Something Random

Stereodude

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I have to say I'm pretty unimpressed with the FireTV Stick 4K. It's real slick from a UI and feature set standpoint, but it doesn't seem capable of playing back video at the proper frame rate without slight stutters from dropped/repeated frames. I mean that's only it's primary job. :poop:
 

Stereodude

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I've had pretty good luck with my Nvidia Shield as my streaming media player. Have you tried one of those?
I have not. FWIW the people on the Kodi forum say the FireTV Stick 4K has better picture quality than the Shield. The low price ($25 during Prime Day) and feature set had me starting there since I got it mainly for Prime Video playback (this is my first foray into streaming).

However, it looks like if I turn up the Cinemotion setting to Medium on my Sony TV and leave the FireTV Stick 4K to output 2160p60 it works fine. The TV removes the 3:2 cadence judder recovering p24 content from the p60 stream and it ends up looking the same as if the FireTV Stick 4K outputs 2160p24 (less the dropped/repeated frames). My Sony UBP-X700 also plays back Prime Video content fine at 2160p24 via the internal app, but it lacks Dolby Vision and Atmos support with Prime Video (it has both for UHD-BD). My Sony Z9D TV reportedly works fine for UHD w/ Dolby Vision on Prime Video with the internal app (I didn't personally try it), but it also lacks Atmos support.

Currently Prime Video only has 2 shows with Atmos and 3 with Dolby Vision, but the number is likely to go up. Most of the content is just HDR10 w/ DD+. So I have playback options for the vast majority of the content. For a very small subset of their content I have only one, but it seems I have an acceptable solution now.
 
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Handruin

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I haven't followed any of the Kodi forum discussions and haven't tried a FireTV stick 4K to compare the video quality. Was their finding that the video quality is better in every app or just specific ones? Sounds like even with it's better picture quality it skips/stutters/dropped frames so it doesn't sound like better better picture quality to me. How is the FireTV for audio passthrough to a receiver/pre-pro? The Nvidia Shield passes through everything to my receiver so far...however I haven't tried Atoms/DTS:X so I can't compare that capability yet. That was one of my motivations to consider the Shield when viewing my mkv containerized movies with their original sound tracks. I wanted it to pass everything through. My Roku does not do that well.

Did you mean the Sony UBP-X700 or is their a D variant of that player? How is it for UHD disc viewing?
 

Stereodude

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I haven't followed any of the Kodi forum discussions and haven't tried a FireTV stick 4K to compare the video quality. Was their finding that the video quality is better in every app or just specific ones? Sounds like even with it's better picture quality it skips/stutters/dropped frames so it doesn't sound like better better picture quality to me. How is the FireTV for audio passthrough to a receiver/pre-pro? The Nvidia Shield passes through everything to my receiver so far...however I haven't tried Atoms/DTS:X so I can't compare that capability yet. That was one of my motivations to consider the Shield when viewing my mkv containerized movies with their original sound tracks. I wanted it to pass everything through. My Roku does not do that well.
The FireTV Stick 4K wouldn't be my choice for Kodi usage. I only got it for Prime Video. I'm not running Kodi on it nor do I have any plan to. I might try it just to see if Kodi has the same frame drop/repeat issue though. It can't do passthrough for any of the lossless video codecs. You can decode them to LPCM, but that kills of object based audio. Apparently I'm one of the only people to either have the dropped/repeated frame issue or one of the only to notice it with the FireTV Stick 4K. I posted on a few forums (got no confirmation of the issue) and did searching and found no one talking about it.

I just use my Windows 8.1 HTPC with MPC-HC +madVR for most file playback and I don't use Kodi on it. It can play back pretty much any file and HDR10 playback works fine. It has no HDR10+ support (my TV doesn't support it anyhow) and no Dolby Vision support though. HDR10 UHDp60 playback is a little weird as well since HDMI 2.0 only has enough bandwidth for 8-bit RGB at 60Hz. It works, but something is being lost along the way (how visible that is another matter). Of course pretty much the only HDR UHDp60 content are demo clips / stuff on YouTube aside from Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. Frankly, I use the discs for BD and UHD-BD. I don't have my libary ripped into any format sitting on a server. My video file playback is nearly all stuff HDTV I've recorded OTA from the antenna in the attic.

