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XBMC is Dead ?

Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all of the popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback allowing you to stream multimedia directly from your NAS via HDMI to any monitor or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available.

Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby twofingertyper » Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:11 pm

MikeG.6.5 - just a follow up question; if I'm using Plex I am ditching the HDMI connection which was one of the reasons I had bought the ASUSTOR in the first place (seemed like a really easy way to stream movies); would I be better running the Plex server on my PC which has a much better processor?

Not sure if I would then just get a bigger HDD and ditch the NAS and leave the PC on, or use the NAS for storage of files still - but just wondered if you had similar thoughts at any point?
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Fri Dec 25, 2015 12:40 am

This is somewhat of a two edged sword no matter which route you go....

Let's look at using the NAS as the PMS device first. (PMS=Plex Media Server) Unless you have the 510x series or the 700x series the CPU is going to be under powered for transcoding 1080p streams. And even the 510x is going to be a bit small. Plex's documentation states a requirement of 2000 passmarks for transcoding a 1080p stream. (Look in my signature link for an in-depth comparison of the various Asustor models and the different Passmarks each gets.) So all of the lesser models are going to have issues with transcoding media.

Transcoding is converting the media container, codecs or downscaling the bitrates to fit the client's requested rates. So we can control the container (MKV, AVI, MPG, MOV, etc.) by converting this before Plex ever gets the media, and that helps to reduce the transcoding requirements based on container. Codec is also solved by converting the media before Plex gets it's hands on the files, so if we do this step we cover just about any eventuality based on those two cases. The last one, bitrates can also be mitigated, but requires more than one copy of the media to do. Plex now has an Optimize Media feature, which allows you to "pre-transcode" media for a specified bitrate. So we eliminate that requirement from the equation, too.

Now, there are a very few instances that transcoding can happen, and those are a bit more difficult to mitigate. Subtitles, expecially the bitmap styles, are going to need to be "burned into" the video stream. That means they need o be transcoded into the video. As of yet, there is no way around that requirement, either Plex or most of the other apps out there have this problem. SRT subtitles are text based, and most of Plex's client apps support sending these subtitles along side the video/audio and allowing the client app to insert them on it's own. So having the subtitle in srt format for MOST of Plex's clients works well. There are a few clients that don't have the functionality yet. My Vizio TV's app doesn't. But this is coming to all of them eventually.

All of Plex's official apps and most of the 3rd party client apps support MP4, H264 with AAC audio and a secondary AC3 5.1 audio channel. Most of the client apps support SRT subtitles "sidecar". So getting your media into these formats/codecs can reduce the transcoding requirements.

Now let's look at putting Plex on another, more powerful device.

In this scenario, the client app requests the media, and the version stored on the NAS is in the right file container, codec and everything is good. The NAS sends the file to the PMS PC, and the PC transmits it to the client. This is 2X the data moving on the network for a single stream. If that stream is a 20Mbps or large DR rip and the stream requires transcoding for the client, still well within the 1Gbps limits of most common networks. But, let's say there's another 20MBps stream requested partway through the first. Now we add another 40Mbps stream to the mix, again within the limits of the 1Gbps bandwidth limitation, but now the limits are going to be the physical read/write of the NAS itself. Adding in a third and someone is going to be buffering. Likely all three streams will experience it to some extent.

Where we really start to see problems with this is transcoding the multiple streams. Assuming the PC has the hardware to support multiple transcodes, all it takes is a few missed packets going back and forth PMS PC/NAS and the stream is interrupted. This results in an increase in network traffic as the packets get resent, and an increase in the read requirements on the NAS as it starts to struggle with sending the data.

Now, storing the pre-transcoded files on the NAS and the streaming (from what I understand, can't confirm) now takes the shortest path, going from the NAS almost directly to the client itself. The PMS PC only controls how much is sent and where in the streaming the client app is. but you still have a larger amount of network traffic taking place with this method... But again, the smaller NASes have the hardware itself as a bottleneck. Data read rates being of most concern, but over-all throughput being high concern, too.

