iBox: It came, I saw, it conquered!

Wharfedale Diamond 12.1 & 12.2 Speakers

frankmehta

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May 23, 2010
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173
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Mumbai, India
I wanted to share this excellent media player solution created by my close friend Ajay Kamath which serves the purpose for me for all my media needs outside of OTT. Its a tiny but powerful piece of hardware that he has very greatly customised using Coreelec and Kodi to create an intuitive interface and easy to use out-of-the-box kind of 4K HDR media player that gives a run for the money to all the expensive branded boxes out there.

It plays all file types both video and audio, mp4, mkv, flac, wav etc and also disc images like Blu Ray/ DVD/ CD .iso & .img etc. It can decode and output all the surround formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

It has a very simple and easy to use interface so adding your media collection to the libraries and generating metadata rich with posters, backdrops, ratings etc is fully automated and as simple as a couple of clicks. Even playback options are excellent with the player automatically detecting and choosing the preferred audio language track in multi audio titles as well as having a pre configured single button subtitle downloader. Music plays fullscreen with beautiful album and artist artwork.

Since its based on Kodi its fully customisable and every imaginable trick or mod under the sun that applies to kodi can be installed on this. But Ajay does not advise this unless you really know what you are doing. In my case I did manage to jack things up by fiddling around with a few unknown settings and applications but thankfully the box has a backup saved to which one can restore it in case something goes wrong.

With lossless blu ray rips, the picture quality and sound quality is AT PAR with discs. Its not just impossible to tell the difference, I can confidently say there is no difference. In fact a very unique feature that Ajay pointed out is that the box does something called "frame rate matching" which adjusts the refresh rate of the display to match that of the content being played. Toggling this on an off when playing movie content indicates that this makes a HUGE difference in playback smoothness especially in scenes that involve motion.

Music playback is also extremely high quality. Whether they are my flacs or wavs or even dolby atmos music tracks, the sound quality has just blown me away. Other than HDMI for audio (and video obviously) there is also an optical output and an analog audio 3.5 jack. So all the connections are convered.

The box acts as an Airplay music receiver and a Spotify connect sink too, so I didnt need a separate apple tv or airport express to stream music from my apple devices to my music system when I had my older Onkyo amp. Plus it has a built in bluetooth transmitter to send music to headphones or bluetooth speakers wirelessly.

Strangely YouTube on this box works without any ads. There are no ads whatsoever and forget using a premium account, I am not even signed into my YouTube account.

The Wifi on the box causes huge 4K blu ray rips to struggle but it works flawlessly when using the gigabit LAN port. I am able to stream 90 gig files off my network server absolutely effortlessly.

The iBox can also play cloud media storage. So I tried it out by configuring a Onedrive account and guess what, I can stream all my movies, music and photos from a cloud service just like its playing locally. The potential of this boggles the mind now with cloud storage getting cheaper, like storing all my content safely on a cloud service for sharing with my family or friends at different geographical locations. Though never tried, it seems I can even add these cloud sources to the library and thus have neatly scanned and organised collections of movies, tv shows or music playing entirely from the cloud! No physical storage anymore at all.

Please note that there is no actual content being provided by the box or AK. You got to bring the content youself! There are various addons which one can install and access various types of streaming video and audio content from the kodi addons store.

The remote supplied with the box is the only thing I can fault. The buttons are not as responsive as I would have liked them to be and typing in search strings with it using the on screen keyboard is a pain but this is hardly a deal breaker since the box supports both HDMI CEC and phone remote app so my TV remote works with it like a charm and in my other room where I have a projector and no CEC, I just use the remote app.

I feel its quite outstanding what the box does for its modest price tag of 15k (I got mine for 12k). AK confirms to have spent a huge amount of time behind getting everything to work as flawlessly as it does and the results do speak for itself. What also helps is that he has a good understanding of media players and servers in general and is very helpful with queries. menu 1.jpg menu 2.jpg movies library view.jpg music view.jpg music view 2.jpg spotify connect.jpg remote app.jpg remote app 2.jpg remote app 3.jpg
 

Yogesh

Well-Known Member
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May 1, 2009
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1,293
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113
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No Where Near to where I want to be yet...
I wanted to share this excellent media player solution created by my close friend Ajay Kamath which serves the purpose for me for all my media needs outside of OTT. Its a tiny but powerful piece of hardware that he has very greatly customised using Coreelec and Kodi to create an intuitive interface and easy to use out-of-the-box kind of 4K HDR media player that gives a run for the money to all the expensive branded boxes out there.