I only use Kodi for music playback. Currently on a hacked HP Chromebox running LibreELEC (Kodi). I'd like to move to a fanless unit. I've tried several SBC's (RPi 3 & Odroid C2) but always end up unhappy with the performance compared to the Chromebox. I bought a RPi4 to play with out of curiosity, but I don't really expect better results (I don't have the right HDMI cable or power adapter for it yet). The fanless ECS Liva Z2 is finally available for sale in the US 1.5 years after it was first introduced. That's my next serious replacement candidate for the Chromebox. Given that it's x86 based and it looks like the Gemini Lake CPU has similar performance to what's in the Chromebox I expect I will finally have success with it when I pull the trigger.

Did you mean the Sony UBP-X700 or is their a D variant of that player? How is it for UHD disc viewing?
Yes, typo. It works fine. It has Dolby Vision support for UHD discs. It's a little clunky in that you have to turn on Dolby Vision output manually in the menu. Then it stays on all the time whether what you're playing has DV or not (so the TV stays in DV mode). So basically you have to manually control it on a per disc basis. You can play back non DV HDR UHD discs in that mode without hurting anything, but SDR content gets messed up. Its file support is wonky. The biggest one of note is that it doesn't support TrueHD in MKV. It has some others that I don't remember off hand. I didn't buy it for file playback, so it's of no real concern to me. It does play downloaded UHD demo clips very nicely (as long as they meet the limitations of the player) from a USB stick, even UHDp60 ones.

Currently there is no box or solution that will do everything (ignoring streaming). Nothing will play back Dolby Vision UHD-BD rips in mkv or mp4 with lossless audio. The hacked firmware Oppos (discontinued) or M9702 clone are the closest. They will play back UHD-BD DV rips in folders (with menus) and BD rips in folders (with menus). They play back pretty much everything else in .mkv or mp4. However, I currently can't bring myself to spend $400 on a M9702. They're not really designed to be network players, more local storage. SMB support is problematic, my understanding is that they only support SMB 1.0 which MS has turned off in the OS for security reasons. NFS reportedly works better, but I don't have an appliance NAS with NFS and my prior attempt to make a NFS server work on my Windows 10 Pro "server" in the basement failed miserably.
 

sedrosken

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That last bit reminds me, maybe I should look into NFS. My stuff can all make use of SMB shares but performance over the wireless on my laptop is utterly abysmal at roughly 600KB/s r/w. Only slightly faster than what I've got coming down my pipe to the rest of the world these days. My PPro machine literally has double the I/O performance -- granted, it's wired, but that's still pathetic.

And yes, SMB 1.0 is turned off by default, but you can re-enable it. I did so for the PPro machine so it could access my software archive easily without needing to sneakernet it over. Yes, it's a security risk, but so is having it connected to the network at all, and I mostly trust anything connected to the home LAN.
 
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sedrosken

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I found an Intel 7260AC card on Ebay that has a Lenovo FRU number that's confirmed working with the whitelist on the X140e, so hopefully that gets here sooner rather than later. It turns out that I can blame my mediocre-to-awful network performance on the Broadcom BCM43228 that's currently in there. Not only is it a pain because it needs 3rd-party firmware on most Linux distros, but it's also really flaky and slow to boot. Even under Windows. Go figure. That'll be fixed soon enough.
 

