Android with External BD Drive Solution

Discussion in 'CD/DVD/BD Drives' started by dellsam34, Apr 26, 2015.

  1. dellsam34

    dellsam34 Well-Known Member

    I was looking for the best blu-ray player that plays backups since Sony disabled BD-R backups playback on PS3, but wasn't sure what to buy, So was thinking about a non official solution and an idea came to my head where I can use an android media player with a laptop external BD drive and just use XMBC app to playback the disc with full disc menu, What is the best android player that can pass thru DTS HD master and Dolby digital HD to my 7.1 receiver?
  2. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    This is a Win8 device out of the box for only $180USD at Amazon. It has a lot of good reviews and a couple of the reviewers claims it works with passing DTS-HD thru the HDMI, but not sure if that's confirmed since I can't find any detailed manuf spec yet. Many reviewers confirmed that it works with 1080p at 60Hz. No 4KUHD and not sure about 3D, but for less than 200USD who cares?

    Thinking about buying it myself. You can connect an external optical drive and install any software compatible with windows 8.
    Has a 1.47 GHz Celeron 2957U 2GB ram and 32GB SSD upgradable to 16GB ram and 256GB SSD.

    BTW, anyone buying this should upgrade the SSD and RAM. Win8 requires around 10GB of the SSD leaving you with only 22GB SSD and 2GB of ram is probably not enough to stream 1080p without glitches.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2015
  3. dellsam34

    dellsam34 Well-Known Member

    Few of android devices can pass-through DTS-HD and DD-HD but only 5.1 no 7.1 support and that's where the confusion resides, Mede8er does indeed do 7.1 but it is not an android I guess, Open Hour in the other hand is an android device and packs a lot of features but it is not confirmed if it does 7.1, it does however do 5.1
  4. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    The Open Hour device looks very interesting. It has HDMI 2.0 and 4K compatible. Only problem is I can't find a company website for the manufacturer and only 3 reviews on Amazon. 1 reviewer claims it doesn't recognize HD audio and another reviewer replied that a firmware update was scheduled for April 2015. But can you connect an external USB BD player/burner? I'm also looking for an alternative to a standalone player but more interested in HTPC Windows devices that can run AnyDVDHD. The HP Stream Mini seems to have all that but can't find a spec on the HDMI so not expecting more than 1080p @60Hz.
    HD Audio requires HDMI 1.3, 3D requires 1.4 and UHD 4K requires 2.0.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  5. dellsam34

    dellsam34 Well-Known Member

    It's made by the same company that makes popcorn hour, they do stand behind their products.
    The device runs on different platforms by just inserting the OS SD card, I don't see why it doesn't work on windows platform you go to their forum and ask the question.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2015
  6. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    Do you know if they are even shipping yet? I didn't see any forums on their support site for this one yet. It looks awesome but would expect a lot more than 3-4 reviews on Amazon if it's that good at 150USD.
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2015
  7. dellsam34

    dellsam34 Well-Known Member

    Yes it is on sale, amazon, ebay... everywhere see youtube reviews too, click on the link I've sent you see the tab that has forum, Also you may consider Minix they have two versions of the player Android and Windows 8:
  8. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    Just as an update, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the HP Stream Mini does have the hardware to pass 7.1 HD Audio over HDMI. I was able to modulate all 8 audio channels individually with the test software.
    Still working on the initial setup but looks very nice so far :).
  9. dellsam34

    dellsam34 Well-Known Member

    Why don't you just get a mini factor PC at least you have the option to update component later on as needed.
  10. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    I looked into that option and they were all more expensive than the HP Mini Stream. For the price and reviews of the mini-stream, I saw nothing in the price category with a standard mini frame factor. Besides spending extra money for a standard footprint, the cost of the motherboard is about 95% of the cost of the whole computer. Might as well replace the whole computer rather than the hassle with replacing a that price level.

    Also, HP was smart to make it a custom footprint as they control any motherboard upgrades in the future which could become available.

    So far, I am really pleased. It plays 1920X1080p at 60Hz and 24bit color with 7.1 channels of PCM audio with no stuttering.

