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WD TV Live replacement -- need 4K + HDR

6,824 1,894 November 14, 2017 at 05:06 PM
We have WD TV Live media players at two of our three TVs. I love how the interface is slick and it plays nearly any format we throw at it.

I'm looking for something similar but with HEVC / H.265 4K and HDR capability. I know that Roku Ultra (amongst others) can do this, but I want something with at LEAST one USB port (perhaps two) and if my Roku 4 is any indication, it's finicky with certain codecs and the interface is pretty lackluster. I don't need any "smart" functions -- just a local media player via USB hard drives and/or NAS.

Anything you've used that you could recommend?

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#2
Popcorn

I store all my media on a NAS, so I don't really care about USB. I went with the Roku Ultra, but will be following this thread.

If you like Kodi, you can try one of the many inexpensive Android-based players out there.
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Quote from swechsler
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Popcorn

I store all my media on a NAS, so I don't really care about USB. I went with the Roku Ultra, but will be following this thread.

If you like Kodi, you can try one of the many inexpensive Android-based players out there.
I don't have a NAS yet, but I've got a bunch of drives in case I go that route. The thing that is keeping me from doing it is that I'd be using a powerline adapter to transfer the data back and forth and I'm nervous that using that much bandwidth could hose my electrical wiring. Perhaps I'm a bit paranoid.

For what it's worth, I have a Roku 4 (or so I thought). Tried some HDR H.265 4K files on it using the local media playback and the HDR was present... so either the 4 (non-Ultra) supports USB, or I have an Ultra. I just wish the local media player interface was more appealing (i.e. poster art, etc.).
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Quote from TheEdge
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I don't have a NAS yet, but I've got a bunch of drives in case I go that route. The thing that is keeping me from doing it is that I'd be using a powerline adapter to transfer the data back and forth and I'm nervous that using that much bandwidth could hose my electrical wiring. Perhaps I'm a bit paranoid.
No, this is not a concern at all. Wire does not "wear out". The only thing that would damage your wiring would be to send more current through it than it's rated for, and that's why you have a circuit breaker panel. Powerline networking doesn't send any additional current through the wires, it just adds additional frequencies above 3khz (and the law of conservation of energy would prevent additional current at any rate, since the power to add those frequencies come from the same wire that the signals are being added to). As 3 khz is a couple of orders of magnitude higher than the power transmission frequency of 60hz, there is no interference with any appliances that depend on that frequency.
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Last edited by swechsler November 15, 2017 at 05:29 AM.
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As noted already, powerline adapters do not add current\effect the wiring. However, they are notoriously problematic in that they will work well in some homes in certain areas of the home and not in other areas. I have seen them literally work well in one outlet of a room and then have awful speeds in another outlet in the same room. Noise on the line can have a great deal of an effect on their bandwidth (like when you run a blender or exercise machine for ex).

They may work fine for you, but if you really want the best speed and to do it right, then it is worth it to have ethernet cable runs done. An electrician will charge roughly 100 dollars or so for a typical run unless there are issues with fire stops or going through multiple floors. Well worth paying the $100 to have gigabit speed and never have to futz with wireless or powerline adapter issues. My 2 cents.
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That's a good point; however, if you have coax cable run to all your TVs already, MOCA [wikipedia.org] may be a good alternative. I have a couple of Verizon Quantum routers I picked up on ebay for about $50 each, and they handle gigabit ethernet and MoCA 2.0. Even though their routing capabilities are lacking compared to a router made by a mainstream brand, they make great, reliable access points and MOCA bridges/adapters (even if you don't have Verizon internet).
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Last edited by swechsler November 15, 2017 at 01:43 PM.
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That's a good point; however, if you have coax cable run to all your TVs already, MOCA [wikipedia.org] may be a good alternative. I have a couple of Verizon Quantum routers I picked up on ebay for about $50 each, and they handle gigabit ethernet and MoCA 2.0. Even though their routing capabilities are lacking compared to a router made by a mainstream brand, they make great, reliable access points and MOCA bridges/adapters (even if you don't have Verizon internet).

This is true, although the Moca adapters are incompatible with some Satellite providers like DTV because they use the same frequency range. DTV has its own form of it (DECA adapters) which work fine though more at 200 mbps speeds, but they are incompatible with many of the regular cable providers as a result. This will become an issue if you ever decide to switch providers because of better offers. The Moca\Deca adapters are far more reliable though than powerline and basically turn your cable\coax drops into ethernet drops.
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DECA adapters are pretty cheap on eBay, so if the OP is currently using satellite and decides to switch to cable TV/internet, there won't be much of a financial loss. Their speed is more than fast enough for any streaming he's likely to do.
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If the MOCA adapters are used as a "point to point" solution, then it won't matter what DTV, etc needs, if the OP has them as a provider as it's 1 coax cable and 2 adapters completely isolated from the rest of the OP's coaxial cabling.
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Quote from YanksIn2009
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As noted already, powerline adapters do not add current\effect the wiring. However, they are notoriously problematic in that they will work well in some homes in certain areas of the home and not in other areas. I have seen them literally work well in one outlet of a room and then have awful speeds in another outlet in the same room. Noise on the line can have a great deal of an effect on their bandwidth (like when you run a blender or exercise machine for ex).

They may work fine for you, but if you really want the best speed and to do it right, then it is worth it to have ethernet cable runs done. An electrician will charge roughly 100 dollars or so for a typical run unless there are issues with fire stops or going through multiple floors. Well worth paying the $100 to have gigabit speed and never have to futz with wireless or powerline adapter issues. My 2 cents.
RE: the fear of burning down my house/ruining the circuitry, etc. was based on, evidently, FUD in some post that I previously saw where somebody said it's not worth hosing your home's wiring to be using powerline nonstop.

RE: ethernet runs... the multiple floors thing is where it would get me. My router and cable modem are on the second floor and I do most of my movie viewing in my basement man cave.

By $100, do you mean per outlet or total? I might ponder putting the cable modem and router on the main level and then running ethernet up / down one floor.

I'm familiar with MoCA, etc. but... I've actually had really good success with my current powerline adapters. I'm getting 101 Mbps from my office to my man cave and 240+ from my office to my livingroom setup AND my bedroom setup.
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If that's the case then there's really no reason not to consider a NAS. I've got a couple I'm playing with, but my main one is a repurposed Lenovo desktop running Open Media Vault [google.com]. It idles at only 15 watts (the O/S drive is a 120GB SSD I had lying around), but it uses an external 4 drive RAID 5 array that connects to the PC using USB 3, whose idle power I haven't yet checked. I'm able to max out my 1GB connection between PC and NAS when reading or writing to it, and it streams 4K videos to my Roku just fine. I'm building a second one using the same type of PC, but with internal drives (the case isn't really designed for it, but I determined that if I remove the DVD drive and all the brackets, there's enough room for a second fan and 4 3.5" drives). Since it only has 4 SATA ports the O/S will have to run off a USB drive, but that's not a big deal. Open Media Vault (and probably all freeware NASes) supports software RAID.
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Last edited by swechsler November 15, 2017 at 04:47 PM.
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Quote from TheEdge
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RE: the fear of burning down my house/ruining the circuitry, etc. was based on, evidently, FUD in some post that I previously saw where somebody said it's not worth hosing your home's wiring to be using powerline nonstop.

RE: ethernet runs... the multiple floors thing is where it would get me. My router and cable modem are on the second floor and I do most of my movie viewing in my basement man cave.

By $100, do you mean per outlet or total? I might ponder putting the cable modem and router on the main level and then running ethernet up / down one floor.

I'm familiar with MoCA, etc. but... I've actually had really good success with my current powerline adapters. I'm getting 101 Mbps from my office to my man cave and 240+ from my office to my livingroom setup AND my bedroom setup.
Yeah two floors with fire stops can be a pita. I had the same problem and basically had the electrician run lines from the basement to the attic via the outside of the house using outdoor rated cable. The outside cable can either be mounted to the siding or hidden in the corner siding channel fairly inexpensively. It is a lot cheaper than going through fire stops and floors and repairing\repainting the sheet rock afterwards.

