Couch-oriented video player, part 2

In my previous post on this topic, many of you recommended Kodi, which is awful. In fact, it's the only thing anyone recommended that comes close to doing what I asked about. Apparently it's the only game in town. So, followup questions:

  1. Does there exist a macOS video player that does the things I asked for that is not Kodi? (Go read my requirements.)

  2. For those of you who use Kodi -- how the fuck can you stand it?

    1. The "open on monitor" option simply does not work. It allows me to select which monitor it should run on, and then ignores that and always runs on monitor 0. This is pretty much a deal breaker.

    2. It crashes, like, constantly. I'm not sure I've had it stay up for 30 minutes yet. And not even playing video -- this piece of junk crashes like mad just when I'm navigating the maze of menus.

      Currently I can crash it in 5 seconds. Launch, select "Movies", type down-arrow 3 times. Boom. This is not a good program.

    3. It cannot comprehend or accept that movies and TV shows might exist in the same directory. The interwebs are full of complaints about this. Everyone thinks it is insane. I had to create a pair of link farms to make it stop losings its goddamned mind.

    4. After it has scanned my library, it has an "unwatched" section for both movies and TV shows. That's nice, but now it has many thousands of things in it that I have, in fact, watched, and there is no way to mark them all watched. If you google this, you will find many people asking this question, and then saying "Hey, your wrong answer does not work."

    5. Something happened and now it thinks there are only 6 TV shows in my library. And 5 of those are not shows I have ever heard of. Selecting them shows a directory listing with only ".." in it. This is not a good program.

    6. Sometimes the right mouse button brings up a context menu, and sometimes it seems to mean "back"? Are you kidding me?

    7. If there is an upper bound to how many sketchy-sounding domains it tries to contact during normal operation, I have not yet found it.

    8. Each theme is more vile than the one before. And you can only preview them by installing them.

    9. And that's before even trying to play video! Most of the videos I've tried play for ~14 seconds and then freeze. The counter advances, but the video doesn't. The playback scrollbar cannot be dragged.

    10. A couple of times it decided to stop using my default audio output and just start blasting out of my Mac's built-in speakers instead. So that was fun.

    11. And now it seems to have completely scorched audio system-wide somehow. Nothing can make sound any more, even after quitting Kodi. System Preferences says "Could not load Sound preference pane". I've never see anything accomplish this before. I guess I get to reboot. This is not a good program.

Previously.

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56 Responses:

  1. Steve Shockley says:
    1

    I think the main use case for Kodi is a small appliance plugged into the tv.  Maybe the MacOS port just sucks?  
    All the similar software I've seen wants the file structure a certain way.  I've given up that battle.

    Other than Kodi, there's the client/server model with Emby/Plex/Jellyfin, which either use a web browser or a client.  Take a look, but I suspect they may not meet your needs.

    • jwz says:
      2

      So what, I'm supposed to set up some flaky-ass file server to serve the files from my computer, back to my computer? That sounds like a completely great idea that's going to work amazingly well.

      • Not Frank says:
        2

        As best I can tell, Plex is what everyone is doing... and to my surprise, it works surprisingly well (only really used others' setups). The watch-with-others code isn't perfect, but I know multi-display sync is a PITA. Why is this the case? Two reasons I see, which have some overlap:

        1. Clients for nearly every streaming dongle out there, including a number of more obscure ones, as well as web browser support for computers.
        2. The file server computer need not be near the TV. This is good for removing fan noise, folks with multiple TVs (just add a cheap stick to each one), and out-of-home streaming.
      • Joe Shelby says:

        Plex is a media server that also serves up a default web interface. i use it, but i don't know if it totally suits your needs, particularly re: keyboard-only navigation.

        there is a macos player that's oriented for home-theater tvs (so it has full-screen, keyboard-only navigation etc), but I don't know if it solves the "play on other monitor" and sound issues that you ran into in kodi. i haven't really tried it much.

        • Joe Shelby says:

          but also, it can't deal with tv and movies in the same place as such, unless you just go with "video" generic but then it does obnoxious stuff like flattens the hierarchy and you can't just 'play all' without adding items into a collection or a playlist.

