What is the CHEAPEST option for 4k hevc playback?
#1
I currently have an intel nuc 6th gen celeron for playing, sonarr, and torrent client. It can't play 4k hevc content properly, it's just too slow. Since 10bit is too much of a hassle and all HDR content is on netflix which is in the tv anyway I don't need it.

I want the cheapest solid way to play 2160p hevc files from the nuc which has samba shares. Is the ODroid C2 the cheapest 4k hevc supporting player? Do I have to buy the emmc memory (I already have some 32gb sd samsung sd cards)?
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#2
Cheapest but not the fastest is the MECOOL Pro W with it's wireless remote running LibreELEC or CoreELEC. It only has 100Mbit Ethernet and is limited to [email protected] HEVC decoding.

High bitrate 45GB+ 4K HDR Bluray Rips playback need a device with Gigabit Ethernet.
Something like a AML S912 Tanix TX9 or the more expensive MINIX U9 - or a S905D device like the Mecool K1 Pro or the Vero 4K+

Fastest for the $$ is an Overclocked, Gigabit equipped (non HDR) ODROID C2 with a wireless USB mini dongle remote. eMMC will be a bit quicker for boot up, but a Samsung SD card will still work well. It does [email protected] HEVC decoding.

For the C2 all you need for power is a USB > barrel power cord, then source power from a TV or phone charger.

All of them will also do HDMI-CEC control, you can use a CEC capable TV's remote. Smile
OSMC or LibreELEC or CoreELEC Kodi on such devices includes a whole bunch of Kodi user configurable HDMI CEC control options.

DO NOT use these cheap AML devices for Graphically intensive 3rd party demanding Kodi Skins and expect Intel i series NUC Skin performance.

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#3
(2019-01-03, 02:16)wrxtasy Wrote: Cheapest but not the fastest is the MECOOL Pro W with it's wireless remote running LibreELEC or CoreELEC. It only has 100Mbit Ethernet and is limited to [email protected] HEVC decoding.

High bitrate 45GB+ 4K HDR Bluray Rips playback need a device with Gigabit Ethernet.
Something like a AML S912 Tanix TX9 or the more expensive MINIX U9 - or a S905D device like the Mecool K1 Pro or the Vero 4K+

Fastest for the $$ is an Overclocked, Gigabit equipped (non HDR) ODROID C2 with a wireless USB mini dongle remote. eMMC will be a bit quicker for boot up, but a Samsung SD card will still work well. It does [email protected] HEVC decoding.

For the C2 all you need for power is a USB > barrel power cord, then source power from a TV or phone charger.

All of them will also do HDMI-CEC control, you can use a CEC capable TV's remote. Smile
OSMC or LibreELEC or CoreELEC Kodi on such devices includes a whole bunch of Kodi user configurable HDMI CEC control options.

DO NOT use these cheap AML devices for Graphically intensive 3rd party demanding Kodi Skins and expect Intel i series NUC Skin performance.
  
Also worth pointing out that the C2 won't convert HDR to SDR - so you are only able to playback SDR content on it (it will playback 10-bit HEVC 2160p HDR content, it just outputs it in 8-bit and won't flag it as HDR or convert it to SDR, so the colours are all washed out, and gamma completely wrong)  

I don't know if the C2 correctly has HDMI gamut switching between SDR Rec 709 and SDR Rec 2020 - so even some of the small amount of UHD SDR content may playback in the wrong colour gamut if this isn't supported (i.e. washed out colours with 2020 flagged as 709)  It could be that only Rec 709 SDR UHD stuff plays back correctly? 

Pretty much every UHD movie released is Rec 2020 HDR (I've yet to see an SDR UHD Blu-ray), so your UHD SDR sources are somewhat limited.

If you are looking to playback UHD HEVC that is sourced from UHD HDR Blu-ray rips - avoid the C2.   The C2 is a great solution for SDR HD Rec 709 content though, and very snappy.  

