Help: Cheap and Reliable XBMC for the Grandparents

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Thebluevoice Offline
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Post: #16
Hiya,

I've got one of those aliexpress 1037u machines - works great! Fanless and quick. One problem - it doesn't suspend but fairly low power usage so just leave it on all the time.
Running openelec off a 16gb msata and it flies.

You'll need an usb ir receiver for it though

Seems pretty reliable. How about getting it all setup just as required then making a backup in openelec, they could restore if problems that cannot be resolved by off/on?
Also give them a usb stick with openelec installer on it.

This way, in the event of something going seriously wrong, you can easily talk them through a complete system rebuild (re-install openelec from the stick then restore config from backup) over the phone?


(2013-12-18 13:32)MicroLabrat Wrote:  Hi All,

I’ve been an XBMC user for quite some time on a custom HTPC and after the Grandparents witnessed it on their last visit I have been charged with supplying them with something similar.

Distance will prohibit regular assistance from me, so I need hardware which runs XBMC reliably.

It will mainly be used for streaming through youtube and other add ons (via wifi), and perhaps playing content from an external hardrive (via usb).

The budget is $150-$250 (AUD). The cheaper the better, as they are Pensioners and don’t have a lot of money.

Thus far I have considered an OUYA, however I did read that its wireless was a times insufficient and there were also HDMI handshaking issues.
It’s extremely important to have a system that will work reliably over a long period of time, and which won’t be disrupted by updates to XBMC or OUYA’s operating system.
Provided this would work effectively it is the cheaper of the two options I have examined, being $150 AUD (when bought with a keyboard).

The other option I have been considering is an Intel Celeron 1037U based system, with OPENELEC installed. The benefits of having an operating system designed expressly for XBMC, I thought might help with reliability. Also the possibility of creating a recovery partition which could be booted in the event of any software issues, restoring the box to the state in which I gave it to them is appealing from a tech support point of view.
Once all the bits have been added together for that it comes to about $240 AUD. But I am a little hesitant of buying something from AliExpress.

Link: Celeron Option

Having never had personal experience with either type of device, I thought I would ask here.

Any help, would be much appreciated.

Thanks! Big Grin
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olebrumm71 Offline
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Post: #17
Hi @Thebluevoice,

What kind of usb ir receiver are you using?

I ordered one of these 1037u machines from Aliexpress about a week ago, so it would be nice to hear what works for you.

I am also planning to use a 16GB mSATA SSD - also ordered on AliExpress (and which I am still waiting for to arrive):

16GB mSATA SSD

I am also anxious to know more about the performance of the device.

Currently I am mostly using XBMC on a Pivos XIOS DS - running the Linux XBMC.
I also have a jailbroken ATV2 running XBMC Eden.
And I have a 1st gen. Raspberry Pi which I use mainly for experimenting with Raspbmc, XBian and OpenElec.
(In addition to other kind of media players like the Popcorn Hour A100, 2nd gen. WD TV Live, Netgear NeoTV-550 )

So, do you have any experience using XBMC on other media players, and if yes, how is the performance of the 1037u device in comparison?

(2013-12-20 12:38)Thebluevoice Wrote:  Hiya,

I've got one of those aliexpress 1037u machines - works great! Fanless and quick. One problem - it doesn't suspend but fairly low power usage so just leave it on all the time.
Running openelec off a 16gb msata and it flies.

You'll need an usb ir receiver for it though

Seems pretty reliable. How about getting it all setup just as required then making a backup in openelec, they could restore if problems that cannot be resolved by off/on?
Also give them a usb stick with openelec installer on it.

This way, in the event of something going seriously wrong, you can easily talk them through a complete system rebuild (re-install openelec from the stick then restore config from backup) over the phone?
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MicroLabrat Offline
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Post: #18
I've talked them into buying the AliExpress box, so if you could let me know how it works out before I order it, that would be great!
Thanks!

(2013-12-21 01:10)olebrumm71 Wrote:  Hi @Thebluevoice,

What kind of usb ir receiver are you using?

I ordered one of these 1037u machines from Aliexpress about a week ago, so it would be nice to hear what works for you.

I am also planning to use a 16GB mSATA SSD - also ordered on AliExpress (and which I am still waiting for to arrive):

16GB mSATA SSD

I am also anxious to know more about the performance of the device.

