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Ninjahedge
10-01-2012, 11:16 AM
Hey peeps,

Just trying to figure a good alternative to cable TV or FiOS. We would still like to keep our internet connection, but paying $40 for phone is ridiculous, and we really do not need to follow the typical TV schedule.

But we do not know what services, in combination (Hulu, Netflix, etc) would be a good alternative to the broadcast subscription.

Also, if you know of a good way to get a cheap HDTV tuner to replace the local stations that would not come in with the subscription services... THAT would be a good help as well....


TIA!

dragonash
10-01-2012, 11:29 AM
well, for starters if you are not using a smart tv or some android usb device that plugs into the TV, I recommend getting xbmc for your windows laptop/desktop that you will most likely have plugged into your TV.

They have LOTS of add-ons to make youtube, hulu and other TV viewing easy.
The big benefit of xbmc is mostly the interface. Beats the hell out of windows using a high resolution.

You can even hook up a smartphone view your wifi network to control it as a remote.

Hope that at least starts you on the path you are looking for

Ninjahedge
10-01-2012, 01:54 PM
Partially.

I may need to find a smaller unit (SSD boot, something that starts up as fast as the TV itself), but I have an HTPC hooked to it now (fan is noisy though....).

I have not had much success with XBMC yet. I have not tried too hard either. Biggest problem usually comes in trying to get it to recognize my media library, but that is another matter.


But the root question comes back to this: What services are best? If we are going to start spending $10 a month on this-or-that, what would provide the best selection of shows and whatnot to fill the bill?

shifty
10-01-2012, 03:18 PM
Get a SmartTV that has a built-in ATSC tuner. Then just watch all general services HD OTA and use the apps for OTT content.

Ninjahedge
10-01-2012, 04:39 PM
Interesting.

Recommendations on that, or on any external device that would do something similar? (WDTV?)

Also, have any of you used any of the services out there? I have only used Hulu on Free for things like The Daily Show, and we had Netflix for a while, but the "Silverlight" processor banded and was rather irritating to watch (as well as shows like Dexter being taken off by Showtime).

What would be good would be the OTA (just for the local news, etc) and a service that would allow most of the other programs on demand. But most of what we read about seems to only give a smattering.....

dragonash
10-01-2012, 05:04 PM
see, this is rather tricky.
as you know, there is not one big service that is a la carte with everything you need.
You might just be using multiple free services.

But even the local channels like NBC offer HD full eps on their website.
I think the best way would be to stick with a HTPC since you wont be blocked by websites or be limited due to hardware or OS.

A lot of the services also have free trials. So I would try a bunch.
Also, I'm going to push xbmc again since you DONT have to install it as an OS, but can run it like a normal program.

Ninjahedge
10-01-2012, 05:32 PM
thanks guys.

I guess we have to try it out for a month or so on the laptop or wherever to get an idea if we want to just cancel the TV for the service.

Shift originally suggested XBMC a LONG time ago I believe, so 2 posting for it....

Thanks again!

shifty
10-01-2012, 11:48 PM
No point in dicking around with XBMC these days. You can get a Raspberry Pi for $35, add an SD card, install RaspBMC (so easy I did it in 5mins) and you have an HDMI-enabled media center with USB ports and all that jazz. Fledgling, yet it already has a ton of support.

dragonash
10-02-2012, 08:43 AM
No point in dicking around with XBMC these days. You can get a Raspberry Pi for $35, add an SD card, install RaspBMC (so easy I did it in 5mins) and you have an HDMI-enabled media center with USB ports and all that jazz. Fledgling, yet it already has a ton of support.

but how is the playback for things like anime with subtitles? Various containers and stuff?

Figured xbmc on windows would be the safest bet for now in terms of compatibility.

Ninjahedge
10-02-2012, 01:25 PM
RPi looks interesting. the only limiting factor being the connectability.

My current layout downstairs is on a big-old Plasma that I got about 7 years ago. That being the case, a blade for HDMI would cost me a good $300, and then I would have to find a way to rout the sound to the stereo unit separately.

This also seems to have an audio-out jack, but it is only stereo.

So to get this $25 piece of hardware to integrate properly, I either need a new TV and stereo, or a bunch of converters (and switch) to convert the HDMI to 5.1+VGA and to split the VGA to share with my HTPC.....

I think the device is great, and I am tempted to buy one just for the hell of it, but I do not see how I can easily adapt it w/o much pain and/or cash.

shifty
10-02-2012, 04:02 PM
@DA, quality is fine. The CPU in the R-Pi is plenty beefy. Go to Youtube and lookup for video footage, there's plenty out there. I have four of them sitting on my desk here at work. Me and some of the guys are tinkering around with building a small IP+OTA STB out of them.

