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Smart TV or cheap media center PC?

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#1
This is what I want to accomplish but I dont know the best way to go about it as Ive never owned or messed with a Smart TV.

I want to be able to be either in my room or my living room and stream movies that I have off my NAS to my tv. Can I accomplish this with just a smart tv? Will the smart tv even recognize a device such as a NAS on the network? Or would I be better off getting like a small media center PC and using it?

The NAS im using is a WDMyCloudEX4.

Thanks!
 
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#2
If it is DLNA then it should. However I would personally go with a media PC. Much more versatile.
 
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#3
Or find a cheap used PS3. I have mine setup to stream videos off my main rig.
 

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#4
If your NAS could run PLEX, a Roku 2/3 or Roku TV would be a great way to go. What I've done in my house and makes streaming effortless. I run a TCL Roku TV that I got for pretty cheap for the family TV and in my den, I have a Roku 2 hooked up to the Samsung. Works excellent. I run PLEX on my VM 2012R2 file server as a service, works excellently.

There's other good options too...I just haven't been a fan of most SmartTV's as usually performance and/or apps kinda suck or are limited depending on the vendor. In that case, if you run something more basic like DLNA, you can use a console, I believe Roku still works with DLNA and can outperform most smart TV's...I'd rather get a stupid TV + Roku any day after the experiences I've had with Vizio, Samsung and Sharp smart TV's.

+1 to a cheap PS3 as an option, but I do find that it falters with 1080p streams where my Roku 2 does not. Connecting Ethernet to the PS3 helped a little...but the Roku does the same effortlessly even on my wireless network. A new Roku 2 us around $70USD iirc....at least it was when I purchased mine.

There are other ways and options, I've tried a few, DLNA can be sketchy depending on app/device, Windows can be finicky with it as well. Plex and Kodi are very good options for streaming to devices. I prefer Plex and am a Plex Pass member as a result...it's been an excellent experience overall, I host multiple servers for family members and how well it performs with multiple streams on my VM has been just badass in all honesty.

:toast:
 
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#5
smart tv if you want something that works.

Media center pc if your bored.


I've got a nice samsung tv that runs plex fine, comes with a web browser that i have no need to use (smartphones, welcome to 2010...), netflix, dlna folder access, etc... built in wifi that works great.

Media center pc's are no longer necessary and really only need to be mentioned if you want to setup an older non smart tv.


---

Simply setup a plex server and have it look in your nas drives for your movies/shows. Plex is super simple to setup and runs great on windows or nix. Also most major smart tv providers have plex app support along with droid and apple apps.
 

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#6
I would definitely go with a small/cheap HTPC over a SmartTV. I have a Sharp SmartTV and it only recognizes about half the media on my media server. When I first got it it only supported avi files, and only ones using the divx codec not xvid. An update added mp4 support, but no mkv support, and no x265 support, and there hasn't been an update for over a year. You don't have to worry about stuff like that with a HTPC.

Grab one of these little guys, then toss a copy of Windows on it and run the media player of your choice. Or if you are only going to be using WiFi anyway, grab one of these.
 

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#7
If your NAS could run PLEX, a Roku 2/3 or Roku TV would be a great way to go. What I've done in my house and makes streaming effortless. I run a TCL Roku TV that I got for pretty cheap for the family TV and in my den, I have a Roku 2 hooked up to the Samsung. Works excellent. I run PLEX on my VM 2012R2 file server as a service, works excellently.

There's other good options too...I just haven't been a fan of most SmartTV's as usually performance and/or apps kinda suck or are limited depending on the vendor. In that case, if you run something more basic like DLNA, you can use a console, I believe Roku still works with DLNA and can outperform most smart TV's...I'd rather get a stupid TV + Roku any day after the experiences I've had with Vizio, Samsung and Sharp smart TV's.

+1 to a cheap PS3 as an option, but I do find that it falters with 1080p streams where my Roku 2 does not. Connecting Ethernet to the PS3 helped a little...but the Roku does the same effortlessly even on my wireless network. A new Roku 2 us around $70USD iirc....at least it was when I purchased mine.

There are other ways and options, I've tried a few, DLNA can be sketchy depending on app/device, Windows can be finicky with it as well. Plex and Kodi are very good options for streaming to devices. I prefer Plex and am a Plex Pass member as a result...it's been an excellent experience overall, I host multiple servers for family members and how well it performs with multiple streams on my VM has been just badass in all honesty.

:toast:
This ^^, although not the PS3 part dam those things take 90w+ were a good ol ROKU 3 would take a mere 3.2w max.
 