With regard to CEC - whilst AMLogic devices support CEC - a large number of them (but not quite all) support it in a very unhelpful way, jamming CEC (and as a result ARC audio) for every other device connected to your AVR and/or TV (yes - even other HDMI inputs), even when the AMLogic is in standby or has been shutdown but left powered.

The only solution in this case is to physically remove the power connection or physically unplug the HDMI connection.  I discovered this the hard way when I realised my AMLogic boxes were stopping my Sky HD box automatically switching my TV to the Sky box's HDMI input, and then the ARC audio from the Sky box didn't reach my AVR via ARC (and the sound would only come out of the TV speakers)
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#4
So from noggin's comment I understand that the C2 is not good since it won't play hdr content correctly which most UHD films are? I don't understand this, I thought it was not possible yet to rip hdr content.
Anyway, I'm not looking to play hdr but if it ruins the color of sdr content as well its no good.

What I want to play is in fact some 45-60gb films I downloaded lately thinking that my current nuc would be able to play.

So in a price to UHD playback ratio it looks like the mecool device is the best one. I see it comes with Android, do I install libreelec on it instead of android?
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#5
(2019-01-03, 13:05)z999 Wrote: So from noggin's comment I understand that the C2 is not good since it won't play hdr content correctly which most UHD films are? I don't understand this, I thought it was not possible yet to rip hdr content.
Anyway, I'm not looking to play hdr but if it ruins the color of sdr content as well its no good.

No that is incorrect, regular, standard SDR rec.709 content color is perfectly fine on the AML S905 series of chipset devices like the C2.
Just do not try and playback UHD HDR content on it, expect washed out colors if you do.

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#6
(2019-01-03, 13:05)z999 Wrote: So from noggin's comment I understand that the C2 is not good since it won't play hdr content correctly which most UHD films are?
Yes - the C2 won't play HDR content flagged as HDR, and it only has an 8-bit output path, so even if you are able to force an HDR flag in your TV it will still be 8-bit and have banding issues.
The C2 doesn't convert HDR to SDR - so you can't playback UHD HDR content as UHD SDR.
Quote:I don't understand this, I thought it was not possible yet to rip hdr content.
It's been possible to rip UHD Blu-rays for quite a while now, that information is very out of date.
Quote:Anyway, I'm not looking to play hdr but if it ruins the color of sdr content as well its no good.

No - as I said "The C2 is a great solution for SDR HD Rec 709 content though, and very snappy."  It's a great solution for SDR Rec 709 stuff like Blu-ray rips, Live/Recorded HDTV (and Rec.601 SDTV) etc.

It's a great replacement for/alternative to a Pi 3B+ if you need high bitrate HD HEVC/h.265 10-bit replay (albeit at 8-bit) or 1080p50 German DVB-T2 compatibility (though it doesn't have Bluetooth or 802.11 ac WiFi on-board). Where it isn't a good fit is for UHD HDR, and given that most UHD movie content in the wild is HDR Blu-ray rips, it's not a good fit for UHD movies at all. There is a small amount of Rec 709 UHD around (football matches etc.) but that's not mainstream or widespread.
 
Quote:What I want to play is in fact some 45-60gb films I downloaded lately thinking that my current nuc would be able to play.

Those sound like UHD HDR movies at that size. The C2 is not a good choice for them. (HD Blu-ray rips will significantly smaller than that, those file sizes sound like UHD Blu-rays, which are almost always HDR)
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#7
(2019-01-03, 13:57)noggin Wrote: Those sound like UHD HDR movies at that size. The C2 is not a good choice for them. (HD Blu-ray rips will significantly smaller than that, those file sizes sound like UHD Blu-rays, which are almost always HDR)

And you will very likely need Gigabit Ethernet for those high bitrates UHD Rips, which then means for AMLogic devices a Gigabit S905D or S912 device.
Otherwise it's a S905W or S905X with a USB3 > Gigabit Ethernet adapter like the ASIX chipset equipped Ugreen branded ones. (Realtek ones should also work)

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#8
OK. So this changes my question. I thought what I had was regular x265 2160p, but now I understand that what's marked as uhd is also HDR.

