WDTV/Acer Aspire Revo R3600 - nVidia ION Nettop

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by psburley, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. psburley macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    Hi I have been considering a WDTV live for the following:-

    Store my DVD's

    However came across Acer Aspire Revo R3600 - nVidia ION Nettop and wondered what peoples views were as a media streamer/player.

    Is it overkill OR does it provide better user interface, flexibility for the above???

    Really appreciate anyones experiences of this unit as a media player before I make a decision.
  2. VoR macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    I would 100% take an nvidia ion based nettop over any other streaming device, including the ATV.
    Install xbmc and everything else will seem like a cheap gimmick.
  3. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    VOR so you have one? can you expand a little for me please?
    Is it the same as havinop connected running windows media centre? (why not use WMC targer than XBMC)Appreciate a bit more feedback as its going to be twice the cost. thanks
  4. VoR macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    Well, it's a basically just a small, quiet and energy efficient PC, so you have the option of running anything you want on it.

    I've had a popcorn hour in the past to handle high bitrate media, but wasn't at all happy with the interface - worked fine though. I've had a few other devices and tested even more, but decided on an asrock ion 330 myself in the end - if you go the nettop route, just make sure its an ion based system, ie. with 9400 gfx.

    Windows media centre is fine, but I think far and away the best media centre OS is xbmc (and better than even the most ridiculously expensive commercial offerings). It's also free and under constant development, so you can save on a windows/osx license (xbmc works on windows and osx too, and osx runs ok on these nettops) Note that hardware acceleration is only available on windows (with a few apps, xbmc coming soon) and linux (the 'best' OS to use with xbmc), so go with them if you have video media >720p.

    Assuming your media is properly named and meta tagged and you don't mind reading up on the controls for 5 minutes, you won't regret it.

    I use the skin aeon (there's loads available) and it looks something similar to:


    The only downside is that everyone that sees your setup will most likely be hassling you on how to achieve the same.
  5. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    Revo or Asrock or WDTV -- thanks VoL

    Thanks VoR...you certainly cost ne a few hours on the web.
    I am wondering now if the ASROCK with wireless N might be over kill for me and I started looking at a WDTV Live at £99 plus a USB adapter taking it to £140. The Revo takes it to over £200 anbd the ASROCK to over £300.

    Going back to the revo my question is that you speak of XBMC to operate as a media centre but surely if I dont have Windows I lose some other functionality if I wanted it like web sites and poss email. The main use is music videos, photos and Youtube on my TV so arent I restricking myself if I dont have Windows. I am really not up on XBMC at all so some explaining would be appreciated and again do you think for what I want the revo would be a better bet then the WDTV live and justify the probably nearly £100 premium. Thanks again
  6. VoR macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    If all you're after is a simple device for navigating to your media, clicking it and playing it, devices like the WDTV are fine (not that I've got any experience with it in particular). Going for a net top (or any machine) running xbmc will basically just give you a plush looking UI and metadata database.

    Like I said you can run xbmc on linux (they have a live cd/installer, that is basically a ubuntu+xbmc install) windows or osx (there's plex too, which is a xbmc port specifically for osx, I prefer xbmc on osx too though).
    There's plugins for youtube/film trailers/music videos etc that let you access them straight from within xbmc. I don't have much experience with them though, like you I occasionally use emails and web browsing on the box, so just use a real web browser.
    xbmc runs on top of windows/linux/etc, so there is nothing stopping you from closing/tabbing out of it and being dumped onto a normal desktop.

    Research is always good, and there's nothing stopping you from trying xbmc/plex/boxee/etc on your current desktop pc just to see what the end result would be. I suggest doing that, and trying a WDTV/popcornhour/etc out at a friends/shop and seeing what suits your usage the best.
  7. weckart macrumors 601

    Nov 7, 2004
    Get your Revo 3610 from Ballicom for £160 and, if you need an N rated wifi card, then eBay will sort you out for less than £10 if you don't mind waiting a couple of weeks or so. Don't pay more for a Windows version unless you absolutely must have Windows, as Linux actually performs better in playing H.264 HD videos.

    As for XBMC, I am also running this with the Aeon skin on top of Ubuntu as an application that I can exit and return to the desktop. There is also MythTV, which is a media centre written from the ground up for Linux. It has already been merged with Ubuntu into its own distribution Mythbuntu, which makes installation (if not setup) a breeze.
    I got Snow Leopard to boot on the Revo for the hell of it and in 64 bit mode, which is more than my MBP has managed thus far, but there are too many bugs with it to prefer it to Linux at the moment. Wanted to try out Plex, as I am more familiar with that, but I think it will take a lot of work and hacking to get OSX to where Linux and Windows are on the Revo now.