      • david konerding says:
        1

        Plex works for me and my friend doing this.  I can't say I ever notice the plex media server (in my case on a linux server) on my machine and it doesn't crash that I can see.  Has no problems indexing all my content.

        Can't say that it would solve most of your problems.  It has issues, but it sucks the least of all the systems I've used.  Note that I have zero experience on Mac, and I suspect that the Mac experience is slightly different from Linux or Windows, in a negative way.

      • Glaurung says:

        I feel your pain. I have an old mac mini hooked to my TV, which contains 2tb of ripped movies and shows in Itunes. Itunes of course has severe limitations and downsides, but it has a remote app that will let me control playback with my phone or Ipad, and it has an interface that at least is vaguely acquainted with how computer programs are supposed to work.  

        After the itunes remote app stopped being able to talk to Itunes 11, I was forced to downgrade to Itunes 12, and began a search for a replacement media library player.  Being able to play MKV files would be nice, for instance, as would a remote app that lets me turn subtitles on and off. But I also needed it to have a decent interface that would let me wrangle metadata.

        After downloading and trying Plex and several other alternatives, each seemingly striving to be uglier and less functional than the others, I have reluctantly concluded that Itunes 12, despite its many unpleasant aspects, is truly the only decent option that meets my needs (plays music as well as video, understands metadata, has a remote app that just works, runs on 10.11, is a simple program that plays videos on the attached screen rather than trying to sling them to other devices, etc).   

    • 2

      I run Kodi on an old Mac Mini running a version of OSX about 5 years out of date just fine, although it does annoyingly pop up a login for iCloud occasionally that I haven't found a way to disable.

      I run the minimalist skin and use it with a Logitech One universal remote.  It's been working great for over a decade and runs for months without a reboot.  It remembers the last place in the video when I stop it and whether something is watched.

      However, I don't use any of the in-built "TV" or "Movie" functions and just run it from a file folder function where I put all my video content regardless of the source.  I also don't have it rename anything.  

      It works fine for my use case.

  2. asan102 says:
    4

    I know how you hate being informed the thing you're looking for does not exist, but the way everyone actually does this now is setting up a server running Plex or Jellyfin and watching the content using the appropriate client on any of the many couch-oriented devices on the market. Plex is ...fine, haven't tried Jellyfin but hear it is roughly fine as well. I don't think any of these will let you keep your TV and Movies in the same folder, though Plex at least has a hidden ability to define 'Collections' containing both media types.

  3. Rob says:

    Yeah. . . sadly, your needs are unique enough that nobody is building the thing that you want.

    Kodi is my most acceptable substitute for what I want, and although it's not good, it's still the best.  If you're running Kodi on a Windows or MacOS machine, you're in for a horrible experience.

    Previously, I used a WDTV to stream from (NFS|SMB|DLNA) and it was okayish, but the codec support was crap.  Then I switched to a Raspberry Pi running Kodi, and it was okayer, but required. . . maintenance.

    So, I've given up and now I run Kodi as an app on a "Chromecast 2020" that's really just an android computer.  It's slightly more annoying from a clown perspective, but requires less maintenance than the Pi did and also the remote is kinda nice.  I turn it on, swear at the clown, launch the Kodi app, then it's better.

    Since it plays from the NAS that has a torrent client pointed to my ShowRSS feeds, it's much better than any of the alternatives I've ever found.

    • jwz says:
      11

      How are my needs unique? What the hell is wrong with all of you people‽‽

      • Carlos says:
        6

        Your needs are not unique.  However, Kodi is only marginally aimed at running on desktop computers, and I'm sure that the Mac version is very much an unloved redheaded step-child.

        I am not justifying any of Kodi's stupidity, for which it does not lack.

        I use it on a Raspberry Pi 3, playing files over the network.  For this it mostly works; it slows down and requires rebooting every few days like a Win95 machine, but it doesn't start crashing on me until it gets into this slowed-down, "I'd better reboot soon" feeling state.

