This thread is dedicated to HTPC's and media players ideally capable of providing the following via Kodi:
- Full resolution 3D (MVC decoding with frame-packing rendering)
- Full HD audio passthrough (if not, at least decoding to lossless PCM multichannel)
- 4K (with 60fps and 10-bit HEVC support) (but, a secondary consideration, until late 2016. 4K support won't affect player ratings as #1 & 2 remain priorities for this thread)
Select from These Best Options: (and save yourself headaches w/the rest )
Players with 'A' grades are not perfect. Nothing is. However, 'A' players get the key requirements of this thread right, with any shortcoming noted. In below, '+' denotes a positive, '-' a shortcoming, and '>' is neutral.
#1 / Intel HTPC's or NUC's with Kodi MVC Test Builds / A+
+ Simply gorgeous 3D PQ! Very detailed, amazing depth, spot-on saturation, and just crystal clear!
+ Support for both MVC MKV's and 3D ISO's
+ Integrated 3D MVC and HD audio playback via Kodi! No external player
+ Perfect 23.976 and other framerates
+ Full HD audio bitstreaming (inclusive of ATMOS and DTS:X). Check link below as a few can only decode to multichannel PCM
+ Plenty of h/w choices; just see thread linked above!
> Requires Windows 8 or 10 (latter recommended), so may not be everyone's cup o' tea
> Not a plug-and-play solution; requires some set-up work (honestly not difficult w/all-inclusive micro PC's; see spreadsheet in link above)
- Dolby Digital Plus bitstreaming is present broken (in Kodi 17 master, not just MVC build). Workaround is to disable DD+ passthough to get multichannel PCM for it
- Kodi 17 overall is still in pre-alpha, so there may be issues. For the most part, it's already quite solid
@hdmkv-recommended hardware options and costs:
(But, additionally seek others' advice in this thread)
- Dell Inspiron Micro 3050 ($150 or less). Windows 10, 32GB SSD and 2GB RAM all included. Nothing to assemble, fairly plug-and-play. See my review here. For just Kodi use (and maybe web browsing), an excellent value, but obviously not as fast an i3 or i5.
- Intel D34010WYK NUC (about $190 all in; read how below and in my review). Buy the NUC used off eBay, plus 32GB SSD (16GB is fine as well) and 4GB RAM. Must assemble these yourself, but not hard. Get Windows 10 free this way (it's legit).
- Intel D54250WYK, NUC5i5RYK or NUC5i5RYH NUC's (over $400). With SSD and RAM added, pricey. And, not really necessary for mostly Kodi use. It's overkill, but if you want a powerful HTPC, may be worth considering.
- Intel 'Kaby Lake' ($TBD). Expected in late 2016 to early 2017. This platform looks most promising for full 10-bit 4K, as above can only do 8-bit.
#2 / HiMedia Q10 Pro / B+ (just at this early stage; expected to get to 'A' quality eventually)
+ 3D ISO's + full HD audio bitstreaming + full 4K!
+ 4K support includes 60fps, 10-bit, HDR and Dolby Vision
+ 4K playback is smoother than nVidia Shield's for some video types
+ Excellent PQ
+ 23.976 supported
+ Full HD audio bitstreaming (inclusive of ATMOS and DTS:X)
+ Almost plug-and-play (just install wrapper, adjust settings)
- Requires a 'wrapper' for Kodi to push actual video playback to native HiSilicon-based player, so an external playback solution
- Just came out, so some key early issues present that prevent an 'A' level rating; see review and user thread linked above!
> Supports MVC in ISO only, not MKV yet
> Has real potential, which is why it's a better buy than previous-gen Q5/Q10, even though those are more reliable for 3D playback
Options and costs:
- Q10 Pro (with interbal 3.5" HDD option) is about $250-300 shipped. They were initially $200 shipped off eBay, so may be worth waiting for price to settle
- Q5 Pro (w/o internal HDD option) is expected to be around $175. It's due out late May
- Uyesee S500 and S600 (same SoC) (former w/o internal HDD option; latter with) are expected by year's end for le$$ than HiMedia
#3 / Raspberry Pi3 with LibreELEC Test Builds / A-
+ Small footprint and fairly cheap!