    It's a Win 8.1 PC and VCD and AnyDVDHD works fine. The only disappointment was that TMT3 doesn't support full BD Java menus with Win 8.1 and will probably have to buy PDVD.

    So far I've not been able to pass the DTS-HD formats straight to the 7.1 receiver but not sure if that is a software player problem or a hardware problem but the PCM sounds great.
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  11. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    Update on my experience with the HP Stream Mini 200-010:

    If any of you buy this also include at least 4GB more memory and a 128GB SSD in order to save time and shipping costs.
    That ups the cost to around $250-300USD State side. Read the Amazon reviews to find out what specific SSD and ram works as HP hasn't made those choices optional yet.

    The "32GB" installed SSD only has 22GB free out of the box as it has a 7GB recovery partition. I ran out of SSD free space trying to get Win8.1 up to date.

    Overall, it still works great for playing backed up blu ray movies including BD-R at 1080p 60Hz and 7.1 Audio, but still messing with it to get things optimized.

    Here is the most useful post on Amazon, comment by "J Chung, Upgrade Instructions" Read this before buying:

    One other thing, I had an aborted update with windows due to lack of SSD free space (still have the 32GB SSD installed) and noticed that the HDMI Audio channels were scrambled with the actual speaker positions. Messed with the problem for hours until I found the solution was to plug headphones into the back of the Mini Stream. After the headphones were recognized, the 8 channels of audio magically descrambled and everything was fine. Have no idea why that happened but was very annoying. Could not find that problem by Googling, but if anyone comes across it, that was my fix.

    Overall evaluation so far is this is not an out of box "turnkey" solution for an HTPC and don't even think about buying this without a willingness to install extra ram and replace the SSD. Also, make sure you create a backup drive with a clean USB stick of at least 16GB before replacing the factory 32GB SSD (it has to be a flash USB drive and not an HDD USB), so add that to the overall cost. IMHO, HP should offer the product with optional SSD and RAM to save the added expense of inevitable upgrading that is required to become a useful HTPC out of box.
    Last edited: May 7, 2015
  12. Roycal

    Roycal Well-Known Member

    hp stream mini

    Update on increasing the capacity of the SSD on the HP Stream Mini. If you're wondering why none of the Youtube videos have covered that in detail it's because it's a major pain.
    There is no utilities within the PC or the replacement drive to replace the root SSD. I waded through a lot of forums to finally find a solution.

    The only thing that has worked for me is "Macrium Reflect" (free version works) as follows:
    1. Use MR to Backup the original SSD's image on a USB HDD that can handle at least 25GB (or the size of the original C drive + 8GB for the hidden partitions).
    2. Use MR to create a separate rescue USB flash drive (at least 500MB).
    3. Test the rescue USB by booting up and in ROM Bios select the rescue USB. If everything works, replace the original SSD with the new blank SSD.
    4. Boot up the PC into ROM bios and select the USB flash drive created in 2 to boot first.
    4. When MR loads, select the backup image created in step 1 above to write the image to the new SSD.
    5. Reboot the computer and verify the ROM bios is back to "windows" as first boot choice or unplug the rescue USB flash drive from step 2.
    The new SSD should boot up in windows now.

    So far, the down side is apparently the C drive partition cannot be expanded beyond 32GB and the additional disk space has to be formatted with windows "disk management" to create a separate partition that adds the extra disk space under a different drive letter. It seems to be a limitation of Win 8.1 for these free OEM Bing versions.

    You can install Linux and possibly extend the partitions that way, or with a full 8.1 windows version. But the version included with the HP Stream Mini limits the C drive to 4 separate partitions that add up to about 32GB. My plan is just to install windows and it's updates on the C drive and everything else on the D (extended bytes) drive. We will see how it goes.

    BTW, I did get all the DTS-HD formats to pass straight undecoded to the A/V receiver. I replaced the HDMI cable with a newer one guaranteed to be 4K and 3D compliant which I think helped.
    PDVD 15 is still unable to detect my 3D HDTV but I'm still hoping that may be a problem with the trial version of PDVD15 and not the HP.
    Last edited: May 11, 2015