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Media Players 101: Why use a Media Player? (Pros and Cons)

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Marplot

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It was an interesting read, thank you for posting. It was also a very specific shill for the product with little backing information.
NAS dying, please. NAS is slower storage than fibre but fits a price point and will be around for a very long time to come.
As far as JBOD making a comeback, that is untrue to the point of being an outright lie.
The article reminds me of sales literature for Monster HDMI cables. A shill full of misdirection and half-truths designed to introduce and spread FUD among initiates.
But you are right Marpow, people are taking an interest in how digital music is listened to and that will give us more options than in the past; a good thing.
 

Ninecats

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I read this article recently. It parallels my own thoughts regarding sound quality of various formats and tweaks.
I am of the same opinion. SACD for example is great for two things: it attracts good and careful mastering engineers and has a surround option.

Show me one test where one single human can differentiate dsd from cd pcm. If that exists I might add a third reason for SACD benefits - but until then.. :)
 

Ninecats

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After Nvidia updated the Shield player to 7.2, it’s now possible to get out 96/24 in MCH.

A very handy player I must say, fast, reliable, fairly cheap.
 

salsdali

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After Nvidia updated the Shield player to 7.2, it’s now possible to get out 96/24 in MCH.

A very handy player I must say, fast, reliable, fairly cheap.
Kodi (on Shield) is coming out with Leia 18 any day now that's supposed to support BD java menus if I read it correctly?? The Kodi on my Shield is 17.6 which was released Nov 2017 so this Leia 18 should be a major improvement.
 

HomerJAU

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Kodi Leia 18 has a few nice improvements including better music library support/scanning, MKV tagging, DSF and HEVC/4K UHD support to name just a few improvements. I’ve been using alpha/beta/Release Candidates for a few months now on two Intel NUCs. It’s very stable but still some minor hiccups. I’d expect first official release pretty soon.

Everyone using Kodi for music needs to install the Artist Slideshow add-on.
 

himey

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Kodi Leia 18 has a few nice improvements including better music library support/scanning, MKV tagging, DSF and HEVC/4K UHD support to name just a few improvements. I’ve been using alpha/beta/Release Candidates for a few months now on two Intel NUCs. It’s very stable but still some minor hiccups. I’d expect first official release pretty soon.

Everyone using Kodi for music needs to install the Artist Slideshow add-on.
After reading and liking your post I decided to test the DSF support in Kodi. My Oppo is now playing back DSF + CUE files perfectly, in stereo! HDMI input of Oppo, converted to PCM sounds great. However, multichannel rips also playback in stereo :(

I am using an older version of Kodi that supports the Confluence skin because the remote function works better for me using a Harmony remote and Eventghost.

So do I need to update Kodi, or is multichannel DSF still a work in progress? Hopefully I am looking over a simple setting...Windows 10 PC, Kodi 17.6.

EDIT...after all that, it seems to be working now! Thanks for the heads up on the DSF support. I didn't realize until you posted.
 
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elmer

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Kodi Leia 18 has a few nice improvements including better music library support/scanning, MKV tagging, DSF and HEVC/4K UHD support to name just a few improvements. I’ve been using alpha/beta/Release Candidates for a few months now on two Intel NUCs. It’s very stable but still some minor hiccups. I’d expect first official release pretty soon.

Everyone using Kodi for music needs to install the Artist Slideshow add-on.
I am up to date on Kodi Leia - RC3 - took your advice and installed Artist Slideshow. I have been unable to get it to work at all. I must be missing something - any hints?
 

HomerJAU

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Try and restart Kodi. I’ve noticed the Artist Slideshow doesn’t seem to run until a restart.

Also you need a live internet connection for it to download and display artist fanart if you don’t have any stored locally
 

elmer

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And you need a skin that supports Artist Slideshow too. The default skin in Kodi Leia is ok I’m pretty sure.

I use Aeon Nox 5 Silvo:
https://forum.kodi.tv/showthread.php?tid=210069

Download the repository (repo) file. Install that from zip file in Kodi then you can install the Silvo skin from the repository.
Try and restart Kodi. I’ve noticed the Artist Slideshow doesn’t seem to run until a restart.