    I have a 32bit Ubuntu installation for now but am looking to dual boot with a 64 bit setup as this cuts the load on the cpu when playing HD videos from about 40-50% right down to 10%.

    I also have the WDTV 1G, and to be honest, it is more than good enough as a media player except it cannot deal with DTS sound (not a big deal tbh) and that it stays very warm whilst plugged in even when switched off. Don't like that. It is absolutely silent though, which makes it perfect for quiet films.

    I do prefer the flexibility of the Revo and it makes for a nice cheapish toy. I would try to nab one of the dual-core Linux R3610s before they run out and the price jumps, when only Windows is offered. I had no need of mine as I have plenty of PCs and Macs around the place to play with, but I don't regret getting it for one moment.
  8. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009

    guys thanks for the excellent feedback. I tried xbmac last night on top of win 7 and its looks great however couple of issues hopefully you can feedback on 1.

    1. It crashed quite a few times....just dumped out into w7.
    2. I down loaded a youtube plub in BUT whilst you can access youtube viedos you can not access your favourites by logging in - which you can do via boxee....is there a way via xbmc that I can log in to youtube and accesss favs. Also why do you think it kept crashing. Installed on a laptop that runs windows 7 fine.
    3. I have a remote control that works for WMC but it did not seem to work well with XBMC..do you need a special remote?

    Finally you talk of getting revo with linux (I am ignorant of linux) - I had only considered windows...what do I lose if anything by going linux route rather than windows....eg...if I wanted to run music playlists via Itunes..can I? can I run emails and surf web..My main use is media centre to a TV but if I go to a revo over the WDTV then its for the added pc functions .....thanks in anticipation of your help....
  9. VoR macrumors 6502a

    Sep 8, 2008
    Not sure why it would be crashing. Did you download the (relatively old now) stable version, or an up to date svn build? It's in a feature freeze right now while they work on pushing out another stable release.
    I don't use many plugins, maybe there is a different one that lets you use youtube in the way that you want to from within xbmc, I don't know (I just use a web browser).
    Pretty much any remote control will work, you could try a brand new build and see if it springs in to life, else you might have to do some reading and configuration (or c&p someone a config from someone with the same hardware).

    He's suggesting getting the net top with linux mainly because of price I think. If you have a spare license you can always put windows on it if you'd prefer. If your main use is a media centre, linux provides the best hardware acceleration for media (which is only important for high bitrate/resolution video) and certainly works the best (and simple to install off a live cd) with xbmc.
    You don't need to be a guru to use any modern linux distribution, they're all GUI based, simple to use and provide most of the same apps that you're used to (firefox/thunderbird/etc) and some great alternatives to things like itunes. You can do anything (and more) with linux than windows/osx, anything other than average use will require little more than a bit of googling and patience - counteracted by the fact that it's free, fun, fast and satisfying.
  10. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Jun 21, 2007
    Balham, London
    Ebuyer has the Revo for £144. You're getting pretty damn close to the price of the WDTV :p
  11. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009

    the one on ebuyer is the 3600 single core I assume the 3610 dual core is the one to go for???...will 1mb ram be enough though
  12. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    May I ask why you chose not to buy an Apple TV or mac mini? I'm in the same situation and I purchased a Revo R1600 and I still don't have it set up correctly after 10 days of trying, seems like so much work to get it right. Thanks!
  13. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009

    i was looking at apple tv but then thought there would be new hardware in the new year (???) i then loked at WDTV live as it plays more types of video files. I then looked at the revo and thought I could get all I wanted in a media centre and more !! the model you refer to is that an old revo??
    What issues have you had with it - would you not recommend a revo??
  14. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    The model I bought is not old, but it's the lower model. it only costs $200 (i was trying to keep cost down comparable to apple tv). It is single core atom processor with the nvidia ion graphics. So it plays ALL HD files fine. However, it's so much tinkering with xbmc that I sometimes have issues with audio not being in sync (similar to when I use my playstation to stream the movies).

