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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated October 2020)
(2020-09-04, 19:30)tigersky Wrote: Thankyou noggin. can you also tell us whether enabling audio upmix has any effect on passthrough audio. it sounds sweet to hear mp3 songs from my sorround speakers too.  kodi audio wiki page recommends disabling audio upmix, but i have enabled it and also using passthrough HD audio for movies. thanks once again.
I don't think it should make any difference to bitstream passthrough for DD/DD+/DTS/True HD/DTS HD content, as it's only applied to audio that is decoded within Kodi. 

Personally I'm not a fan of 'All Stereo' and don't like hearing stereo from surround speakers, as the frequency response of my surrounds isn't the same as my fronts, and the music isn't mixed to be heard that way.  (I also want to listen as if I'm in the audience, not in the band!)

It will also not do nice things to the stereo image of content captured using proper stereo mics (lots of classical music is recorded this way) which really only delivers a fully formed, properly phased sound stage if listened to on a stereo pair, but it will probably be less problematic with mono sources that have been panned across the stereo stage (like a lot of pop/rock).  I get that it's a personal preference.
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thanks once again noggin for your technical explantion. is it only 2 front channel stereo or 2.1 including LFE subwoofer too for a nice experience. regards
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(2020-09-05, 19:43)tigersky Wrote: thanks once again noggin for your technical explantion. is it only 2 front channel stereo or 2.1 including LFE subwoofer too for a nice experience. regards

I'd leave that kind of conversion to your AVR not Kodi.
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Looking for some advice.  

I'm currently using a W95 Box (S905W) running CoreELEC as a Tvheadend client.  It is acting up a little so I'd thought I start searching for a replacement.  It only needs to output to a 1080p TV in my bedroom.  
I'm keeping my eye out for a Fire TV stick when it goes on sale, it seems like it would suit my needs.   

But there is a nuance.  My Tvheadend backend runs on my Shield TV in the Family room.  A member of the Nvidia forums had ported over a version of the Tvheadend server to run on the Shield TV.  I think it has become abandonware.  It was last updated in March 2019 and his last post on the forum was over a year ago.  It is currently working fine but I cringe every time there is a Shield TV, Kodi, or Tvheadend client update.  

I'm considering going to a box that can act as a Tvheadend server and client for the bedroom TV.  I have Gigabit Ethernet between the Shield TV, bedroom TV, WD Mycloud NAS, and HD Homerun tuner so it doesn't need WiFi (but I do have WiFi available). 
I'm considering going with a Raspberry Pi 4B starter kit for about $65.  I'm hoping I can get the CEC working working good enough on the old Visio TV to control Kodi and I have a wireless keyboard/air mouse remote with USB dongle as a backup.  

I'm just wondering if there is something else out there at about the same price that would better suit my needs as a combination Tvheadend client/server.
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Hi,
Yes servers and clients really should be run on seperate devices for reliability, redundancy and removing the fear you are only one Firmware update away from it all going pear shaped.

An ~ USD$65 - GigaE - 2GB Ugoos X3 Cube because:

- included quality heatsink in quality hardware.
- 12nm chipset which uses less power and consequently runs cooler vs any RPi. It'a likely to last longer as a consequence.
- packages from some sellers come with a mini RF USB Dongle - Wireless G20 or G30S remote
- it's a pretty snappy setup for the price paid. Especially running CoreELEC.

See Post #1 of this thread for links.

I personally would not rely on the gamble that is HDMI CEC. If it works properly consider it a bonus.

I use an ODROID C2 as my TvHeadend server. It's sat on the home network now for years running LibreELEC/CoreELEC connected to a HDHR.

PS: I have also been playing around the the -ng (v4.9 Linux Kernel) version of CoreELEC running on a S905W the other day. Seems to work fine even for FTA TV viewing.
Have you given that a go at all ?

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The only 2GB Ugoos X3 Cubes I could find for ~$65 USD were on Alibaba.  I've never used them before (seemed scarier than eBay) but I might give it a try.  

