For local files: Media PC vs Streaming device vs (well, not) Streaming services

k-pad

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Hi all,
Recently set up noob here, and I got a jolt when a subscribed service just wouldn't play the full screen.
Deets here:

As the above thread shows, it is quite a common thing, apparently...

Otherwise, so far, I have been very happy with streaming services, without a device, when it comes to their new content and the reproduction. So, mostly, will keep the subscriptions going for a while.

But, I do have a lot of local files that are more valuable than the day-to-day content. For these, which will be a totally immersive watch, will a separate media PC work better or a streaming device like the Shield?

More details:
1. Plex as server,
2. Will soon hardwire the internet connection to the TV,
3. Current Comp specs: 16B RAM, i7-8550U, W10, and
4. No gaming requirement.
 
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VRavichandar

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I use only 'local video files' ;). No streaming devices/services. My Samsung serif TV has some of these built-in apps. Tried them for sometime, but was not too comfortable with lack of control/options like you have outlined.
For me, it requires only some minor effort to 'acquire' the content! So my media consumption nerve centre is my Acer Nitro5 laptop. Windows OS with pot player for granular controls including playing at varying speeds, resizing content to fit the screen, finding & syncing subtitles where needed. I use vlc when no adjustments are required.
Specs: 8th gen i5, 16G ram, 500g ssd for OS and 4k files. 1T hdd for storage. nvidia 1050ti grafx.
It is good enough for even heavily encoded 4k rips. Earlier, Laptop HDMI - AVR - TV with audio pass through enabled in my media players. At present without an avr so laptop hdmi to tv for video and laptop headphone out to vintage stereo amp for audio.
 

Decadent_Spectre

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Hi all,
Recently set up noob here, and I got a jolt when a subscribed service just wouldn't play the full screen.
Deets here:

As the above thread shows, it is quite a common thing, apparently...

Otherwise, so far, I have been very happy with streaming services, without a device, when it comes to their new content and the reproduction. So, mostly, will keep the subscriptions going for a while.

But, I do have a lot of local files that are more valuable than the day-to-day content. For these, which will be a totally immersive watch, will a separate media PC work better or a streaming device like the Shield?

More details:
1. Plex as server,
2. Will soon hardwire the internet connection to the TV,
3. Current Comp specs: 16B RAM, i7-8550U, W10, and
4. No gaming requirement.

Hi, I've only used PC sources for as long as I can remember. I usually don't watch DTH or streaming content unless my main system is not functioning. I'd recommend a PC over streaming, particularly since streaming has very limited content while if you use a PC you can download a lot of content that is not available for streaming. I'm also not a fan of streaming devices or other media players. In the old days in the heyday of the popcorn hour I had one and always preferred a PC.

I should note I am a music first person and as for immersive, I think that is more related to screen size.
 

k-pad

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Thanks Ravi.
I use only 'local video files' ;). No streaming devices/services. My Samsung serif TV has some of these built-in apps. Tried them for sometime, but was not too comfortable with lack of control/options like you have outlined.
Agree, I find this the most galling.
For me, it requires only some minor effort to 'acquire' the content! So my media consumption nerve centre is my Acer Nitro5 laptop. Windows OS with pot player for granular controls including playing at varying speeds, resizing content to fit the screen, finding & syncing subtitles where needed. I use vlc when no adjustments are required.
Specs: 8th gen i5, 16G ram, 500g ssd for OS and 4k files. 1T hdd for storage. nvidia 1050ti grafx.
Do you cast it to TV from Daum/VLC?
It is good enough for even heavily encoded 4k rips. Earlier, Laptop HDMI - AVR - TV with audio pass through enabled in my media players. At present without an avr so laptop hdmi to tv for video and laptop headphone out to vintage stereo amp for audio.
So, if I understood right, the thing to try would be:
Local files playing on PC > HDMI to AVR > to TV?
 

k-pad

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Hi, I've only used PC sources for as long as I can remember. I usually don't watch DTH or streaming content unless my main system is not functioning. I'd recommend a PC over streaming, particularly since streaming has very limited content while if you use a PC you can download a lot of content that is not available for streaming. I'm also not a fan of streaming devices or other media players. In the old days in the heyday of the popcorn hour I had one and always preferred a PC.
Agree. Thanks, Dec.
Veering more and more towards PC as hub and wiring it to the TV.
as for immersive, I think that is more related to screen size.
Yes, yes. Have found kind of a sweet distance, after which I enountered the issue of the streamer zoom-cropping out some 20 per cent of the picture!
By immersive, here I meant as-shot-by the maker formats, which i have on local files.
 

