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Old Jun 30, 2008, 10:47 AM   #1
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How many of you stream your hybrid HD video directly from a "streaming device" to your high definition TV?

I'm using an Apple TV, which can only stream up to 720/24p or 960 x 540 @ 30p.

But I see there are other streaming devices -- such as the DVICO -- that can stream raw AVCHD files and many other types of files:

http://crave.cnet.com/8301-1_105-9977050-1.html


Anybody got one of these? Does it stream your video smoothly? No hiccups?

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Old Jun 30, 2008, 1:01 PM   #2
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There are several of these boxes on the market. The local Fry's has an endcap of several different brands and models. I've been using a AVeL Linkplayer2 since January of 2005. It doesn't handle AVCHD and Sigma Graphics who provided the chip set took some flack for that but it does stream MPEG-2 HD streams, MPEG-4 non-AVC streams, DivX and WMV. In fact Magnolia Films (HDNET) sold some movies for a while that would play on the player as well as the Buffalo player that was similar. JVC also had a version of the model.

The extra bonus was that it upscaled DVDs over component until about the 6th firmware revision (which I of coruse didn't install). The box came with a server you could install on your Windows, Mac or Linux machine to access video, pictures or music. It's still working fine but I kick myself for not replacing the loader with the Lite-On loader that was more fault tolerant that others replaced theirs with. Unfortunately that loader is no longer available. The IO-DATA crew was good at making networking players but a little weak in the DVD player department and the player lacked features I was used to on my other players. A funny thing is that BluRay and HD-DVD also both seem to have problems if even a finger print is on the disk.



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Old Jun 30, 2008, 1:37 PM   #3
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Interesting... the DVICO device also supports the .MKV file container format, which is apparently a container that even offers menus like DVD discs and is entirely "open standard."

I guess .MKV stands for "Matroska."

Here's the Web site:

http://www.matroska.org/
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 1:43 PM   #4
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So I wonder why the Apple TV only shows 720p at 24fps instead of 30fps? I assume this is to reduce the bandwidth to the bare minimum for streaming purposes?
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Old Jun 30, 2008, 2:31 PM   #5
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Probably because their iTunes streams are that. DVDs are usually 24 fps with telecine codes included so the player ups it to 30 fps (or 25 in PAL locations). You can pack more video on a disk or use less bandwidth at 24 fps than 30 and the eyes can't tell the difference.

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Old Jun 30, 2008, 3:12 PM   #6
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My best guess is that the 720/24p is reserved for movies that you can rent or buy via Apple's iTunes store. The 24p is the ideal format for projects that originated on film.

The 960 x 540 @ 30 frames per second is the format that seems to work best for footage originating from a consumer camcorder. The motion appears to be much more smooth on the 30p material than on consumer camcorder footage converted to 720/24p.

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Old Jul 1, 2008, 1:15 AM   #7
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I'm using Xbox 360. You can stream content from the PC by using the 360 as a Media Center extender. The 360 can handle h.264, divx, WMVHD, and mpeg4.
Or if you have Media Player 11 installed, you can connect turn on media sharing and access your videos that way.

Probably the best setup I had was using XBMC on the original Xbox. It was a homebrew project which turned your Xbox into an awesome media player. It was constantly updated with codecs to play almost anything.
I think the team has moved on to port it to OSX.

I'm a bit wary of set top streaming video devices. They usually handle only a limited amount of codecs and usually at specific bitrates/resolution.
I have videos encoded in all different formats so compatibility is a big concern.
Of course the Xbox 360 has these limitations as well, but there are workarounds by setting up a streaming video server on the PC.

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