        Kodi's themes/output templates are brutally stupid and are a complete custom implementation; it kind of made sense, when the typical platform it ran on was a decrepit first-generation Xbox.  In today's world of $35 Pis that have quad cores and gigabytes of RAM, it is absolutely indefensible.  This would not be such a big deal if the default themes didn't actually fail to display critical information like, oh, filenames.  You have two movies, one a remake of the other?  Guess what, you can't tell for sure which one is the original and which is the remake.  Start watching it and see if it got them wrong.  Or it identifies both as the same version.  etc.  I had to hack on a default theme to correct this and some other similar problems, and it drove me fucking MENTAL.

        You can use it with an external RDBMS (MySQL & family only, natch), which sounds like a great way to do things like "mark everything under this sub-tree as watched", but the DB schema is completely undocumented and changes with even minor version upgrades.  Tables get their names changed to increment a counter on the end so it can track what version of the schema is in use and when it requires an upgrade.  I have never tried to downgrade versions, but I would put dollars to doughnuts that it Doesn't Go Well.

        Turning even this setup into a proper couch TV system requires the addition of some sort of remote.  I bought a good one, has no problems with reception etc.  But configuring Kodi to use it, even with a "helpful" remote-configuring plugin, is an excercise in frustration.  I spent some hours getting just basic controls configured in a sane way, and then refused to ever touch it again, because if it breaks, I never want to have to go through that again.

        It has problems with large numbers of files in a directory.  Note to Kodi fans: I'm not talking about a few hundred files.  The UI is just not designed to deal with this; if you use any of its built-in smart navigation (movies by genre, movies by year, that sort of thing) it is a bucket of fail soup if you have a ton of matches in your collection.

        I have never tried the TV-and-movies-in-one-directory setup, partly because of the above, and partly because that's not how I organize my media.  But I can tell you that I gave up having it do any scanning of TV content, because it is absolutely useless unless you've got the name of the show in every bloody episode's filename.  I organize my files correctly and just navigate by show/series/episode by hand.

        Kodi is one-third of a good media solution wrapped in two-thirds incompetence, CADT development, bugginess, and failure to foresee many, many reasonable situations that the users therefore run into and can't fix.

        I don't have a better solution for you.  I don't use MacOS, so I have no idea what might work there.  But don't waste more time on Kodi unless you can put up with the above *and* run it on a Pi rather than your desktop machine.

        C.

      • chaosite says:
        1

        I think your load-bearing requirement is "full-screen folder outline browser". There are a whole bunch of UI expectations in there, and Kodi makes UI decisions in the name of user-friendliness that you hate.

        So yeah, you're want something that is not bare-bones yet not user-coddling, and that's kinda unique. Not that Kodi succeeds at being user-friendly either, mind you.

        • jwz says:
          15

          I mean... often I find myself wanting a thing, and thinking, "why does everyone else not also want this thing?", and then realizing, "no, this is me being weird, most people would not want this thing, it would be bad for most people." I am not entirely without introspection. Shit, I use Emacs but I would never recommend it to someone.

          But in this case... god damn, I really don't get why at least a lot of people do not want this thing that I want. It is right and sensible and correct, god dammit.

          • Chris says:

            I would love to use the player you describe. I don't even want to tell you how I play shows currently... I'm completely covered in flies on this.

            • jwz says:
              4

              Again, the frustrating thing here is that Movist 1.4.2 nailed it, and then they decided, naaaahhhh....

              I guess I need to figure out how to get some obsolete version of it to compile... Fuck me.

          • sneak says:
            4

            Normal people use an Apple TV or similar, and have no local storage/media, playing everything from The Cloud, as digital serfs that own nothing.

            I share my files out from where they are stored to my lan using standard SMB, servers for which are in all common OSes.

            Then I use a small 4k NUC (PC mac mini) running LibreELEC (a Linux distribution designed to do nothing but boot and run Kodi).

            It doesn't work great, but it's functional, and nowhere near as broken as the Kodi issues you describe.

          • cdavies says:
            3

            I guess it's not that what you want is unreasonable, it's more that it's a very 2002 use case. I used to have a mini-ITX machine plugged in to my TV back in day, and wanted the same thing you want. These days though, the prospect of sysadmining my TV fills me dread.

