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Can any AV receiver play movies via USB?


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Old 21-02-2013, 15:58
adam1516
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Hi chaps,

Been looking at AVs for a while now, more confused than ever! Basically I play movies via external HDD (NTFS). Is it at all possible to plug straight into an AV that decodes both sound AND various movie formats, such as MKV and MP4, and then connect direct to TV?

Or do I need to play via blu-ray connected to AV?

All advice much appreciated.
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Old 21-02-2013, 17:02
JulesandSand
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Not that I'm aware of.

One of these would suit,

http://www.amazon.co.uk/WD-Live-Stre...1465952&sr=8-1

I've an older (non wifi) model with a USB HDD drive connected and it's played every file format I've tried which wasn't the case with my blu ray player.

Other media streamers are available.
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Old 21-02-2013, 17:04
R410
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There are such devices available. Stay away from the cheaper ones as most of them do not support MKV playback.

I know that the Sumvision Cyclone Micro 3 (http://sumvision.com/productinfo/micro3b/micro3b.asp) supports most if not all formats, and is not that expensive at 38.46 from Amazon
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sumvision-Cy...1466019&sr=1-1

The older Cyclone Micro 2+ model is cheaper but doesn't support as many file types, although is a bit cheaper, at just under 30
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cyclone-Micr...1466019&sr=1-2

I myself have a first generation Sumvision Micro, it is a great device, but it doesn't support MKV or MP4 files which is a bit of a pain.
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Old 21-02-2013, 18:23
adam1516
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So let me get this right - I plug my HDD via USB into the media player, then plug the media player into the AV via HDMI, then AV into the TV, correct?
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Old 21-02-2013, 18:24
JulesandSand
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So let me get this right - I plug my HDD via USB into the media player, then plug the media player into the AV via HDMI, then AV into the TV, correct?
That's exactly how I do it.
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Old 21-02-2013, 18:30
adam1516
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Thanks. It just seems odd that I have to plug one HDD into what is essentially another HDD so that the AV can process it.

I was looking at the media players you mentioned, they seem very reasonably priced, but the reviews are pretty mixed.
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Old 21-02-2013, 18:32
JulesandSand
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Thanks. It just seems odd that I have to plug one HDD into what is essentially another HDD so that the AV can process it.

I was looking at the media players you mentioned, they seem very reasonably priced, but the reviews are pretty mixed.
I only mentioned the WD one, I've had mine for about 18 months and it's been faultless. It doesn't have an HDD though so not sure what you mean there.
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Old 21-02-2013, 18:53
adam1516
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Ah well some of them support internal HDD - like this one -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eminent-hdMe...sr=1-1-catcorr

I assume I could transfer my files onto this machine (with internal HDD included, of course), therefore eliminating the need to use my external HDD.
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Old 21-02-2013, 19:48
R410
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So let me get this right - I plug my HDD via USB into the media player, then plug the media player into the AV via HDMI, then AV into the TV, correct?
I am a bit confused. What is an AV?
Is it a part of a Surround system as I think it is.
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Old 21-02-2013, 22:59
Chris Frost
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Ah well some of them support internal HDD - like this one -

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eminent-hdMe...sr=1-1-catcorr

I assume I could transfer my files onto this machine (with internal HDD included, of course), therefore eliminating the need to use my external HDD.
The thing you are playing from is called a media streamer. Whether that streamer relies on an external HDD via USB, or takes its content via a network connection from a PC or NAS drive, or whether it has an internal drive, or whether it has any combination of the above is largely irrelevant. The core item is still a media streamer no matter how it accesses content. You plug it in to the TV or via the AV Receiver and that's the end of it.

AV Receivers have certainly become smarter; incorporating USB music file playback, and internet radio, and Airplay, and Smartphone control apps. Who knows what the future may hold in terms of streaming video content? That may come one day. But the cost has to be justified, and right now it would be wrong to saddle all AV Receiver buyers with the cost of an integrated media streamer. The demand for that feature doesn't justify the expense. So right now an outboard media streamer is the most cost effective solution.
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Old 21-02-2013, 23:38
BrokenArrow
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Why don't you just plug the HDD straight into the TV USB socket?
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Old 22-02-2013, 11:37
adam1516
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Why don't you just plug the HDD straight into the TV USB socket?
That's what I have been doing, but I thought I would get better sound if it went through an AV. Am I right in thinking the TV prcoesses the sound if the HDD is plugged directly into it?
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Old 22-02-2013, 11:44
chrisjr
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That's what I have been doing, but I thought I would get better sound if it went through an AV. Am I right in thinking the TV prcoesses the sound if the HDD is plugged directly into it?
Depends on what audio format is being used.

If it's something like Dolby Digital then I suspect the average telly won't have a clue what to do with it. And if the TV is connected to an AV receiver via some sort of digital interface then chances are it will just chuck the digits at the receiver unmolested.

So you probably won't get much if any difference whether the drive is plugged into the telly or the receiver. The receiver is likely to get the same string of ones and zeros regardless.
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Old 22-02-2013, 11:45
JulesandSand
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That's what I have been doing, but I thought I would get better sound if it went through an AV. Am I right in thinking the TV prcoesses the sound if the HDD is plugged directly into it?
That's right - although an AV receiver would still work playing the files via the TV if your TV has ARC-enabled HDMI.
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Old 22-02-2013, 11:53
adam1516
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Problem is my TV is not ARC enabled, so I am limited in my options. So what's my best option then, if I am to continue playing films via HDD? If I use a media player plugged into the AV, then can I just connect AV to Tv with HDMI for the picture, and use the AVI to external speakers for the sound? All I want is to ensure the sound is processed via the AV rather than the crappy sound in the TV.
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Old 22-02-2013, 11:54
jjne
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Seems to me that an inexpensive Android-based mini PC or Raspberry Pi running XBMC will destroy any of these WDTV-type devices for functionality.

And there has been significant progress made recently with regards to XBMC compatibility with such Android devices.
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Old 22-02-2013, 11:56
JulesandSand
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Seems to me that an inexpensive Android-based mini PC or Raspberry Pi running XBMC will destroy any of these WDTV-type devices for functionality.

And there has been significant progress made recently with regards to XBMC compatibility with such Android devices.
What extra media functionality would they offer?
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:01
JulesandSand
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Problem is my TV is not ARC enabled, so I am limited in my options. So what's my best option then, if I am to continue playing films via HDD? If I use a media player plugged into the AV, then can I just connect AV to Tv with HDMI for the picture, and use the AVI to external speakers for the sound? All I want is to ensure the sound is processed via the AV rather than the crappy sound in the TV.
If you get an amp with HDMI pass through (any decent one will have this) you connect your media streamer, whatever it is via HDMI to the amp and the amp to the TV.

That's how mine is set up - PS3, Blu Ray, Media Streamer and Sky box connected to the amp via HDMI.
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:02
jjne
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You only need to look at the wealth of plugins on offer with XBMC to see what extra functionality is on offer.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XBMC

The higher-end media streamers are now starting to utilise XBMC as their base.
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:08
chrisjr
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Problem is my TV is not ARC enabled, so I am limited in my options. So what's my best option then, if I am to continue playing films via HDD? If I use a media player plugged into the AV, then can I just connect AV to Tv with HDMI for the picture, and use the AVI to external speakers for the sound? All I want is to ensure the sound is processed via the AV rather than the crappy sound in the TV.
Does your TV have any form of audio output that is compatible with any audio input on the AV amp?

If so then simply run an appropriate cable between the two and use the AV amp for all audio duties.

If you are unsure post the make and models of both TV and AV amp and I'm sure someone will know what the options are.

And if you do use a separate media player with HDMI and HDMI inputs on the AV amp then the amp will suck the audio data out of the HDMI feed and deal with that itself and send the remaining pictures onto the TV.
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:09
JulesandSand
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I was under the impression the OP doesn't have an amp yet.
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:19
adam1516
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Does your TV have any form of audio output that is compatible with any audio input on the AV amp?

If so then simply run an appropriate cable between the two and use the AV amp for all audio duties.

If you are unsure post the make and models of both TV and AV amp and I'm sure someone will know what the options are.

And if you do use a separate media player with HDMI and HDMI inputs on the AV amp then the amp will suck the audio data out of the HDMI feed and deal with that itself and send the remaining pictures onto the TV.
Yes, the TV has optical out, but isn't that inferior over HDMI? For example, would I get dts over the optical lead?
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:20
adam1516
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... and here's the AV I was considering -

http://www.petertyson.co.uk/ebuttonz...avr-1713.shtml

Looks like a bargain to me.
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:26
JulesandSand
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... and here's the AV I was considering -

http://www.petertyson.co.uk/ebuttonz...avr-1713.shtml

Looks like a bargain to me.
What devices will you be connecting to it?
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Old 22-02-2013, 12:31
chrisjr
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Yes, the TV has optical out, but isn't that inferior over HDMI? For example, would I get dts over the optical lead?
You would only use the TV out for TV sound. Which won't be DTS or anything like that. Might possibly get Dolby Digital from HD channels if your TV has Freeview HD but that can go over optical OK.

Plain vanilla PCM stereo is identical whatever digital medium it travels over. Provided the cables you use don't mangle the data stream of course (but then you would soon notice if they did!)
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