sedrosken

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Card arrived yesterday and it utterly destroys the old Broadcom card on all fronts. 9.2MB/s throughput over SMB compared with the machine's previous 600K/s max, it's rock steady instead of the Broadcom's wildly inconsistent performance and stability, and it barely sips power by comparison. I got roughly an extra hour's worth of battery life just from swapping the WLAN cards. I still don't think it's completely saturating the 100mbps link between my main and the router, but it's still a massive improvement and by my estimate more than a good enough result for the $25 I spent on the upgrade. I was concerned initially when it didn't work at all -- I thought perhaps the report that its FRU number does get past the whitelist was wrong, intentionally or not -- but apparently Debian even needs non-free firmwares for cards covered by iwlwifi. I wasn't expecting that. Still, just a quick and relatively painless matter of connecting to ethernet to fetch firmware-iwlwifi and then rebuilding my initramfs and rebooting. I technically could have just unloaded and reloaded the module but I wanted to be certain it'd be alright after a reboot as well.
 

LunarMist

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No, but you need a responsible person for transport after unconscious procedures, whether inpatient or outpatient. You can't just drive away in a Chevy or take Yuber_taxi.
 

sedrosken

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Well, RE: SCSI, I played with a AHA-2940U2 OEM that I flashed to a 2940U2W with the unofficial 3.10 BIOS, and it was a pain and a half trying to get it working with a 146.8GB SCA drive. I ended up ditching the idea entirely, after having sunk a not-insignificant amount of money into it. That was... infuriating.

But then, I managed to get NT4 to install onto the SD card... see, the phase of setup that hung was the initial first boot and the conversion of the initial FAT16 partition to NTFS before continuing with setup. NTFS always was rather janky on NT4 now that I think about it. I got around it by using a single FAT16 partition for booting both DOS 7.1 and NT4, and then installing the FastFat32 driver to see the rest of the drive as a big FAT32 partition for both DOS and NT use. But then... I had trouble with my ISA SCSI adapter not liking being enabled at the same time as my video driver. That sucked to deal with. I eventually ironed it out by moving it to IRQ11 which apparently was somehow free. Whatever works I guess. And it does give a tangible benefit -- I can just about hit the 30fps mark in Quake III Arena now if I optimize my settings just right. And for a machine that technically probably isn't supposed to be able to run it at all, I'll take that. I had tried 2000 as well, and was impressed at how well it ran in general, but taking a 33% hit to my framerates (the NT5.x drivers for the Banshee are... lacking to understate dramatically) wasn't my bag so I ended up going back.

On one hand I'm surprised at what I'm able to coax to run -- my janky DX5/6 "hack" works surprisingly well and I have Worms Armageddon and even Age of Empires II working. That's a game that hung before the menu on 98, even. On the other... some stuff didn't like to run that I wasn't expecting. Asheron's Call's Dark Majesty-era client, that I use with the server emulator UAS2, wouldn't even launch. I forgot it needed DX6.1, and my version seems to only pose as 6.0. It's a shame really. There was no real reason MS couldn't have ported DX5 and newer to NT4, the fact that the NT5 beta's DX5 works on it is proof enough of that. My guess was that at the time MS really wanted to push 9x for gaming and NT for serious workloads, even though functionally NT was the superior product.

Marae Lassel reminded me just how slow a pre-Pentium system could be. 95 is kind of a dog on it, but once it loads up it's fine. I have an Intel PCMCIA NIC for it coming in the mail, the 3C-589 it had already doesn't have the appropriate dongle and apparently 3Com used loads of different designs for them in that era so there's no one dongle I can buy that'll work. This Intel card was NIB and was still cheaper than any of the listings I saw for the dongle for the 3Com card, so no regrets I guess. PC speaker sound is charming but I do plan on finding a OPL3LPT and CVX4 for it eventually as well.

Glenden Wood, on the other hand, surprised me with just how snappy it could be. XP on a PIII-S wasn't something I was expecting to like, especially given the 815EP chipset's 512MB RAM limit, but once I let the post-installation tasks settle down it's actually completely usable, even with the latest updates. I'm very impressed. At the desktop I have around 400MB RAM free. I don't remember SP3 being this light.
 
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