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Can I use a Media Streamer to watch HD recordings from a USB stick?

jacurrie

Member
I have a Humax HDR running the latest customised software. I also have a 2tb external drive connected to it.

What I want to do is record either HD or SD programmes at home, copy them to a USB stick or memory card (either direct from Humax or using a PC) and then play them back at an elderly relatives house where there is no internet connection.

I have tried using a Raspberry Pi 2 that I have but it struggles with files recorded in HD and the audio synch is very unreliable. Converting SD recordings to mpg is the closest I have come to success but this isn't available for HD recordings. I have also used Handbrake to convert the files to a variety of formats but have had little success.

Does anyone have experience of using a media streamer/android box to achieve this or am I missing something obvious?
 

rpb424

Member
What were you using on the Raspberry Pi to play HD files? Both my kids have a Pi connected to their bedroom TV and run Kodi to stream HD stuff via DLNA from the downstairs HDR, so in principle the Pi has the horsepower to do this, and I imagine should be even better direct from a USB stick.​
 
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jacurrie

Member
I first tried downloading a copy of the decrypted file to a USB stick and tried playing it with OSMC on the Pi. This worked for part of the file and then the audio/video sync was completely lost. I then tried converting a SD file to mpg using the Humax option and this worked fine. However this is not an option for an HD file.

I have tried booting the Pi to OSMC and also using Kodi in Raspbian Jessie but the HD files seem to fail to load.

Is it possible that the DLNA server is doing some of the work or is there a step I need to take before copying the file to USB.

Sorry if I am asking daft questions but I have been looking at this so long I have become quite confused!

John
 

rpb424

Member
Back when Kodi was still called XBMC it didn't handle HD from the Humax very well on a RPi (at least in my experience). The latest version running on OpenElec seems much better. Which Kodi version did you try? Have never tried OSMC, so can't comment on how well that runs.
 
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jacurrie

Member
I have now created an SD card with OpenElec as an image but the Pi won't boot from it. It sticks at the screen showing the range of colours |(square rainbow effect). Iwill keep trying to get a full boot.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Have you bought the licence required to utilise the hardware video decoding accelerator on the RPi?

See if you can get hold of a second-hand HD-FOX - that will play (decrypted) HD recordings direct from the UPD no problem, without conversion.

I suggest this topic is moved to the Video File Manipulation section, as it is not directly relevant to HDR-FOX/CF.
 
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jacurrie

Member
Yes I did buy the decoding licences but was having no success.

I am sorry for posting this in the wrong place and have bid on a 2nd hand HD-FOX and will try and use it to meet my needs.

Hopefully I can work this out without needing any more help.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I am sorry for posting this in the wrong place
Don't worry about that - it gives the moderators something to do.

have bid on a 2nd hand HD-FOX and will try and use it to meet my needs.
My bet is it will go for more than you are prepared to pay, but it's worth a shot. Another "HD-FOX" listing is actually a FOXSAT-HD!

Hopefully I can work this out without needing any more help.
We're happy to help, it's not a problem. I know there are people here who have made an RPi play HiDef TS files, so there is a solution.
 
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jacurrie

Member
Don't worry about that - it gives the moderators something to do.


My bet is it will go for more than you are prepared to pay, but it's worth a shot. Another "HD-FOX" listing is actually a FOXSAT-HD!


We're happy to help, it's not a problem. I know there are people here who have made an RPi play HiDef TS files, so there is a solution.
Sorry if the Pi has been a distraction but the situation is that my wife is presently having to stay with her mother who is not well and all I wanted to do was find a way to let her watch some of the TV that we had recorded. I was looking for a simple solution so that I could leave her with a USB stick with recordings on it that she could watch. I had tried getting her to use the Pi but it froze after a few minutes of playback. I had hoped that someone had previously used an Android box to do similar and that a quick recommendation could be made. I appreciate that the solution to many problems is maybe not that simple but I had hoped that this time might be different!

