dvds backed up on a hard drive and would like to be able to browse\watch them using a box with either a large internal hard drive or a box that will allow me to attach a 2tb hard drive to. it would be nice if it had an attractive interface too.
currently, i use dvdpedia and its frontrow plugin to browse\watch my movies, but my computer and external hard drive have to be plugged in. ideally, i would love to use a box that had this same interface because it shows cover art, summaries, etc for each movie. that's probably not possible though, so i'm just looking for a box that will get the job done. i'm looking at the argosy with 2tb internal drive. any recommendations?

I have an Acer Aspire Revo and I love it, cheap, small, it does not waste much power and I have 1080p! (>12GB does not play very well). And of course you can have XBMC, Boxee or whatever you need/like...

danny_w
Jul 28, 2010, 12:49 PM
I just got an Asrock ION330HT and installed XBMC Live; I had to install the drivers for the remote but that is all. It works perfectly now and I have all of my movies on it; I still need to rip my tv shows to mkvs so that I hae a seaparate file for each episode (that is what the XBMC scrapers expect) or I can just watch them as movies without the nice movie art and synopses. I was oing to get the new Mac Mini but couldn't justify the price difference myself. I also have a WDTV Live Plus that plays anything, but like others have said the UI is limited (just a plain file list).

roidy
Jul 28, 2010, 01:00 PM
I have an Acer Aspire Revo and I love it, cheap, small, it does not waste much power and I have 1080p! (>12GB does not play very well). And of course you can have XBMC, Boxee or whatever you need/like...

As long as you're using hardware acceleration there's no reason why 1080p should not play, regardless of the file size. I have 30Gb full Blu-ray rips that play back fine on my Atom/ION machine.

bigbossbmb
Jul 28, 2010, 03:32 PM
The Mac Mini doesn't come with a remote either does it? Can you use the Apple Remote to control Plex or do you need to but a wireless keyboard and mouse?

Does the Apple Remote control Apple TV too or do you have to use the remote app on the iPhone/ iPod?

Thanks!

You can use an Apple Remote with Plex. I used the apple remote codes for my Harmony remote, which now controls everything I've got.