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#8
Definitely a HTPC. I have three in my house and the price difference between the smart TV and dumb would pay for it. Don't even have a NAS but one HTPC acts like a server with 8Tb of storage. I use dual core Pentiums
 
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#9
I'm with the HTPC crowd. My system, 4930k setup, is the Plex server and can be accessed from my daughter's laptop, the bedroom, and living room with ease. We do have a smart TV that does support Plex but the wireless streaming sucked and would have stutter issues when hard lined. I can't talk my wife into fully cutting the cable cord, thanks to E! Entertainment(if you can call it that) channel, so I also have a cable card 3 channel tuner setup that all of the above mentioned PC's can access as well.
 
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#10
Side note. I use Kodi as the UPnP server and my daughter smart TV can stream from it
 
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#11
Your NAS supports Plex (according to WD), it could be as simple as getting a Roku/Fire TV or Stick/4th Gen Apple TV/Chromecast whatever and plugging it into an HDMI port for as low as $30-40 and streaming to it. Before spending that money you could even test it by enabling the server and testing it from a computer on the network using a web browser. Additionally, it's likely free for what you'd want it to do (on certain devices like a Android/iOS phone you either need a subscription or pay a nominal (~$5.00) fee.)
 

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#12
HTPC would be my choice. Dual core Pentium in mine, (Winebox in my specs) does perfectly well and i can Steam stream to it.

Have a look at 2nd user Shuttles, prebuilt and in a sweet little unit. They can be bought very cheap.
 

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#13
There's other good options too...I just haven't been a fan of most SmartTV's as usually performance and/or apps kinda suck or are limited depending on the vendor. In that case, if you run something more basic like DLNA, you can use a console, I believe Roku still works with DLNA and can outperform most smart TV's...I'd rather get a stupid TV + Roku any day after the experiences I've had with Vizio, Samsung and Sharp smart TV's.
Aye this. All the new TV's I see suck in that regard, every single one of them. The high end TV's suck less, but they still suck. It's actually baffling to me how they manage to make them suck so hard. UI, performance, drive recognition, everything.

Have a look at 2nd user Shuttles, prebuilt and in a sweet little unit. They can be bought very cheap.
Or HP Elite SFF boxes.
 
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#14
My NAS can run PLEX, but it seems I cant get it to set up correctly. If Im running plex, Id like to be able to get it working outside my network and it keeps giving an error:

Your server is not capable of converting this item for playback at the current quality setting. Would you like to attempt to play the original quality?"

And then it asks if I want to try and play it at it's original quality and I choose yes, and it tells me that my server isnt powerful enough to convert the video.

Ultimately, I dont want an HTPC but Ill take it if it's really the only option here.
If it is DLNA then it should. However I would personally go with a media PC. Much more versatile.
How do I find out of a Smart TV uses DLNA? Will the box/webpage literally list it? I havent seen any that states.
 
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#15
Side note. I use Kodi as the UPnP server and my daughter smart TV can stream from it
This is what I do also on my Samsung Plasma smart tv which supports alot of video formats so I just run Kodi on the HTPC and stream from the smart tv menu which is easier for my girlfriend to use also.

When I'm alone I will play from the HTPC directly.


My NAS can run PLEX, but it seems I cant get it to set up correctly. If Im running plex, Id like to be able to get it working outside my network and it keeps giving an error:

Your server is not capable of converting this item for playback at the current quality setting. Would you like to attempt to play the original quality?"

And then it asks if I want to try and play it at it's original quality and I choose yes, and it tells me that my server isnt powerful enough to convert the video.

Ultimately, I dont want an HTPC but Ill take it if it's really the only option here.


How do I find out of a Smart TV uses DLNA? Will the box/webpage literally list it? I havent seen any that states.
My TV support DLNA and its listed in the manual.
 
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#16
I think most TVs will list DLNA support in their spec list.

One point I would make about smart TV's though, my sister has one of the Samsung E8000 series (I think it's this range) from about 2013 and they've just received a notification that Skype will no longer be supported, and therefore unusable, on their TV rendering their Samsung add-on webcam useless. I've had one for my 2012 LG for Skype as well (guess they're fading Smart TV use out) but it will still be supported for a few more months yet. The point however is that Smart TV's will only be smart as long as both the manufacturers and the app providers continue to support the model TV you choose to go for.
 

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#17
I think most TVs will list DLNA support in their spec list.

One point I would make about smart TV's though, my sister has one of the Samsung E8000 series (I think it's this range) from about 2013 and they've just received a notification that Skype will no longer be supported, and therefore unusable, on their TV rendering their Samsung add-on webcam useless. I've had one for my 2012 LG for Skype as well (guess they're fading Smart TV use out) but it will still be supported for a few more months yet. The point however is that Smart TV's will only be smart as long as both the manufacturers and the app providers continue to support the model TV you choose to go for.
Point of ref
Most Smart TV's are usually partly Sold on the Apps ( and they spy on you )
Most manufactures and the Apps supplies renderer their installed APPS useless before the TV is OUT OF WARRENTY They either are not updated and maintained or they just don't work server side because you have App ver 1.05 and server will only work on ver 2 and higher ect.
 