Thanks for all your suggestions

John
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Ah, well, in that case the HD-FOX (or another HDR-FOX) is the ideal solution then - and no doubt will find good service as a companion to your existing CFed HDR-FOX when it gets home: fanless & diskless (therefore silent) HD-FOX in bedroom providing network access to recordings that reside on the HDR-FOX elsewhere in the house, like wot I do.
 

fenlander

Active Member
I suspect that using a Pi is making a rod for your back. Try a Sumvision Cyclone 2+. £21 at Amazon and it will play anything (a Cyclone 3 is even better but has become rare and expensive...) If you want to play straight from the network, go for a Cyclone 4 for about £10 more. One tip for the 2+ - the remote works much better if you replace the 2025 battery with a 2032.

Amazingly, these little gadgets are actually smaller than a Pi.

Either of these will play decrypted .ts files direct from the hummy but if you need to convert HD files to a more accessible format there are many better ways than using Handbrake. Try MKVToolnix. Just load the .TS file and hit the mux button. This will produce an .MKV file in seconds.

I can't recommend Handbrake for Hummy files. Not the fault of Handbrake, which is a great piece of software, but there's something non-standard about the hummy output that always seems to throw the sound out of sync if you recode.

One last tip: if you use hummy files off-box, don't use the CF's autoshrink function.
 
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jacurrie

Member
That's great info and seems to be the solution I was looking for. I will order the Cyclone 4 as I suspect that I will get more use out of it in the long run and the price differential isn't that great.

I had tried a variety of tablets before the Pi and felt that it was the closest thing to a success which is why I was persevering with it.

I'll also have a look at MKVtoolnix as it sounds like useful software.

Thanks for your help.

John
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
That's all very well, but using a HD-FOX to access HDR-FOX recordings (either via sneakernet or with CF help over a home network) provides the playback with all the features it would have if played on the HDR-FOX itself: bookmarks and resume come to mind, and the same user interface. Assuming you can get one, I still think it's going to work best once you get it back home.
 
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jacurrie

Member
As the auction on eBay still has some time to run and patience is not one of my virtues I ordered a Cyclone 4 which arrived today. It worked straight out of the box and played both SD and HD files from a USB stick. It offers Fast Forward and Rewind (although it doesn't show the video while doing either, it is more like a series of very spaced stills). It does offer Resume Play.

The only (very minor) inconvenience is that it seems to default to subtitles on every time it starts up but there is a menu option during playback to switch them off.

All in all it seems very good and straightforward to use.

Thanks to everyone for their help.
 

fenlander

Active Member
Have you tried it with files on a network share?

My Cyclone 3 does what it does very well but I'm considering a Cyclone 4 to access my NAS directly. You could also play files direct from the Hummy provided you have Samba installed in the CF.
 
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jacurrie

Member
I did try watching an HD file that had been copied from the Humax's USB drive to a NAS box but there was a lot of time spent waiting as if the download speed wasn't fast enough. I didn't have time to play with settings to see if I could resolve this problem. This was using an old low performance NAS.

I don't have access to the cyclone at present as it is away doing it's duty entertaining an ill relative.

I have tried using the test file that the Cyclone was struggling with and it is currently showing similar break up using VLC on a Microsoft Surface 3 but works using Media Player Classic on the same machine.

I can try again when the box comes home although that will be a few days or even a week or so.
 
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jacurrie

Member
I now have the box back home and have spent some time this afternoon playing with files copied from the USB drive that is attached to the Humax to a NAS drive.

So far I have been unsuccessful.

Using the .ts file on Kodi there is a warning that the cache has filled before enough of the file has been cached. VLC starts but playback is interrupted by constant buffering.

Also tried using a file generated from MKVToolNix but if anything that seems to be worse.

Trying two different NAS drives hasn't helped.

The same .ts file on a USB stick plays well in Kodi or even the default media player that is part of Android.

Obviously I have very little experience with the Android box but if there is anything else I could try I am happy to experiment if that would help you make your decision.
 

fenlander

Active Member
Your mention of an 'old low performance NAS' and '2 different NAS drives' makes me wonder if this is a standard USB drive connected to a port on your router (rather than a 'proper' NAS)? Also, is the network connection wired or WiFi?
 
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