If it were me on any of the smaller NASes, I would put Plex on the NAS itself, and make sure that the media is in the correct container, codecs and that the only subs I had were SRT's. Then I would take the next step of pre-transcoding to at least one of the smaller bitrate requirements, such as 4Mbps or even a few, like 4Mbps and 1.5Mbps and perhaps 720Kbps. I'm using more data on the HDD's but HDD's are cheap, relatively... For $125 US I can add another 3TB external drive to the NAS and I should be able to store all of those pre-staged transcodes on it easily. (This is exactly how I was able to get my 202T working for Plex for almost a year, BTW.... And this method STILL works well, I just had a few other requirements that I needed the NAS to do, which is why I upgraded to a 7004T.)

If I have a single 1080p 20Mbps full rip being sent to a TV locally, and 2 other 4Mbps streams being sent out remotely, even the 202T should handle this easily, if I have the bitrate versions required for streaming all three request. (I had 5 streams max on my 202T at several points prior to my hardware upgrade, so I KNOW this works.) If not, even my 7004T might have issues keeping up if the 4Mbps streams are coming from transcoded 20Mbps+ originals. And there is no way any of the lesser models could hope to keep the streams RT without buffering one or all of the streams required of it.

I hope this answers your questions. There is a lot here to absorb.

As you can see, there are considerations regardless which method you decide to go with. BUT I personally would use the NAS as the PMS device and use Handbrake or some conversion scripts customized to produce multiple bitrate files from an original, or use Plex's Optimize Media feature to make prestaged versions. YMMV, but with almost 2 years now of running Plex, this is what I've come up with to solve so many of the issues I had.

EDIT: The NAS , regardless of the model, is going to have a smaller power requirement than just about any desktop and most laptop computers. Leaving the NAS on 24/7 and your power bill will be considerably smaller than leaving a desktop or laptop on the same length time frames. Because the NAS has lower power requirements it's going to be the most efficient method of storing and streaming the media.
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby Alchi » Sat Dec 26, 2015 3:09 am

But Plex doesn't work trough HDMI, does it?
I have no smart TV, just ordinary one with HDMI port :(
So XBMC is only one possible option ans it sad to see it stagnating.

HDMI port at NAS was for me main reason to buy Asustor and unfortunately I now I feel I was wrong...
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 5:17 am

Alchi wrote:But Plex doesn't work trough HDMI, does it?
I have no smart TV, just ordinary one with HDMI port :(
So XBMC is only one possible option ans it sad to see it stagnating.

HDMI port at NAS was for me main reason to buy Asustor and unfortunately I now I feel I was wrong...


No, you are right, Plex doesn't work through HDMI. But then again, none of the manufacturers that have HDMI are able to have a working HT through this right now, without having a relatively new system and the Intel drivers for that port. Every manufacturer out there is having the same problems. So, you bought Asustor and feel you were screwed.

The folks with QNAP and Synology are thinking the same thing! You aren't unique just because you bought Asustor.... XBMC is now no longer an option. This wasn't Asustor's decision to stop supporting XBMC. This was XBMC no longer supporting the world with it's app.

You don't need a smart TV either. You can use a Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV stick, or a slew of other things like them to get your media onto your TV. Hell, some BR Players have even got a Plex app for them. As long as you have HDMI, or composite video for some models you can still use your NAS as part of a Home Theater system. You may already have the client device you need and not even know it because you are so fixated on a dead app.

I just wrote a very long tutorial on how to set all of this up in the Tips and Tricks forum. It's long, dry and kind of boring, I guess, but it tells you everything you need to know to set up Plex. and it's right here: viewtopic.php?f=49&t=7231

Now you can keep complaining about something that's out of Asustor's control, and not be happy. Or you can do something to use your NAS as a part of a Home Theater system.

