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Pick the Right Kodi Box (UPDATED FEB 2015)
there is another device you can use for kodi, it is the flareplay console which you can jailbreak and bring back to a stock android. you can buy it on Amazon or directly on the flareplay.com site....i think buy.com sells those as well.
Hi guys

I am putting together a system for my inlaws new house. For reference, I have been using the Minix X8 myself and am happy with it.

I prefer not to have Windows running, I do not want to have to go over there all the time to install updates and deal with random reboots etc. I want their experience to be as close to running netflix off the smart tv as possible.

They will have a 4K 70" tv with 1080p and 720p mkvs streamed from a wired local NAS. As time passes they will be watching 4K content as it comes out. The box will be hidden in a cabinet with an IR repeater sending signals back. They will most likely be using a harmony remote.

Pretty much i just want the box to have Kodi running 24/7 so they can switch back and forth between cable and Kodi seamlessly.

Does the ChromeOS run like the android boxes? What should I expect from using an ASUS Chromebox vs the Minix? budget is like 200-300CDN

Thanks!

Edit: if there is a decent 4K receiver worth recommending that would be great.
(2015-11-24, 19:46)distracto Wrote: Does the ChromeOS run like the android boxes? What should I expect from using an ASUS Chromebox vs the Minix? budget is like 200-300CDN
Most of us using Chromeboxes are not using ChromeOS - we're using OpenElec usually (in some cases Kodibuntu). Some people are dual booting ChromeOS and OpenElec or Kodibuntu.

OpenElec on a Celeron 2955U Chromebox is very good indeed. Snappy, high quality video output (refresh rate switching, proper support of 23.976/59.94 refresh rate output, high quality deinterlacing), high quality audio with HD Audio bitstreamed. The bare BIOS boots very quickly and the standard SSD is snappy for boot purposes. Built in bluetooth means you can use a PS3 Blu-ray remote with no IR line-of-sight requirements or need for a USB IR receiver dongle.
Hello everybody,

I want to replace my Kodibox (Ouya at the moment) with a new one. My setup is Kodibox --> AVR with 5.1 sound system --> TV (everything connected via HDMI).
What I need:

- 1080p
- 1080p24
- full BRRip playback
- support of (forced) subtitles
- HEVC (I read that the intel processors only support 8-bit HEVC decoding. As I understand it 8-Bit / 10-Bit refers to the colorformat. So a 10bit HEVC will always have better pictures than a 8bit file - is this correct? Is there any device that can play 10bit HEVC files without problems?)
- 3D (I sometimes watch 3D movies - I know there is a different between HSBS and Frame-Packed. Frame-Packed is only used by a really low number of kodiboxes (e.g. HiMedia Q5) but do you really see a difference on a normal TV HSBS compared to frame-packed? So will the 3D picture of the HiMedia Q5 always be better than the SATV or WeTek Core e.g.? I have an active 3D display if this makes any difference
- HD Audio would be great but I don't care if the AVR shows it or if it shows PCM. But I guess i could also live without it if needed as I am not sure if I really can hear a difference between DTS and DTS-HD. I think I have a quite good sound system (Q Acoustics and Pioneer SC-2022) but I am still not sure so no Killer-Need Wink
- Possibility to use Sky Go would be great (no killer-need)
- Possibility to use Netflix with 1080p and 5.1 Sound would be great (no killer-need).
- Files are accessed from a NAS if this is important (At the moment with NFS but I heard SMB would be better - is this correct?)
- Budget is not a problem - I rather spend more and have a great system than to have lots of problems (to give you a number I think anything over 250$ is overpriced for my purposes Smile )
- Compatibility with the Logitech Smart Control would be nice
- About the OS I don't really care (guess there are the three options openelec, windows and Android) - I will use the OS which is running without problems and enables me to use the features I need.
- HDMI-CEC would be great
- noise shouldn't be too loud as I cannot hide it anywhere.