@NH, I guess if you need to do all that ... this unit has SPDIF out (coax) and standard headphone... run out SPDIF and let your head unit process accordingly for 5.1 or 7.1. Adapters to go HDMI->VGA (or with a step in between) can't possibly be that much if you go to a discount shop online like www.monoprice.com - and really, $300 will get you a 42" HDTV these days... you should have a SmartTV at this point, like one of the offerings from LG or Samsung. I just got a 47" edgeless from LG @ $850 from ECTV. Added a $90 HD USB camera and now we're using the LG SmartTV's Skype app to vidconf with the parents during the week. It may be time to upgrade, dude.

shifty
10-02-2012, 04:09 PM
PS - build all the adapters you need, under $10: http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10419

Monoprice is king.

And www.EastCoastTvs.com is king on cheap-priced TVs. You won't get hit with tax bing in NJ, and they're around the corner from you .... literally.

dragonash
10-03-2012, 01:49 PM
@DA, quality is fine. The CPU in the R-Pi is plenty beefy. Go to Youtube and lookup for video footage, there's plenty out there. I have four of them sitting on my desk here at work. Me and some of the guys are tinkering around with building a small IP+OTA STB out of them.



hmm... from what i read, its actually running linux.
So if its running a linux version of xbmc, there shouldnt be any compatibility issues with video containers or even subtitles, correct?

edit:

doesnt seem easy to get as their own website doesnt have any purchasing options.
Then I am reading about power supply issues and that it is really only in beta. It's TOO much of a DIY thing for me right now

shifty
10-03-2012, 10:58 PM
Yes, it runs linux. No there shouldn't be any compatibility issues, it's still got all options of XBMC at the core, it can play pretty much anything, huge support.

What's not easy to get? It's sold at Element14, the link is on their homepage. Here: http://www.element14.com/community/groups/raspberry-pi

Sounds like you are reading extremely outdated info...

Power supply issues? What are you talking about? I used a charger for a Blackberry laying around my house. The only adapters I found that won't work are Apple aftermarket chargers. Requires 500ma or higher adapter, I think. There are billions out there.

And Beta? It's at RC3 or RC4 already - same place Windows 7 was when the majority of us here were using it. Release candidate (RC) is basically a gold edition, candidate for market.

I kid you not, it took me 5 minutes to get up and running on a high speed (22/5) connection. All I needed was an SD card and a reader. Literally...This is how easy it is:

- Download the 3-file installer here and extract the files: http://www.raspbmc.com/wiki/user/windows-installation/

- Insert your SD card to your computer. Run the exe installer file which will write the XBMC installation files to the SD card. A video showing how freaking stupidly easy it is to do can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJMvXTfmu9Y

- Put the SD card in the R-Pi. Attach a network cable to supply internet (critical step). Attach an HDMI cable to it and a monitor. Lastly, attach a micro-USB power cable (you can run power off your computer USB port).

- The R-Pi will start and you can watch the pretty installer do all the work. It will reboot. This is how fast that happens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW7gxjI78No (note: ignore his commentary on resolutions, the guy makes some inaccurate comments)

You now have an R-Pi running XBMC (aka RaspBMC), and all you had to do was run a file that writes some crap to an SD card, plug that SD card and some wires up to a board, and it does the rest of the work.

Seriously - I'm not oversimplifying it. I was blown away at the beginning at the absence of literature and explanation. I understood in less than 3 minutes why - a blind monkey could do this in under 10 minutes, and I know you're slightly more intelligent and capable than a blind monkey.

shifty
10-03-2012, 11:06 PM
Note that the 2nd Youtube link shows the interface and video performance in HD for that little board smaller than a 3x5 card. Watch the video starting @7m30s.

dragonash
10-04-2012, 09:51 AM
Probably was outdated info.
I didnt think stuff from May was THAT bad, but I guess it has gone through quite a few updates since then.

I had read that a lot of the phone adapters, while stating 700ma, could not hold it continuously and this caused slow down.

I also watched youtube vids of video playback and installation. Thats what got me interested. I got deterred from the power "issues" (and i use the word loosely based on your testimony)

Arent there 2 versions of the Rpi?
I guess I would want the beefier one for full HD streaming?

shifty
10-04-2012, 10:17 AM
2 version of R-Pi. $25 and $35. Only the $35 version is available. You won't want to use the $25 version, it's more geared towards educational/budget stuff. The $35 version is more geared towards geek/tech/starup/etc.

dragonash
10-04-2012, 10:37 AM
just ordered it.
hopefully my old HTC thunderbolt charger works with it.