Amarendra

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Hi all,
Recently set up noob here, and I got a jolt when a subscribed service just wouldn't play the full screen.
Deets here:

As the above thread shows, it is quite a common thing, apparently...

Otherwise, so far, I have been very happy with streaming services, without a device, when it comes to their new content and the reproduction. So, mostly, will keep the subscriptions going for a while.

But, I do have a lot of local files that are more valuable than the day-to-day content. For these, which will be a totally immersive watch, will a separate media PC work better or a streaming device like the Shield?

More details:
1. Plex as server,
2. Will soon hardwire the internet connection to the TV,
3. Current Comp specs: 16B RAM, i7-8550U, W10, and
4. No gaming requirement.
After grappling with the same issue I recently transferred all local content to a Synology 4tb +4 tb NAS. Installed Plex server on the NAS. I can now access these files on my tv or projector by using plex. You can see if your TV allows Plex installation or else use a firetv stick or similar to access.
 

Decadent_Spectre

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Agree. Thanks, Dec.
Veering more and more towards PC as hub and wiring it to the TV.

Yes, yes. Have found kind of a sweet distance, after which I enountered the issue of the streamer zoom-cropping out some 20 per cent of the picture!
By immersive, here I meant as-shot-by the maker formats, which i have on local files.

Go for it, you won't be sorry.

As you mention these files have the proper aspect ratio and you can find (in some cases) various aspect ratios of a single movie. Does the streaming service also crop the image when viewed on PC? Any idea why it does so?

For streaming (as you have discovered) you are at the mercy of what content they have available, in the quality they have available as well as the "extras" such as the aspect ratio, the film version, the audio and subtitle tracks etc.
 

MaSh

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I used to be a PC only guy till a few years ago. However now, I use a fire tv and a fire stick for my streaming sources in two setups respectively. Local content is on a self powered hdd connected to my oppo 103d.

MaSh
 

k-pad

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Does the streaming service also crop the image when viewed on PC?
Ya, even on the browser.
The real bummer was when I noticed both YT and Lionsgate cropping it the same way.
(For others who might wonder what the bruhaha is all about:
In the second Sicario movie, there is a fleeting shot inside a helicopter.
The cockpit looks truly three-dimensional and places the viewer inside it in widescreen.
On both YT and Lionsgate, it looks like a flat two-dimensional thing and there is no sense of immersion whatsoever)

Any idea why it does so?
From what I have read, it's got to do with standardisation of home media, where every service provider just auto-crops it to fit-fill 16:9 screens.
Apparently, even physical disc releases suffer from the same problem.
 

k-pad

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I used to be a PC only guy till a few years ago. However now, I use a fire tv and a fire stick for my streaming sources in two setups respectively. Local content is on a self powered hdd connected to my oppo 103d.

MaSh
Thanks, Mash.
1. What advantages do you think streaming devices provide?
2. I was looking at a shield pro myself, but wanted to explore after tinkering with my pc-based set up a bit.

You'd be a good person to help explain any advantages a player might give for local files.
Regards

After grappling with the same issue I recently transferred all local content to a Synology 4tb +4 tb NAS. Installed Plex server on the NAS. I can now access these files on my tv or projector by using plex. You can see if your TV allows Plex installation or else use a firetv stick or similar to access.
Best!

Just one doubt:
Is your NAS hardwired to the TV, or does Plex play your files on your TV/PJ over WiFi?

Thanks, Amarbhai.
 

MaSh

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Thanks, Mash.
1. What advantages do you think streaming devices provide?
2. I was looking at a shield pro myself, but wanted to explore after tinkering with my pc-based set up a bit.

You'd be a good person to help explain any advantages a player might give for local files.
Regards
1. Convenience. Ease of Use, Tons and tons of content across various providers. I no longer have to spend hours hunting for movies and then waiting for them to be downloaded. I want to watch movie now, family sitting with me, switch on fire stick or fire tv and we have a movie or a series selected in minutes. Compared to a PC, no more switching it on, working with window's tantrums, investigating why is it not bitstreaming today all of a sudden,etc. With a fire tv, it's always best available video quality in full multi channel audio. No tantrums. Family prefers it too, my 10 year old can navigate to her stuff with ease.

2. Absolutely go for the shield. Streaming is the future,be it video or audio. How long do you want to tinker with VPN, torrents, download quality issues and what not. Yes you can stream from a PC too. A fire tv is just a lot more convenient. To add to that power saved in running a PC as a htpc, where in the pc consumes more power due to a bigger smps to power the graphics card etc.

