Chromebox

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by krause734, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. krause734 macrumors 6502

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #1
    Just ordered an Asus Chromebox for my TV to make it a Smart TV. I was going to use my mini as an HTPC but figure I will try this out and see if I like it. Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Instant Video, Spotify, Google Play, Web Browsing, etc. They boot up almost instantly and it's not a bad operating system if you know it's limitations.

    https://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEB...UTF8&qid=1500460946&sr=1-1&keywords=chromebox
     
  2. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #2
    Also got this decent HTPC keyboard (not nearly as good as Apple's):

    https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-920...&qid=1500646361&sr=8-2&keywords=htpc+keyboard

    I will probably switch back to a Mac Mini if they ever update them. I've been using the Chromebox for a while now and it's a good experience. Boots up faster than the Mac and is fairly smooth and quiet. The Chromebox is definitely more functional than an Apple TV and I like having a physical keyboard.
     
  3. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #3
    Why did you pick the Chromebox over an Intel compute stick?
     
  4. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #4
    I've had Chromebooks in the past and I much prefer them to Windows. Instant bootup, low energy usage, simple, fast, no anti-virus. Also this Chromebox has several USB ports and the ability to run dual displays.
     
  5. MacBH928 macrumors 68020

    MacBH928

    Joined:
    May 17, 2008
    #5
    1-Does it have VLC? Can you stick HDD to it and play videos from there?
    2-I am guessing no iTunes or AirPlay?
    3-Do you NEED Google Account?
    4-Is it possible to turn it into an Android box instead?

    Also, release date is 2014 so tech is pretty old.
     
  6. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #6
    It has VLC and yes you can plug a HDD and play movies
     
  7. krause734 thread starter macrumors 6502

    krause734

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2010
    #7
    I uploaded my iTunes Library to Google Play. Not a bad alternative. I am pretty sure you need a google account to get it started. Android Apps are supposedly coming to ChromeOS soon, maybe some Chromebooks already.
     
  8. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #8
    Android app support is already available on many Chromebooks. I use a few apps on my Acer R11 Chromebook, but there are some minor limitations and one major one at this point in time. Hopefully Google will get them resolved soon.
     
  9. raqball, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    raqball macrumors 6502a

    raqball

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    Location:
    California
    #9
    My HP G1 has Play Store apps in the Beta and Dev channels and everything works fine. Window resizing of the apps is supposed to be coming at some point. That's really the only issue I've seen with Android apps on ChromeOS.

    Screenshot 2017-07-28 at 07.55.39.png
     
  10. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #10
    The main issue for me is the "sandboxed" storage for Android apps. Android apps can only see the "Download" folder on the ChromeOS side but can't see the SD card nor any USB storage devices. Because of that, I limit my use of Android apps to those that don't require access to data/document files (all games) or support cloud storage options. I installed the Android version of Simple Mind Pro (mind mapping software) and it easily accesses my maps on DropBox (that are created/modified by the macOS and iOS versions)
     
  11. raqball macrumors 6502a

    raqball

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    Location:
    California
    #11
    Yeah, I am surprised they have not come up with a solution to that yet but it does not really bother me.
     
  12. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #12
    Android app support on ChromeOS is huge. I have confidence that they'll resolve it. I'm pleasantly surprised at how a convertible Chromebook like the Acer R11 (and Samsung Plus, and Pro) handles notebook and tablet tasks.

    I'm liking the web versions of iWork and MS Office more than their iOS counterparts. The UI's of the web versions expose more of the functionality...and yet still quite usable in touch mode.
     
  13. raqball, Jul 28, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2017

    raqball macrumors 6502a

    raqball

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    Location:
    California
    #13
    You can add your own shortcuts / web apps as well if you want.

    1. Use a text editor app from chrome store ***
    *** I use text editor (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...bfghdkjmjhdgbg?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher) and json editor (https://chrome.google.com/webstore/...gllgjcamhihfaj?utm_source=chrome-app-launcher)
    2. Copy and paste this code:
    3. Change the items I marked in red to what they need to be
    4. Save the file as manifest.json
    5. Find or create an icon you want to use and size it at 128x128
    6. Save the icon as icon_128.png
    7. Make a folder on the local drive and name it whatever.
    8. Put the .json and icon file in that folder
    9. Navigate to Chrome Browser Settings >> Extensions >> Tick the box nect to Developer Mode
    10. Click Load unpacked extension and select the folder you made in step 7

    Rinse, lather, rinse and repeat for every website you want to make a custom web app for. Each web app you make needs it's own folder and these folders must remain on the local drive.
     
  14. sracer macrumors 603

    sracer

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2010
    Location:
    Land of Bongos and Beatniks
    #14
    I used this exact method to create an iCloud launcher. I've attached it in this post. this allows me to launch it in a window (I'm a big fan of the "open in a window" feature in ChromeOS). The limitation with this is that when an iCloud document is opened, it launches as a tab (no way to keep it in a window)... but pressing the "fullscreen" button makes it feel like a "native" app.
     

    Attached Files:

Share This Page