All of this complaining about XBMC has me thinking I should start complaining about missing Lemmings. I LOVED that game. It died when MS-Dos died... The world moved past the app. Now it's time for people to move past XBMC and into the reality that is the world.

You want XBMC and I want Lemmings. Neither of us are going to be happy until we get our app. but, wait... I'm already happy. Because I remember fondly the hours I spent playing Lemmings, and I have a Home Theater with my NAS and Plex.... You are still stuck in the same old rut.... Unhappy and unwilling to step out of the box XBMC put you into...

Your choice....
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby poul54 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:33 pm

you make me mad..... kodi (xbmc) is supporting nearly every platform, and is the best mediaplayer ever, they are doing a great job for free..... it is just a matter of hardware support that Intel and those WHO use their chipset, have decided not to update because they woukld rather sell newer hardware to you, than update the old ones , i feel srewed too buying this nas for a year ago announced as a nas with mediacenter
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby MikeG.6.5 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:20 am

poul54 wrote:you make me mad..... kodi (xbmc) is supporting nearly every platform, and is the best mediaplayer ever, they are doing a great job for free..... it is just a matter of hardware support that Intel and those WHO use their chipset, have decided not to update because they woukld rather sell newer hardware to you, than update the old ones , i feel srewed too buying this nas for a year ago announced as a nas with mediacenter


Thank you Poul54 for reaffirming why I had you on ignore.

You even admit that this is a problem created by Intel in your post, but then blame Asustor further on in it. Make up your mind! It's either Intel's fault for not supplying EVERY MANUFACTURER that used their chips with the drivers or Asustor's because your pet app doesn't work with their product.

Which is it? I mean you can't blame both for this, when QNAP, Synology and others have the same issue Asustor is having... Take a good hard look at who is to blame for this. And then rethink what you posted. You're mad at ME for giving you a viable alternative.

I don't know if Kodi's player is better, worse or the same and Plex's. I will never know. Plex comes on every smart TV made now, as well as a lot of BR players, Xbox, PS3/4, any tablet, phone, PC or MAC, most streaming sticks or boxes and the Rasberry's too... and I'm sure I'm missing a few. The only reason it costs you $5 from the Android or iOS stores for those clients is the stores themselves.

You don't need to pay for anything with Plex, if you don't want to. Most of the TV apps are free, as are any of the PHT apps for computers. It's the mobile apps you have to pay for, generally. Or buy a Plex Pass if you want the features it provides, in which case the paid apps are free, too. To get some features with Plex you have to pay for them... but the BASE application and most of the players are free.

And both apps, Kodi and Plex were spun off of XBMC. Plex spun off a few years ago, Kodi just absorbed XBMC completely. You could use any of the Kodi players, by installing PleXBMC to use your Plex Media Server, if you wanted to.

But hey, you want your app. I want Lemmings. And the 5 hours it took me to write up that set of tutorials in the Tips and Tricks forum for installing Plex Media Server on your NAS was wasted efforts because you won't even take the time or trouble to look at it. I'm not talking about making Kodi work, so you aren't going to make the efforts. And you are diving right off the cliff as are the others with XBMC and Kodi whining, just like the Lemmings do in RL. Following one right after the other, and never looking to either side for a different way.

I'm happy, hell more than happy with my Asustor NASes. They all do what I want them to do. I had never heard of Kodi until I saw it on these boards, but I knew I wasn't going to try XBMC. I had done that already with my PC and hated it. My library was so large the XBMC locked up my PC all the time every time I tried it, so no way in hell was I putting it on my NAS. I knew there was something out there that HAD to be better. And there is, at least for me, and everyone else that has decided to use Plex.

But I guess it's all wasted breath trying to stop you from following the rest over the cliff. You have your blinders on and can't see past the tail end of the one in front of you. So you just follow behind bitching about something out of Asustor's control, but blaming them for the problems you have. Just as those with a QNAP or Synology NAS are doing when they complain about the same thing. And they are pointing at Asustor thinking we have something that works and they don't... What a vicious circle this must seem to an outsider...

What a life you live to be so bitter about ONE APPLICATION! And so fixated on that application you don't look for alternatives! You must really hate that there are alternatives that WORK for people that try them. Who are willing to open their minds up to the possibilities of other methods and means to accomplish something outside of the Lemming Trains you have been so blindly following.

I will argue about Kodi's player being better than Plex's. If you want, make a feature list of what you like about Kodi's player and we can compare, feature for feature. I'm willing to bet the only reason you think Kodi's players are better is because that's all you have ever used. I bet you haven't looked at the players for Plex. Are there things I wish Plex's players had? Yes, but they are getting more features, almost every day!

Hell, I bet you haven't even looked at the 5 post tutorial I wrote on installing Plex once you realized that it was about Plex and not Kodi. And following along with it to try to install Plex on your NAS? Oh no! You couldn't be bothered to even try it! Plex is BENEATH you with your Lemming attitudes towards Kodi....

Enough... One of us looked around to find alternatives to the poorly executed apps he hated before. One of us has a working media system with their NAS. One of us streams their library locally and remotely. One of us shares that library out to 25+ friends and family members across the US streaming to them day or night to a wide gambit of client apps, and a HUGE library for them to choose from. (1700+ movies and 250+ TV shows spanning almost 14,000 episodes.) One of us is HAPPY!

And the other is ranting on about his pet app not working, staring at the a$$ of the guy that just went off the cliff.
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby poul54 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:59 am

i have plex installed, nothing wrong with plex, that is born from xbmc/kodi and they are still using their source code, but i can not play plex native from my nas ....i do not need your guide to install plex but thank you for taken time to do it for those WHO need this , and for sure it is not about the dollars what app i use i just want what asustor has promissed, playing media via hdmi native, they just screw me once ......no matter if it is Intel or asustor to blame for the missing driversupport, it is asustor that promissed me a nas/mediacenter, and asustor choosing components in their system, you can put me on ignore but i have all rights to expres my opinion even if it is different from yours, but i am happy for that you are happy even though asustor have screwed you too,
a list of features is not relevant you know there are thousends of addons to kodi and the features in plex is forked from kodi, it was easier that you could write a feature in plex, that kodi haven´t
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby twofingertyper » Sun Dec 27, 2015 9:19 pm

Thanks for the thoughts MikeG.6.5 - obviously nothing is straightforward! I've looked at your tutorial and think I understand most of what you're saying, so will give it a go and see what works (or not) and then post on the Plex forums for further feedback rather than clog up this thread with useful solutions to the defunct XBMC
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby Tsburt » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:18 pm

I don't really care about XBMC ultimately. What I expect however is Asustor to be providing the service I was sold, which is to be able to use the hdmi port to hook up directly to my television to provide a straightforward media solution for my family to use. Now there is no application that allows that to occur on the 302T. That is what upsets me.
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Re: XBMC is Dead ?

Postby joe » Mon Feb 01, 2016 5:02 am

It was good while it lasted but unfortunately support for XBMC on the 202 and 302 didn't really last long and I sympathise with those who have found themselves in this unlucky stranded position - I'm a 202TE owner myself since around Nov 2013 and I'm in this position too. I think it became clear by around the end of 2014 that XBMC on this box was abandonware but overall I'm still quite happy with the device when I use it as a NAS device rather than a media centre.

For Kodi / XBMC / streaming / music type things I decided to just move on and I bought a cheap android MX box from eBay for £35. This box has a quad core processor, it easily runs the latest Kodi and it's software is easily upgradable. I still use the 202TE to store media and I stream directly over the network (cable connected) using the android box - a setup that works pretty much flawlessly. No it's not the setup I envisioned when I bought into the Asustor product line, I've ended up with another box under the TV to get me to where I was before XBMC and the HDMI port on the 202TE were consigned to the bin. That said I'm happy that what I've got does work.
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