So what hardware is capable of playing that? If this is current "endgame" then I am willing to pay more for that. Is the Vero 4K+ the best option? Or the Minix U9?

Thank you both so much everyone for the very quick, patient, and helpful replies.
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#9
(2019-01-03, 15:02)z999 Wrote: OK. So this changes my question. I thought what I had was regular x265 2160p, but now I understand that what's marked as uhd is also HDR.

So what hardware is capable of playing that? If this is current "endgame" then I am willing to pay more for that. Is the Vero 4K+ the best option? Or the Minix U9?

Thank you both so much everyone for the very quick, patient, and helpful replies.
 AMLogic - S905X with Gigabit USB 3 adaptor, S905D (which should have integrated GigE - but check), S912 (but this may not have future GPU support in Kodi 19 - unless open source drivers develop quickly enough, and they might)  Still issues with Max/Avg CLL metadata for HDR not being properly carried AIUI.  No Dolby Vision.  Likely to be the cheapest solution.  Vero 4K+ is well supported S905D device with GigE. 

Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K - cheap, handles UHD HDR OK.  AV sync issues. Interlaced content handling terrible. Auto frame rate switching in Kodi and Amazon Prime, but most other apps don't switch.  Very new. No built in Ethernet so third party USB Gig E + OTG adaptors required.  Still very new and far from polished.

Apple TV 4K - MrMC not Kodi (it's a fork to be Apple App Store compliant and doesn't have full plug in functionality last time I checked), but HDR and SDR properly handled (not sure about HDR metadata at the moment).  HD Audio not bistreamed and instead decoded to 5.1/7.1 PCM, Atmos only supported for lossy DD+ not True HD audio, not DTS:x.  Frame rate switching and Rec 709/2020 HDR and SDR switching works. Dolby Vision (streaming flavour) supported in Netflix and Amazon Prime.  UHD Blu-ray rips don't play back with Dolby Vision.

nVidia Shield TV - HDR and SDR Rec 2020/Rec 709 may now be properly handled with the current test images, HD Audio is properly bitstreamed (inc Atmos and DTS:x I believe), and frame rate switching happens within Kodi.  No automatic frame rate switching in Netflix, Amazon etc. but TVHz app makes this easy to switch compared to delving into settings. No Dolby Vision.
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#10
So nothing supports dolby vision and anyways the only thing supporting DV are streaming services which I use from my TV's apps. The only thing I need is the ability to play HEVC 2160p 10 bit mkv files.
I wanted to try the fire stick but I don't want to get into anything that even might have AV sync issues.

It looks like it's either the Shield TV or the Vero are my best options. Or another S905D based device with gigabit ethernet, are they all the same? Because reading trough the start here thread I could not find anything that you seem to prefer.What are you using at home as your main device?
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#11
(2019-01-03, 18:38)z999 Wrote: So nothing supports dolby vision and anyways the only thing supporting DV are streaming services which I use from my TV's apps. The only thing I need is the ability to play HEVC 2160p 10 bit mkv files.
I wanted to try the fire stick but I don't want to get into anything that even might have AV sync issues.
Yes - I'd avoid the Fire TV Stick 4K if you aren't an enthusiast, and wouldn't recommend it for a main device.

Quote:It looks like it's either the Shield TV or the Vero are my best options. Or another S905D based device with gigabit ethernet, are they all the same? Because reading trough the start here thread I could not find anything that you seem to prefer.What are you using at home as your main device?
 
My main device for streaming services is an Apple TV 4K (my Smart TV internal players are not good at frame rate switching), with a Roku for BBC UHD HLG HDR stuff.

