Best option for streaming network share and browser - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-21, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Best option for streaming network share and browser

There are many posts out there, but everything seems 6-12 months old and there have been lots of changes in products over the past year. I am looking something like the Sony NSZ-GS8, only its not available in Canada. I had the NSZ-GS7, but I found that it got too hot and didn't integrate with Bell Aliant FibreOP TV.

Are there any other options out there available in Canada that will allow you do ALL of the following:

1. Stream from files (.mkv, .avi, etc. stored on desktop computer via network share)

2. Has Netflix capability
3. Has an integrated keyboard on the remote like the above mentioned Sony.
4. Has a web browser (like Chrome).

I've heard about a Netgrear product, but the reviews seem poor. The Roku does not have the keyboard remote and not sure about a web browser. It seems odd that the US has had the NSZ-GS8 for quite some time, maybe it'll be coming to Canada eventually. I think the only difference is voice searching, so maybe the heat issues are not being addressed anyway. Maybe some new products are on the horizon and I can wait a little longer.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-21, 11:18 AM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SaskTel
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sounds like you really need an HTPC
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-22, 10:15 AM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa
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An Android TV stick will do all those things - for cheap
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-22, 10:44 AM
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Its a mixed bag on these type of things.
On the cheap, you can often get the above mentioned android sticks, the new google one, or other similar media sharing devices, which sometimes allow these things.

Heck, even a lot of the TV's can now do it. (I have a 2 year old LG smart TV, which has Netflix built in, can do DLNA and connect to a PLEX media server.).

A lot of it comes down to the APPS/SUPPORT. While its great an all, but if the manufacturer doesn't update the apps, etc on the device.. they can fall behind, and not always work properly with changes in the systems backend (say Netflix, etc).
Take Boxee for example.

This sometimes is the one advantage of the HTPC. Since its windows (or sometimes Linux, etc based) much easier to UPDATE the software on it to the latest versions, etc.
HTPCs for playback only, don't have to be THAT expensive either, you can get some mini PCs for fairly cheap, and take up a very little footprint. Then would allow any form on PC compatible input device for them. (on mine, I have a windows media center remote, and a mini keyboard.)

GDKitty
Rogers Ignite Xi6, LG 47LV5400 LED TV, Yamaha
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-22, 12:14 PM
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ottawa
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I had one of those low-powered mini PCs briefly. I found them too slow at running Windows and an overall PITA. For the tasks listed by the OP you don't need to be running Windows at all IMHO.

Also, a friend of mine has a Sony Smart TV and again I find the performance lacking.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-22, 05:38 PM
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Mont Saint-Hilaire, Québec
Posts: 172
I have an Equiso Pro Android stick - dual-core Cortex A9. There are better such sticks out there these days, but let's look at the OP's want list and see what the Equiso can do:

1. Stream from files (.mkv, .avi, etc. stored on desktop computer via network share)
- Yes, either using ES File Explorer or by setting up Plex Media Server on the desktop computer.
2. Has Netflix capability
- Yes, Netflix from the Play store works fine.
3. Has an integrated keyboard on the remote like the above mentioned Sony.
- Yes, the Equiso has an air mouse with a keyboard on one side and a D-Pad on the other.
4. Has a web browser (like Chrome).
- Yes, Chrome and several other browsers are available from the Play store. I use the Next Browser.

I have an order in for a quad-core Android TV box. It's on a slow boat from China...

For the OP's purposes, @Perform23, you could be very happy with an Android TV stick or box, in my opinion.

By the way, I have a SONY NSZ-GS7, too, (purchased from The Source) and it doesn't overheat at all. I use Google TV most of the time, but some things are only available on my Equiso.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-23, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
I had one of those low-powered mini PCs briefly. I found them too slow at running Windows and an overall PITA. For the tasks listed by the OP you don't need to be running Windows at all IMHO.
I only mention it, as you sometimes have more flexibility, than some of the other platforms.. can do ADDITIONAL stuff on it per say that the others may not, etc.

As for the mini PCs.. depends on what specs you get. And what you install on it. THe one I have ran, was running a win7 light install, and FLEW.
Likely at this point if I re did one, would put a win8 light install on it, with a SSD drive.

I guess a lot depends on what/how you are running your stuff as well.
If that PC is doing all the decoding, etc, than it will need to be more powerful.. vs running a media server setup where the server does most of the work, the playback device doesn't need to be quite as powerful.

Just giving the user some options

I myself, run multiple things in my house.
Minipc playback on basement setup, TV does the playback via built in apps in living room, and airplay through an apple TV in the bedroom.

GDKitty
Rogers Ignite Xi6, LG 47LV5400 LED TV, Yamaha
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-23, 07:59 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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@jschall that equiso looks great


what limitations have you found with it?
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 05:39 PM
 
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@Tikker: No real limitations - just not very fast. My Antutu score is around 5300.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 2013-09-02, 08:05 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Milton, ON
Posts: 704
What about an iPad mini and an AppleTV. Not quite what you're looking for, but I've found myself using that combo for many more things on my TV lately.

Netflix natively on the AppleTV, web browsing via AirPlay mirroring, video playback through any number of apps using AirPlay (I'm partial to Infuse lately).

-Pete
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