+ LibreELEC provides that turn-on-and-just-use media player feel
+ Integrated 3D MVC playback via Kodi! No external player
+ Support for both MVC MKV's and 3D ISO's
+ Perfect 23.976 and other framerates
+ Excellent PQ
> No HD audio bitstreaming, only multichannel. Some channel mapping metadata is lost. But, may not matter to many users
- As no bitstreaming, ATMOS and DTS:X are lost
Options and costs:
- About $70-75 for complete kits off Amazon. Includes RPi3, case, mSD card and power supply
- Add about $5 to above if MPEG2 and VC-1 are important to you, to buy h/w decoding licenses here. Poor, choppy playback without, w/just s/w decode
- Not worth buying RPi2 to save a few bucks
Other Kodi 3D Capable Options: (but, why choose any of these for 3D with better options above?!):
- AMLogic S8xx & S9xx Players (as they can only render 3D MVC in half-rez, even with SPMC 16.x.x)
- Himedia H8 Octa (it's an okay player, and not well-supported; Rockchip SoC mostly sucks)
- Open Hour Chameleon (Rockchip RK3288) (crap)
- Open Hour Gecko (HiSilicon Hi3798C) (crap)
- Tronsmart S95 with VidOn Pro (half-rez MVC 3D render, no 23.976; in fact, everything is same rez as UI)
- VidOn Box (Allwinner A31s) (first-ever Kodi 3D media player; no longer sold or supported)
- Xtreamer Prodigy 4K/Zidoo X9/Egreat A9 (all Mstar9180-based) (all crap)
- Zappiti 4K series/Bluetimes RTD 1195/Eweat EW902 (all Realtek RTD1195-based) (subpar or crap)
- Zidoo X6 Pro (too many issues; Rockchip SoC mostly sucks)
Popular Kodi Boxes that DO NOT Support MVC 3D:
- nVidia Shield TV (but, MVC has been repeatedly requested here and here)
- Google Nexus Player
- Amazon Fire TV
- Any other box not listed or mentioned as supporting 3D in this thread
Background on 3D and Formats:
Please see this post in wrxtasy's 'Pick the Right Kodi Box' thread to understand what kind of Kodi 3D boxes are available (and how 3D is implemented by manufacturers). Why can't all Kodi 3D players support full 3D as seamlessly as RPi2/3 (and now Intel h/w with Windows) do? See noggin's explanation here.
For naming your 3D videos so whatever skin you're using properly picks them up, see here for ISO's and this wiki.
Most recent media players (as of 2012) don't support the full, orginal Blu-ray menus on discs or full ISO rips. This is due to Cinavia copy protection, which was made mandatory for any device to receive a full Blu-ray license. This license is required to access the full BD-Java menus on Blu-ray discs. So, either (a) a media player manufacturers would need to get full licensing, bringing Cinavia with it, and rendering audio to distorted or no output from ripped ISO's & MKV's; or, (b) they'd opt to do what was the better alternative: say screw-you to Cinavia, lose full menus, and provide simple BD-lite menus. Here's what it looks like on HiMedia Q5/Q10, and here's how Kodi does it (as do other Kodi UI-wrapped video player solutions like HiMedia H8 & Zidoo X6).
But, wait, VidOn supports those full, original BD-J menus you might counter... yes & no. VidOn is accomplishing this in a hacky, kludgy manner, and results are inconsistent, unreliable. Also, while you may get full menus via VidOn, you'll only get half-rez 3D output, no 23.976 (or even 24fps, only whatever UI is at) with HD audio (can't do both), and AVR/display compatibility issues. I decided I didn't care for menus long ago & keep movie-only ISO's & MKV's from all my discs. Just take me straight to the movie, and quickly, please .
Want Full-featured 3D with Windows?
Check out @brazen1's thorough guide! While the latest Intel drivers and Kodi MVC builds support 3D ISO and MVC MKV playback, only way to get menus and additional features remains via external players like PowerDVD and TotalMedia Theatre for Kodi to leverage.
3D ISO's vs. MKV's:
For widest compatibility with 3D Kodi media players, I recommend ripping 3D Blu-rays to ISO, either full disc via AnyDVD HD or movie-only ISO via AnyDVD HD & tsMuxeR (see guide to do this here, and rely on this to identify forced forced subs to mux in). MKV is a more efficient container and requires less CPU power to split/play vs. ISO, but only RPi2/3, Intel (HT)PC's under Windows 8/10, and couple of other players (like Himedia H8 & Zidoo X6) support it.
Another benefit of ripping to movie-only ISO's or MKV's is forced subtitles. A number of players don't support it, so if you separate the forced sub only, you can create a new ISO or MKV with just that subtitle track.
3D, HD audio & framerate test clips collection: Please see this wiki.
Broken links or missing any clips you use or know of? Please PM me.
Not Included Above:
- Full 3D players w/o Kodi; options like Mede8er X3D series, Popcorn Hour A-400/500 series or VTEN, and now Dune Solo 4K. Without Kodi, each has to rely on its own convoluted jukebox/front-end system (subpar attempts to achieve Kodi's look) to manage your local movie & TV libraries.
- Requirements like Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go. All can be sideloaded onto Android-based players (except RPi), but as they're tablet version experiences, you really need a mouse/keyboard combo or air-mouse remote to navigate, and resolution is capped at 480p. Also, video isn't smooth on some boxes (like HiMedia). Intel h/w will do Netflix, Amazon VOD, etc. in HD via Windows 8/10. If premium content streaming is important, you're really better off with Fire TV, Nexus Player, nVidia Shield TV or even a Roku.
