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START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated March 2020)
#76
I'm looking to build a small and cheap PVR and Kodi box and can't decide between the RPi2 or the Odroid C1+.

What I want to do immediately:
  • PVR backend (likely tvheadend) to record one or two ATSC channels to a network drive (Netgear WNDR4700 router with internal drive)
  • PVR backend will serve frontend on same device and maybe one computer/tablet simultaneously, I've only got one TV
  • PVR frontend through Kodi (likely tvheadend)
  • Play personal videos from network drive, mostly H.264 1080p
  • Control the setup with my Logitech Harmony Hub/Connect, probably through a usb bluetooth dongle for speed/stability

I am totally new to Kodi so I don't quite comprehend all the amazing things it can do yet, but have been reading the build forums like crazy the past week. I don't have a big library of stuff to play (where do you guys even get this stuff? Lots of ripping old purchased stuff and/or torrenting?) So the relevance of the points in the great RPi2 vs C1+ comparison by wrxtasy and my other concerns are:
  • I'm not a linux pro and the RPi2 has a way bigger community with more how to's to make sure I don't bork things
  • Deinterlacing does bother me so that would go towards the C1+ hardware deinterlacing, especially when acting as both a PVR frontend and backend.
  • DVRing two channels while playing one or two channels would be a lot of throughput for the RPi2's single USB bandwidth
  • Don't need CEC since I've got the Harmony
  • No idea if I'll be playing/streaming HEVC, where is it starting to show up?
  • I only have a 2.1 setup, so I assume the multichannel and HD audio differences are moot. I would run audio through HDMI to TV then from TV to receiver using optical. The TV only outputs 2.0 over the optical passthrough so hopefully it can sort out whatever the RPi2/C1+ send it or I can set them to output 2.0 only.
  • I have a 3D TV, but barely watch 3D so I figure I can just use the smart TV's DLNA to play 3D if I get the C1+
  • I'll likely be using ethernet so no WiFi dongles
  • Hopefully whatever USB ATSC tuners I get will work with the C1+ with only 3.10.xxx kernel in wrxtasy's great looking OpenELEC build, according to the linuxtv list, the most common KWorld UB435-Q has a newer V3 that might only work with 3.16.xx...
  • With the RPi2 overclocked for deinterlacing, can I run multiple USB tuners on it without an external USB power hub?
  • I could run Android and play games on the C1+ too, but might not be worth it as it might take more time for me that I want to spend, doesn't seem like I can just log into my Google account and download the games I have already bought on my phone.

I haven't built linux machines before but have a little experience mucking around with Terminal on my Mac so I'm a bit concerned about this project eating too much of my limited time. So I like the RPi2 for the seemingly rock solid build, massive community with beginner friendly docs, easier to repurpose if it doesn't work out. I like the C1+ for the likely smoother running interface and CPU headroom, better power management, and possible Android. It's not much money so I might just buy the RPi2 and make sure I can get it running properly and if it isn't fast enough, I just save the Pi for another project and put the parts on a C1+, but might get grief from the wife on buying one more board just waiting for a project Tongue...

Any advice from those experienced with similar builds?
Reply
#77
(2016-01-20, 07:20)ConceptuWeasel Wrote: [*]Hopefully whatever USB ATSC tuners I get will work with the C1+ with only 3.10.xxx kernel in wrxtasy's great looking OpenELEC build, according to the linuxtv list, the most common KWorld UB435-Q has a newer V3 that might only work with 3.16.xx...
The ATSC_340U Ver:B (USB ID from Output of lsusb: 1b80:a340) KWorld UB435-Q Tuner appears to work out of the box with the current v3.10.80+ Kernel if you attach it to the USB OTG port of the C1+

Relevant post are here:
http://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=...50#p119576
http://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=...00#p120023

Reply
#78
Thanks for the links. Can two tuners be attached to the USB OTG port through a hub?

Any way to make sure I get a Ver:B when purchasing a tuner?

