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Full Version: Mass-production of pre-built set-top-box with XBMC for Linux to sell as retail?
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lymwuwu Wrote:I am not worrying about GPU based decoding.
CPU will get fast enough and I just don't see >50Mbs H.264 [email protected] or >50Mbs VC1 [email protected] for the consumer market in the next 5-10 years.

E8400 could already decode 99% of the bluray titles, is it?


The area worth effort is

1:
Smooth co-op between ffmpeg/XBMC UI egine and HDMI driver on mainstream MB to outpout 1080p23.97/24/25/30 and 1080i/50/60 based on source frame rate or user force choice.


2:
Bitstream of the next generation audio or at least decoding them into 5.1/7.1 LPCM and pass via HDMI untouched.
topic starter wanted to put a E2100 celeron in it..
seems to me the race for the current HD extender is between:

1. NMT type players getting a slick, easy to use GUI, and
2. XBMC linux getting a simple, compact hardware setup.

NMTs can't touch XBMC's interface, not even close.
XBMC can't touch NMT's cost and footprint.

I own an NMT, and am personally hoping XBMC wins the above race, 'cause I don't seem the NMT in it's current form ever reaching an efficient interface.
calvinandh0bbes Wrote:NMTs can't touch XBMC's interface, not even close.
XBMC can't touch NMT's cost and footprint.

XBMC footprint would catch up as the CPU became more powerful. It is pretty close now with ITX MB.

NMT UI is a whole different matter.
lymwuwu Wrote:XBMC footprint would catch up as the CPU became more powerful. It is pretty close now with ITX MB.

NMT UI is a whole different matter.
i don't know if i would call the ITX MB footprint "pretty close." Popcorn hour is basically a "wide router", no fan, (albeit crappy) remote, ~10 W of power running, for $200. If you go for the IStar mini which doesn't support internal hard drive, it's even smaller, with a small optional fan for cooling. As much as I rail on their UI being crappy, I do think their footprint is in a league of it's own.

Everytime I start looking at building a cheap, compact HTPC, the case and power supply alone puts me in the ball park of the NMTs. Small cases seem to be ridiculously priced. I can build a full size computer on the cheap that will do 1080p, but not something set top and low power.

And after all that, I still see XBMC winning the race given the NMT UI and the haphazzard updates they make.
calvinandh0bbes Wrote:And after all that, I still see XBMC winning the race given the NMT UI and the haphazzard updates they make.


People for sure would pick XBMC given the same decoding/bitstream function.

Sacrifice a little space for UI from heaven is easy.

Last, current NMTs all have external PSU even the HDX1000.
calvinandh0bbes Wrote:i don't know if i would call the ITX MB footprint "pretty close." Popcorn hour is basically a "wide router", no fan, (albeit crappy) remote, ~10 W of power running, for $200. If you go for the IStar mini which doesn't support internal hard drive, it's even smaller, with a small optional fan for cooling. As much as I rail on their UI being crappy, I do think their footprint is in a league of it's own.

Everytime I start looking at building a cheap, compact HTPC, the case and power supply alone puts me in the ball park of the NMTs. Small cases seem to be ridiculously priced. I can build a full size computer on the cheap that will do 1080p, but not something set top and low power.

And after all that, I still see XBMC winning the race given the NMT UI and the haphazzard updates they make.
Agreed. I dont see how a small plastic and metal case can cost in the high $100 range! I think for this to happen a custom made case would be a must. (As in made by us)
lymwuwu Wrote:People for sure would pick XBMC given the same decoding/bitstream function.

Sacrifice a little space for UI from heaven is easy.
This person sure wouldn't. I'll sacrifice a some UI for a good deal of space. The current difference between a $200 NMT and a cheap big setup or a pricy small setup is a big gap, so "a little space" is not the correct descriptor. As soon as something reasonably small and reasonably cheap for XBMC is available, I'm all over it. I think a good UI is huge, but so is real estate and appearance/noise.
Quote:Last, current NMTs all have external PSU even the HDX1000.
So? The PSU is fanless, small footprint, etc. What would be the complaint? I'd prefer something internal, but it is so far down the list of wants (much less the needs), that it doesn't even enter my equation. Whatever I get will plug into the wall, and a little plastic box along the cord doesn't bother me, 20-60 times the physical volume and noise does.
lymwuwu Wrote:Honestly, I don't see a market for put together box using off the shelf component.

Problem with a motherboard is that new versions appear every 3 month and old ones are not produces anymore. New boards means new needs for drivers, instabilities.
A platform must live more than 3 months.