My current list looks like this:

- Nvidia Android Shield TV (I have already Android Smartphone and Tablet if this makes any difference)
- WeTek Core
- Chromebox
- Asrock Beebox

I read a lot in the different device threads about each of them but I just don't know which is the best one for me or if I should wait for new devices with Kabylake for example.
Any help is really appreciated Smile

Thanks a lot!
justkidding
Yes, there is a difference between half-rez 3D and full, framepacked 3D, which is double the resolution.
[H]i-[d]eft [M]edia [K]een [V]ideosaurus
My Family Room Theater
Thanks for clarifying this.
Is there any chance that one of the devices I named will support Frame-packed 3D in the future (e.g. SATV or WeTek Core)?
Does Framepacking also have an effect on the deepth of the 3D effect?
(2015-11-25, 11:24)Justkidding Wrote: Thanks for clarifying this.
Is there any chance that one of the devices I named will support Frame-packed 3D in the future (e.g. SATV or WeTek Core)?
Does Framepacking also have an effect on the deepth of the 3D effect?

Frame packing is the way that 3D is output at full resolution over HDMI. It is how you get a 1920x1080 feed to each eye separately. But you need a source that is also Full HD 1920x1080 3D for each eye. This is usually encoded in a format called MVC (Multi-View Coding) and is what Blu-ray uses. (There is also a 720/60p variant for use on 3D sports Blu-rays where you want a much higher frame rate than 24p)

Almost all other 3D content (broadcast TV 3D or conversions of 3D Blu-ray) uses either HSBS (Half Side By Side) where each eye is halved in horizontal resolution to 960x1080 (or 640x720) and both eye feeds are output next to each other, squeezed into a single 1920x1080 (or 1280x720) stream and output in this format for the TV to process into a 3D picture, or HTAB/HOU (Half Top and Bottom or Over and Under) where each eye is halved vertically to 1920x540 (or 1280x360) and the two eye feeds are displayed one above the other in a 1920x1080 (or 1280x720) HD stream. You don't get much more than SD 3D with these formats.

The halving of horizontal or vertical resolution is very obvious when you are used to Full HD - and the quality is definitely inferior. It really is like the difference between SD and HD 3D. If you have an active 3D TV then you will get 1920x1080 Full HD resolution when watching Frame Packed output of 3D MVC content. (If you have a Passive HD set then you will be getting 1920x540 to each eye, dropping to 960x540 to each eye on HSBS stuff - as Passive HD displays send 540 lines to one eye and 540 lines to the other. Passive really delivers excellent results on UHD sets though - where you get 3840x1080 fed to each eye and none of the flicker of Active glasses)

The Raspberry Pi 2 is the only platform that currently support 3D MVC MKV and 3D Blu-ray ISO formats playback and output in Frame Packed HD within Kodi. Other players either don't support MVC/3DISO or use an external player (which may or may not be skinned to look like Kodi's player)
Hey noggin,

thanks a lot. I think it is the first time that I really understand the difference Smile
As far as I know the RPi2 is not capable of playing HEVC files smoothly am I right?
So this would be a no-go Sad
Sky Go and Netflix is also not possible on OpenElec is it?
What I don't get is if it is possible that Frame-Packed 3D could be available on the Nvidia Shield TV or any other of the named devices in the future?
I guess if a device uses an external player I cannot use Kodi features as subtitles and Kodi menu and so on but apart from that it is no difference when just watching is it?
(2015-11-25, 12:52)Justkidding Wrote: Hey noggin,

thanks a lot. I think it is the first time that I really understand the difference Smile
As far as I know the RPi2 is not capable of playing HEVC files smoothly am I right?

The Pi / Pi 2 has no HEVC hardware acceleration, but can software decode 720p with modest bitrates, but realistically if you want HEVC you need something with hardware acceleration or a higher spec CPU.

Personally I've not encountered any HEVC content other than BBC UHD test transmissions last year (which were HEVC 2160/59.94p and 2160/60p and would need HDMI 2.0 to output to my TV) - so it's not an issue for me.

Quote:So this would be a no-go Sad
Sky Go and Netflix is also not possible on OpenElec is it?

No - many of us who want Netflix, Amazon Video, Sky Go etc. use a secondary device for those - like a FireTV stick, Blu-ray player, Smart TV etc. Trying to get everything from one box is not really possible and ends up as a compromise for the Kodi functionality so many of us like. It'll be interesting to see how good MrMC on the Apple TV4 is (I have horrible feelings it won't support 24p native output)

Quote:What I don't get is if it is possible that Frame-Packed 3D could be available on the Nvidia Shield TV or any other of the named devices in the future?

