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Mass-production of pre-built set-top-box with XBMC for Linux to sell as retail?
#31
this discussion is becoming quite interesting... some times ago i found myself thinking about making a 'lot' of xbmc machines for some of my friends and/or for my wife's website users, so started thinking what would be needed for such a system...if we want a real set-top box i think we can forget about standard hardware, but let's say we want something 'comparable' with a set-top box... of course, i started with what i have right now, so based my thoughts on my system

right now i have an evga 630i-7150 with a Q6600 and 2gb ram 667, 300 gb hd, DVD-RW, a DVB-S card and a DVB-T usb stick, all contained in an ahanix d-vine mce303 with integrated remote, vfd and card reader... how does this system go with ultabrutal requests (which i think could be embraced as a standard)?
  • Small Form Factor A: well, quite
  • Silent A: not really
  • HDMI 1.3a A: Don't think so
  • Capable of playing 1920x1080p content at 24 fps via HDMI A: yes, but only if i don't put xbmc native resolution at 1080p but go fullscreen 'after' starting
  • Outputting HD sound formats via HDMI A: No, no hdmi audio support from Nvidia yet, as of 177.70
  • USB Port a: yes
  • Gigabit NIC A: yes
  • Optical drive. Possibly a blu-ray drive for future support A: i have one right now, but NOT in my htpc system (would be unuseful right now)
  • (Optinal harddrive possible for those who don't stream) A: yes
so, what would i do to make it better? i think (again, starting with this hardware as a base) i would change mobo, maybe to go with something based on G45 Express, which would grant me HDMI audio under intrepid (i think not yet under hardy) and (did anyone test it?) 1080p output without skipping any frames, would change the Q6600 with a 'colder' (and maybe a little cheaper) E8400, use a ninja mini as a cooler, maybe in fanless mode (does the mini go fanless?).
this system, toghether with my actual case, would cost somewhere near 500-550 euros... can this be a start?
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#32
a system capable of 1080p decoding & output (network streaming) should cost no more than 300 Eur (incl VAT/TAX). Let's call this the basic system and this cost is the "pain threshold".
This system includes atleast:
*It's Silent
*Gigabit network
*E-Sata port
*USB2 and maybe Firewire
*HDMI 1.3a
*Component output
*Optical/coax audio output
*SSD storage maybe 4/8 GB
*1-2GB of Ram
*some type of Remote

extras over this includes
*optical media support (dvd / bluray)
*tv tuner
*more advanced remote options
*wifi
*local storage for media (A HDD)

this spec if by no means final, it's just what I visualize when I gave this 10 mins thought
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#33
I never heard of a other set-top-box with E-SATA port(?), USB is enough IMHO. Since it would still have be x86 (computer based) HDMI 1.3a is probably out of the question, and audio over HDMI today under Linux totally depends on picking a chipset that is already support by ALSA.

Today I almost think that built-in wireless is a must, but it could be made optional to keep cost down.

IMO, until we get GPU video acceleration in XBMC it will be much easier to just look at putting together a box that only capable of 720p playback now, wait 6-months to start worrying about 1080p as by that time newer hardware have arrived and prices have dropped. Putting together a 720p box today will require much less CPU power, and not a state-of-the-art GPU which is almost required for 1080p today.

I think Atom Nano will probably be a good choice for 720p, look at MSI Wind and ASUS Eee Box, just as examples.

I think that the remote that will be included is otherwise going to be the most important factor.

I agree with with about the recommended retail price (RRP), no more than €300 RRP for 1080p playback, and no more than €200 RRP for 720p (1080p upscale) playback.
Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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#34
of course i was referring to finall customer prices... but as far as i know just mobo, ram, cpu and case would go much beyond 300 euros
at least here in italy, afaik,that price would be somewhere near reality going with some generic 20 euros case, surely not with an htpc one
ordering from abroad would give me a damn pita because of my customs, adding 20/25% to the final price

ok, let me try to configure a full system on newegg...

ASUS P5Q-EM LGA 775 Intel G45 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard - Retail $134.99
Kingston 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model KVR800D2N6K2/2G - Retail $33.69
SanDisk 8GB Secure Digital High-Capacity (SDHC) Flash Card Model SDSDRH-008G-A11 - Retail $36.99
Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 Wolfdale 3.0GHz LGA 775 65W Dual-Core Processor Model BX80570E8400 - Retail $169.99
Scythe SCMNJ-1000 80mm Sleeve "NINJA MINI" CPU Cooler - Retail $29.99

we are at $405,65 BEFORE ever thinking of a case or an HD or an optical device... for me add 25% (customs and shipping, maybe) and convert in euros... won't be far from 300 euros, again, for the final consumer

where would i cut to go under that price and have a fully featured system??
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#35
Regarding E-Sata, it's an emerging way to connect external HDD's. Intel's newest mini pc's have this.

when you buy components separately, you pay overhead for every component. this adds up, trust me

I have no idea how much you would save if the unit is "put together" in asia, where all components are fabricated anyhow, ala Mac Mini etc (I don't care for the Mini formfactor, it's not crucial)
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#36
ehm, i wrote while gamester was replying... ok, in a 720p view it could be done, but would you buy a 720p set-top box with a wonderful backend (xbmc) to go 720p on a surely 1080p 50'' lcd tv?
i think the target user wouldn't be the 'hit power on/hit power off' user (we all know what we are talking about, don't we, we all know that there are bugs, there are crashes) but someone more experienced than that, with some basic linux knowledge to really rule the machine... or am i completely wrong?
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#37
If drivers mature abit I'd say the Intel DG45FC could be a valid solution for a system. Its not the cheapest now but should provide all the needed, esata, HDMI and SPDIF without any additions.