Anyone have any experience with the HDHomeRun Connect/Extend with an RPi2 or C1+ PVR setup?
Reply
#79
(2016-01-20, 07:20)ConceptuWeasel Wrote:
  • I'm not a linux pro and the RPi2 has a way bigger community with more how to's to make sure I don't bork things
Pi 2 support is significantly better than C1+ from the manufacturers. Pi 2 has an actively developed and up-to-date kernel. ODroid have confirmed that they are not planning on upgrading the kernel used by the C1+. (I asked them in their forums as one my DVB-T2 tuners is not supported)
Quote:
  • Deinterlacing does bother me so that would go towards the C1+ hardware deinterlacing, especially when acting as both a PVR frontend and backend.
  • There is very little difference between the C1+ and Pi 2 deinterlacing if you run MMAL Advanced (which is GPU accelerated AIUI) on the Pi 2. However you do need a mild overclock on the Pi 2 for MMAL Advanced to work on 1080i content.
    Quote:
  • DVRing two channels while playing one or two channels would be a lot of throughput for the RPi2's single USB bandwidth
  • Yes - this is the biggest issue for the Pi 2. You have a single 480Mbs USB 2.0 bus (reality is less than this) to carry 10/100Mbs Ethernet and all of your USB traffic. Assuming you are in the US your bitrates are going to hopefully be a bit higher than in Europe (as MPEG2 needs approx 2x the bitrate of H264 for a given picture quality) - so this will stress the set-up more. Every channel you record or stream over the network will require double its bandwidth (once to come in from the USB tuner, again to go out to the disk or network), but channels you watch live on the Pi 2 should only require their bandwidth (as they come in an to the Pi 2 and don't go anywhere else)

    If you are building a PVR that needs to tune more than 2 HD channels I'd go for the ODroid, as it has Ethernet on a separate bus I believe.
    Quote:
  • Don't need CEC since I've got the Harmony
  • No idea if I'll be playing/streaming HEVC, where is it starting to show up?
  • Mainly on illegally downloaded content. The 10 bit version is likely to be used for broadcast (but not in the US any time soon) and the C1+ won't handle that in hardware.
    Quote:
  • I only have a 2.1 setup, so I assume the multichannel and HD audio differences are moot. I would run audio through HDMI to TV then from TV to receiver using optical. The TV only outputs 2.0 over the optical passthrough so hopefully it can sort out whatever the RPi2/C1+ send it or I can set them to output 2.0 only.
  • I have a 3D TV, but barely watch 3D so I figure I can just use the smart TV's DLNA to play 3D if I get the C1+
  • I'll likely be using ethernet so no WiFi dongles
  • Hopefully whatever USB ATSC tuners I get will work with the C1+ with only 3.10.xxx kernel in wrxtasy's great looking OpenELEC build, according to the linuxtv list, the most common KWorld UB435-Q has a newer V3 that might only work with 3.16.xx...
  • This is where the Pi 2 definitely wins. The kernel support for Video4Linux tuners from Hardkernel is very patchy. I've got a tuner that was properly supported a year or two ago in the mainline V4L Media_Build, and it isn't in any ODroid kernels, and their kernel sources are such that I can't do a Media Build myself (as I have in the past on Pis)
    Quote:
  • With the RPi2 overclocked for deinterlacing, can I run multiple USB tuners on it without an external USB power hub?
  • You should probably be using a powered hub with multiple tuners on either the C1+ or the Raspberry Pi 2 to be honest. I have had multiple DVB-T and DVB-T2 tuners running on a Pi 2 without a hub, but I'd always recommend a powered hub for small ARM boards that are USB powered (or powered through USB-style systems).
    Quote:
  • I could run Android and play games on the C1+ too, but might not be worth it as it might take more time for me that I want to spend, doesn't seem like I can just log into my Google account and download the games I have already bought on my phone.

  • I haven't built linux machines before but have a little experience mucking around with Terminal on my Mac so I'm a bit concerned about this project eating too much of my limited time. So I like the RPi2 for the seemingly rock solid build, massive community with beginner friendly docs, easier to repurpose if it doesn't work out. I like the C1+ for the likely smoother running interface and CPU headroom, better power management, and possible Android. It's not much money so I might just buy the RPi2 and make sure I can get it running properly and if it isn't fast enough, I just save the Pi for another project and put the parts on a C1+, but might get grief from the wife on buying one more board just waiting for a project Tongue...

    Any advice from those experienced with similar builds?

    Personally I'd split the Kodi bit from the TV backend bit and build a separate TV Headend server to run on one device, and run OpenElec on the other. That way you can upgrade and fiddle with Kodi without having to blow away and rebuild your TV server every time. There is still a lot of merit in using a cheap, old, x86 box as the TV Headend server. I've even run it on a PogoPlug though to be honest.

    However I'd suggest a much better box, really, for a TV Headend combined Frontend and Backend is a Chromebox or similar. It has multiple USB 3.0 ports, GigE and high quality Intel MCDI deinterlacing and hardware acceleration of MPEG2, VC-1 and H264. Only caveat is interlaced VC-1 support is software only because of Intel's continued inability to fix their Linux drivers. No HEVC - but a rock solid box with headroom and you'll be nowhere near its limits with a couple of ATSC dongles, running a new kernel, with a decent power supply, no hubs etc. Much neater build. You'd need to add an IR receiver into the mix - but an RC6 USB dongle or FLIRC will do that
    Reply
    #80
    Hi all. New to the forums, but I've been using Openelec for a few years on both an old Acer Revo and a barebones Foxconn that just bit the dust. I've been reading as much as possible about my different options for my requirements, and I've narrowed it down to a few options but I would appreciate any insight or thoughts that someone with some more knowledge can provide.

    Here are my requirements:
    -a device that can run Openelec
    -able to play 3D MKV's
    -Can handle 4K (at least 30hz)

    If it were available, the WeTek Core seems great and relatively affordable. However, since it's not I've narrowed it down to 2 choices:

    HP Chromebox CB1-014 - Haswell Intel Celeron processor 2995U

    or

    Dell Inspiron I3050-4427BLK - Intel Celeron J1800

    The Chromebox is well regarded, but most people seem to use the ASUS model as opposed to this HP. The Dell seems like it would probably be easier to install Openelec on. Which one would perform better with Openelec?
    Reply
    #81
    Definitely the HP Chromebox with the 2955U. The Dell has a far inferior J1800 CPU/GPU combo and will struggle in comparison to the 2955U.

    However neither will do 3D MVC (only HSBS - which is the same as 2D in CPU/GPU terms)

    The Chromebox should do H264 2160/30p fine - but won't do H265/HEVC (but I don't think the J1800 will either)
    Reply
    #82
    (2016-01-22, 02:05)greygooser Wrote: Hi all. New to the forums, but I've been using Openelec for a few years on both an old Acer Revo and a barebones Foxconn that just bit the dust. I've been reading as much as possible about my different options for my requirements, and I've narrowed it down to a few options but I would appreciate any insight or thoughts that someone with some more knowledge can provide.

    Here are my requirements:
    -a device that can run Openelec
    -able to play 3D MKV's
    -Can handle 4K (at least 30hz)

    If it were available, the WeTek Core seems great and relatively affordable. However, since it's not I've narrowed it down to 2 choices:

    HP Chromebox CB1-014 - Haswell Intel Celeron processor 2995U

    or

    Dell Inspiron I3050-4427BLK - Intel Celeron J1800

    The Chromebox is well regarded, but most people seem to use the ASUS model as opposed to this HP. The Dell seems like it would probably be easier to install Openelec on. Which one would perform better with Openelec?


    I would get a braswell box since the price is not much higher but you get HevC (h.265) hardware decoding.
    I have tested the AsRock Beebox and the Zotac Nano both with braswell CPU and they run Openelec very smooth.
    Reply
    #83
    (2016-01-22, 04:09)psysfaction Wrote:
    (2016-01-22, 02:05)greygooser Wrote: Hi all. New to the forums, but I've been using Openelec for a few years on both an old Acer Revo and a barebones Foxconn that just bit the dust. I've been reading as much as possible about my different options for my requirements, and I've narrowed it down to a few options but I would appreciate any insight or thoughts that someone with some more knowledge can provide.

    Here are my requirements:
    -a device that can run Openelec
    -able to play 3D MKV's
    -Can handle 4K (at least 30hz)

    If it were available, the WeTek Core seems great and relatively affordable. However, since it's not I've narrowed it down to 2 choices:

    HP Chromebox CB1-014 - Haswell Intel Celeron processor 2995U

    or

    Dell Inspiron I3050-4427BLK - Intel Celeron J1800

    The Chromebox is well regarded, but most people seem to use the ASUS model as opposed to this HP. The Dell seems like it would probably be easier to install Openelec on. Which one would perform better with Openelec?


    I would get a braswell box since the price is not much higher but you get HevC (h.265) hardware decoding.
    I have tested the AsRock Beebox and the Zotac Nano both with braswell CPU and they run Openelec very smooth.

    Thank you. I ended up going with the Zotac BI323-U which has the Intel N3150. Was only $100 from Amazon Warehouse. I was thinking of getting 1 x 4GB stick of ram, is that sufficient? Also would like to know if its efficient/easy to run openelec from a USB drive/SD Card so I don't have to buy a 2.5" HD. Thanks again for the advice, I'm glad I avoided the J1800 Processor.
    Reply
    #84
    (2016-01-22, 21:50)greygooser Wrote:
    (2016-01-22, 04:09)psysfaction Wrote:
    (2016-01-22, 02:05)greygooser Wrote: Hi all. New to the forums, but I've been using Openelec for a few years on both an old Acer Revo and a barebones Foxconn that just bit the dust. I've been reading as much as possible about my different options for my requirements, and I've narrowed it down to a few options but I would appreciate any insight or thoughts that someone with some more knowledge can provide.

    Here are my requirements:
    -a device that can run Openelec
    -able to play 3D MKV's
    -Can handle 4K (at least 30hz)

    If it were available, the WeTek Core seems great and relatively affordable. However, since it's not I've narrowed it down to 2 choices:

    HP Chromebox CB1-014 - Haswell Intel Celeron processor 2995U

    or

    Dell Inspiron I3050-4427BLK - Intel Celeron J1800

    The Chromebox is well regarded, but most people seem to use the ASUS model as opposed to this HP. The Dell seems like it would probably be easier to install Openelec on. Which one would perform better with Openelec?


    I would get a braswell box since the price is not much higher but you get HevC (h.265) hardware decoding.
    I have tested the AsRock Beebox and the Zotac Nano both with braswell CPU and they run Openelec very smooth.

    Thank you. I ended up going with the Zotac BI323-U which has the Intel N3150. Was only $100 from Amazon Warehouse. I was thinking of getting 1 x 4GB stick of ram, is that sufficient? Also would like to know if its efficient/easy to run openelec from a USB drive/SD Card so I don't have to buy a 2.5" HD. Thanks again for the advice, I'm glad I avoided the J1800 Processor.

    Personally I would put a small SSD. 32gb will be enough and it's only around 30 USD.

    As for the ram I would put 2x 2gb ram or 2x 4gb
    Because it improves 4K video decoding when you have ram in dual channels mode I believe.
    Reply
    #85
    (2016-01-23, 03:02)psysfaction Wrote:
    (2016-01-22, 21:50)greygooser Wrote:
    (2016-01-22, 04:09)psysfaction Wrote: I would get a braswell box since the price is not much higher but you get HevC (h.265) hardware decoding.
    I have tested the AsRock Beebox and the Zotac Nano both with braswell CPU and they run Openelec very smooth.

