START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated July 2017)

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thehouserat Offline
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Post: #1786
Hello! I'm looking for a box for my parents' setup. I have a couple of requirements...

They want to use netflix, with several profiles. Their previous box (a western digital thing, I don't remember) couldn't switch profiles at all.
They regularly use USB keys for movies and such.
Their TV is 1080p and has no audio out (ridiculous) and they want to use their Bose sound bar thing. It outputs mini stereo and optical digital. It's not actually a deal breaker if the bar can't be used.
Their budget is under 75 USD.
Has to be easy to use but can be harder to set up since I'll be helping them with that.

There are so many options, I'm just getting lost!

Thanks in advance.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-15 00:54 by thehouserat.)
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Jdiesel Offline
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Post: #1787
(2017-07-14 23:49)thehouserat Wrote:  Hello! I'm looking for a box for my parents' setup. I have a couple of requirements...

They want to use netflix, with several profiles. Their previous box (a western digital thing, I don't remember) couldn't switch profiles at all.
They regularly use USB keys for movies and such.
Their TV is 1080p and has no audio out (ridiculous) and they want to use their Bose sound bar thing.
Their budget is under 75 USD.
Has to be easy to use but can be harder to set up since I'll be helping them with that.

There are so many options, I'm just getting lost!

Thanks in advance.

What audio inputs does the Bose sound bar accept? Optical and/or analog stereo? The audio out seems to be the tricky part as there are very few devices that have optical out, run Kodi, and have a native Netflix app. You might have to go with a FireTV or Xiaomi Mi box and a HDMI audio extractor like this:

https://www.amazon.com/ViewHD-Extractor-...B00KBHX072
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-15 00:24 by Jdiesel.)
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thehouserat Offline
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Post: #1788
The bar accepts mini stereo and optical digital audio. Also, it's not a deal breaker if the bar can't be used. Thanks!
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-15 00:53 by thehouserat.)
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wrxtasy Offline
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Post: #1789
(2017-07-14 23:49)thehouserat Wrote:  They regularly use USB keys for movies and such.
Their TV is 1080p and has no audio out (ridiculous) and they want to use their Bose sound bar thing. It outputs mini stereo and optical digital. It's not actually a deal breaker if the bar can't be used.
Their budget is under 75 USD.
Has to be easy to use but can be harder to set up since I'll be helping them with that.

There are so many options, I'm just getting lost!

Thanks in advance.
Just get a USD$69 Xiaomi Mi Box as it meets all your requirements and is simple to use with an excellent Wireless remote.

http://www.mi.com/en/mibox/

The Mi Box has a built in Mini Toslink/Optical out port.

For Audio with your system and the Mi Box you buy a Mini Toslink cable, such as this one:
FosPower (3 Feet) 24K Gold Plated Toslink to Mini Toslink Digital Optical S/PDIF Audio Cable with Metal Connectors & Strain-Relief PVC Jacket

Post #1 of the Mi Box thread has links for where to purchase the Box.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-15 05:48 by wrxtasy.)
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wrxtasy Offline
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Post: #1790
(2017-07-14 21:58)dr-oopie Wrote:  do you have a link you can pm me for one of these boxes?

AMLogic S905(x) - LibreELEC / OSMC - Kodi Krypton - 4K Options
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thehouserat Offline
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Post: #1791
(2017-07-15 02:06)wrxtasy Wrote:  
(2017-07-14 23:49)thehouserat Wrote:  They regularly use USB keys for movies and such.
Their TV is 1080p and has no audio out (ridiculous) and they want to use their Bose sound bar thing. It outputs mini stereo and optical digital. It's not actually a deal breaker if the bar can't be used.
Their budget is under 75 USD.
Has to be easy to use but can be harder to set up since I'll be helping them with that.

There are so many options, I'm just getting lost!

Thanks in advance.
Just get a USD$69 Xiaomi Mi Box as it meets all your requirements and is simple to use with an excellent Wireless remote.

http://www.mi.com/en/mibox/

The Mi Box has a built in Mini Toslink/Optical out port.

For Audio with your system and the Mi Box you buy a Mini Toslink cable, such as this one:
FosPower (3 Feet) 24K Gold Plated Toslink to Mini Toslink Digital Optical S/PDIF Audio Cable with Metal Connectors & Strain-Relief PVC Jacket

Post #1 of the Mi Box thread has links for where to purchase the Box.

Hey thanks! However there was a bit of miscommunication between the folks and I and their budget is closer to 50 USD. Frown
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wrxtasy Offline
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Post: #1792
Sorry but your wishlist is not going to get you what you want at that $50 price. You will end up with something Android that is hard to use, buggy and comes with rubbish Firmware.

No cheap new, Android Kodi Box is going to give you even HD (720p) Netflix let alone 1080p Netflix with an SPDIF/Optical out port.
Tell your folks they are dreaming !

If you are desperate look for a used/refurbished original FireTV version 1 that has SPDIF ouput.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-15 17:21 by wrxtasy.)
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thehouserat Offline
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Post: #1793
Thanks, that's what I wanted to hear TBH. Thank you so much for your time.
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kanariepiet Offline
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Post: #1794
I cannot decide between the Wetek Play2 OR Hub. (I have them both for testing but the Hub is still sealed)

Ik tried the ATV rom and it is ok but I think i prefer Libreelec which is booted from the SDcard.

Will there be an improvement if I will load Libreelec from the internal Nand?
Is there performance difference between the play2 and the Hub with Libreelec when playing SD, HD and 4K files?
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wrxtasy Offline
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Post: #1795
No there is no performance difference. LibreELEC only needs approx 250MB RAM for even 4K / HD Audio video streaming.
The extra 1GB RAM will make a difference when using Android on the Play2. Everything will be slightly snappier.

The biggest improvement with any OS is a Wireless remote. Then you will get a better response and feedback from any device.

You need to use a Samsung EVO, Sandisk or Lexar Class 10 U1 microSDHC card for optimal LE performance running from a SD card.
Those have superior 4K - random R/Write performance needed for LibreELEC Kodi.

Flashing to internal eMMC (there is no NAND on S905's) will show a small improvement vs a fast SD card. Not really much for day to day use.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-16 14:17 by wrxtasy.)
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kanariepiet Offline
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Post: #1796
Ok, thanks.
I think I will return the play2 and flash Libreelec on the eMMC of the Hub.

I tried a lot of players the last 6 months (Odroid C2, rooted NVidia Shield, Egreat A5, Zidoo x8, Dune HD 4K, Zappiti 4K HDR) to complete a total 4K setup but still didn't found what I need.

Sorry to mention some players which don't run Kodi.

Odroid C2: experienced some lagging like a very small slow motion playing files after a while.
Nvidia Shield: great in terms of speed en 4K picture quality, upscaling is very bad.
Egreat A5: will not mention anything about this player.
Zidoo X8: great picture quality and blu-ray menu's but didn't like Zidoo Theater and ZDMC
Dune HD 4K: best picture quality and blu-ray menu's, mycollection is slow and cannot be started at boot (required for the rest of the family).
Zappiti 4K HDR: good picture quality, good scraper, but GUI is slow and no music section.

My requirements are:

- Best picture quality
- Easy to use for the rest of my family
- Quick GUI
- not required but welcome: HDR

Untill now the Wetek Play2 or Hub running Libreelec is what it is for now but I think the picture quality can be better.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-16 19:07 by kanariepiet.)
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GeertS Offline
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Post: #1797
Have you also compared with the Mi-Box?

My choice will probably go between those two.
Main use will be Kodi, but I want some Android stuff too in the future.
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Moebius01 Offline
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Post: #1798
After years putting off building an HTPC to run Kodi (XMBC as I mean I've been putting it off for years Smile), I finally decided to look into this more realistically. Been trying to read through the last few months of this thread, but my head is spinning, so I'm going for the "point me in the right direction" post. I've decided rather than going full HTPC, I could do more of a Kodi specific device connected to a NAS. To that end:

Looking for a device to run Kodi (and a good skin), preferably able to stream 4k smoothly. Also need ability to handle Atmos, so if I'm reading right that means able to run Kodi 17. I'd be wanting to leverage the Cinemavision add-on as well. Outside of Kodi, the only other things I'd really be interested in would be a full Web browser that I could use to stream from some sites. OS is not critical, I'd be fine with the LibreELEC build if it can handle a full browser. Most of the stuff I would be streaming would be mkv rips of my library, so I'm also not too worried about handling a zillion different codec combinations. Edit: Forgot to add, 3D capability would be a nice to have, but not critical.

From my initial skim through this thread, it seems the Odroid C2 might be a good candidate, but couldn't quite tell.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-18 16:32 by Moebius01.)
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wrxtasy Offline
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Post: #1799
LibreELEC is not built for browsing on ARM/AMLogic (S905/S905x) devices. There is not even am ARM browser available.

There may be some browsing on Intel LibreELEC, but the 4K Apollo/Kaby Intel box you want very likely has a bunch of Displayport > HDMI 2.0 adapter driver issues that will affect you. You will have to use Windows and that is really not ideal for a maintenance free media player compared to LibreELEC.

You can buy a nVIDIA Shield and then complain about poor 1080p > 4K upscaling picture quality. It is also not really suited to full blown Web Browsing.

Work out what is most important. This browser requirement is going severely limit your choices.
(This post was last modified: 2017-07-18 16:37 by wrxtasy.)
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Moebius01 Offline
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Post: #1800
(2017-07-18 16:31)wrxtasy Wrote:  LibreELEC is not built for browsing on ARM/AMLogic (S905/S905x) devices. There is not even a browser available.

There may be some browsing on Intel LibreELEC, but the 4K Apollo/Kaby Intel box you want very likely has a bunch of Displayport > HDMI 2.0 adapter driver issues that will affect you. You will have to use Windows and that is really not ideal for a maintenance free media player compared to LibreELEC.

You can buy a nVIDIA Shield and then complain about poor 1080p > 4K upscaling picture quality. It is also not really suited to full blown Web Browsing.

Work out what is most important. This browser requirement is going severely limit your choices.

So if I take a browser out of the equation (mis-read in my initial search and thought Chromium would run on it), where does that point me? I've got an HDMI cable I run on demand from my main PC to the theater, was just trying to eliminate that need, but I'd rather keep using that approach to go with a compact and easy Kodi box. Same with 3D (which I added in an edit).
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