I'm running the generic non-ng 9.2.4.2 Amlogic CoreELEC image on my W95 box.  
The problem I'm having is it doesn't like 1080i playback.  After an hour or so it will freeze, get strange video loops, etc. when I try to open up a menu.  Rebooting Kodi doesn't fix it, the whole box needs to be rebooted.  Then it will play 1080i TS streams for another couple of hours.  480p/720p streams will play all day.  I suspect it may be related to de-interlacing but it won't turn off.  My TV still gets a 1080p signal even with the de-interlacing option disabled.  
I put a heat sink on it but it doesn't seem to help much.  It just starts having problems at a lower temperature.  
I might try the -ng CoreELEC version to see if it helps.  

After writing this it dawned on me that I might be able to re-purpose the box as a Tvheadend server.  The problems seem to be associated with video playback to a display, it might be fine if just used as a server.  I'll just find an inexpensive Kodi box/stick for the 1080p bedroom TV.  At the very least, re-purposing the W95 box would buy me some time if the Tvheadend app on the Shield TV craps out.  

Thanks
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(2020-09-12, 00:30)RKCRLR Wrote: I suspect it may be related to de-interlacing but it won't turn off.  My TV still gets a 1080p signal even with the de-interlacing option disabled.  

Yep - Kodi in its current form doesn't output interlaced content as native interlaced (there are good reasons why). When you enable deinterlacing then content is deinterlaced (either to 25/29.9Hz frame rate or 50/59.94Hz field rate - the latter gives fluid motion on native interlaced content). When you disable deinterlacing, the output is not interlaced, but instead the player just skips the deinterlacing process and outputs the frames largely untouched, but as progressive (so you get combing on native interlaced content or 3:2 23.976Hz stuff) as it shows the two interlaced fields weaved together.

There are two approaches to deinterlacing on Kodi :

1. Hardware accelerated deinterlacing (where on modern platforms you get a decent motion compensative deinterlace). This approach is great on low-power ARM and Intel SoCs and uses minimal CPU load, but needs decent hardware decode and deinterlace support both in the chip(set) and within Kodi for that chip(set).
2. Software accelerated deinterlacing (usually coupled with software decoding of the codec) which uses just the CPU to decode and deinterlace the content.  SD content (480i/576i) takes far less CPU to decode and deinterlace than HD (1080i).  720p TV content isn't interlaced so doesn't need any deinterlacing (there is no 720 line interlaced format). Kodi implements a reasonable YADIF 2x deinterlacer as its standard CPU deinterlace mode.  For 1080i content this can take a significant amount of CPU (though newer ARM SoCs often have enough power to do so, as do modern Intel SoCs - though many Atoms struggle)
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(2020-09-11, 05:30)wrxtasy Wrote: PS: I have also been playing around the the -ng (v4.9 Linux Kernel) version of CoreELEC running on a S905W the other day. Seems to work fine even for FTA TV viewing.
Have you given that a go at all ?

I updated to the -ng version and it seems to have fixed the problem (or at least helped - time will tell)!  
I ran 1080i for several hours yesterday and several hours this morning without problems.  

Thanks
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Hello!

Any news around the Rpi4? It's been a while and have no new sign in the starter post so far. Like VC1, AVC (and all the "mandatory" codecs) support, 3D, HDR and all the other important general video playback necessities with (possibly) LibreElec? I'm just curious how the development goes so far and if there is any hope that it may ever become a good and suggestible alternative for a budget media player...? Or does it still looks like, that it's kind of a lost branch to go?
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(2020-09-18, 17:15)Mount81 Wrote: Hello!

Any news around the Rpi4? It's been a while and have no new sign in the starter post so far. Like VC1, AVC (and all the "mandatory" codecs) support, 3D, HDR and all the other important general video playback necessities with (possibly) LibreElec? I'm just curious how the development goes so far and if there is any hope that it may ever become a good and suggestible alternative for a budget media player...? Or does it still looks like, that it's kind of a lost branch to go?


AVC/h.264 hardware decode up to 1080p (I've had no problems with high bitrate 1080p50 but there may be an official limit at 1080p30)
HEVC/h.265 hardware decode up to 2160p60 (Not checked recently but high bitrate stuff wasn't perfect early in the 4B's life)

VC1 and MPEG2 are now decoded in software (they removed the licences that earlier Pi models used to add hardware decode options) but the Pi 4B CPU is pretty effective.