The charger they offer for the R-Pi seems to have the same specs.
htc charger -
input: 100-240V ~ 200mA 50-60Hz
Output: 5V - 1A

(was never too well versed with volts and amps and stuff)


http://www.newark.com/emerson-network-power/dch5-050us/ac-dc-conv-external-plug-in-1-o/dp/39T2392?in_merch=true&MER=ACC_N_L5_SemiconductorsToolsAndAccessories_Non e

Ninjahedge
10-04-2012, 11:04 AM
Cases here:

http://www.element14.com/community/message/59814#59814/l/re-raspberry-pi-model-b-cases

Look about 4 posts down for the "North America" links.

$7.50 I think?

dragonash
10-04-2012, 11:51 AM
eh... i might just put on double sided tape and slap it on the back of my TV lol

i wonder if my TV usb outputs enough to power it...
Both are usb 2.0, but one is for service.

I wonder if the service one has the power needed. I'm still hunting down for the spec manual

Ninjahedge
10-04-2012, 12:08 PM
Main page has the link to it.

I think they said standard USB can power it...

dragonash
10-04-2012, 12:31 PM
http://www.raspberrypi.org/quick-start-guide

"Micro USB power supply – make sure you use a good quality one, capable of providing at least 700mA at 5V. Do not attempt to power your Raspberry Pi by plugging it into a computer or a hub."

shifty
10-04-2012, 10:22 PM
The first thing I powered up mine with was an iPhone charger. Fail - had weird issues on boot where it wouldn't get an IP. I then slapped it on the USB port of my Dell E-series Latitude dock and it came up fine. Ran it at work for days playing music with no problems that way, then brought it home using a BlackBerry-branded charger, moved to my entertainment center which had a Moto/Droid charger wall-wart and it still works fine.

So, yeah, there may be some issues.... it worked with the USB port on my docking station (not direct to the laptop, but how different, really?) so ... dunno. Grain of salt, my friend.

dragonash
10-05-2012, 12:38 PM
The first thing I powered up mine with was an iPhone charger. Fail - had weird issues on boot where it wouldn't get an IP. I then slapped it on the USB port of my Dell E-series Latitude dock and it came up fine. Ran it at work for days playing music with no problems that way, then brought it home using a BlackBerry-branded charger, moved to my entertainment center which had a Moto/Droid charger wall-wart and it still works fine.

So, yeah, there may be some issues.... it worked with the USB port on my docking station (not direct to the laptop, but how different, really?) so ... dunno. Grain of salt, my friend.

well, then you can see my confusion since the website itself says something else.
Oh well, only one way to find out! :)

And I bought a 32 gig sdxc flash card a month or so ago. I hope it can somewhat take advantage of those speeds!

=A!M=OakWind
10-05-2012, 08:18 PM
I've been reading that it has problems with a few video formats. My WD media player has the same problem, although it is an older version and the newer versions have more processing power. Both the WD and RaspberryPi seem to have problems with large MKV files.

http://www.memetic.org/raspberry-pi-xbmc-and-dts-audio/

When I came to try some content nothing would play smoothly at 1080p and only about half of the 720p content I tried would play smoothly. It turns out that the ARM CPU just doesn’t have enough grunt to decode the DTS audio found on almost all 1080p and most 720p content. Almost XviD content I tried played fine, one or two had some hiccuping and one or two just refused to play, I think this is probably related to the encoding features used.
^Also contains some OC'ing info^

For $35 it's still the better alternative.

And, since I already have it pulled up I'll post the processor comparison for kicks:

RaspberryPi:
-CPU – 700MHz
-GPU – 250MHz

WD TV (1st Gen):
-CPU - 300 MHz

WD TV (2nd Gen):
-CPU - 500 MHz CPU

WD TV Mini:
-CPU - 2.0 or 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2

WD TV Live (1st gen), WD TV Live Plus, and WD TV Live Hub:
-CPU - 500 MHz CPU
-CPU - 333 MHz
-DSP - 333 MHz

WD TV Live Streaming:
-CPU - 700mhz

dragonash
10-07-2012, 02:48 PM
Shifty - can you confirm since you have one?