Also you need a live internet connection for it to download and display artist fanart if you don’t have any stored locally
I am up to date on Kodi Leia - RC3 - took your advice and installed Artist Slideshow. I have been unable to get it to work at all. I must be missing something - any hints?
I've got all of that set - live internet and default Kodi Leia skin - restarted and still no luck. I'll keep futzing with it - I'm sure it's something on my end. Thanks for the tips though - much appreciated!
 

elmer

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I've got all of that set - live internet and default Kodi Leia skin - restarted and still no luck. I'll keep futzing with it - I'm sure it's something on my end. Thanks for the tips though - much appreciated!
So I finally got Artist Slideshow to work - after I installed the Aeon Nox 5 Silvo Skin. Of course, now that I have updated to the lates Leia release (RC 5.2) Aeon Nox Silvo is no longer compatible:rolleyes:. Fortunately, artist slideshow is now working with the the default Leia Skin. Additionally, 2 DTS 24/96 videos that kept crashing Kodi whenever I tried to run them ( Queens "Greatest Hits 1 & 2" & Cornelius "Sensurround") now both work perfectly. Hoping for an update to Aeon Nox for compatibility with the final Leia release. Still all in all, very pleased with Kodi as my Media Player and I have only scratched the surface of its full capabilities!
 

HomerJAU

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Nice to see you have the Artist Slideshow working!

I had same problem with latest Kodi Leia RC disabling Aeon Nox Silva skin (saying it was not compatible). I reinstalled again from the Silvo repository selecting the latest version of Silvo and and it seemed to work although on Saturday night I noticed the ArtistSlideshow wasn’t showing more than one fanart. I need to check that out.
 

HomerJAU

Moderator: MCH Media Players
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I just checked and I didn’t tell Aeon Nox Silvo skin to use ArtistSlideShow. It was just showing a single Fanart pic. (It’s default setting for music playback)
 
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PK

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Why use a Media Player? (The pros)

Ok. So you already have a DVD-Audio player, SACD Player, Blu-Ray Player or a Universal player (one that plays a combination of formats or all formats). Why do you need a Media Player?

Top 10:

1. Universal Region Free Player:
A good Media Player can play all of your HiRez MCH formats (once converted to digital file format), so it's a type of Universal player and can (theoretically) replace your traditional disc players (I have not used my region free Oppo BDP95 DVD/SACD/BD player for over two years - so a Media Player is a more cost effective alternative)

Media Players can ignore region coding in both DVDs and Blu-Ray discs. So you can finally watch and/or listen to that region locked disc you've always wanted or own but can't play due to region or format restrictions. Additionally a good media player will playback video content at its native frame rate so it's not bound by older NTSC/PAL or 60Hz/50Hz encoded HD video either, and most modern TVs will play it all!

Modern Media players are small, low powered, remote controlled devices that can easily fit into an existing equipment rack and you interact with one like you would with a conventional DVD or BD player. It moves file playback away from a personal computer and into your audio/hi-fi rack.

An Intel NUC - small PC with HDMI output, Network (LAN), USB connections and RF remote sensor:



2. Convenience: Most of us have large music collections, for some it's hundreds of discs in various formats (CD to BDA), for others it's thousands including quad LPs and Tapes. Sometimes we may not want to search through our shelves or boxes looking for a title (or even remember what we've bought :)). Or maybe we have a few friends around and want to listen to some great surround hits from various albums. Man, what a pain! Locate a disc, carefully load it, find a track & play it, remove disc! Then Rinse and Repeat...

Once your media is digitised it's in one location (on a hard disc - in your media library). Through the media player interface you can search for an artist, album or track. You can play any album or track in any sequence, almost instantly. Switch from track to track at the touch of a button etc, start/stop/pause, fast forward/rewind etc

Controlled chaos:



3. Your Music Library is a Backup: Although the process of converting your music discs can be complex (initially) and time consuming, you are actually creating a backup of your precious music discs. Typically your entire collection can be saved to a single hard drive which itself can be backed up. This allows the perfect solution to loss through theft, fire or other such disaster. (Is 'disc rot' an issue with CD, DVDs and BDs?).

Many of our surround discs are extremely rare and have been out of print for many years. Could you replace your collection if it were lost? (Your collection is irreplaceable, right? But do you keep yours in a fire proof vault? You can if its on a hard disc!)


4. Use 'Play List' functionality: We all have favourite tracks we love to hear. Maybe it's the perfect surround mix, it's got great bass extension, it's got beautiful acoustic guitar, remind us of an important thing in our lives or just makes us feel great or emotional. A playlists defines any mix of our tracks or albums that will play sequentially (A list of tracks to play).

A good media player will support three types of playlists:
  • Permanent (saved) - a predefined playlist that you can recall and play at any time
  • 'On the fly' (ad hoc) - randomly add any track or album to a play queue
  • Smart - a predefined 'rules based' playlist (for example: Seventies tracks with a genre of 'Progressive Rock')
Additionally, some media players may have a 'party mode' whereby tracks are randomly played from your media library (and also support creating playlists from songs already in a playlist).