It plays all file types both video and audio, mp4, mkv, flac, wav etc and also disc images like Blu Ray/ DVD/ CD .iso & .img etc. It can decode and output all the surround formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.

It has a very simple and easy to use interface so adding your media collection to the libraries and generating metadata rich with posters, backdrops, ratings etc is fully automated and as simple as a couple of clicks. Even playback options are excellent with the player automatically detecting and choosing the preferred audio language track in multi audio titles as well as having a pre configured single button subtitle downloader. Music plays fullscreen with beautiful album and artist artwork.

Since its based on Kodi its fully customisable and every imaginable trick or mod under the sun that applies to kodi can be installed on this. But Ajay does not advise this unless you really know what you are doing. In my case I did manage to jack things up by fiddling around with a few unknown settings and applications but thankfully the box has a backup saved to which one can restore it in case something goes wrong.

With lossless blu ray rips, the picture quality and sound quality is AT PAR with discs. Its not just impossible to tell the difference, I can confidently say there is no difference. In fact a very unique feature that Ajay pointed out is that the box does something called "frame rate matching" which adjusts the refresh rate of the display to match that of the content being played. Toggling this on an off when playing movie content indicates that this makes a HUGE difference in playback smoothness especially in scenes that involve motion.

Music playback is also extremely high quality. Whether they are my flacs or wavs or even dolby atmos music tracks, the sound quality has just blown me away. Other than HDMI for audio (and video obviously) there is also an optical output and an analog audio 3.5 jack. So all the connections are convered.

The box acts as an Airplay music receiver and a Spotify connect sink too, so I didnt need a separate apple tv or airport express to stream music from my apple devices to my music system when I had my older Onkyo amp. Plus it has a built in bluetooth transmitter to send music to headphones or bluetooth speakers wirelessly.

Strangely YouTube on this box works without any ads. There are no ads whatsoever and forget using a premium account, I am not even signed into my YouTube account.

The Wifi on the box causes huge 4K blu ray rips to struggle but it works flawlessly when using the gigabit LAN port. I am able to stream 90 gig files off my network server absolutely effortlessly.

The iBox can also play cloud media storage. So I tried it out by configuring a Onedrive account and guess what, I can stream all my movies, music and photos from a cloud service just like its playing locally. The potential of this boggles the mind now with cloud storage getting cheaper, like storing all my content safely on a cloud service for sharing with my family or friends at different geographical locations. Though never tried, it seems I can even add these cloud sources to the library and thus have neatly scanned and organised collections of movies, tv shows or music playing entirely from the cloud! No physical storage anymore at all.

Please note that there is no actual content being provided by the box or AK. You got to bring the content youself! There are various addons which one can install and access various types of streaming video and audio content from the kodi addons store.

The remote supplied with the box is the only thing I can fault. The buttons are not as responsive as I would have liked them to be and typing in search strings with it using the on screen keyboard is a pain but this is hardly a deal breaker since the box supports both HDMI CEC and phone remote app so my TV remote works with it like a charm and in my other room where I have a projector and no CEC, I just use the remote app.

I feel its quite outstanding what the box does for its modest price tag of 15k (I got mine for 12k). AK confirms to have spent a huge amount of time behind getting everything to work as flawlessly as it does and the results do speak for itself. What also helps is that he has a good understanding of media players and servers in general and is very helpful with queries. View attachment 61653 View attachment 61654 View attachment 61655 View attachment 61656 View attachment 61657 View attachment 61659 View attachment 61660 View attachment 61661 View attachment 61662
Some pics and config info will be welcome!
 

Ajay Kamath

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Aug 3, 2006
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Bombay
Interesting, Can you post pictures of the device it self ? how does it compare to Nvidia Shield Pro?
The Nvidia is a great device for all your OTT streaming and you can install Kodi on it and do things other hardware wont. In pure playback terms, Nvidia will support Dolby Vision, this will not.

This box on the other hand only gives you Kodi in an appliance form to use as a media player out of the box. This is not android. There are many customizations, tweaks and automations added to ensure that the job of working as a media player is as simple as clicking on a folder and let Kodi take over by scanning and neatly organising your media, and presenting it to you in the form as shown above in Frank's screenshots.

Use cases include having one or multiples of these across the house, playing content from a locally connected hard disk or mapped to media shares on a central server and so on. This is the basic purpose of the unit. As he has also mentioned, it can also be configured to use cloud services to stream content from.