Mine is on backorder

shifty
10-07-2012, 09:30 PM
Confirm what? I have four. I'm not even using two, they're just in the office for coworkers to tinker with, since it's industry-related.

dragonash
10-07-2012, 11:40 PM
confirm what oak said about mvk files in 720 and 1080p formats.
Does the R-Pi struggle with it?

shifty
10-08-2012, 03:20 PM
I've never experienced that problem, but with a quick cursory search, there's been a solution around for a little while now, it seems: http://openelec.tv/forum/68-audio/43659-how-to-play-dts-movies-with-raspberry-pi-without-stutters--enabling-passthrough

dragonash
10-15-2012, 04:16 PM
FYI- all future model B's will now have 512 ram.

All orders on backorder (i believe) will be getting the upgrade.

Price stays the same
http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2180

shifty
10-16-2012, 10:09 PM
Awesome! Now I have 4 boards with less ;)

dragonash
10-24-2012, 05:13 PM
I kid you not, it took me 5 minutes to get up and running on a high speed (22/5) connection. All I needed was an SD card and a reader. Literally...This is how easy it is:

- Download the 3-file installer here and extract the files: http://www.raspbmc.com/wiki/user/windows-installation/

- Insert your SD card to your computer. Run the exe installer file which will write the XBMC installation files to the SD card. A video showing how freaking stupidly easy it is to do can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJMvXTfmu9Y

- Put the SD card in the R-Pi. Attach a network cable to supply internet (critical step). Attach an HDMI cable to it and a monitor. Lastly, attach a micro-USB power cable (you can run power off your computer USB port).

- The R-Pi will start and you can watch the pretty installer do all the work. It will reboot. This is how fast that happens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EW7gxjI78No (note: ignore his commentary on resolutions, the guy makes some inaccurate comments)

You now have an R-Pi running XBMC (aka RaspBMC), and all you had to do was run a file that writes some crap to an SD card, plug that SD card and some wires up to a board, and it does the rest of the work.

Seriously - I'm not oversimplifying it. I was blown away at the beginning at the absence of literature and explanation. I understood in less than 3 minutes why - a blind monkey could do this in under 10 minutes, and I know you're slightly more intelligent and capable than a blind monkey.

45 min later... nothing.
from what i see, it doesnt look like the new installer (looks a bit different from the picture) seems to be writing to either my sdcard or a usb drive.

I plug in the sdcard, nothing shows on screen and the red light on the pi stays on

After the card is written to, what do the contents look like?
Mine is just blank


edit:
weirdest f'in thing. It definitely was NOT writing anything to either the sd card or the usb drive.
It worked on 2 different computers though

shifty
10-24-2012, 10:24 PM
So, is it working now?

dragonash
10-25-2012, 08:29 AM
So, is it working now?

yup.

after is finally imaged the sdcard, it installed and updated.
Still working on a bit of tweaking. Lots of people are complaining about the video dropping for 1 sec at random and I'm having the same issue. So I just downloaded a new nightly and tweaked the video settings a bit. Still testing it out.

Also, the official xbmc android remote is broke (or at the very least, needs updating), so i had to find a 3rd party one that works.

Coolest thing though, I had no idea what CEC was. I *was* able to control, albeit limited, xbmc with my tv remote! I think it broke after the nightly though lol

CEC is a nice wife friendly alternative

Let me ask you, since there is no true poweroff button, do you leave it plugged in 24/7?

I'm not sure if xbmc has some sort of idle mode, but i know there is a screen saver setting. Not sure if its the same in the xbmc world

shifty
10-25-2012, 04:50 PM
I leave mine plugged in 24/7. Seriously. I have been doing that since I was actually running it on the XBox ... 10 years ago? I haven't had any video dropping issues, so I'm kinda bummed that I told you to get one and you're having issues. It's been pretty flawess for us here at work with everything we've done so far.

dragonash
10-25-2012, 08:55 PM
I leave mine plugged in 24/7. Seriously. I have been doing that since I was actually running it on the XBox ... 10 years ago? I haven't had any video dropping issues, so I'm kinda bummed that I told you to get one and you're having issues. It's been pretty flawess for us here at work with everything we've done so far.

well, they arent anything major.
After the inital setup hiccup (ironically, 3 more people posted about the same non-write problems i had yesterday) everything is fine.

I tweaked some video settings and just watched a full ep os dexter in 720p. No blinking!

So far im loving it and for only $45

I was asking about keeping it on in terms of its lifespan. It looks so small and fragile that you think it would conk out.
But now that i think about it, my phone is on 24/7. So I probably shouldnt worry lol

shifty
10-25-2012, 09:22 PM
Yeah, less moving parts, less crap = more longevity.

dragonash
11-03-2012, 03:30 PM
this thing rocks.

by luck, i found an 850 mA motorola power source.

