Advantages of Plex over XBMC on Smart TV/ATV1?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by helios16v, Mar 8, 2013.

  1. helios16v, Mar 8, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2013

    helios16v macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    my old setup was a 42" 720p Samsung Plasma, Apple TV 1 with 320GB PATA Internal HDD running Crystalbuntu (XBMC), and a Pioneer 5.1 HDMI receiver.

    My current setup is a 51" 1080p Samsung Plasma SmartTV, 4TB Western Digital External HDD, and a Denon 7.1 receiver.

    I'm currently just using the built in USB support on the smart TV but I'm just wondering if there is anything better, perhaps Plex?

    Should I just keep around my ATV1 with Crystalbuntu(XBMC) and attach my 4TB external to that? Should I keep using the 4TB external with the Smart TV usb support? or should I use my old dusty 2011 Mac mini that isn't getting any love and put Plex on it and start using that as a media center?

    So may options.. I don't know what's best for each device.
    ATV1 with XBMC, Mac mini with Plex, SmartTV USB support.. hmm.. Any ideas?
  2. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    There are lots of variations on a theme here - as in many ways to do the same thing. What you need to consider with your new set up is HD audio and also 1080p vs 720. You didn't mention what type of files you would be playing with respect to "video" and audio.

    If you plan to exploit your Denon (which I am going to guess plays HD audio), then you have some new options on future files. Both Plex and XBMC are not great candidates under OSX for HD audio. It would be a shame to lose that portion of your media playback experience. You might try your Mac Mini running Windows (argh) or Linux and use Plex or XBMC. Both should be able to output the lossless audio via HDMI cable to your receiver that is connected to your TV.
    If I recall correctly, the Samsung does a very nice job with up-scaling 720 material. You have a very nice set up and would be a shame to lose the best quality audio due to a configuration choice.

    I have a Panasonic Plasma that can play files as well. I find that it cannot play DTS HD (Master etc) and I get no sound. However, I can get sound if I use other devices going into my receiver then to the TV. The latter is the key that you might want to think about.

    In my case, I use XBMC mostly for my monitor. I use my blu ray player connected to my receiver for media files via network storage and at times an older Dune 3 Base media player. In your shoes, I would look for using the Mini and go to the XBMC and PLEX forums for how to use them with Windows or Linux (or the LIVE XBMC version). My taste would be to go Linux but Windows has the advantage of being easier to get around if you are unfamiliar with Linux. The only caveat I can see is that there was some time ago discussion the intel chip handling 23.9x frame rate properly (typical to blu ray level material). I don't know if this was dealt with successfully with the Mini for either XBMC or Plex.

    I hope this gives you some food for thought.

    - Phrehdd

    Panasonic Plasma, Marantz NR1602, Mac Mini quad 2.0ghrz w/ SSD and 16 gig RAM, Oppo Bdp 103 Blu Ray player, Dune 3 Base media player, (2) Qnap NAS storage, WDN900 Router, iPhone 4s, iPad 3, NEC PA241W 24" color calibrated monitor and two retired Airport Extremes plus Belkin AV500 Powerline.
  3. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I would swap your ATV and use Plex on your mini. And if not, would you be interesting in selling your mini?
  4. spencers macrumors 68020


    Sep 20, 2004
    Better in what regard? How's the USB support currently working for you? Experiencing any lag, slowness, etc?

    If not, just about all you'll gain by running XBMC or Plex would be a nice 10ft interface that can scrape your existing media library and provide the posters, fan art, and media information.

    However I think you already know this since you were running XBMC on your ATV1. I had one of those like 6 years ago, it was DOG SLOW running XBMC. It would stutter and lag trying to play high bit rate HD content. I couldn't imagine using one now!!

    In your situation, I'd recommend setting that Mini up as an HTPC and try both Plex and XBMC to see which you like best. They've both come a long way. Just keep in mind you'll have to use yet another remote to control it, unlike your built in USB support.

    I can also agree with phredd above. You've got some solid equipment. You need to get the most out of it!
  5. helios16v thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 1, 2008
    I'll be playing precompiled .MKV video files and I'm starting to think that PLEX is the better choice since I don't need any of the proprietary apps like Netflix or Hulu that require a Windows or OS X based system since those apps are on the Smart HUB so that lets me use Linux for the media server as it will only be .MKV video format, plus I was just looking at my friends media center and he's using an old HP DV2000 that had a faulty video card that we fixed and he accesses it on his MBP using Terminal and copies all his files to his HP DV2000 Ubuntu PLEX Server, which is connected to his Raspberry Pi and on his TV, works amazing too. it's extremely quick for what it is and I just happen to have a DV6000 and two DV9000's that have the same video problem so I might do that but instead of a Raspberry Pi I'll just use the Mac mini. He said the PLEX app for Samsung Smart HUB is pretty good but really slow which is why I think I'll use the Mac mini as the player unless there are other alternatives that the Mac mini would fit in better. Perhaps using the Mac mini as the server? would that help at all? I think these HP DV6000 and DV9000 are going to do the trick, he's using an old DV2000 and it works great, streams 1080p to his Nexus 7 no problem, starts up without any lag, but would the Mac mini be a better Ubuntu PLEX Server?

    The USB Support is fine, it plays .MKV nicely however it takes for ever, closer to +1 minute(s) just to boot up the 4TB HDD so I'm looking for a type of "instant on" solution that I just leave on, it consumes low power and is ready to go when I am. I also don't like how it's organized, there is very very poor categories and on some files I have they are titled in series of 1 though 20's so it will count episode 1, then skip to 10, 11, and so on then after 19 it goes to 2, then skip to episode 20, then 21, 21, 23, 24, then 3, and 4, and so on, it's really quite annoying if I forget to rename the files because then I need to unhook it all, go back to my desk, rename all 20+ files to have a 0 infront of the single digits episodes and bring it back over to the TV and set it up again, wait about a minute for it to load then see if it works other wise I need to stop it after episode 1, go through the list of files till I find episode 2, play that one, then skip back after that one and select episode 3 and keep doing that until they're all in order, it's a pretty flawed system they have going on which is why I'm looking for an alternative of XBMC or PLEX but I'm thinking PLEX since it's more of a Media only player, less streaming add-on's for it like XBMC so it should be faster in theory.

    It actually runs better then the built in USB Support for the Smart TV, I was quite surprised at how well it's prevailed over the years. I do have CrystalBuntu installed though, not just XBMC on top of the stock OS. I remember running that and it was horrible, as soon as I formatted the ATV1 and installed linux to run XBMC it came alive, it works much much better like this. The main thing I like about it is how simple it is, I just open up CyberDuck, log in through SSH and copy over some files then watch them, quick and easy especially with my switch set up so everything is wired in for optimal transfer rates. I can't do that with my 4TB HDD, I literally need to go behind my tv and disconnect the AC cable, bring that, the USB cable, and the HDD to my desk, copy over some files then go back over to the TV and hook it all back up so I'm looking for something along the lines of what I had before with the Apple TV but up to date and faster while supporting high quality video.

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