An app for creating a Saved Playlist (Music Media Helper - Something I wrote - free to download here on QQ):



5. View Music Metadata: Some media players support automatic 'scraping' of artist and album meta data. Information about artist biography, discography, albums, members, song lyrics, similar artists etc can be found on the Internet and saved in your music library for display during playback, if you have a TV, screen or projector connected.

A common feature is auto display of artist photos as 'fanart', or an automated slideshow of artist photos displayed while a song is playing. (Photos are auto downloaded over an internet connection or you can use your own photos).

One picture from an automated Artist Slideshow in Kodi (with user scan of the disc and album cover):



6. Headless Playback: Not all users have or want a screen or TV in their audio listening room. In this scenario some players support remote control apps so that browsing a media library and selection of albums and tracks to play is handed off to a smart phone (iPhone or Android) or tablet (iPad or Android). A wireless network is required.

This feature supports: Near instant startup (switch on), Open the remote app, select an album, track or play list. Start listening. (Even if the Media Player is in another room and without TV or PC screen being used)


7. Fast User Interface that looks great: A good media player will be fast and responsive and allow easy navigation around your music library. Some older media players and equipment with media player support are slow a quite painful to use compared to purpose designed media players with a fast processor and software. Some will show just lists of folders/files requiring a click-through (slow) methodology. A good media player will support graphics (artist and album covers) and support a mouse and/or quick navigation features and be family/wife friendly making it easier for everyone to enjoy our music!






8. Multi-Tasking: Some media players will also support handling multiple tasks (a must have in my opinion). For example, allowing the device to play an audio track or music video while at the same time a user can browse their library for something else to play with an attached remote app or with its HDMI connected screen. (My first media player would not allow me to browse music while it played a music video, hence moving on to another media player)

Media Player (with Kodi) is playing a track or video while I'm adding songs to the play queue on my iPad:


9. A Media Player Plays Video Files too:
If you are into Music Videos/Music Concerts then this is a reminder that Media Players can also play multichannel Music Concerts (once converted into a media file)

Its possible to quite easily split music video discs by Chapters. So what? I use this to break up my Music Video Concerts to individual songs files, copy them to my server and I can now play individual Video Concert Songs from any concert on my Media player from my IPad. I can also add these to any Kodi playlist and play all my favourite videos (hands free)


10. (In the tradition of The Late Show - one more needed! - Post away!

Do we need more? Have I convinced anyone to give this a go yet? :)


Why you would not want a Media Player (The cons)


1. Work Required: Sometimes it is difficult and often its time consuming to convert discs to media files. There are a number of different disc formats and software applications (free & paid) to help users convert music and video discs to a file format that can be used by a typical media player. There's a learning curve (not difficult) and of course access to a PC or Apple Mac is required. You do not need any special hardware or 'high spec' gear, conversion can work on any PC/MAC (assuming you have a DVD or BD drive for those disc formats).

Each conversion program has its idiosyncrasies and each takes some time to convert a disc (between 5 to 20 minutes or more). With SACD users require a specific, rare (old) Sony PS3 with very old firmware, although I've heard of users that record their 5.1 analog outs to create audio versions of SACDs (that is done in real time - 40 mins to do a 40 min disc!!)

Update: There's now a new method for SACD that supports certain Oppo, Pioneer and other BD/SACD combo players. These players are still available retail.

Furthermore, to get meta data for artists and albums most media players require specific folder and file naming and structures and music files often need to be 'tagged' with some seed metadata (typically each file needs to identified with an Artist & Album Name plus a track/song Title and number (e.g 'song Title' and '01' etc) - the good news is that there are good free software tools to automate much of this and most conversion software will allow automated or semi-automated tagging while converting - more about this in a later post on this subject.


2. Audio Voodoo: There are audiophiles out there that believe that a $100 box cannot reproduce the audio quality of a $2000 player or that copying a digital source alters the original sound. If you are one of them then a Media Player is not for you! (Audio Voodoo discussions are much like religion and politics - not to be discussed here!)


3. (more needed) - Post away!


This blog/post continues from my opening post in this sub-forum found here
Bump...I think that's what you do to call attention to something noteworthy...Yeah???
 

PK

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I'd be remiss if I didn't give serious major mondo props to the MAN Homerjau! Words can't describe how this NUC elevates the listening experience for me...we're takin' things to another level...all the way to 11!
giphy.gif
 

boondocks

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I want to thank Homer for his effort in educating me & others on streaming media, etc,(y)

So since I started futzing with a firestick, that put me in contact with Kodi, and the stick is on Kodi and the latest Xanax builds.
Anyway that prompted me to come back here and read every post from start to finish.
I'm also in the process of trying to figure out how to get rid of all satellite tv bills. Cut the cord, so to speak, and maybe combining my tv and music
with easy access.