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#18
+1 for HTPC. Cheapest components will work fine, dual core, IGP, but will give you much more flexibility. and you can use madvr -> will magically make SD look like HD
 
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#19
I think most TVs will list DLNA support in their spec list.

One point I would make about smart TV's though, my sister has one of the Samsung E8000 series (I think it's this range) from about 2013 and they've just received a notification that Skype will no longer be supported, and therefore unusable, on their TV rendering their Samsung add-on webcam useless. I've had one for my 2012 LG for Skype as well (guess they're fading Smart TV use out) but it will still be supported for a few more months yet. The point however is that Smart TV's will only be smart as long as both the manufacturers and the app providers continue to support the model TV you choose to go for.
Truth I have a
Samsung PN64E8000

And see the dropping support for those apps but it matters not to me because I don't use any of them.

Plus I have a HTPC hooked up to the TV anyways.
 

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#20
I think most TVs will list DLNA support in their spec list.

One point I would make about smart TV's though, my sister has one of the Samsung E8000 series (I think it's this range) from about 2013 and they've just received a notification that Skype will no longer be supported, and therefore unusable, on their TV rendering their Samsung add-on webcam useless. I've had one for my 2012 LG for Skype as well (guess they're fading Smart TV use out) but it will still be supported for a few more months yet. The point however is that Smart TV's will only be smart as long as both the manufacturers and the app providers continue to support the model TV you choose to go for.
It's not un-common, some online other items like blue ray players Google said Youtube is no longer available due to the machine not being able to support it lol. I can see it becoming a real thing to get people to buy new when there was no real need. I do hope the government catches on it sooner than later, as to me there is a enough so called rubbish thrown away as it it is.
 

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#21
Well, -1 for using a PS3, +1 for running a Plex server.

PS3 sucks at streaming video, trust me. I have to use specific settings to get my content to run correctly, which result in comically inefficient h.264 encodes. Even HandBrake's default settings, which are bad, are too much for the poor old PS3.

Try a Roku 4, it even has h.265 support. And it probably uses less than 1/10 the power the PS3 does. And it's not a PS3.

Your Plex server won't have to transcode anything if your content is natively supported by the player. If you plan for this, your Plex server can just pass the data along with no cpu load.
 

Kursah

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#22
PS3 around 90 watts vs my Roku 2s 4 watts. Smoother streaming video by far...my PS3 now is a dust collector waiting for me to finally fire up Gran Turismo 6 lol.

Plex is badass...my virtual file server runs it as a service (so no need to login after a reboot for updates)...runs multiple streams with no issue...its a great choice.

I also bought the kids a TCL Roku TV for Christmas...and that's pretty much a built in Roku 2...its been excellent as well. Far better than any smart TV app I've used yet. :)
 

AsRock

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#23
PS3 around 90 watts vs my Roku 2s 4 watts. Smoother streaming video by far...my PS3 now is a dust collector waiting for me to finally fire up Gran Turismo 6 lol.

Plex is badass...my virtual file server runs it as a service (so no need to login after a reboot for updates)...runs multiple streams with no issue...its a great choice.

I also bought the kids a TCL Roku TV for Christmas...and that's pretty much a built in Roku 2...its been excellent as well. Far better than any smart TV app I've used yet. :)
And the ROKU 3 comes in at 3.1w :), and loads of apps for it too as i am sure there is for the earlier ones.

Well, -1 for using a PS3, +1 for running a Plex server.

PS3 sucks at streaming video, trust me. I have to use specific settings to get my content to run correctly, which result in comically inefficient h.264 encodes. Even HandBrake's default settings, which are bad, are too much for the poor old PS3.

Try a Roku 4, it even has h.265 support. And it probably uses less than 1/10 the power the PS3 does. And it's not a PS3.

Your Plex server won't have to transcode anything if your content is natively supported by the player. If you plan for this, your Plex server can just pass the data along with no cpu load.
What is the power usage of the ROKU4 ?, you able to test your self as a lot of sites can be unreliable some times.
 

hat

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#24
I don't know, I'm assuming it's got to be around the same as the Roku 3.
 

AsRock

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#25
I don't know, I'm assuming it's got to be around the same as the Roku 3.
Ooh i was hoping you had one :p.

Going by there site
12.4W (typical) when streaming 4K UHD video but that's all they say.
 
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