Whats the best Hardware? Multiple answers
#1
My first post as I see this question posed so often but I doubt there is ever a clear-cut answer and not really sure there ever will be. I usually just do a lot of reading, learning and doing but here has been my experience over the past several years.
[font]Hardware preferences vary for a multitude of reasons depending on can you support it, purpose, bias, functionality and the software platform you run on it so if this helps anyone; here is how I have approached it in no particular order.[/font]
  1. Libreelec or Coreelec – Perfect for 85% of what I need it for, however depending on what hardware platform (x86-64, ARM, BCM, Rockchip, etc) it has limitations in regards to driver support and certain things like Netflix and other streaming services (DRM) due to kernel levels and supported versions of Libre/Core on certain hardware. I do love that these give new life to older equipment and they are quite snappy and fast loading. This is also best for those devices lite on RAM and EMMC storage. Along with Android devices/Fire Sticks they are generally small and fit well in your entertainment center or behind the tv, however heat dissipation in small spaces is questionable if the right cooling mechanism isn’t deployed. Seems like for the majority of more recent boxes 4K and higher quality audio is supported but be wary of the cheap stuff.
  2. Android with Kodi – This gets a bit murky as I have to throw the older Fire Sticks in the mix to go along with some aging Amlogic/Rockchip devices. I find these to be a quick generally cheap solution but the performance is left to chance as the video quality gets to a higher level, not too mention a fairly clunky interface switching between apps (for people who use it beyond me). You also run the chance of some really badly put together Android firmware. Repeat: Seems like for the majority of more recent boxes 4K and higher quality audio is supported.
  3. Windows 10 with Kodi – Probably the most versatile devices I have and I use them in the primary viewing areas (Family room and living room), mine are fairly high-end pcs with i7 processors but if you’re not concerned with 4K/HDR then lesser Intel and AMD chipsets are more than enough for most tasks. These devices allow me to run additional software (some that only runs on Windows), have little issue with streaming services, good driver support, handle higher quality video, internal and external drive space/access and allow me some more back end processes that I could probably do in Ubuntu or another flavor of Linux but this goes more to using what you know and I’ll admit I’m not as strong with Linux as I should be. (also I able to keep a backup image of the boot drive as configured, since Windows is pretty forgiving if I have to restore to different hardware, whereas the others not so much all the time)
  4. Linux with Kodi – Probably right there with the Windows 10 comments, except for the fact I am just not as good with it (and that’s on me, not a knock-on Linux)
[font]In summary, like many others it is usually based on what you are comfortable with, can support, and what you use it for. In my case I have a very large ripped library of videos and music I personally own and that I didn’t want rotting on a shelf and easily accessible without the hassle of having to physically load the media. All the Windows/Linux and Libre/Core devices boot directly to Kodi so the other users in the home don’t know as they only see Kodi and it’s my job to handle the more advanced functionality that happens behind the scenes. I use an Open Media Vault Server with a storage array and Plex services for remote access, but the Windows devices do have additional storage shares just in case I need the space. I personally don’t use Kodi in a questionable manner, so my Kodi builds are based upon what is internally available on my network and add-ons such as Netflix/Prime Video/Plex and live TV services via a HDHomerun setup. As you can see, I use a little of everything based on the need and my ability to support it and the function it performs. I [/font]always replace the IR remotes with wireless dongle air mouse type remotes[font] as 1 they just plain perform better, and 2 most can also control some simple functions of the TV as well that the IR remotes fall short in or don’t perform at all so I can reduce remote controller sprawl. If at all possible, you want to have a hardline link and gigabit network capable connection because well anything else is just slower.[/font]
If I had to pick only one platform, it would be x86-64. Whether I want to run Windows, Linux, or various JeOS there is usually a way get Kodi working with it and the peripherals and not so tied to a certain ARM chipset that needs a different coding to work on each variation. While it is both fun and nerve racking to try multiple different iterations of img / dtb files on different ARM devices sometimes I just need a box to work and I normally can get that on the x86-64 side. Versatility and stability are important to me even if it cost me a little more.
Some hardware I have or have had in past/setup: Underlined is what software platform for that hardware I finalized on (that I felt worked best). I like variety and a challenge, I guess.
Minix U1 AML s905x (Libre/Core/Android)
Khadas VIM AML s905x (Libre/Core/Android)
Some AML s805 devices (Libre/Android)
M8S+ AML s812 (Libre/Android)
Raspberry Pi 3 b+ Broadcom (Libre/Core)
Libre Le Potato AML s905x (Libre/Core/Android)
MXQ AML s905w (Libre/Core/Android)
MacMini Intel Dual Core (Libre/Linux/Windows)
Fire Stick (4K) Qualcomm (mind you just side loaded Kodi, too locked down)
T9 RK3328 (Libre/Android)
Dell Optiplex 7060 Intel i7 8th Gen (Libre/Linux/Windows)
Dell Optiplex 9010 Intel i7 (Libre/Linux/Windows)(Plex Server)
Hp Pav 590 Intel i7 8th Gen(Libre/Linux/Windows)
HPE ProLiant Intel Zeon (Linux Open Media Vault) (File server, Plex server)

 
I know that there are those that are in this camp or that camp, but I like them all and they all have their place depending on what you want/need to achieve using Kodi. There are a ton of resources on this board that go into deep detail about video and audio and are things you need to read and ask if you don’t understand before you buy any hardware and get disappointed because it does not meet your preset requirements.
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Whats the best Hardware? Multiple answers00