My surround collection, which I'm quite sure won't match a lot of others, is still fairly large.
*So for argument's sake, for every 100 titles already ripped to either folders or iso's. How long would all that take to rip to flac, properly tagged, etc?

(Thinking out loud here)
Baically I'm now looking for some way to incorporate all the tv and music so I can run from the stick/kodi but low budget.
I do have an htpc and that may be the way I have to go after adding some HDD capacity. I've been bistreaming music via hdmi for years.

The firestick is plugged into my AVR in one of the HDR capable HDMI ports instead of the TV. This lets me play any content from the firestick that is surround without headaches. If I bring music & tv together, I'm hoping this will help.
....I've been lagging on the firestick, I have some apps installed but I'm not where I should be because, frankly,I can't seem to put much effort into it yet.
Money is a premium. In spite of the tech I have managed to cobble together, adding more investment could be tough for a bit.
Time is at a premium as well. I very much feel my mortality these days and I have most purposely tried to stay busy but at a much lower level of intensity.


I'm still figuring it all out, and who knows? One day I might actually get it all working. I have been impressed that kodi has taken quite a few leaps since the xmbc days. The addition of the firestick I hope will help me cut my tv bill to almost nothing, but I also see it as access to more kodi capabilities I have yet to explore that maybe will let me get access to both tv and music.

Sorry again for writing a book. I just thought if someone knows where I'm at they might have once been here and have suggestions.

*PS Homer I decided against the HD Homerun I was thinking of for tv access. I DO have an antenna outside and my tv has a ATSC tuner built in and I think I can get some scheduling info through one of the kodi apps. Plus, money is really tight right now.
 

IMachine

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I ripped about 800 discs.
With all conversation and tagging (I have not tagged all covers as I don‘t need them, as my TV is off) it took about 4 weeks.
I did also replaygain and configured my NUC that Kodi is in StartUp so I only have to turn the NUC on and have to wait for a minute.
I installed Windows instead of Linux but everything works fine here! Such a great movement from changing discs to different players and have them all at once now.
As I said in another thread, only SACDs I did not rip.
 

himey

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
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I want to thank Homer for his effort in educating me & others on streaming media, etc,(y)

So since I started futzing with a firestick, that put me in contact with Kodi, and the stick is on Kodi and the latest Xanax builds.
Anyway that prompted me to come back here and read every post from start to finish.
I'm also in the process of trying to figure out how to get rid of all satellite tv bills. Cut the cord, so to speak, and maybe combining my tv and music
with easy access.

My surround collection, which I'm quite sure won't match a lot of others, is still fairly large.
*So for argument's sake, for every 100 titles already ripped to either folders or iso's. How long would all that take to rip to flac, properly tagged, etc?

(Thinking out loud here)
Baically I'm now looking for some way to incorporate all the tv and music so I can run from the stick/kodi but low budget.
I do have an htpc and that may be the way I have to go after adding some HDD capacity. I've been bistreaming music via hdmi for years.

The firestick is plugged into my AVR in one of the HDR capable HDMI ports instead of the TV. This lets me play any content from the firestick that is surround without headaches. If I bring music & tv together, I'm hoping this will help.
....I've been lagging on the firestick, I have some apps installed but I'm not where I should be because, frankly,I can't seem to put much effort into it yet.
Money is a premium. In spite of the tech I have managed to cobble together, adding more investment could be tough for a bit.
Time is at a premium as well. I very much feel my mortality these days and I have most purposely tried to stay busy but at a much lower level of intensity.


I'm still figuring it all out, and who knows? One day I might actually get it all working. I have been impressed that kodi has taken quite a few leaps since the xmbc days. The addition of the firestick I hope will help me cut my tv bill to almost nothing, but I also see it as access to more kodi capabilities I have yet to explore that maybe will let me get access to both tv and music.

Sorry again for writing a book. I just thought if someone knows where I'm at they might have once been here and have suggestions.

*PS Homer I decided against the HD Homerun I was thinking of for tv access. I DO have an antenna outside and my tv has a ATSC tuner built in and I think I can get some scheduling info through one of the kodi apps. Plus, money is really tight right now.
No time and no money are definitely obstacles, but you already have a PC and router, correct?

Load Plex on PC and add PlexKodiConnect add-on to Kodi on Firestick. Then it is all about splitting and tagging your media files which takes time. The more you do and the better your tagging method becomes, the faster the process gets.
 

boondocks

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No time and no money are definitely obstacles, but you already have a PC and router, correct?

Load Plex on PC and add PlexKodiConnect add-on to Kodi on Firestick. Then it is all about splitting and tagging your media files which takes time. The more you do and the better your tagging method becomes, the faster the process gets.
Thanks. I'm going to do a copy and paste so I don't lose this.
 
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