            I use Jellyfin to keep my media library organised now, and I can't praise it highly enough. It works flawlessly for the most part, and the few bugs I have encountered have been fixed expeditiously. I have chromecasts and Fire TVs plugged in to the various TV-like things in my house, which Jellyfin supports nicely. I can't tell you to use it though, because its various clients have no keyboard navigation worth a damn, it's pretty wedded to the idea that there's a pointing device.

            Maybe you could buy a wiimote?

            • jwz says:
              3

              But I'm not sysadminning my TV. This is the opposite of that. My TV is just an HDMI output from my desktop computer. There is no TV Computer. Plugging some weird-ass dongle into my TV and having my desktop computer talk to that -- that sounds like sysadminning my TV.

          • K says:

            I know where I part ways from you: my media library is too big to reasonably fit on any laptop storage. So since it has to be on a NAS anyway, the 2009-era nettop that I have hooked to my projector runs LibreELEC and consumes nearly none of my attention. It Just Works, except for every few years when I hit Update and figure out where they moved the obscure buttons this time.

            However your use case also makes sense. It sounds like how I used to do things when my media library was much smaller. Sadly I cannot help you, as I always did what you're trying to do with a wireless trackball and some now-abandonware Windows software. I wish I could help. Your use case seems Right and Just for a narrow but distinctly Sensible slice of the world. Here's hoping you find your people.

            • jwz says:
              1

              My media is on a pair of 5TB USB-powered drives that cost like $80 each. Drives are free and disposable now. A NAS? That sounds like another piece-of-shit all-in-one Windows computer to administer.

              • K says:
                2

                The NAS is actually a Debian box I installed and set up about ten years ago with, I dunno, something like 48TB of disk? I forget exactly what, just did a disk upgrade on it a few years back when 12TB disks got cheap and storage was tight. The media library is something like 15TB and my system image  backups and personal media that spin to it automatically are around another 12TB. I don't want to shuffle 5TB disks around when I have a perfectly serviceable network in the building already. That sounds like it works fine for you, and it'd be purgatory for me.

                In the end I'm pretty sure I'm a different sort of freshly thawed cave dweller than you are anyway, as nowadays most people I know are streaming their media and keeping all their backups in the Clown. Meanwhile I'm still buying and ripping 12cm silver circles like some sort of savage.

                From your original post I did spend a bit of time wandering the Internet looking at weird slightly suspicious Mac video playback apps to see if anything would be workable. Elmedia looks close but the navigation doesn't hit the mark you were looking for. I wish I was able to find something, because it would be nice to be more helpful than 'sorry' which is about where I am right now.

          • Andrew Klossner says:
            1

            I use emacs with Wordstar key bindings. Because in 1983, I had to switch regularly between Unix and CP/M and only one of the two would let me customize. Over the last 39 years I've made a few half-hearted attempts to use the standard key bindings, but my muscle memory will not be retrained.

          • halcy says:

            I think a key point is that you are the only person in the world who owns a remote and dongle for it that actually works consistently. Also, that most likely, many more people have an apple tv or chromecast plugged into their TV than have a computer in reasonable HDMI cable that isn’t a tripping hazard distance of it. That makes something like Infuse (or whatever the android people use) that pulls from a network share (or media server NAS) fairly attractive, even though for your situation where you _do_ have that cable there already, it makes no sense.

      • Carlos says:

        Oh, and the other piece of information the default theme failed to display when browsing movies?

        The year.  I had to hack that into the templates, too.

        You know what really sucks?  Having half a dozen movies with only slight variations in the title (The Foobar, Foobar, A Foobar, Foobar 2, etc...) which its scanner picks up as all the wrong, or all the same, movie, and even if you manually fix them, it won't show you the year when browsing...

        C.

      • Rene Chaddock says:
        4

        Hi Jamie,

        Everybody uses Plex nowadays to do what you want.  

        You said: "So what, I'm supposed to set up some flaky-ass file server to serve the files from my computer, back to my computer? That sounds like a completely great idea that's going to work amazingly well."