There is no current HDMI HDR Infoframe output support, nor a 10-bit output path, AIUI - so 2160p HDR stuff is still not really viable.   4:2:0 output isn't available - so you won't get 2160p50 or 2160p60 output for some lower end UHD TVs that only support 4:2:0 at higher frame rate 2160p (Higher end TV support 4:2:2)

Recently HD Audio support was added for bit streaming Dolby True HD (inc Atmos) and DTS HD MA (inc DTS:x I believe) for video output modes up to 1080p on the Pi 4B.  2160p output was still PCM 5.1/7.1 only - though this may have changed (and was being worked on)

3D MVC decode and Frame Packed output wasn't available last time I checked (I think 3D MVC decode may have been enabled but not Frame Packed output - or maybe it was the other way round...)

The Pi 4B+ is still a work in progress - but is being developed to work with the mainline Linux routes that Kodi 19 (or is it now 20?) will support - whereas lots of other platforms that currently support HDR etc. are using workarounds (though those platforms may also be able to switch to mainline routes)
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That doesn't sound too good in overall, tho' just far is has could go since. I don't know what was "the near to perfect" development time for LE with the Pi3, but relatively we may could correlate to the case of Pi4, to get some timestamp predictions. ?  

The lack of VC1, and MPEG2 hardware support is a real fail IMO, specially if you consider the hint, that the Pi4 has a somewhat insufficient factory cooling solution -also- for demanding video processing. Also not sure, that how much the software level encoding could negatively effect the PQ quality, compared to the HW level.

Proper 3D MVC in "true" FHD is still a must (from my perspective), so I will just hope the best, as for any other listed expectations here.

So if no fresher and demanding test experiences appear shortly, I still would look at it as "possibly sometime" option.
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(2020-09-19, 19:05)Mount81 Wrote: That doesn't sound too good in overall, tho' just far is has could go since. I don't know what was "the near to perfect" development time for LE with the Pi3, but relatively we may could correlate to the case of Pi4, to get some timestamp predictions. ?  
Not really a good comparison as in video terms the Pi 3 was the same as the Pi Zero, 1 and 2 series - they all have the same VPU/GPU. The Pi 4B was the first model with a new VPU/GPU (and the h.265/HEVC block is separate to the legacy VPU that handles h.264/AVC decode and encode I believe)
Quote:The lack of VC1, and MPEG2 hardware support is a real fail IMO, specially if you consider the hint, that the Pi4 has a somewhat insufficient factory cooling solution -also- for demanding video processing. Also not sure, that how much the software level encoding could negatively effect the PQ quality, compared to the HW level.

AIUI MPEG2 software decode on the Pi 4B isn't a major issue - it's a pretty straightforward codec to software decode with a CPU as powerful as the Pi 4B's - though as you say compute=heat. I wouldn't expect software or hardware decode to differ significantly in quality terms if they both implement the codec correctly. (Encoding is a different matter as you have lots of options - and it's possible for encoder quality to vary hugely)

VC-1 is less straightforward - that's the same generation as AVC/h.264 - and I don't know who well that software decodes (and deinterlaces if the source is VC-1 interlaced). I don't have that much VC-1 content on Blu-ray so it's not a huge issue for me personally.
Quote:Proper 3D MVC in "true" FHD is still a must (from my perspective), so I will just hope the best, as for any other listed expectations here.

Yep - it's an increasingly niche requirement I guess - but I know it means a lot to some people. AIUI the hardware is still capable - but I don't know how up the Pi Foundation/Kodi dev list it is.
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I currently have a Minix U9-H (S912) running CoreELEC Leia and am generally pleased with it. The only real annoyance that isn't software-based is the deinterlacing isn't great. When it's "working" it looks fine but it struggles to discern between true 50i and 25p (2:2 cadence) sometimes, leading to weirdness when watching sports with large areas of low motion and small areas of high motion (e.g. tennis).

I need a 2nd box now, so was thinking of making the Minix U9-H my 2nd box and replacing it on the main TV. Is the ODroid N2+ the best option for running CoreELEC with 4K/HDR10 and 1080i these days? Is the S922X's deinterlacer better than the S912?

Finally, is it worth getting the eMMC version over the SD card version for performance? I currently boot from SD but have the data directory on the eMMC of the U9-H.
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That new "Google Chromecast with Google TV" dongle claims to support HD audio stream for most formats (only DTS is unknown) and if so should really be "best bang for the buck" in many if not most categories now, or?

https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=357396

Of course needs to tested first however I believe that it might fit into and compete with multiple of these types:
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Android TV:
Best Google certified - Android TV OS media player, that can also do 4K HDR + HD Audio - Android Kodi = NVIDIA Shield
Runner up is the 2016 Xiaomi Mi Box - if it runs Android TV Oreo v8.0 or lower.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: HDMI Stick / Dongle:
Kodi & Android Apps in a HDMI Stick / Dongle form factor - the 2018 FireTV Stick 4K. Has excellent AC WiFi performance and a very well regarded Wireless remote as well. Read about its limitations carefully. Excellent Bang for the Buck. 
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Bang for the Buck:
Best 4K SDR/HDR + HD audio = the AMLogic S922X - ODROID N2+ (click)
Add a USB mini dongle receiver Wireless remote like the WeChip G20 and you are good to go.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Most Bang 4K SDR/HDR + HD audio = various Gigabit LAN - AMLogic S905X3 devices running CoreELEC Kodi Leia (click) such as the Ugoos X3 Cube or ODROID C4 (click)
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: In the Android Kodi space the Amazon FireTV Stick 4K is the winner.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: SDR only:
Best 1080p/4K SDR + HD Audio - Kodi only media player = a tie ODROID C4 or a Ugoos X3 Cube.
runner(s) the army of cheap AMLogic S905X2 / X3 devices (CoreELEC)
*** Excluding RPi4 due to poor thermal cooling implementations out of the box, and software for stable Kodi use still being a WIP.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Media Players with new 4K HDR tech - Apps support:
Best 4K Amazon Prime Video & Netflix media player (Apps can stream DolbyVison) = Apple TV 4K (DV iTunes & VUDU as well)
runner up is the 2018 FireTV Stick 4K and the new 2019 Nvidia Shield.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Most powerful Plug n Play media player = Apple TV 4K, which ironically has to use the MrMC App for Kodi type support.
Has DolbyVision support for various non Kodi streaming Apps - eg Netflix, iTunes, VUDU. Read the review for limitations.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Best 24p 4K HDR Netflix media player (inc. DolbyVision & Atmos) = the Apple TV 4K.
It can do Netflix App - Frame Rate Matching, the only media player with that capability.
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: 24p Kodi use on Android devices:
(only devices that are Kodi refresh rate switching capable)
(all devices listed above running OSMC / LibreELEC / CoreELEC / Windows - Kodi can do auto refresh & resolution switching)
 
(2015-12-21, 03:43)wrxtasy Wrote: Best Kodi Android media player = NVIDIA Shield lineup, they also does Kodi Leia auto resolution switching
runners(s) up are the 2016 Xiaomi Mi Box specifically & the excellent FireTV Stick 4K, plus the Ugoos X2 / X3 Cube & AM6
All other cheap Android devices cannot do Kodi auto refresh rate switching.
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(2020-10-01, 22:19)RockerC Wrote: That new "Google Chromecast with Google TV" dongle claims to support HD audio stream for most formats (only DTS is unknown) and if so should really be "best bang for the buck" in many if not most categories now, or ?

https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=357396

Of course needs to tested first however I believe that it might fit into and compete with multiple of these types

No.

Do not get caught up in the hype.
It's got a way to go to catch up to the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K that has much better Kodi compatibility for deinterlacing, Refresh Switching and HD audio decoded to Multichannel LPCM.
 
2020 Google TV - Android TV dongle for Kodi usage has:

  • NO HD audio support, see HERE (click) as well - this is no surprise if you have an AMLogic chipset device running Android TV v8.1 Oreo or greater.
  • NO (GigaE) Ethernet - unless you buy an extra $20+ USB-C adapter.
  • NO USB as well, and we do not even know if NTFS USB storage works yet + adapter needed.
  • NO auto Frame Rate Matching, "Match Content" on it only switches SDR / HDR / DolbyVision
  • NO auto Resolution Switching
  • Deinterlacing for mpeg2 does not work, and likely H264 as well (once someone tests).

The lack of auto Frame Rate Matching is a MAJOR problem for territories like UK, Europe and Australasia that also needs 25/50 Hz support for FTA TV and IPTV video streaming services. Here in Australia where I live we have at least 8 mainstream video streaming services using either 25 or 50fps.

W.

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