Currently I am mostly using XBMC on a Pivos XIOS DS - running the Linux XBMC.
I also have a jailbroken ATV2 running XBMC Eden.
And I have a 1st gen. Raspberry Pi which I use mainly for experimenting with Raspbmc, XBian and OpenElec.
(In addition to other kind of media players like the Popcorn Hour A100, 2nd gen. WD TV Live, Netgear NeoTV-550 )

So, do you have any experience using XBMC on other media players, and if yes, how is the performance of the 1037u device in comparison?

(2013-12-20 12:38)Thebluevoice Wrote:  Hiya,

I've got one of those aliexpress 1037u machines - works great! Fanless and quick. One problem - it doesn't suspend but fairly low power usage so just leave it on all the time.
Running openelec off a 16gb msata and it flies.

You'll need an usb ir receiver for it though

Seems pretty reliable. How about getting it all setup just as required then making a backup in openelec, they could restore if problems that cannot be resolved by off/on?
Also give them a usb stick with openelec installer on it.

This way, in the event of something going seriously wrong, you can easily talk them through a complete system rebuild (re-install openelec from the stick then restore config from backup) over the phone?
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Thebluevoice Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 45
Joined: May 2012
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Post: #19
[quote='olebrumm71' pid='1578654' dateline='1387581027']
Hi @Thebluevoice,

What kind of usb ir receiver are you using?

I ordered one of these 1037u machines from Aliexpress about a week ago, so it would be nice to hear what works for you.

I am also planning to use a 16GB mSATA SSD - also ordered on AliExpress (and which I am still waiting for to arrive):

16GB mSATA SSD

I am also anxious to know more about the performance of the device.

Currently I am mostly using XBMC on a Pivos XIOS DS - running the Linux XBMC.
I also have a jailbroken ATV2 running XBMC Eden.
And I have a 1st gen. Raspberry Pi which I use mainly for experimenting with Raspbmc, XBian and OpenElec.
(In addition to other kind of media players like the Popcorn Hour A100, 2nd gen. WD TV Live, Netgear NeoTV-550 )

So, do you have any experience using XBMC on other media players, and if yes, how is the performance of the 1037u device in comparison?

Hiya,

I'm using a few other machines including an old amd 4600 based machine, an acer revo rl80, an old amd fusion machine e350.. The aliexpress is the fastest of the lot!
And it plays all the audio formats etc.
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protocol77 Offline
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Joined: Jun 2011
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Post: #20
i am also in australia and i have found for me is to buy a ex-gov pc off ebay and then buy a basic video card like a Nvidia Geforce 210 and then install openelec when i built one for my mother it cost like $150 altogether they are not the prettiest things but you don't really spend much time looking at the box my mother has been running her old HP DC7800 with a GeForce 210 and openelec for about 1 year now and no issues well worth the money
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0ldfart Offline
Junior Member
Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2011
Reputation: 0
Post: #21
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Black-2-4GHz-...aec&_uhb=1

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/USB-PC-Laptop...1e2&_uhb=1
(2013-12-21 01:10)olebrumm71 Wrote:  Hi @Thebluevoice,

What kind of usb ir receiver are you using?

I ordered one of these 1037u machines from Aliexpress about a week ago, so it would be nice to hear what works for you.

I am also planning to use a 16GB mSATA SSD - also ordered on AliExpress (and which I am still waiting for to arrive):

16GB mSATA SSD

I am also anxious to know more about the performance of the device.

Currently I am mostly using XBMC on a Pivos XIOS DS - running the Linux XBMC.
I also have a jailbroken ATV2 running XBMC Eden.
And I have a 1st gen. Raspberry Pi which I use mainly for experimenting with Raspbmc, XBian and OpenElec.
(In addition to other kind of media players like the Popcorn Hour A100, 2nd gen. WD TV Live, Netgear NeoTV-550 )

So, do you have any experience using XBMC on other media players, and if yes, how is the performance of the 1037u device in comparison?

Yeah pretty good actually. I have owned a lot of boxes over the years and this is definitely capable and fun to use

I have run a number of it receivers on it. These are my favourite, because they are small, cheap, reliable,m and have full mouse mode


These also work with openelec and may be a better option, as they only have one button (simpler for the oldies)


Getting back to the thread topic,

A good way to do this would be to set up openelec on a USB stick for them. Once everything is configured, grab a copy of gparted and copy the partitions from the stick to a second stick. That way, if they ever have any software problems, all they need to do ismpull out the old stick and whack in the new one. Ready to go again straight away Smile
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-26 00:24 by 0ldfart.)
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