    Cons of Revo: the digital audio for mine had to go through hdmi, no other options. plus you have to buy an ir receiver (and/or ir remote) to be able to control the computer from you sofa (not sure how your set up will be like, but mine is for the living room)

    seems like the purposes you posted in the original post is the same as mine. But i'm still looking for that simple, easy to setup and use solution.
  15. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
  16. justaregularjoe macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2008
    well, there is a really easy way to speed up boot time:


    Just put it to sleep, or hibernate it. Really. And will a 60 second boot time directly leading to a streamlined interface, all of your media, and a much more robust feature set than that of a media streaming device turn you off the idea THAT much to outweigh the benefits? Cuz :eek: "I think you're craaaazy!"

    Finally, it is much easier to point a full computer at a separate hard drive than it is to do the same with one of these media devices. Sure, it may be easy enough, but it is faster and less painful.

    So +1 for the nettop plan.
  17. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    revo as media centre

    thanks justaregularjoe for your reply. I have some questions.

    1. do you own a revo - what spec?
    2.What OS do you use.
    3. What MC software, have you tried xbmx.
    4. The only issue I can see with xbmc is that I could not at all get youtube to work with a YT log in fiunction so Ican play videos from my YT favorutes...how do you do this.
    5. What about BBC iplayer people say its slow/stutters on revo.
    6. Setting up music playlists not as slick as Itunes.

    Any other info would be appreciated.

    Also when I have copied music DVD's (I gues its the same as others like movies) the chapters do not work and its more difficult than a regular DVD player.Is there away around that without sacrificing quality.Thanks again, maybe other Revo users can add to this thread as I am sure others are pondering a revo V WDTV V ATV
  18. nullx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 26, 2009
    Wilmington/Jacksonville, NC
    The ION would be a great platform for a home media center. If you want something to just do videos and such, then the ION is perfect. If you want something with a bit more guts, build a small mini-itx/m-atx computer. Dont bother with one of those things like the Western Digital media center. They only can do 720p without having issues. Most of them cant do 1080p without some sort of issue. I would totally choose a small PC over one. Dont get an Apple TV until they update it so it can actually handle 1080p without issues.
  19. justaregularjoe macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2008
    1. No, but I set up my brother's media center setup.
    2. Windows 7 dual booting with XBMC
    3. ^Duh.
    4. Errr, we don't youtube much, so when we do, we just log in to windows.
    5. Not a clue in the world. Could try it for you though.
    6. I just use itunes itself :D

    TBH, we end up using XBMC ON wondows 7 more often than just xbmc.

  20. cheapa55 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2007
    sorry, I haven't checked this thread as I just returned my revo a couple of days ago. Boot up is fast and you can really leave it on standby the whole time since it consumes very little power.

    I personally liked tweaking with computers 2 yrs ago, but the past 2 yrs since I switched to mac, i'm too lazy to do all that's necessary to get xbmc and other type of software to work. I'm looking for something really easy out of the box.

    Good luck with your decision. In terms of capability, the Revo's are great.
  21. justaregularjoe macrumors 6502

    Nov 28, 2008
    wait a second... am I missing something?

    What about an :apple:TV with an activated USB port giving you access to any hard drive?
  22. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    revo apple tv etc

    queries on the last couple of posts in this thread...first you sent the revo back,,,what are you using now? and second I didnt think you could use an external drive with an ATV??

    I know what the guy says when he talks about messing around with the revo its just so difficult to make the right decision....what I want is

    Music including ability to have play lists
    Archive my DVD's
    Play my home camcorder movies
    Photo slide shows
    Youtube (but must work with lof on and favorites)
    All via my TV

    Thats it really WHATS BEST !!!
  23. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    Have you ever used a WDTV? The first generation WDTV uses the same video decoder chip as many Blu-Ray players.

    The new WDTV Live uses a newer chip.

    I have NEVER had a problem with the WDTV and 1080p video, usually in mkv or mp4 containers.
  24. psburley thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2009
    ATV v WDTV v REVO decision made...............

    after 2 weeks on various forums i have opted for atv and atv flash - now ordered, i figured that i wanted an easy solution with slick menu and little messing around for the objective of storing dvd;s, playing home videos and photos and having slick mp3 playlists,,,,,atvflash gives me also firefox browsing and youtube and iplayer.....it seems like a no brainer,,,,thoughts guys?
  25. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...too many choices, all with their own quirks... wishing SJ would take the ATV more seriously...

    I may just take my 2008 20" iMac and make it an HTPC media server when I get my next computer if nothings changes with the ATV to make it a serious contender...

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