So far, my movies are working. Prometheus was a great test.
Right now im looking for addons, but not really finding anything "super"

But it does its job!

shifty
11-06-2012, 11:35 AM
Check this out - planning on making one for work. One of my buddies here at work makes arcade controllers and has a cocktail table at home without a brain. http://hackaday.com/2012/11/04/turning-the-raspberry-pi-into-a-cocktail-mame-coffee-table/

Ninjahedge
11-08-2012, 01:36 PM
That looks like a sweet gaming room/den kind of eye-catcher.

The only thing you need to make sure is that it is EASY TO REPLACE THE WORKING PARTS. The worst thing we had with classic joysticks was one sore loser smacking it and ruining it.

The only other suggestion would be to find a way to have a 4-corner "game show" arrangement. A 1 player arcade table is fine, but sometimes you want to get as many people as possible playing.

This is a versatile little board for the people who know-how!

shifty
11-12-2012, 03:48 PM
I'm pretty sure that there are enough PIOs on the R-Pi that you could do a 4-seater cocktail. I've seen them in arcades before for games like (IIRC) Gauntlet, and they're a blast. For each two buttons and one joystick you need (again IIRC) one PIO per button and either four or eight per joystick (I can't remember if there are 4 contacts for U/D/L/R and diagonals add another four, or if going diagonal simply bridges PIO pins to make a diagonal mov't). So ... each player requires a 1P button, A, B, joystick....

Ninjahedge
11-13-2012, 10:44 AM
I think it is a 4 point shift.

If I remember right, the original came out WAY before things like Nintendo and the like were even out, and they came in as 4 points..... (again, I may be wrong).

But having 4 player run-arounds at a party is ALWAYS better than the latest 4ppl FPS on one screen things. And top-down makes it so that you can sit-around rather than all on one side (orientation).

What about the games like block-out (or blaster, or whatever they called it). 4 player paddle/dial control would be interesting.... Maybe just a port for additional input on each face of the pedestal.....




Back to the original. How difficult is it to break an HDMI port signal into different formats? I know that you can convert HDMI to DVI with an adapter... and I know there are HDMI to VGA adapters as welll (although I think they are only because the DVI has a few analog pins incorporated into the mix). I tried going HDME->DVI->VGA and it did not work (vid card).

My concern is simple. Until I get a new big-screen (the Plasma is still working fine... knock on wood) I do not have any true digital. Just composite and VGA...... Maybe that is not a concern. I could use this little bugger for the bedroom screen (do not have yet)...

*Sporty*
12-26-2012, 07:29 PM
Are you going for ease of use (i.e. significant other doesn't want to d*** around with it)? Are you averse to "grey" areas of media acquisition? I've got an AppleTV jailbroken to run XBMC with a plugin for IceFilms & SouthParkStudios :D (can't live without Game of Thrones, Real Time with Bill Maher, Walking Dead & American Horror Story).

Usually I just 'usenet' what I want and my unlocked ATV w/xbmc can read the mkv off my comp's harddrive (yes, I'm still running a Mac :eyeroll:).

I've heard the latest Roku is pretty nifty as well.

Netflix irritates me since you've got to wait for months+ for current tv shows/movies to become available.

*HuluPlus has no CBS. Most studios will not allow Netflix to stream the latest releases, but their mail-in catalog is much bigger.

lilith
01-03-2013, 02:35 PM
Has anyone tried "letmewatchthis" or channel1 to watch tv or movies. I've heard they're pretty good....



I've heard the latest Roku is pretty nifty as well.

Netflix irritates me since you've got to wait for months+ for current tv shows/movies to become available.

*HuluPlus has no CBS. Most studios will not allow Netflix to stream the latest releases, but their mail-in catalog is much bigger.

=A!M=OakWind
01-07-2013, 12:11 AM
What are you guys using for a remote control? I'm guessing Bluetooth or wifi adapter + smartphone (I don't own a smartphone). Anyone run across an infrared sensor for a IR remote?

I just ordered 2 to play with.

dragonash
01-09-2013, 04:06 PM
What are you guys using for a remote control? I'm guessing Bluetooth or wifi adapter + smartphone (I don't own a smartphone). Anyone run across an infrared sensor for a IR remote?

I just ordered 2 to play with.

XBMC supports CEC (although its buggy with some tv's)

Basically, if your TV supports CEC, you can use your TV remote to control xbmc because the signals are being sent through via the HDMI cable.

I however use either my phone or tablet. You just have to be on the same network for that to work.

shifty
03-25-2013, 09:30 PM
FYI: http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/3571