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November 04, 2015

Cheap Media Playback

Over the past few years I've played with several different technologies that allow for video streaming to your TV.  I own a bunch of Chromecasts, an Amazon Firestick, and have had a few BluRay players that do streaming from various services.  As much as they are slick and sometimes the size of a USB thumb drive, you have to buy into their tools and use Wi-Fi to access your streaming content.

A few years ago I played with XMBC to play back some files and liked it, but never played with it in depth.  After I got my Firestick, I sideloaded XMBC and was really impressed.  That was a pretty nice platform, but it would stutter on anything above 480p.  More recently I repurposed an old laptop that didn't have a functional keyboard into a media playback device.  I loaded the Ubuntu distribution that that XBMC... or should I say Kodi, created to make configuration easy.  I really love Kodibuntu, but I was running into issues with the audio levels getting to the TV.  The audio was so low.  After some searching, I found a solution on the Kodi forums in the way of a change to the advancedsettings.xml file that configures Kodi.  The addition of this made all of the difference:

<advancedsettings>
  <audio>
    <ac3downmixgain>48.0</ac3downmixgain>
  </audio>
</advancedsettings>

 

I would recommend Kodi to anyone who wants a free method for streaming video or playing back local content: