START HERE - Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated Dec 2020)

It's been a week now that I've been looking into the iptv and media players thing, and I can't get to a conclusion. I finally found this forum and it seemed the most appropriate place to ask, I hope you can enlighten me... Wink

By the way, this thread is growing so long that it's virtually impossible to read every post in details, so I started in the first post and then sampled the rest looking for some keywords. Sorry if I missed something important.

What I have now is:

  1. An old 42" 1080p LCD TV (LG 42LG50).
  2. About 350 movies (and counting), between DVD's and BD's (roughly 2/3 and 1/3 respectively), ripped into ISO images and stored in a couple of NAS's (Zyxel NSA310, arm-based, CIFS, NFS, Twonky - no Plex).
  3. One RPi B running Openelec, does a decent job playing DVD ISO's but can't handle BD ISO's well. I have it set up with a hard disk, powered USB hub, and a USB to gigabit ethernet adapter (this will have to be replaced by a wifi adapter). Remote is on the way (Adesso).
  4. One RPi 2 that could be re-purposed as a media player (and the RPi B would then be turned into an audio player or something else).
  5. A decent DVD player and a decent BD player (both Pioneers from 2009, still working good).
  6. Two 10-month olds but only one wife... so I need to help her a lot with the babies and that leaves me very little time for playing with my own toys (main reason why #4 hasn't been done so far).

What I think I need now is:

  1. Watch free iptv (I mean legally free).
  2. A streaming solution for "casual" movie watching (for "serious" watching I can always pull out the discs and use the standalone players - besides, due to #6 above, I doubt I'll find the time for "serious" watching in the next 2 years or so). Streaming from the NAS's. Compatible with DVD and BD ISO's.
  3. Youtube, Netflix, etc. (HD is desirable but I can live without it).
  4. H.264 and H.265 hardware decoding.
  5. Lossless audio pass-through or decoding to LPCM (DTS HD-MA and Dolby True HD).
  6. Open architecture. I want some flexibility.
  7. Wife-friendly interface.
  8. Something that I don't need to put much effort on in terms of updates, re-configuration, etc., i.e., I'd like to set it up once and forget it.
  9. Up to CAD $100 (might stretch that a little bit if there's a good reason).
  10. Preferrably a standard Kodi version, not a fork.
  11. A device with a reasonable lifespan (I'd say 2 years minimum - for anything over $100, 3 years minimum).
  12. A device with decent support and the due respect to the Kodi team (I was about to take the plunge on a T***smart when I read about the GPL "circumvention").

What I think I don't care about at this time:

  1. 3D.
  2. Hi10P.
  3. DD Atmos.

I'm in Canada, so I have somewhat limited options. The Openelec in the RPi works great for me, and I guess it would be the obvious solution (I mean, after upgrading to the RPi 2). But it's not very wife-friendly, I think. And I'm not sure how it will hold up to continuous, every-day-use. I'd hate to have to rebuild the installation from scratch if it crashes. I'd rather have a ROM-based firmware.

So I'm looking into the devices I can buy from Amazon, and there's zillions of them, so it's very hard to make a decision. I'm trying to narrow down the list by the chipset - only S905 devices and Android 5. So I found the Zidoo X5 (it now says "Based upon Kodi 15.2" in the description, is that a sign of them wanting to come clean about GPL?), the Goobang Doos (suspicious descriptions), and the Matricom G-Box Q2 (more than $100). Still can't find a winner.

There are also the older models based on S805, S812, etc. that run from $50 to $80, or even $100 in case of this "Kodi TV box" sold by C-Mall (also suspicious description, but attractive specs, except for Android 4.4). I might take one of them if I can't find what I want in the newer models, just to get going for a year or so, until I find a definitive solution. At least I won't spend too much.

Any input is welcome. Thanks!


Messages In This Thread
The right box for me - by tyem - 2016-01-13, 15:29
Jesus Box - by kellyvb - 2016-03-04, 20:18
RE: Pick the Right Kodi Box (updated March 2016) - by vmat - 2016-04-09, 17:28
Thanks for the Help! - by jmc15john - 2016-11-09, 16:44
Jarvis crashes and wipes - by gotthis2000 - 2017-01-10, 22:14
RE: Jarvis crashes and wipes - by nickr - 2017-01-10, 22:58
T95Z Plus Android TV Box - by gooner1971 - 2017-03-17, 13:04