        ... reminded me of what I thought of Xwindows back when I first started using linux/unix. :)

        -R

        • Seriously, if you have USB JBOD on a Mac, and don't want to organize another host for serving your blobs and metadata, then a DLNA casting app on the Mac solves that. Firestream works in the setup I did for a friend.

          https://apps.apple.com/us/app/firestream/id1005325119?mt=12

          Then, any cheap dongle with DLNA/UPNP support and a seven-buck remote works for watching all the Mac hosted content on a 10-foot interface.

          • jwz says:
            2

            I didn't know what half of those acronyms meant, but it sounds like you're saying "all you need to do is buy a new computer that speaks a DRM-friendly clown protocol, and install an entire software ecosystem around that", and hahahahahahahahahaha no.

            "How do I do the thing on my computer?"
            "Easy, first get a whole new set of computers that do a different thing."

            • LOL. The jargon is more complex than the setup! JBOD is Just a Bunch of Disks. Your two USB drives! Then there's a little menubar app that advertises folder contents for streaming.

              If you don't want a cheap, Chinese TV dongle, it probably won't help, but it's the "No SAN, no server, just watch my damned movies from my iMac folders" solution I set up for tech-naive friends. They don't even know about Firestream in the menu bar, and there's zero cloub.

      • tfb says:
        1

        The tinfoil-hat answer is 'everyone is being bribed by Netflix to not make these tools'.  Which I am sure is not true: I mean, why would they do that when instead they could just hire people to 'contribute' to projects which do what everyone wants, which probably is not even illegal.

      • cookiedude says:
        1

        Let me add to the chorus of people pointing out that those with large media collections today a) have a NAS or at least a very big USB drive to store all their media and b) a cheap(ish) gizmo that plugs into a TV and streams content from a). Get with it, old-timer. It is no longer 2005, no one watches movies/tv shows on their computer anymore
        (and yes, I used hide my email even though it's unpublished, as I don't trust WP to not leak this info all over the internet)

        • tfb says:
          1

          In other words people buy a computer which almost inevitably has a vast amount of storage attached to it, and for which playing video is a laughably computationally undemanding task.  Then they buy another computer, which definitely has a vast amount of storage attached to it, and for which playing video almost certainly is also a computationally undemanding task.  Except this second computer doesn't have the ports it needs to do this, unlike the first one, which does.  Oh, and also the second computer probably is not being backed up or having its software updated which is not a problem at all, of course.  So they buy a third computer, which doesn't have much storage at all but which does have the right ports, and they use this third computer to stream data from the second computer and actually play the video.  This third computer probably does not need to be backed up, but it also is almost certainly not having its software updated very often / at all, and this also is never a problem.

          You know what?  The best thing that could happen to the 'civilisation' which gave rise to this kind of thing is that it should be wiped away with no trace.  Fortunately it is going to be wiped away, unfortunately it will leave many traces.

          • cookiedude says:
            4

            It really isn't about whether it is computationally demanding or not though, is it? People want to watch stuff on the big honking screen they have in their living room. Using any kind of streaming stick/player is the path of least resistance. As for the vast amount of storage, anecdotally people don't have more than 1 TB (if that) of storage in their main computing device, whereas a lot of them have an external drive/NAS with 4 TB+ somewhere around the house.
            And as far as updates go, Synology etc. push out updates as often if not more than other OS companies. So yes, you can be bitter about the state of things in 2022, but the rest of the world has moved on from fucking around with USB-to-HDMI cables, figuring out the dual monitor settings and why the OS will never remember them etc.

  4. Manoj says:
    2

    You can set Kodi to not scan your media folders, so you just browse them manually instead. This is the first thing I change with any TV-based Kodi or VLC installation since I don't need artwork, external metadata, or TV-based search. That ought to solve a few of your issues, but I haven't had any of those other problems with Kodi, maybe because I haven't run it on Mac.

  5. JM says:
    1

    Your UI requirements don't seem that complex, so maybe you could hack something simple with a command-line player on OSX.

