going simple

Discussion in 'Home Theater and Automation' started by Blaster3, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    i'm been watching a ton of youtube music vids, in part due to this thread... What are you listening right now..?
    i'm now giving serious thought to getting a smart aleck tv as well as selling off my stereo equipment and audio/visual library, who needs all those cds and dvds??? and why bother with downloading and storing all that data an a drive or pay for the 'cloud'???

    most everything(music) is available free on youtube , yeah it's not audiophile quality, butt i'm beginning to think that isn't so important anylonger...

    so, having a simple set up, a single smart aleck tv, a remote and an internet connection... that'd remove a lot of clutter!!!
     
  2. reggie14

    reggie14

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    Another big factor to consider is ease-of-use. I mostly gave up on trying to use my TV and home theater speakers for music. Similarly, I've never been thrilled with Youtube for casually listening to music in the background- playlists (and auto-generated playlists) are too limited. However, Pandora works really well for that if you're mostly listening to mainstream music from the last few decades.

    I have to say, I've been extremely happy with my Sonos speakers. I have a bunch of them. For a while I just used free music services- I ripped my music and uploaded it to Google Play Music and used the free version of Pandora. I've since signed up for Google's music streaming service- my wife and I listen to music enough it's worth the $15/month.

    If you want to downsize your home theater system, you could get a Sonos Playbar or Playbase and use it for your TV speaker, too. They're not cheap, though.
     
  3. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    possibly load some favs on a couple thumb drives... can an usb thumb drive be plugged into a smart aleck tv & 'played'???

    something else i've been kickin 'round is heading over to my local audiophile shop & trading my system and media in exchange for an intel nuc, along with them loading up all my media into the nuc (& an external storage ssd drive, if needed)...

    then connecting the nuc to the back of a smart aleck tv, add internet and go from there...

    EDIT: this is in preparation of implimenting a plan to go mobile... sell house & live full time in a class A motorcoach... of course, these plans rest upon my lovely anchor...

    edit2: something like these:
    #X1269 - 2006 Country Coach Inspire 360 for sale in Mesa AZ

    #X1252 - 2006 Monaco RV Dynasty Diamond IV for sale in Mesa AZ
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2017
  4. reggie14

    reggie14

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    Some can do that, but the interface would be pretty painful, IMHO, if you have a lot of music.

    Do you know what software they use on the NUC?

    I didn't want to spend the money on the Sonos speakers initially, so I tried a bunch of software to manage my library and control playback over my HT speakers. This was about 5 years ago. The closest thing I found at that point was JR Media Player. It almost worked, but certain things, like controlling playback from my phone, never quite worked well enough. Things may be improved now. I think there are Raspberry Pi players and Plex has a pretty decent music interface now.

    If your plan is to move into a motorcoach, I think you'll want a good local source of music (i.e., don't fully rely on streaming). I think Plex is worth considering, particularly if you're willing to pay the $120 for a lifetime subscription to their premium features. You could run Plex off a NUC, otherwise you could get something like an Nvidia Shield TV and run the server off that.

    Plex's bread and butter is video management and playback. If you rip your DVDs, you could play them back through Plex. You could either play them on your TV, or stream them to your phones/tablets. It's pretty slick, and relatively easy to use.
     
  5. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    as for software, i'd prefer linuxmint and whatever media software works well with it... butt as always, gotta do what works...

    will a linux nuc work with a smart aleck tv, and all it's functions??? i would think so...but???

    those higher quality motorcoaches do come with decent audio/visual systems, perhaps just an upgrade to a newer tv... which is where i'm coming from with this 'downsizing' idea, to get it all worked out at home now, before going mobile, then i can just install this 'new' system in the motorcoach...
     
  6. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    one interesting thing about youtube is when you search by song title, the sidebar shows other artists' renditions of the same song... some are quite good, even better than original artist
     
  7. reggie14

    reggie14

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    I'm not sure what you mean by that. You could use NUC with a TV in different ways.

    One option would be to use the NUC as a media player. You'd load movies/music on the NUC's hard drive, and then connect the NUC to the TV using HDMI. In this case, you're not using any "smart" features in the TV. All the smarts are in the NUC. The NUC is just like any other source, like a DVD player- the TV merely provides the screen and the speakers.

    The second option would be to use the NUC as a server. You'd load movies/music on it, and then connect it to your home (or motorcoach) network. Then you'd need an app on the smart TV to be able to play movies/music, which would stream off the server over your home network. In this case, you'd need to make sure the smart TV you pick out can actually run the app you need. For instance, Samsung TV's have a Plex app, but I don't think Vizio smart TVs do. If you happened to get a TV that doesn't run the app you need, then you'd need to get something like Roku to hook up to your TV.

    A third option is a hybrid. A NUC (or some other devices) could function as both a server and a media player. For instance, it could run the Plex Media Server application, along with the Plex Media Player application, too. In this case, again you wouldn't be using any smart features on the TV itself.

    Even if you end up using a NUC or a Shield as a player, you still might want a smart TV for other things. A NUC, for instance, generally isn't going to work well for playing Netflix or Youtube (unless you want to have to control your TV with a keyboard/mouse). So, you might want a smart TV so you can use the smart TV apps for those sorts of things. Honestly, I think the Shield is a pretty nifty device. Not only can it serve as a Plex server and player, it also has a lot of apps for streaming Netflix, Hulu, Youtube, Pandora, etc.
     