Below consolidated from my post elsewhere, as well by movie78's & looun's. Some are native 3D, other conversions. Doesn't matter; it's about 3D done right!
What a few great directors say about 3D:
- The living-legend Martin Scorsese
- The groundbreaker Ridley Scott
- The innovator James Cameron
- The artist Ang Lee
- The boundary-pusher Alfonso Cuaron
- The inventive Robert Zemeckis
- The action standard-setter George 'Mad Max' Miller
Must-haves in green!
- 300 Rise of an Empire (2014)
- A Monster in Paris (2011)
- Ant-Man (2015)
- The Art of Flight (2011)
- The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
- Avatar (2009) Still an awesome experience as ever! Can't wait for sequels to hit!
- David Attenborough's Conquest of the Skies (TV)
- David Attenborough's Kingdom of Plants (TV)
- David Attenborough's Natural History Museum Alive (TV)
- Despicable Me 1 & 2 (2010/2013) Don't miss the made-for-3D end credits!
- Dredd (2012)
- Earthflight (2011)
- Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
- Enchanted Kingdom (2014) A must watch with ATMOS!
- Everest (2015) Some claim excellent 3D; some say medium 3D (me latter camp)
- Galapagos with David Attenborough (TV)
- Ghosts of the Abyss (2003) Terrific 3D; expect nothing less from James Cameron
- G.I. Joe Retaliation (2013)
- Godzilla (2014)
- Gravity (2013) With ATMOS, it's one of the most immersive experiences to be had!
- Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Well-done depth, dimensionality
- Guns N' Roses Appetite for Democracy (2014)
- The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014)
- Hugo (2011) Meant to be watched in 3D; beautiful film by Scorsese
- How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2 (2010/2014)
- IMAX Deep Sea (2006)
- IMAX: Hubble (2010) Whoa!
- IMAX Sharks (2004)
- IMAX Space Station (2010)
- IMAX The Ultimate Wave Tahiti (2010)
- IMAX Under the Sea (2009)
- James Cameron's Deepsea Challenge (2014)
- Jurassic Park (1993) Terrific conversion to 3D
- Jurassic World (2015)
- Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2 (2008/2011)
- Life of Pi (2012)
- The Little Prince (2015)
- Mad Max Fury Road (2015)
- The Martian (2015) Ridley Scott directed this with 3D in mind
- Metallica Through the Never (2013)
- Micro Monsters with David Attenborough (TV)
- Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
- Nitro Circus The Movie (2012)
- Pacific Rim (2013)
- Prometheus (2012)
- Sammy's Adventures 1 & 2 (2010/2012)
- San Andreas (2015) Another demo-worthy title with ATMOS!
- Shrek 1, 2, 3 & 4 (2001/2004/2007/2010)
- Sin City A Dame to Kill For (2014)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
- Tangled (2010)
- Terminator Genisys (2015)
- Titanic (1997) Amazing conversion!
- Thunder and the House of Magic (2013)
- Top Gun (1986) Another well-done conversion
- Toy Story 1, 2 & 3 (1995/1999/2010)
- TRON Legacy (2010)
- The Walk (2015)
- Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
- The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013) Underrated gem conceived in/for 3D!
- 3-D Rarities (2015)
- Bait (2012)
- Drive Angry (2011) Very definition of 'guilty pleasure'; terrific 3D!
- Epic (2013)
- Final Destination 5 (2011)
- Free Birds (2013)
- Grand Canyon Adventure River at Risk (2008)
- Journey to the Center of the Earth / Journey 2 The Mysterious Island (2008/2012) Great pop-outs!
- Jupiter Ascending (2015)
- Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted (2012)
- Pixels (2015) An okay flick made better, more fun thanks to 3D
- Pompeii (2014)
- Resident Evil Afterlife / Retribution (2010/2012) 'Retribution' in particular makes great use of 3D; fun
- Sanctum (2011)
- Seventh Son (2014)
- SpongeBob Movie Sponge Out of Water, The (2015)
- Step Up 3D (2010)
- A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas (2011)
- Yogi Bear (2010)
- Coyote and Road Runner Coyote Falls
- Coyote and Road Runner Fur of Flying
- Coyote and Road Runner Rabid Rider
- Delicious Food Fight (Samsung demo) Use a YouTube downloader to get 1080p HSBS version
- Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' sequence from 'This is It' 3D Blu-ray Pop-out scares galore! Fun!
- Mickey Mouse Get a Horse!
- Ruin (2011) Available on 'The Maze Runner (2014)' Blu-ray
- Tweety & Sylvester I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat
- Sanjay's Super Team
- More terrific 3D animated shorts
More 3D Resources: