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Please recommend cheap replacement for WDTV - no streaming required


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My TV system for watching films is: external hard drive > WDTV > Receiver > TV. I do not stream anything directly from the internet. I have no interest in streaming, and I would like to maintain my present setup with the sole exception of the WDTV unit. The main problem is lack of compatibility and particularly that my WDTV will not process PGS subtitles, which have now become essential to my viewing pleasure. Can anyone please suggest a cheap (repeat cheap) replacement with similar functionality, including a remote, and greater compatibility? I will be very grateful.

WDTV setup.jpg

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Not sure if I'm allowed to name apk's on the forum, but not only do most offer downlooadable content, but you can also set subtitle language in each apk.

For instance, I set film+ to play English subs, but set novatv in Thai in case the boss of the house fancies watching.

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1 hour ago, Jai Dee said:

If you are only interested in playing media from a portable hard drive then I would suggest that many Android boxes would be a suitable replacement for your WDTV.

 

The most fundamental difference between an Android box and your WDTV is that your current box has a media player already burnt into the system ROM and nothing else, whereas an Android box is like a mini computer or smart phone... you can add as many apps as you like until you run out of memory.

 

Two issues to consider... 1) video resolution, and 2) subtitles.

 

1) Your current media library is probably HD (720p) or maybe Full HD (1080p) so most boxes on the market will handle that. If you plan on playing 4K content in the future, then you might want to consider investing in a higher spec box (more memory and faster processor) with a slightly higher price.

 

2) Subtitle playback is going to be dependent on the app that you use to replay your media. VLC is one of the most popular, but others like MX Player, Plex, and Kodi are all popular too.

The most common form of subtitle tracks are SRT not PGS, so you might have to do some research as to what works best for you. Please note that there are many sources of free SRT files online so you might want to consider changing your preference according to availability.

A very helpful post. Thank you.

 

1) Video resolution. Currently, up to 1080p, but a capacity for higher resolutions could be beneficial later, as you say.

 

2) Subtitle playback. The WDTV doesn't have a problem with the subtitles of most WEB-DLs and WEBRips. However, nowadays most Bluray rips carry over the PGS subtitles from the disc. My WDTV cannot read those. On my desktop computer VLC plays most things I throw at it, complete with most types of subtitle.

 

I'm hampered by being a Luddite technical moron, and I don't actually know what an android box is. I am imagining a small computer using android as its operating system, like many telephones? Do these come with remotes for using the video software? I would really appreciate it if you, or someone else, could specify: such and such android box, or an android box with such and such specs. And what software. Something simple that will replay TV program rips and Bluray rips from an external drive, complete with their subtitles, and which I can operate by remote from my armchair.

 

If I search Lazada on "android box", it comes up with 9781 items, with prices and descriptions all over the place. Am I looking for something like this - https://www.lazada.co.th/products/tx6-smart-tv-box-tv-box-all-in-one-h6-4g-32g-wifi-bt-bluetooth-i542216786-s981774998.html?spm=a2o4m.searchlist.list.1.37c629ffZfcX9g&search=1

 

This does appear to have a remote, but, according to Google Translate, it offers: Interface Type: WIFI HDMI Coaxial USB Network Connection. I would need an old-fashioned USB 2 input port.

 

And, if I buy something like this, presumably I need to install software of some sort. Are kodi, etc free? Or how does that work?

 

I apologise for all the silly questions, but I'm an ignorant old fart. And greatly appreciate your help.

 

Just in case this is relevant, I am in Pattaya. Should I simply go to a shop like Numchai and try to explain my requirements?

 

 

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20 hours ago, crab said:

And, if I buy something like this, presumably I need to install software of some sort. Are kodi, etc free? Or how does that work?

 

 

Most media player apps are free... you simply download them from the Google Play Store.

 

There are many topics in this forum on the subject of Android boxes... here are a couple of recent ones for you to browse through... this topic and this topic and this topic.

 

Most Android boxes come with an HDMI cable which you can connect directly to your receiver as you do with your WDTV box now, and a simple remote control which is slightly larger than your WD remote. It also acts as an air mouse which will move the cursor around on your TV screen. It will also come with an RJ45 ethernet port so you can hook it up to your home LAN if you want. It will also support 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi, but you've already indicated that you only want to use it as a playback device so connectivity doesn't really matter for your situation.

 

I would recommend visiting an IT mall where they sell these devices, so you can see first hand how they look and what they can do. Somewhere like Tukom in Pattaya has several vendors. Just have a look, ask some questions etc... you do not have to commit to buy anything.

 

 

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21 hours ago, crab said:

My TV system for watching films is: external hard drive > WDTV > Receiver > TV. I do not stream anything directly from the internet. I have no interest in streaming, and I would like to maintain my present setup with the sole exception of the WDTV unit. The main problem is lack of compatibility and particularly that my WDTV will not process PGS subtitles, which have now become essential to my viewing pleasure. Can anyone please suggest a cheap (repeat cheap) replacement with similar functionality, including a remote, and greater compatibility? I will be very grateful.

WDTV setup.jpg

 

I don't have much experience with this. I would expect Jai Dee to have a fair bit on 'hands on' experience.

Though what I would suggest is to be careful with your choice of Android box. Some may claim to play 4k, but the result might not be to your liking.

 

The way I would test a box is to take a USB storage drive with you, replete with the files that you need to play alongside files that you might need to play in the future; namely H.265/HEVC/10-bit.

 

You can find sample files here: https://jell.yfish.us and here: https://kodi.wiki/view/Samples

 

So you can really test the media player capabilities if they can set it up against a 4k TV for you.

Alternatively, you may need a specific recommendation from someone who utilising one for playing high quality video.

Your current collection won't be an issue. But going forward you will want an up to date player that has overhead, so that it doesn't produce disappointing results when faced with such media.

 

 

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I just had another thought on this topic. If you are considering an android box as your replacement then I'd recommend the True ID box. It's very easy to use, very small and can be configured to your requirements. It's also ridiculously cheap. If you already use True for your internet or phone, you can pay 50 Baht extra a month to have the box for free. Just drop into any True store.

 

Secondly, Instead of worrying about a HDD, why not upload everything to the cloud? Saves you having to worry about damage to, or loss of the HDD, and your library of content is available to be played on any device, anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

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On 3/1/2021 at 11:59 AM, 2530Ubon said:

I just had another thought on this topic. If you are considering an android box as your replacement then I'd recommend the True ID box. It's very easy to use, very small and can be configured to your requirements. It's also ridiculously cheap. If you already use True for your internet or phone, you can pay 50 Baht extra a month to have the box for free. Just drop into any True store.

 

Secondly, Instead of worrying about a HDD, why not upload everything to the cloud? Saves you having to worry about damage to, or loss of the HDD, and your library of content is available to be played on any device, anywhere in the world with an internet connection.

Thank you for the thoughts, 2530Ubon. I don't currently use True. But 50 baht a month doesn't sound particularly cheap. My WDTV has lasted me ten years so far, and most Android boxes cost considerably less than 6,000 baht. Is there some other reason why it's better than other ones?

 

My HDD system works fine for me. Load - watch - delete. So far, I see no good reason to resort to any cloud.

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On 2/26/2021 at 3:22 PM, crab said:

Just in case this is relevant, I am in Pattaya.

 

Have you visited Tukom yet with your HDD and checked out what's on offer?

 

 

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On 3/2/2021 at 6:52 PM, crab said:

Thank you for the thoughts, 2530Ubon. I don't currently use True. But 50 baht a month doesn't sound particularly cheap. My WDTV has lasted me ten years so far, and most Android boxes cost considerably less than 6,000 baht. Is there some other reason why it's better than other ones?

 

My HDD system works fine for me. Load - watch - delete. So far, I see no good reason to resort to any cloud.

 

I do apologise, I meant to say an extra 50 baht for the first month, then it's free. I haven't used any other android boxes, but I had a conversation with another TVF chap who claimed that his 3BB box couldn't be configured - system locked. What I like about the box is it's size and power. I can record live tv on it and series link etc, I can install any apps etc that i want, and I can plug in an external drive to it to play offline content. I also like the fact that the remote is an air mouse and microphone. Instead of typing, i just talk to the remote. This works with Thai and English. Handy for Mrs Ubon :)

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