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Old 06-17-2018, 02:46 PM
 
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If you can find one used, the WD TV media players are awesome. They play just about ANYTHING, have HDMI out, and some have hard drives internally and some use external ones. Check eBay, price should be $100 or less. The highest definition they output is 1080p but that should suffice for OP’s needs.

Don’t know why they were discontinued but I used them for close to 10 years.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markjames68 View Post
If you can find one used, the WD TV media players are awesome. They play just about ANYTHING, have HDMI out, and some have hard drives internally and some use external ones. Check eBay, price should be $100 or less. The highest definition they output is 1080p but that should suffice for OP’s needs.

Don’t know why they were discontinued but I used them for close to 10 years.
I had never even heard of these players. Just checked amazon and the lowest price is $300. Then went to ebay (as you suggested) and there's a large range of prices but MANY are in the $50-100 range. I think I may buy one to try it out.
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Old 06-17-2018, 07:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
I had never even heard of these players. Just checked amazon and the lowest price is $300. Then went to ebay (as you suggested) and there's a large range of prices but MANY are in the $50-100 range. I think I may buy one to try it out.
This is the one I’d recommend. Ignore the streaming services part of the review, it will serve any video file except DRM protected ones.

https://www.cnet.com/products/wester...a-player-2014/

Easiest way to use is to get a cheap USB external hard disk, copy all the media files to it, and then plug it into the WD TV. It should find and index the files.

Alternatively you can use a network share which works as well.

BTW the Amazon price is because they are discontinued. They sold for $99 new. Don’t pay more than that on eBay.

Good luck!
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Old 06-18-2018, 08:35 AM
 
Location: McAllen, TX
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You can use an old PC as a server. All you have to do is share the folder, setup a user and password (or not) and do it that way. I use Kodi on the Fire Stick to do this.
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Old 06-18-2018, 11:46 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,467 posts, read 13,100,441 times
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Originally Posted by gguerra View Post
You can use an old PC as a server. All you have to do is share the folder, setup a user and password (or not) and do it that way. I use Kodi on the Fire Stick to do this.
This is another option I'm considering. Right now I just use a Roku Ultra with an external hard drive connected to it, and that works fine for viewing .mp4's. Unfortunately I won't have time to figure all this out and test some other options until mid-July due to my work/travel schedule.

Do you find Kodi easier to use than Plex (if you ever tried that)? Is Kodi user-friendly? I am medium-level tech-savvy but usually need clear, complete instructions.

Wonder what the OP ended up doing?
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Old 06-18-2018, 12:48 PM
 
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What I’ve done is to set up a FreeNAS server running Plex. Works well for me but your mileage may vary.

The simplest solution is a media player with an external HDD. Ensure there is a complete backup of that HDD too.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:01 PM
 
Location: McAllen, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
This is another option I'm considering. Right now I just use a Roku Ultra with an external hard drive connected to it, and that works fine for viewing .mp4's. Unfortunately I won't have time to figure all this out and test some other options until mid-July due to my work/travel schedule.

Do you find Kodi easier to use than Plex (if you ever tried that)? Is Kodi user-friendly? I am medium-level tech-savvy but usually need clear, complete instructions.

Wonder what the OP ended up doing?
As far as difficulty, they are different systems. I don't believe Kodi runs on Roku.

Plex will "stream" the video and requires a server and a client and yes I have tried it and have it installed. It's better suited for when you are at two different locations but will work fine over a LAN as well. It's not completely free (I think), I got it working without paying anything. I've only used a few times, Kodi better suits my particular needs.

Kodi is easy enough to install and set up. You need to add videos to your library by specifying a shared folder on your network. It's designed as a media player and you can play videos, ISO's, music or whatever from a windows (or other) share. You can then play your movies from your library which will bring in artwork and other information about the movie, you can also play trailers and such or you can just simply browse the folder and play what you want directly. Kodi can do way more in that it has add-ons which are open source "apps" that add many capabilities to Kodi besides just playing your own videos. Think of it more as a platform.
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Old 09-01-2018, 05:38 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
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Default update - I'm using Plex and it's working great

Just wanted to update this thread since I did end up trying Plex and it's working great. I bought a couple of 4tb external drives (Western Digital) and am copying my media files onto them, then periodically having Plex update them. So far it's working flawlessly -- I can watch the files (most of which are .mp4's) in any room with a Roku (which at my house is a bunch!).

I still think I will buy one of those media players (as markjames suggested) and give it to my mom with an external drive full of content I know she'll like. I tend to record with captions on, which is great for her as she's about to turn 85!
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Old 09-02-2018, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
Just wanted to update this thread since I did end up trying Plex and it's working great. I bought a couple of 4tb external drives (Western Digital) and am copying my media files onto them, then periodically having Plex update them. So far it's working flawlessly -- I can watch the files (most of which are .mp4's) in any room with a Roku (which at my house is a bunch!).

I still think I will buy one of those media players (as markjames suggested) and give it to my mom with an external drive full of content I know she'll like. I tend to record with captions on, which is great for her as she's about to turn 85!
Sounds like a good solution. I moved to Plex around 5 years ago from the WD Live players, but they were great for my kids - and by the same logic for your mom!
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Old 09-03-2018, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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Thanks Karen. We appreciate updates.
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