3D is kind of a dead-end in consumer electronics terms. And as there is no consumer source for 3D MVC (which would be output 3D frame packed) there is no reason for nVidia to implement it. 3D frame packed output for gaming (which wouldn't required 3D MVC decode so is a moot point when it comes to 3D movies content) could be a driving force - but as I say, most people think 3D is dead and 4K/UHD is the 'next big thing' that has replaced it.

Quote:I guess if a device uses an external player I cannot use Kodi features as subtitles and Kodi menu and so on but apart from that it is no difference when just watching is it?

As it isn't developed by the Kodi developers you'll be on a fork so at the mercy of the manufacturers for upgrades (you can't just upgrade Kodi as those of us with OpenElec and mainstream app versions could), and most no-name boxes don't get much love from the manufacturer once they've sold them to you.
Quote:No - many of us who want Netflix, Amazon Video, Sky Go etc. use a secondary device for those - like a FireTV stick, Blu-ray player, Smart TV etc. Trying to get everything from one box is not really possible and ends up as a compromise for the Kodi functionality so many of us like. It'll be interesting to see how good MrMC on the Apple TV4 is (I have horrible feelings it won't support 24p native output)

That totally makes sense to me. I am just having a hard time to find a device which really works with Sky Go. I think it worked with the FireTV Stick but since the last upgrade of the Sky Go App it doesn't as far as I know.
Do you know if there is any device which can use Sky Go to output it on the TV? At the moment I always have to connect my laptop with a hdmi cable and watch it over the browser. This isn't very great...

Quote:3D is kind of a dead-end in consumer electronics terms. And as there is no consumer source for 3D MVC (which would be output 3D frame packed) there is no reason for nVidia to implement it. 3D frame packed output for gaming (which wouldn't required 3D MVC decode so is a moot point when it comes to 3D movies content) could be a driving force - but as I say, most people think 3D is dead and 4K/UHD is the 'next big thing' that has replaced it.

But don't nvidia and Wetek advertise with Kodi and its compatibility to it? I think Kodi alone is a reason to buy for many customers. So I guess I just have to live with the fact that I cannot rip my 3D BluRays without loosing quality... Waiting for another device will most like not chance anything will it?

If I am willing to waive frame-packed 3D and use another device for Sky Go - what do you guys think is the right box for me? Smile

Thanks a lot!
(2015-11-25, 14:40)Justkidding Wrote: I am just having a hard time to find a device which really works with Sky Go. I think it worked with the FireTV Stick but since the last upgrade of the Sky Go App it doesn't as far as I know.
Do you know if there is any device which can use Sky Go to output it on the TV? At the moment I always have to connect my laptop with a hdmi cable and watch it over the browser. This isn't very great...
Sorry - not much of a Sky Go user so can't really advise. Suspect the new SkyQ system will cause a lot of stuff to be updated though.

Might be worth asking in the Shield thread about Sky Go compatibility there?
Quote:But don't nvidia and Wetek advertise with Kodi and its compatibility to it? I think Kodi alone is a reason to buy for many customers. So I guess I just have to live with the fact that I cannot rip my 3D BluRays without loosing quality... Waiting for another device will most like not chance anything will it?
Yes- but you can run Kodi without 3D. Very few Kodi platforms offer native MVC 3D - the Raspberry Pi is the only Kodi platform with 3D MVC natively implemented at the moment...

Pretty much every platform will do HSBS/HTAB as they are effectively '3D-in-2D' formats.
Quote:Sorry - not much of a Sky Go user so can't really advise. Suspect the new SkyQ system will cause a lot of stuff to be updated though.

Might be worth asking in the Shield thread about Sky Go compatibility there?

Already found a thread about Sky Go on the shield https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic...droid-tv-/

It is not working... AIUI it is because the app blocks the content when it is connected via HDMI.
AFTV Stick only supports trailer and news and no live streams... as I only use it to watch soccer this isn't a solution either Sad

Quote:Yes- but you can run Kodi without 3D. Very few Kodi platforms offer native MVC 3D - the Raspberry Pi is the only Kodi platform with 3D MVC natively implemented at the moment...