For me convenience and ease of use Matter big time. PC might give better quality, however I am willing to sacrifice that little bit for convenience. Amazon fire tv/stick are not that bad. The audio and video quality via my oppo 103d is absolutely brilliant for my tastes. I have my hdd hooked to the oppo too.

All that said I still have my pc and use it to tinker with my raspberry Pi, run Lightroom,etc. Will I go back to using it as my primary source of content, Nope.

Hope I could clear some of your doubts.

MaSh
 

VRavichandar

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Thanks Ravi.

Agree, I find this the most galling.
Do you cast it to TV from Daum/VLC?
Plays through the hdmi hardwired connection on TV - no need to cast - if I understood your question correctly
So, if I understood right, the thing to try would be:
Local files playing on PC > HDMI to AVR > to TV?
Yes

I agree with @MaSh on the ease of finding content and playing it through streaming devices, especially if you are 'first day first show' kind of person. But to stream all your favorite content, you will end up with multiple subscriptions and deal with their vagaries. I personally found browsing through content on Amazon prime a pain unless you know the exact title. Some content is not available for 'your country' - 'buildy' anti-nationals :p

If your internet starts to act up when streaming you will be staring at the gorgeous 'loading - please wait' visual, dropped frames / stuttering, freezing etc! This happens less and less with high-speed internet and reliable connections, but it is not unheard of. The days of unlimited broadband data may not last!

Downloading does require some effort but once you have identified an appropriate source, wait for their release, you can get notified and content is just a few clicks away and happens in the background!

My windows runs on NVME SSD - boots in 20-30 secs. Pot player first time setup requires about 5 minutes. Once done right, I have very rarely faced any av issues - codecs/bit-streaming/stuttering etc. A good graphics card does help.

Mouse is the sole control needed. Left click toggles between play and pause, scroll wheel increases / decreases volume, double click makes it full screen etc! No fumbling with remote / groping in the dark (of the button kind!) Once fully set, disable auto updates of the player - you have months of trouble free viewing. I very much need the granular speed controls of pot-player. Frankly, I do not know if the current versions of fire stick apps have these multi-speed (4x 8x 16x!) options. I can play annoying scenes/songs/dialogues at a fast clip and focus on content I like! We all have only so much free time!
 

Amarendra

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Best!

Just one doubt:
Is your NAS hardwired to the TV, or does Plex play your files on your TV/PJ over WiFi?

Thanks, Amarbhai.
All devices play on Wi-Fi. The NAS is hard wired to one of the mesh routers. It’s got a technology called link aggregation where it aggregates 2 lan connections. So two lan cables go from the mesh router / extender to the synology

Best!

Just one doubt:
Is your NAS hardwired to the TV, or does Plex play your files on your TV/PJ over WiFi?

Thanks, Amarbhai.
In fact after buying a NAS with a good processor I find that I can do with low priced streaming devices since the transcoding is being done by NAS. So last few months my Nvidia shield is just lying around since I can easily manage with a firetv stick for tv and a google chromecast for the projector. Both gadgets are sub 5k in pricing terms. I also picked up additional 4 GB RAM for the NAS but haven’t felt the need to install it yet.
 

mail2sumanth

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If you put everything together. It will be a great system.

HTPC gives flexibility for people who don’t mind spending time getting ready for watching HQ content.
Unless you use some video correction softwares or players and having beefy video cards, you really wouldn’t require a PC these days.

Get a good NAS or a server grade PC which can handle lot of storage. NAS devices can also download torrents directly without a need for PC.

Install Kodi or Plex for local content streaming. Connect everything to AVR via Shield.

Now you have everything consolidated and casted from one box. For family and kids it’s another app on shield. So it is convenient for everyone.
 