    Thank you. I ended up going with the Zotac BI323-U which has the Intel N3150. Was only $100 from Amazon Warehouse. I was thinking of getting 1 x 4GB stick of ram, is that sufficient? Also would like to know if its efficient/easy to run openelec from a USB drive/SD Card so I don't have to buy a 2.5" HD. Thanks again for the advice, I'm glad I avoided the J1800 Processor.

    Personally I would put a small SSD. 32gb will be enough and it's only around 30 USD.

    As for the ram I would put 2x 2gb ram or 2x 4gb
    Because it improves 4K video decoding when you have ram in dual channels mode I believe.

    Thanks again. Picked up a cheap 16GB SSD and will also follow your advice about the 2 sticks of RAM.
    Reply
    #86
    What's about The Minix NEO U1?
    Reply
    #87
    I currently run Kodi on an Acer Revo 3610 with 4GB RAM and a regular SATA hard drive. The Operating System is Ubuntu Linux 14.04. The performance is ok, obviously I wouldn't mind some additional speed and some future-proofing for new technology. I currently only watch 1080p movies with DD5.1 sound. I'd like to continue to run Ubuntu (full distribution) with Kodi, but I'd also like better performance for RetroArch (and eventually RetroPlayer!). N64 Mario Kart in particular is laggy. Any suggestions on new hardware? I'd prefer the hardware be in a small slim case like the revo. Would the HP Chromebox with the 2955U be ideal for me?
    Reply
    #88
    (2016-01-25, 21:39)mstloup Wrote: What's about The Minix NEO U1?

    "What" about it? It's mentioned in this thread, even on the first page... (did you even read this thread?) and there is also separate thread for this device too.
    If I have helped you or increased your knowledge please click the 'Thumb Up - Like' button to show me your appreciation :)

    For YouTube questions see the OFFICIAL THREAD, with the Latest Info in Post 1 & 2, & the Personal API Key Instructions and FAQ in Posts 3 & 4 & more ;)
    Reply
    #89
    (2016-01-22, 02:05)greygooser Wrote: Here are my requirements:
    -a device that can run Openelec
    -able to play 3D MKV's
    -Can handle 4K (at least 30hz)
    Saw you got a Zotac BI323-U, but w/3D MKV's I'm assuming you meant SBS or HOU/TAB, which Zotac (or almost any box) will do. For full 3D (MVC decode, framepacked render), w/OpenELEC, the only choice is Raspberry Pi2. But, it's only so-so with 4K.
    [H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
    My Family Room Theater
    Reply
    #90
    (2016-01-23, 06:20)greygooser Wrote:
    (2016-01-23, 03:02)psysfaction Wrote:
    (2016-01-22, 21:50)greygooser Wrote: Thank you. I ended up going with the Zotac BI323-U which has the Intel N3150. Was only $100 from Amazon Warehouse. I was thinking of getting 1 x 4GB stick of ram, is that sufficient? Also would like to know if its efficient/easy to run openelec from a USB drive/SD Card so I don't have to buy a 2.5" HD. Thanks again for the advice, I'm glad I avoided the J1800 Processor.

    Personally I would put a small SSD. 32gb will be enough and it's only around 30 USD.

    As for the ram I would put 2x 2gb ram or 2x 4gb
    Because it improves 4K video decoding when you have ram in dual channels mode I believe.

    Thanks again. Picked up a cheap 16GB SSD and will also follow your advice about the 2 sticks of RAM.

    Well, I realized why someone returned this Zotac to Amazon. It is dead on arrival, won't boot up even after resetting the CMOS. As much as I wanted something more "substantial", I gave in and ordered a Rasberry Pi2 starter kit. It just seems so remarkable that such an inexpensive device will deliver the performance I'm looking for.
    Reply
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