But because it is "powered by Kodi" and has the underlying, trimmed down linux operating system, the possibilities of running other apps, services are practically endless.
 

amrutmhatre90

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Sep 25, 2020
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Mumbai
To be honest, I feel Nvidia Shield Pro does a better job. It offers much more things at slightly higher price of 20k or less.

If this was priced under 10k, this would be a very good device.

I maybe wrong, others might find this device very useful.
 

buzzaro

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Jun 12, 2020
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Ahmedabad
How is this different from a cheap 3-4K android box with CoreELEC? Is the only real difference is that everything comes pre-loaded and you don't have to tinker it? If so, then 15K is too much for pre-loading Kodi/CoreELEC on a generic Android TV box.
 

Ajay Kamath

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Aug 3, 2006
Messages
81
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Location
Bombay
How is this different from a cheap 3-4K android box with CoreELEC? Is the only real difference is that everything comes pre-loaded and you don't have to tinker it? If so, then 15K is too much for pre-loading Kodi/CoreELEC on a generic Android TV box.
Cant comment about a cheap box. There are several that have fake RAM, untested WiFi, claims giga lan but will only do mbit and many such things. This is assured to work on all counts. The price Frank has quoted is actually a CI price which includes installation, configuration and service for a completely noob client wanting a fully configured and ready to go setup where he merely has to sit with the remote in his hand. Often a media player system installation involves things like adding all shares, even some media management, network mounts, setting a static IP, configuring the remote app, setting the right resolution and audio settings and many other things that may seem trivial to mosty advanced users here. A fair price for someone who knows their way around a network media player would be 6-7k.
 
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Ajay Kamath

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Location
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To be honest, I feel Nvidia Shield Pro does a better job. It offers much more things at slightly higher price of 20k or less.

If this was priced under 10k, this would be a very good device.

I maybe wrong, others might find this device very useful.
For an entirely different purpose, like for streaming services and if you're a pro at configuring Kodi yourself then ..Yes, hands down. No contest there at all. But for someone wanting a fully functional 4K HDR Kodi media player ready to work out of the box, maybe this would make a little more sense. And like I said in my above post the price Frank is quoting includes extras. Not just the hardware.
 

Ajay Kamath

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Aug 3, 2006
Messages
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Bombay
What are the extras? What is the hardware cost? Can you elaborate further.
The media player itself will be 7k. Its ready to use. No configuration needed. If you know your way arond Kodi you can make whatever changes you wish to.

Extras depend on your setup. Any network shares, media management etc that need to be set up and integration with audio/ video systems which will involve our technicians visiting a site physically to set up.
 

dev-d

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Dec 1, 2020
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ਪੰਜਾਬ (Punjab), India
Hi @Ajay Kamath. Can your box help me to achieve this.
I have movies mkv remux files and made Blu-ray. (Recorded/burned). Can I attach external bd-rom on Mac or windows and watch movies mkv (playing on BD-rom) on vlc or something like kodi on your box (local network). I tried on Plex, but it's not possible I think. And kodi, I'm totally noob. Is it possible?. Thanks
 

Ajay Kamath

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Aug 3, 2006
Messages
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Bombay
Hi @Ajay Kamath. Can your box help me to achieve this.
I have movies mkv remux files and made Blu-ray. (Recorded/burned). Can I attach external bd-rom on Mac or windows and watch movies mkv (playing on BD-rom) on vlc or something like kodi on your box (local network). I tried on Plex, but it's not possible I think. And kodi, I'm totally noob. Is it possible?. Thanks
Hi you can surely play BD remux files. I'm not sure about the discs themselves. But if you removed the encryption I think it should play. Btw you could connect the hard disk with the remuxes or a BD ROM drive directly to the ibox using USB. No need to connect to another mac or PC.
 

dev-d

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Are you really sure that you can attach computer external bd-rom with Android box? If you have tested it already, will mkv remux files will play on kodi or vlc or you have made some adjustments/creation of your own. That will be great. Thanks for replying
 

Ajay Kamath

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Aug 3, 2006
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Location
Bombay
Are you really sure that you can attach computer external bd-rom with Android box? If you have tested it already, will mkv remux files will play on kodi or vlc or you have made some adjustments/creation of your own. That will be great. Thanks for replying
It’s not an android box. It uses a Linux environment. And yes it surely recognises most BD rom drives and can play discs if copyright protection is removed or circumvented.

Mkv remuxes are supported perfectly well. There is no problem. They play directly within Kodi.
 
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