Which silent(ish) device for XBMC Client - RaspberryPi doesnt cut it

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Jon-G Offline
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Location: Guatemala City
Post: #1
Hi all,
Im looking to buy a device to use as a client in the bedroom which will be mounted to the back of the TV (so it has to be silent/quiet) and Im looking for suggestion/details of your experience in doing something similar.

Ive just finished configuring XBMC on my main HTPC which is an all singing and dancing high end windows 8.1 PC and this will be stored in a media cabinet in the living room. Last night I went on to configure and test out the 512 Pi a friend gifted me for my birthday, but even overclocked at 950MHz and running off a USB3.0 disk its still very sluggish when loading up the movie collection from the HTPC (1100+ films and growing). I was using the confluence skin and the Pi is connected via ethernet.

All is not lost with the Pi, I plan to install it in the garden with just a set of speakers and control it with the XBMC app for the iPhone however this still leaves me at a bit of a loss for what system to put in the bedroom.

From what Ive read so far my choices are down to an Ouya or an Odroid-XU but I see that both currently have their problems.

Im running Aeon Nox on the HTPC, I love the interface, and would like to keep it consistent for the system in the bedroom. The HTPC is running MediaPortal as a TV server with XBMC as the client and I want to have live TV available on the bedroom client also. Will we control the client via our telephones so having a remote is already taken care of.

I would like the client to be able to handle DTS passthough via the HDMI cable as the screen in the bedroom has optical out and can handle this so I plan to install the current living room surround sound system in the bedroom one I upgrade.

Thoughts, suggestions and even insults welcome (as long as theyre good ones) Big Grin
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Philmatic Offline
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Post: #2
AppleTV 1st Gen (~$130)
AppleTV 1st Gen with a CrystalHD decoder card supports DTS passthru and 1080p video up to Blu-Ray bitrates (40mbps+). A bare AppleTV will run $80, plus $30 for the CrystalHD decoder. Aeon NOX works pretty decently on the AppleTV provided you disable background Fanart and turn on aggressive dirty regions. I currently have three AppleTV's all connected to a MySQL backend, and I came from a beefy HTPC previously.

Ouya (~$90)
One other option is Ouya, but that has it's own issues (DTS support is currently removed from the official build, although you can sideload a build with it re-enabled). As well as no built-in IR support, but it is cheap and offers other benefits (Emulation and other game support)

HTPC (~$250+)
Your other other option is to purchase an Intel NUC, these are silent-ish, but can be pricey ($250+). These are much much beefier systems that the AppleTV or Ouya, and can run any skin you can throw at it as well as natively support the DTS-HD/TrueHD audio codecs in a pass-thru fashion. These are top of the line in the HTPC world.

Check out the Hardware for XBMC forums for further discussion and ideas.

Living Room: AppleTV 1st Gen / Broadcom CrystalHD / XBMC 12.3 Frodo on Crystalbuntu 2.0
Bedroom: AppleTV 1st Gen / Broadcom CrystalHD / XBMC 12.3 Frodo on Crystalbuntu 2.0
Home Office: AppleTV 1st Gen / Broadcom CrystalHD / XBMC 12.3 Frodo on Crystalbuntu 2.0
Windows Home Server: Intel Core i3-2100T / 8GB Ram / 32TB / MySQL / StableBit DrivePool on WHS 2011
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natethomas Offline
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Post: #3
There's also the Pivos XIOS, which is the main embedded platform our devs use.

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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Katch Offline
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Post: #4
I would not call the Intel NUC or the Ouya silent...both sound like a laptop.

I would steer clear of the Odroid - XBMC build are just not ready for every day use yet - it's a shame because they are powerful little systems, just a real lack of driver support and sources from Samsung...

The Ouya with its quad core Tegra 3 will feel much much snappier than the Raspberry Pi and you get the added bonus of being able to play some indie games and retro emulator stuff. A lot of our core devs (Koying and Davilia) are also playing with the Ouya a lot so we are seeing good development for it.

The Pivos will feel as sluggish as the Pi - I'd say you'd never know which you were using if it was hidden from sight they are that similar in performance.

Best option by far would be an Intel NUC (Celeron or i3) but also the most pricey. I've just picked up an i3 - probably spent £180 GBP setting it up in total but it is leaps and bounds ahead of all the ARM stuff.

If you're planing to hook up a 5.1 and use passthough audio etc the NUC will probably be your best option - it will be better supported and have less bugs than any of the Android/ARM boxes. If you do go for it just make sure you buy a WiFi card that OpenELEC supports (even if you end up using XBMC on Windows or OSX - it's nice to have the options).

XBMC Running on:
- Intel i5 750 & ATI 7770
- Intel NUC i3 Thunderbolt Edition
- Nexus 4 & Nexus 7
- Pivos XIOS DS M1
- Odroid-U2
- Ouya

If my post was helpful please click the +Reputation button.
(This post was last modified: 2013-12-19 11:20 by Katch.)
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zag Offline
Team-XBMC Member
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Post: #5
I have a silent NUC haswell now from TranquilPC

HTPC - XBMC Gotham, OpenELEC, Harmony Smart Remote, Intel Haswell NUC, 40gb intel SSD, Core i3, 4gb RAM
Storage - 2 x qnap 8tb 419p+ NAS
Display LG 46" LCD + Casio Bulbless projector [PICS]
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Jon-G Offline
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Joined: Nov 2013
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Location: Guatemala City
Post: #6
Thanks for all the feedback guys it has been a great help in firming up my decision. I plumped for an OUYA and a Scythe mini kaze fan after reading that the SBMC version addresses the pass through issues.

Looking forward to getting it now and getting it set up to my liking!!

Thanks again!
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