Pretty much every platform will do HSBS/HTAB as they are effectively '3D-in-2D' formats.

The funny thing is that at nvidia forum a lot of people are asking for 3D MVC... but I guess they just don't care Wink
Regarding the Shield I read somewhere that the picture qualitiy is not as good as with other devices.
Is this true?
Are all of the mentioned boxes (SATV, Wetek Core, Beebox, Chromebox) able to play HEVC 10bit content smoothly or is none of them?
(2015-11-25, 15:11)Justkidding Wrote: The funny thing is that at nvidia forum a lot of people are asking for 3D MVC... but I guess they just don't care Wink
Regarding the Shield I read somewhere that the picture qualitiy is not as good as with other devices.
Is this true?
Don't have a Shield so have no first person knowledge. However, like most Android platforms (AMLogic are the exception) the Shield doesn't support hardware deinterlacing in Kodi, so if you watch native interlaced content (like TV from TVHeadend, VDR, MythTV servers, interlaced DVDs or Blu-rays etc. like sport or concerts) then you are stuck with a low-quality Bob (which has poor vertical resolution)

Quote:Are all of the mentioned boxes (SATV, Wetek Core, Beebox, Chromebox) able to play HEVC 10bit content smoothly or is none of them?

Chromebox has no HEVC hardware acceleration at all - so any HEVC will depend on CPU. I don't have any HD HEVC content to test with - it's a non-issue for me as I don't have any HEVC sources (I watch DVDs, Blu-rays and broadcast TV - all recorded or ripped myself, or catch-up TV which is H264)

Beebox has hardware 8bit HEVC decoding but not 10bit. 10bit will require software decoding - so the CPU power is then key.

Week Core is, I think, 8 bit HEVC only for hardware, and has a relatively low-power CPU so I doubt it does software HEVC 10 bit in real time.

Shield has hardware capable of 10 bit HEVC decoding. Not sure if it is implemented in Kodi yet.
Quote:Don't have a Shield so have no first person knowledge. However, like most Android platforms (AMLogic are the exception) the Shield doesn't support hardware deinterlacing in Kodi, so if you watch native interlaced content (like TV from TVHeadend, VDR, MythTV servers, interlaced DVDs or Blu-rays etc. like sport or concerts) then you are stuck with a low-quality Bob (which has poor vertical resolution)

So anything with a i-resolution as 720i, 1080i etc. will have a bad picture quality and anything else will have the same quality as any other box?
I guess I have to ask this in the SATV thread as well Smile

Quote:Chromebox has no HEVC hardware acceleration at all - so any HEVC will depend on CPU. I don't have any HD HEVC content to test with - it's a non-issue for me as I don't have any HEVC sources (I watch DVDs, Blu-rays and broadcast TV - all recorded or ripped myself, or catch-up TV which is H264)

Beebox has hardware 8bit HEVC decoding but not 10bit. 10bit will require software decoding - so the CPU power is then key.

Week Core is, I think, 8 bit HEVC only for hardware, and has a relatively low-power CPU so I doubt it does software HEVC 10 bit in real time.

Shield has hardware capable of 10 bit HEVC decoding. Not sure if it is implemented in Kodi yet.

So chromebox and WeTek Core are no-goes as the quality / color difference between hevc 8bit and 10bit is quite significant right? So there are only Asrock Beebox and SATV left.
With the beebox I need the N3150 I guess to be able to software decode HEVC 10bit?
Even if the Hardware decoding of 10bit HEVC is not implemented for the SATV yet the cpu of the SATV should still have enough power to software decode HEVC 10bit doesn't it?
What is the biggest difference between the SATV and the beebox aside from the OS?
No - you are not able to software decode hevc 10 bit 4k ... if you need hevc 10 bit - get an nvidia GTX 950 or later and use Windows.
First decide what functions / features you expect from a system. Then decide for the hardware. Don't waste your money on crap.
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Pick the Right Kodi Box (UPDATED FEB 2015)4.2726