Currently I'm having troubles with 1080p in linux (windows works good)
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Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.

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"Well Im gonna download the code and look at it a bit but I'm certainly not a really good C/C++ programer but I'd help as much as I can, I mostly write in C#."
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#38
You guys have to remember that a company would not put together a such package for free and only change for the parts, shipping and handling. They will want to make a profit, ...yes even if they are selling it with free software, they are charging for the service of a pre-packing product that will be pre-installed, pre-configured and works out-of-the-box.

So in conclusion, any companies making these would have to be able to source the hardware really cheap be make it worth their while.
Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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#39
Gamester17 Wrote:You guys have to remember that a company would not put together a such package for free and only change for the parts, shipping and handling. They will want to make a profit, ...yes even if they are selling it with free software, they are charging for the service of a pre-packing product that will be pre-installed, pre-configured and works out-of-the-box.

So in conclusion, any companies making these would have to be able to source the hardware really cheap be make it worth their while.

If it was easy, anyone could do it Wink
Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.


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#40
Gamester17 Wrote:1. Box capable of 720p native h.264 video (and up-scaling to 1080p) without internal storage drive*
- Would ship only with a 4GB or 8GB internal flash memory (USB, SD, or Compact Flash).
*snip*
3. Box capable of 1080p native h.264 video (maybe with DVD-ROM?) without internal storage drive*
- Just like above would ship only with a 4GB or 8GB internal flash memory (USB, SD, or Compact Flash).

I don't see much of a market for #1, as the xbox pretty much serves this purpose, at a very reasonable price. I would love something like number three, as long as it had hdmi (audio and video) out. Kind of something like the eebox, but with a more powerful processor, and better output options.
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#41
(why can't I find the edit button)

Also, with current high-def media, it doesn't make much sense to keep it stored locally, as you very quickly run into space issues for a set-top box type device.
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#42
All the suggestions look good but are we looking to build a box with off the shelf products or bespoke built parts?
All standard off the shelf products are easy to sort and put together but anyone can do it for themselves cheaper, than it would be sold for.
Any off the shelf motherboards and cases etc will have parts / options not needed therefore wasted money.
If we used a dedicated motherboard and/or cases they would only need to include what we needed so therefore reducing cost.

As with all of this you would need to know interested numbers to work out viability.
We need someway to get and idea of numbers interested in buying to work out costs and way to go forward.

ps e-sata is very common now days just look on sky's HD box.
still learning linux, | Eve Media Box Case | Abit I-N73HD Motherboard | 2gb Ram | 8gb usb drive | xbmc live | 4tb Linux server |- Second box - XBMC live | GA-81915PM motherboard | 2gb Ram | Gainward 8400GS 512MB HDMI | 2.5" 60gb hard drive |Cheap MCE remote | Tvheadend server | Raspberry Pi | Acer Revo | Zotac ION
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#43
Tuckie Wrote:I don't see much of a market for #1, as the xbox pretty much serves this purpose, at a very reasonable price.
Apple TV in in that market space and it is sold for $229(US). Both MSI Wind and ASUS Eee Box are more powerfull and more flexible than it, buy them at bulk prices without Windows XP/Vista and add a cheap bluetooth remote (like for example Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-ray Disc Remote), pre-install and pre-configure XBMC Live on it and you got yourself a nice little set-top-box capable of 720p H.264 playback.
Always read the XBMC online-manual, FAQ and search the forum before posting.
Do not e-mail XBMC-Team members directly asking for support. Read/follow the forum rules.
For troubleshooting and bug reporting please make sure you read this first.
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#44
I'm not sure that box should be just a small form factor pc as components are renewed constantly with new boards etc. This would make the box nonstandard and hard to support.
A hardware vendor capable of building everything from scratch only with the needed hardware would be the best bet. That way 10's of 1000's could be made cheaply and they would all work the same just like the Xbox does.

Regarding the remote, I don't feel this is important. People often want to use a programmable remote like the Harmoney to keep the number down. A good remote is not cheap to make.

The list I made earlier pretty much listed my lowest standard. I'm not interrested in anything that doesn't do 1080p24 over HDMI1.3a with DTS+Dolby HD formats. This is already supported by my Tvix which uses the Sigma chipset but lacks a good mediacenter like XBMC. So until a box exist that does this a good with XBMC exist, I'm not buying.

Formfactor is not really as important as noise and proper blu-ray rip playback (not talking menus)
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#45
Both lack HDMI output plus who wants 720p ? Personally I would like to purchase something that is future proof, and 1080p will be the standard for quite a while I guess.

And the Market is there, otherwise devices like Popcorn Hour or DVICO Tvix Stations wouldn't pop up every month. Actually the market for these Media Streamers is just about to start.
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