    FWIW I solved my own "couch player" problem by scripting a small (web) UI on top of a python module than spawns and communicates with an instance of mplayer, so I can control it with a web browser on my phone. The python module is poorly documented and unmaintained, and some argue that mplayer is unmaintained too, so...

    The mplayer module discovers the mplayer 'slave' commands: https://github.com/baudm/mplayer.py/wiki/Introspection

    My thoroughly uncommented code, in case you hate yourself: https://github.com/saffroy/mplayer-web/blob/master/mplayer-web.py

    • jwz says:
      1

      The problem is embedding. Building an arrow-key-based couch-friendly file navigator is almost trivial, but the integration with a video player (any video player) is... not. It's not as simple as "just launch the player app with this file". You need it to go back to the navigator at the end without needing to type cmd-Q or cmd-shift-F or whatever. Those rough edges are extremely rough.

      • JM says:

        Oh I am not sure I would recommend going through a web browser in your case, clearly my code doesn't even try to do something on process exit. I guess Websockets might do notifications between the app and the browser, maybe? I don't even know the first thing about this, or if Flask (the web app framework I used) makes it easy.

        If I were motivated/desperate enough to code your player (mostly) from scratch, I'd start from a library similar to TCL's expect (python has pyexpect which mostly works, and I assume perl must have something too) that gives you proper control of a subprocess, including sending commands asynchronously, and being notified on responses and exit. Then I'd use that to handle and generate UI events as needed.

        In short, I suppose you could find most of what you need with the language/tools that you can tolerate, but that's me assuming that you have time and patience to waste on this.

        How's your TCL/TK nowadays? :D

        • JM says:

          BTW, in case that wasn't clear: mplayer (with the right options) can be controlled from stding and monitored from stdout/stderr, which makes embedding with something like expect kind of easy.

          IIRC VLC has a similar mode where it accepts commands on a TCP port, but I don't know if that works well or at all.

          • jwz says:
            1

            Well first of all mplayer is garbage, I would sooner eat glass.

            But having been down many roads similar to this -- how hard could it possibly be to automate this thing and integrate it with this other thing -- I can assure you, this approach is 100% a waste of time. This is exactly the kind of project where, years worth of Sunk Cost Fallacy later, you end up just rewriting it from scratch as a single app.

      • el_brujo says:
        2

        For embedding your best option is probably using libmpv to make mpv render onto an OpenGL context.  I recommend carefully reading render_gl.h, then studying MPVideoCube (slightly outdated, it still uses some calls removed in libmpv 2.0) to get a foot in the door, then looking at haruna, deepin, celluloid, qimgv and/or minitube for more details.

  6. Jeff says:
    4

    I think the ubiquity of cheap, plug-it-in-and-forget-it sticks and similar appliances for watching video on one's television has pretty much killed all developer ambition (and funding) to create and maintain the kind of UI you want on a desktop. I don't understand or like it either, but the "solution" for people who want to watch movies from their computer by directly plugging it into their TV appears to be "just bring your mouse and keyboard over to the couch."

    For years, I "solved" this problem by buying a $40 Roku stick, and running a DLNA server on my computer. This is worse than it sounds, because the codec support was so abysmal I had to transcode pretty much every video I ever downloaded before I could watch it. I honestly can't even tell you how many thousands of hours I had Handbrake running. It sucked so bad that when 2020 hit, and all fun with friends became remote-only, I gave up.

    Now? I just either watch shit through the half-dozen streaming services I'm subbed to, or I pull out my laptop like an animal.

    • Chad says:
      2

      FWIW, this is what Plex does (at least, as of ~3 years ago when I last used it): it just automates the transcoding step inside the Plex server. For the unsophisticated user that “somehow finds” a library of video (I.e. downloads rips from the interwebs), this takes away enough of the friction that they no longer care. The fact that this crap runs (and can be intensive/loud) on a pc somewhere else in the house away from the TV viewing area is an upside. The latency required to shuttle the video around on the home network is, as far as I can tell, silently suffered by people in crowded wifi areas or bypassed through the “feels clever” expedient of running cat5 over to the player dongle/whatsit, which for many people seems to be a brand-neutral way to say “game console”. (I myself did this on a PS/3 until the PS/5 came out and the client finally bitrotted, then an original xbone. The remote control options weren’t great but were livable; better options for moderate dollars seemed available but also frustrating/disappointing, so I don’t have current practice knowledge there.)