My main devices for Kodi are a Vero 4K (S905X) (not 4K+) with a USB Gig-E adaptor, Minix U9-H (S912), nVidia Shield TV and Raspberry Pi 3B+. All have pluses and minuses...
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#12
Your "cheapest option for 4k HEVC playback" (you mentioned .mkv files) is a PC provided you have a somewhat modern GPU (video card) in it.  Mine is a few years old.  Then you can play anything and everything you want audio and video at the highest quality.  You don't need a new specific device considering you might already have one (a PC) on hand unless you also require convenience but even that requires adjusting.  If you don't have a PC with a half way decent GPU, you might be able to obtain an old one from a friend or neighbor possibly.  People are always looking to get rid of them which save them the hassle of recycling.  The GPU you may have to purchase new or used and might be less money than a device that will have caveats and limitations no matter which one you consider.  A GTX 960 is or better is sufficient as are AMD models.  I would avoid Intel Graphics personally.  This approach would require some reading and following directions for a perfect and reliable outcome.  The software involved is free unless later you decide to unbridle more functions.  Lots of folks simply use the streaming app in their display vs a dedicated device designed with streamers in mind.  While PC's can stream, they are not the best option.  The apps in your display or a device cater to streaming better.  There are many guides to help folks.  Mine is my signature should you be interested.
HOW TO - Kodi 2D - 3D - UHD (4k) HDR Guide Internal & External Players
W10/1809 MPC-BE\HC PDVD18 DVDFab3 KODI 18.1 960-4GB/RGB 4:4:4/Desktop=60Hz/Video=Matched Refresh rates 8bit/65JS8500 UHD HDR 3D
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#13
OK, I signed up to know when the Vero will be back in stick. It seems to be what I need.

@brazen, I have a pc today, I like the versatility, but a pc is a big and loud thing that I don't want to put under the TV. I like my collection of small boxes. Also, are you sure that a 960 can play 10bit hevc?
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#14
Hmmm?  My HTPC compliments my AVR perfectly.  Same size.  What do you do with your AVR and subwoofers and stuff given you wouldn't have a big thing near your TV?  I know others park their PC's and AVR's and NAS devices and all their other equipment out of sight and ear in racks, cabinets, even other rooms.  My HTPC is silent like the rest of my equipment.  I suppose there are some laptops and PC's out there that make a racket.  Usually due to unnecessary fans crammed everywhere one can be mounted but they can all be quieted down easily enough.  I'd bet your collection of small devices equals the space a PC would take up.  Speaking of multiple devices, doesn't one device sound more appealing than several others that still can't accomplish what the one device can? 

Of course I'm certain a GTX 960 can play 10bit HEVC.  I've only been doing it for years.  Are you more interested in 24Hz (most ripped movie titles) or 60Hz (youtube and other streamed junk) since it does both and everything in between?  This would depend on your displays capabilities of course.
HOW TO - Kodi 2D - 3D - UHD (4k) HDR Guide Internal & External Players
W10/1809 MPC-BE\HC PDVD18 DVDFab3 KODI 18.1 960-4GB/RGB 4:4:4/Desktop=60Hz/Video=Matched Refresh rates 8bit/65JS8500 UHD HDR 3D
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#15
(2019-01-03, 15:02)z999 Wrote: OK. So this changes my question. I thought what I had was regular x265 2160p, but now I understand that what's marked as uhd is also HDR.

So what hardware is capable of playing that? If this is current "endgame" then I am willing to pay more for that. Is the Vero 4K+ the best option? Or the Minix U9?

Thank you both so much everyone for the very quick, patient, and helpful replies.

Plug n Play = Vero 4K+ it's a nicely polished performer for SDR / 4K HDR Kodi.

Cheapest DIY then it's the Gigabit $60 Tanix TX9 found in THIS post (click)

I find the Apple TV 4K has the best 4K HDR > SDR color mapping vs the AMLogic chipset media players. I think this is highly dependent on a users TV tho. Ultimately you need a HDR display.

No Kodi capable media player can playback DolbyVision 4K Bluray Rips.

The Apple TV 4K can stream DV iTunes, Netflix & VUDU, and the FireTV Stick 4K can stream DV Netflix content. (Maybe VUDU)

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