  8. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    something like that, along with the ability to use it as a pc.... so just use the pc (nuc) linux connected to tv by hdmi, open one of these apps in pic, press play???
    edit: will that same connection allow me to use the tv like a monitor for libre office???


    upload_2017-10-21_15-50-15.png
     
  9. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    i read that pixel density comes into play when trying to utilize a tv as a monitor for pc, text becomes blurry, so a 4k tv would be better than a hdtv 1080p... as clear, easily readable text is a must would i be better off using a true monitor and watch tv through it (would need a tuner i guess???), or a 4k tv (tuner included)??? thinking approx 39" so would it matter either way???

    @reggie14, thanks for your input, so far, it's been a big help
     
  10. reggie14

    reggie14

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    This would work. You'd basically just be using the TV as a monitor- no smart apps involved.

    There's a couple things I'll warn you about. The biggest issue I see is control. Do you mind using a keyboard/mouse to control playback? While you could probably get an IR remote control working with VLC for basic play/pause/FF/RW functionality, I think you'd run into problems selecting videos that way. I think you'd want to use something like Plex or Kodi to get a better remote-friendly interface. The problem then is that its hard to get internet streaming services to work well, like Netflix. There are Kodi add-ons for Netflix, Amazon, etc., but they tend to break a lot since they're not officially supported.

    Second, video playback under Linux can be finicky. I think it's gotten better over the last 10 years, but last time I tried setting up a Linux box I struggled with stuttering video, poor color representation, and color banding. VLC is a little more foolproof, but VLC itself has some playback quality issues (deinterlacing and color banding are pretty bad in my experience).

    As you can tell, I'm somewhat skeptical its a good idea to use a NUC for this. It's potentially very powerful, but setup and maintenance could be involved, and it might not be easy to use even after setup. I think using the NUC as a Plex server, and running a Plex player app on either the smart TV itself (Samsung TVs have Plex), or a Roku/Shield TV, would be a lot easier to use and maintain.

    You could still use the TV as a monitor for your PC. You just wouldn't watch videos directly on the NUC.

    That's true- you'd probably want a 4K TV if you were also using it as a monitor.

    I think you'd be fine using a 4K TV as a monitor. Besides the obvious tuner problem, PC monitors have even worse built-in speakers than TVs. If you're tight on space, you'll probably want to use use the TV speakers. A lot of TVs have different "modes" that are suitable with different devices, so you might need to play around with the settings to find something that would work well with a PC.
     
  11. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    so basically, keep my usff workstation and an external usb storage drive , utilize a 4k smart aleck tv instead of a monitor...

    perhaps a digital antenna to pick up local programs wherever we end up...

    i'm at a point where i don't care about the quality of the music... i grew up with vinyl, reel-to-reel, then 8-tracks & cassettes, all in analogue (miss that sound of tubes warming up)...

    anywho, i've been able to burn over 100 songs on one regular cd (not a dvd nor dual layer) which is many, many hours of music that sounds good enough on the garage stereo... that said, i'm sure i could burn/load 10's of thousands of songs on a 250gb ssd, click random play...

    EDIT: i might look into getting a tablet to control everything, including playlists, and utilize a wireless dongle within the motorcoach... some of my audiophile friends use an ipad with itunes to select playlists...

    curious if it can be utilized as an offline remote for the pc/tv... bluetooth???
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  12. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    The onboard video in your USFF will not support 4k. 2560x1600 is as high as it will go, that's only 2k. It doesn't have a full PCI-E slot for a video card, and the PSU wouldn't be able to handle one anyway.
     
  13. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    interesting, i can insert an 'old school' vhs into my vhs player, through my hd tv and it looks ok... but that won't work with an older pc & a 4k tv ???
     
  14. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    You would not be able to use the 4K resolution with your PC.

    Your VHS is 640x480 at best, same as standard VGA. Not a valid comparison, VHS doesn't really have resolution.
     
  15. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    the text will still look f'd up???

    anywho, always stick with first instincts... so a new pc (nuc) would be on the menu...
     
  16. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    But, if you do that and want to use a 4k TV, make sure the graphics can support 4k.

    The TV will WORK at 2k, it's just not ideal and a waste of an expensive TV.
     
  17. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    i remember reading something about matching resolutions (source/display) for the best picture, guess that still holds true...
     
  18. reggie14

    reggie14

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    Sorry, I thought you were talking about buying a NUC. The new Kaby Lake NUCs will drive 4k.

    1080p will look fine on a 4k TV, since it's 1/4 the resolution. 1440p would probably look OK, but text might look a little wonky close up.
     
  19. Blaster3

    Blaster3

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    i did want to 'buy' a nuc, actually trade for it, something like this Intel® NUC Kit NUC7i7BNH

    cpu specs state:
    butt i want it to be a pc (linux preferred) as well as play music/movies... you seemed to have tried to talk me out of it, so i said just stick my my old usff pc in sig???
     
  20. glc

    glc Forum Administrator Staff Member

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    Linux is supported on a NUC.