  7. jal says:

    I didn't reply last time, because, as you found, all the software in this category is ass.

    Eventually I paid money for Media Center. https://jriver.com/ .

    It is annoying too. (I do not believe the way I want to browse and watch things is weird, but apparently everyone who builds these things disagrees.)

    But it functions, it is less autistic and rude about how you file things, and is fairly customizable, if a bit odd in places. Cross platform, costs money, free trial, has been in business a long time.

    • Second vote for J River (caveat: I use the MICROS~1 version).  It's not a subscription model, but major upgrades aren't free either.  So once you buy it don't forget to set a mail filter to deal with the flood of "hey there's a new version available for $40" emails.  

  8. 1

    I'm a monster who just copies a couple to a dozen files to a thumbdrive and plugs it into my TV, then uses the TV built-in navigation and player. Unhelpfully the plug is in the back of the TV, so a USB extension cable fixes that. Navigation sucks for large numbers of files, so a bunch of thumbdrives, with stick-on labels. I have a few themed ones, plus a pair that get reused for "new movies" and "new tv shows". There's no viewed state (like 15 minutes in or completely watched), so I just make do. And sometimes I need to power cycle the TV to get a new device recognized.

    Still sounds better than this Kodi experience.

    It's interesting reading all the complicated solutions people have to this problem.

  9. Alias says:

    Have you tried just customising VLC's keyboard shortcuts to work with the remote? Supposedly you can remap nearly all the keyboard commands.

    https://vlchelp.com/vlc-media-player-shortcuts/

    Maybe this is such a simple idea that it probably won't work... but you'd expect customising VLC would be the path of least resistance?

  10. Rob says:

    A lot of suggestions for Plex, but man I got sick of them pushing me to create a "plex account" I'd never use. I'm also not sure it is free anymore. I ended up going with Jellyfin, I even occasionally run it on a mac and stream to a browser on my iPad, but have also run it on Linux and Windows. A roku plugged into the TV has a jellyfin app to browse / stream media, it is passable (though not great) at building a catalog, I'm watching a movie right now! It has been pretty reliable for me.

    Previously I've tried:
    * Android TV with hard drive plugged in
    * Raspberry pi with Kodi (both raspbian and libreelec)
    * VLC

    Jellyfin just *feels* leaner than any other option, it isn't perfect but I've had good success with it.

    • Rob says:
      1

      I should mention I didn't reply to the first thread because I'm aware it doesn't meet all of your requirements, I spoke up now to try and discourage you from trying Plex because I *know* that is not going to make you happy.

  11. Simon says:

    It is possible that Rage from the Enlightenment people may do what you need. It is a long, long time since I had any involvement with anything to do with that whole scene but it seems from this 0.2.0 release announcement to do maybe do what you want. More details here at the Git Repo including all the key bindings it supports.

  12. Alex says:

    aak, don't use Kodi and probably don't use LibreELEC either. back at the beginning of the Really Bad Cough Event I thought I would pull this old netbook with good speakers out and brainwash it as a kitchen jukebox for all the *So Much Cooking* I was doing. The install was easy enough and it booted up happily, but:

    1) the crashes. Kodi crashes a lot.
    2) the skins. the skins are janky and have massive Open Source People Try To Do Design energy.
    3) getting it to play YouTube videos is almost psychotically difficult and involved an e-mail conversation with the plugin developer and debugging it myself, so this roars right through "sysadmining your TV" into "developing software for your TV" and "managing the software development process for your TV". despite all the bitching about "the Clown" I notice you still post YouTube mixtapes, so...
    4) oh and google sent me an angry e-mail wanting to know about the "company" associated with the multiple (!) developer tokens it requires to do anything useful.
    5) the plugins for SoundCloud, Mixcloud etc just didn't work and I lost interest in fixing them.
    6) my girlfriend complained about the ugly computer in the kitchen and the fact it wasn't working properly made this difficult to refute.

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