Using a Kodi Android box to stream from the HDR-Fox T2


I thought I'd share some experiences with the community, in case they are of interest to anyone else with multiple TVs...

My 'Fox is in the living room, connected by HDMI to my main TV. I also have a second, smaller, TV in the kitchen - there is an aerial connection between the two, and a UHF modulator connected to the 'Fox, so it's possible to watch the 'Fox in the kitchen, but only in rather poor quality. Unfortunately the distance is a bit too large for an HDMI cable, so I tried an HDMI-over-CAT6 extender but without a lot of success. I then realised that it would be useful to be able to watch different things on the two TVs, so what I really wanted was not an HDMI extender, but an independent streamer for the kitchen TV.

The kitchen TV is firmly "non-smart", so I bought an Android TV box with Kodi off eBay (less than £30 including shipping from China), set the 'Fox to auto-decrypt everything, and installed Samba so Kodi could "see" it. Considering the price, it seems to work remarkably well - both StDef and HiDef programs stream smoothly, even when the 'Fox is dual-recording*, and Kodi can skip forwards and backwards through programs nearly as easily as when using the standard remote on the main TV. I have the Android box hard-wired into my home network; it does support WiFi, but this doesn't seem to have sufficient bandwidth - though that might be the fault of my router rather than the Android box.

(* Very occasionally you get a pause of a couple of seconds, I think when something finishes and an auto-decrpt or auto-shrink kicks off, but generally it works well - I guess because Kodi buffers the file being played and so it is tolerant to interruptions.)

Of course there are other ways of doing this, such as Chromecast or using DLNA, but I've always found DLNA rather hit-and-miss when it comes to seeking. For less than £30, this seems a pretty good solution. It does require everything to be decrypted, which is why I'm posting this in the CF section, but that has other advantages anyway.

(Kodi is probably better known as a way of watching, err, "unofficial" TV streaming sources. My experience on this particular box is that it does work, sort of, but it's very hit and miss and even ignoring the legal/moral aspects, you wouldn't want to rely on it as your primary TV source.)

A final point is that the particular box I have doesn't like streaming DVDs that I have ripped to MPEG2 and stored on my NAS. They work, but are "stuttery". I assumed that this was because the box has hardware MPEG4 acceleration but not MPEG2, but that doesn't fit with the fact that it streams StDef stuff OK off the 'Fox. Maybe something to do with the difference between Transport Streams and Program Streams. If this is important to you, the Amazon Fire TV box can do a similar job but for £80, and is much more powerful.
Ah, yes, quite so. I forgot to list that as one of the alternatives. But the Android box is smaller and cheaper, so does have some advantages (as well as some disadvantages, of course).