k-pad

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1. Convenience. Ease of Use, Tons and tons of content across various providers. I no longer have to spend hours hunting for movies and then waiting for them to be downloaded. I want to watch movie now, family sitting with me, switch on fire stick or fire tv and we have a movie or a series selected in minutes. Compared to a PC, no more switching it on, working with window's tantrums, investigating why is it not bitstreaming today all of a sudden,etc. With a fire tv, it's always best available video quality in full multi channel audio. No tantrums. Family prefers it too, my 10 year old can navigate to her stuff with ease.
Agree with the ease of use bit, Mash.
But, as I said, my problems started when I realised many streamers are not faithful to the original content.
Outside of their own UHD, DV content, they just don't seem to care about VQ and destroy a lot of the experience.
They even manage to mangle the audio tracks sometimes.
Hence, was looking at the media pc/+ shield pro route.
2. Absolutely go for the shield. Streaming is the future,be it video or audio. How long do you want to tinker with VPN, torrents, download quality issues and what not. Yes you can stream from a PC too. A fire tv is just a lot more convenient. To add to that power saved in running a PC as a htpc, where in the pc consumes more power due to a bigger smps to power the graphics card etc.
Hope I could clear some of your doubts.
MaSh
Purely for local files, what advantages would a Shield bring, if I hardwire my PC to the AVR/TV?
Right now, I play local files via Plex over WiFi.
The only drawback I find in this is the PC starts running really hot and the CPU noise increases the room's noise floor and becomes a problem during quiet passages in a movie.
Thanks for all the inputs.
Regards
 

k-pad

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All devices play on Wi-Fi. The NAS is hard wired to one of the mesh routers. It’s got a technology called link aggregation where it aggregates 2 lan connections. So two lan cables go from the mesh router / extender to the synology
Wow! this sounds cool. Could you share the product link?

In fact after buying a NAS with a good processor I find that I can do with low priced streaming devices since the transcoding is being done by NAS. So last few months my Nvidia shield is just lying around since I can easily manage with a firetv stick for tv and a google chromecast for the projector. Both gadgets are sub 5k in pricing terms. I also picked up additional 4 GB RAM for the NAS but haven’t felt the need to install it yet.
I think, so far, from what everyone's said, NAS seems like the best long-term ideal solution.

In my current set up, i find two problems:
1. CPU running hot and noisy, as I told Mash above, and
2. TV buffering when playing high-bitrate 4K films over WiFi on plex. This, I hope will be sorted if I hardwire the ethernet to the TV with an USB adaptor.

So, from what you all have said, I will do the following steps:
1. Hardwire the PC to the AVR+TV. And hardwire the internet.
2. Get a NAS, and
3. Last, if I still find something missing, maybe the next iteration of the Shield.

Thanks a ton, Amar bhai.
 

k-pad

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If you put everything together. It will be a great system.
HTPC gives flexibility for people who don’t mind spending time getting ready for watching HQ content.
Absolutely, and I really don't mind the initial set up time.
NAS devices can also download torrents directly without a need for PC.
Didn't know this! that's a huge positive.
Install Kodi or Plex for local content streaming. Connect everything to AVR via Shield.
currently running plex the PC as the server and the plex app on tv for playback over wifi.
What are the advantages of adding the Shield Pro in the chain?

Thanks a lot, Sumanth.
 

Amarendra

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Wow! this sounds cool. Could you share the product link?


I think, so far, from what everyone's said, NAS seems like the best long-term ideal solution.

In my current set up, i find two problems:
1. CPU running hot and noisy, as I told Mash above, and
2. TV buffering when playing high-bitrate 4K films over WiFi on plex. This, I hope will be sorted if I hardwire the ethernet to the TV with an USB adaptor.

So, from what you all have said, I will do the following steps:
1. Hardwire the PC to the AVR+TV. And hardwire the internet.
2. Get a NAS, and
3. Last, if I still find something missing, maybe the next iteration of the Shield.

Thanks a ton, Amar bhai.
I went for the Synology NAS 220+. From lamington road you will be able to pick it for about 27-28k. It's more powerful than the 220j model.
 

Amarendra

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Wow! this sounds cool. Could you share the product link?


I think, so far, from what everyone's said, NAS seems like the best long-term ideal solution.

In my current set up, i find two problems:
1. CPU running hot and noisy, as I told Mash above, and
2. TV buffering when playing high-bitrate 4K films over WiFi on plex. This, I hope will be sorted if I hardwire the ethernet to the TV with an USB adaptor.

So, from what you all have said, I will do the following steps:
1. Hardwire the PC to the AVR+TV. And hardwire the internet.
2. Get a NAS, and
3. Last, if I still find something missing, maybe the next iteration of the Shield.

Thanks a ton, Amar bhai.
Another positive about the NAS is that once the software is set up it will start taking back ups of your photos or videos from your iOS or Android phone. So you no longer have to pay apple or Google for photo storage space. I went with 2 X 4TB Seagate iron wolf nas drives and connected in RAID set up. So even if one drive fails the other has the back up. Try a cheaper but reputed streamer such as firetv or Google before spending money on Nvidia.
 
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