CPU decoding even if the speed catches up is never good compared to a dedicated chip like the sigma. Power consumption must be a factor also, because this makes a hit on heat and noise also.
XBMC hardware box should be silent and low power. Only noise should come from the mechanical 2.5" harddrive that one might use until SSD's are cheap enough. Media on a NAS elsewhere

I'm afraid I have to live with my Tvix 6500 for a good long time Sad
For all of this to work out we need a h264 decoder on a chip that interfaces with ffmpeg/x264. Put it on a mini-pci card or an atom motherboard and everything falls into place.
ultrabrutal Wrote:CPU decoding even if the speed catches up is never good compared to a dedicated chip like the sigma. Power consumption must be a factor also, because this makes a hit on heat and noise also.
XBMC hardware box should be silent and low power. Only noise should come from the mechanical 2.5" harddrive that one might use until SSD's are cheap enough. Media on a NAS elsewhere

I'm afraid I have to live with my Tvix 6500 for a good long time Sad

Couldn't disagree more. The very reason I am building my own box is because of the problems with my Tvix. Hangs for no apparent reason playing DVDs. This is a problem that has been known for more than a year and no fix from the manufacturer. No VFR support. Apparently no further firmware development. USB loses connectivity regularly. FTP server crashes all the time.

There is nothing I can do about fixing it. Yes, it is a pretty cool little box. However, somewhere else I have outlined the box I intend to build, close to as quiet as the Tvix, micro ATX case, yes a little bigger than the Tvix but still set top size. I can apply the latest software maintenance. I am not locked down by a chip which can do x things. A 40-50 dollar CPU can do anything that is necessary and do anything that may come along in the future. If not, I'll pop in a bigger CPU and don't have to buy a whole new box.

I can do my own firmware upgrades, heck, build from SVN if necessary.

I can run a reliable FTP server. I can pop in a hard drive any size, not just 1TB as in the Tvix.

Mind you, I am not terribly disappointed by that box but when I found out it doesn't support h.264 VFR I decided to give up on it. I opened a problem with them and it took four months to get an answer.

Thanks, but no thanks.
I had a similar distaste with Popcorn Hour a110. It is a fantastic device that plays just about anything but the interface is a POS. I pay $234 including shipping. I had it one night and then sold it on ebay for $270 including shipping and upgraded my htpc to play anything. That was through zipzoomfly.com for $253 including shipping. Here is the rundown.

AMD 6000+ 2mb Cache 89w $92
GIGABYTE GA-M78SM-S2H $71
2GB OCZ PC-6400 Memory $41.00
Coolmaster Hyper 212 Heatsink and Fan $35.00

I already had the case, psu and storage.

The Hyper 212 is completely silent IMO. Even when compiling XBMC it only gets upto 1400rpm/120F and I cannot hear it. This does require a decent mid-tower of 6.5in+ tall HTPC case like the Silverstone LC13B-E

JKing
Here's a small project I completed that only cost me about $280 and it plays everything I throw at it.

Custom HTPC inside a Tivo case
jfatica Wrote:Here's a small project I completed that only cost me about $280 and it plays everything I throw at it.

Custom HTPC inside a Tivo case

Nice project, its too bad we don't have a reliable supply of TiVO Cases...

gentoo

Back to the original topic...pre-built set-top box with xbmc... I am thinking of doing something like this in a small scale..Basically to friends and family and friends of friends kinda people. I can build a complete hardware while lead from the forums here. My question is, I am also looking to provide a PVR capability to this whole setup. I read that mythtv is getting integrated into the XBMC frontend. Is this available now? Most people who liked my setup needed to pause and record live tv. Tips on these things will help me formalizing this project.

Thanks in advance.
Gentoo
hi ...
I'm part of the "Freedom Box" project. We are in the phase of identifying the best (and cost-effective) hardware specs for a standard hardware platform to base the project (and in this way avoid compatibility problems and/or missing drivers).

What is your impression on the eeeBox announced here? http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=24&...odelmenu=2

Would it be able to play 720p and 1080p content? Would gnu/linux run on it?

We are open to anyone willing to help draft a stb spec that would suit the goal of mass-production/distribution of floss stb's.

Another interesting piece of hardware I've been watching is the neuros OSD2. Neuros is stepping out the media center GUI market and investing in a "open hardware" platform. Their dev box (http://store.neurostechnology.com/neuros...-p-55.html) promisses to be an open platform on which third parties can develop multimedia applications for. Full specs are here (pitty the partial support to 1080p): http://wiki.neurostechnology.com/index.p...ifications
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