Most electricians will charge somewhere around $100 to do one run assuming it is just your standard fair and not up through multiple floors and fire stops (which will cost more). A run usually consists of a point to point cable(s) setup ...and that can be multiple cables in a bundle (like 2 or 3 ethernet wires). All they do is tie the cables together before running them\fishing them through walls so it really does not cost them significantly more time or effort to run 3 cables than one between the same two points. Most electricians will charge more to do the keystone jack punching, line testing and wall plates for you as that does take time, but you can do those yourself with a few fairly inexpensive tools and the keystone jacks and wall plates themselves are cheap stuff available via Monoprice.

If powerline is working fine for you now, then leave well enough alone imo. As I noted, they can be somewhat problematic at times and susceptible to noise and large speed differences even in the same room but if they are getting the job done then no reason to change until you need to.
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Yeah two floors with fire stops can be a pita. I had the same problem and basically had the electrician run lines from the basement to the attic via the outside of the house using outdoor rated cable. The outside cable can either be mounted to the siding or hidden in the corner siding channel fairly inexpensively. It is a lot cheaper than going through fire stops and floors and repairing\repainting the sheet rock afterwards.
I've been in a similar situation. Because my house was brick, I didn't want to drill any additional holes (I'm actually against running any wires outside any house, unless it's unavoidable). Luckily I had closets on both the first and second floors that were one above the other. I ran a 2" conduit from the basement to the attic via the corner of the closets, then ran multiple runs of RG-6 and Cat 5E through the conduit. From there I ran drops to each room. The firestops aren't that big a deal if you buy a long flex drill bit set (they have them at Home Depot) - you use the bits to drill through the top plate and the fire stop into the wall section where your outlet will be installed, then attach a small harness to the point of the bit (it has a hole for this purpose), attach your wire(s) to the harness, and pull the bit back up, using it as a fish tape. Or, if you want to run the wires down from the attic, you attach a fish tape to the harness, pull it back up, attach your wires to the fish tape and pull down again. Works beautifully.
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Last edited by swechsler November 16, 2017 at 06:28 AM.
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I've been in a similar situation. Because my house was brick, I didn't want to drill any additional holes (I'm actually against running any wires outside any house, unless it's unavoidable). Luckily I had closets on both the first and second floors that were one above the other. I ran a 2" conduit from the basement to the attic via the corner of the closets, then ran multiple runs of RG-6 and Cat 5E through the conduit. From there I ran drops to each room. The firestops aren't that big a deal if you buy a long flex drill bit set (they have them at Home Depot) - you use the bits to drill through the top plate and the fire stop into the wall section where your outlet will be installed, then attach a small harness to the point of the bit (it has a hole for this purpose), attach your wire(s) to the harness, and pull the bit back up, using it as a fish tape. Or, if you want to run the wires down from the attic, you attach a fish tape to the harness, pull it back up, attach your wires to the fish tape and pull down again. Works beautifully.

Mine was basically unavoidable unless I wanted to go through a lot of pain and expense to go through two floors. I did not have the option you noted as nothing really lines up for me between the two floors and the basement is finished as well now. Even if it did, that type of work would be well beyond what I would feel comfortable doing myself and I would have had to pay to have someone do it anyway.
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Popcorn

I store all my media on a NAS, so I don't really care about USB. I went with the Roku Ultra, but will be following this thread.

If you like Kodi, you can try one of the many inexpensive Android-based players out there.
Thoughts on an NVIDIA Shield TV? I don't really need any of the smart streaming options, just need it for local media playback (either via connected HDD or through our INTRANET via NAS or a server or the like).

It'll be high bitrate 1080P or 4K MKVs or perhaps ISOs.

I see Best Buy has 'em on sale.
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