Under $200 the Chromebox would be your best bet. For pure Kodi, and value, the Rpi2 would work well also, at half the price.
The firetv is very nice though, you really can't go wrong with any of them for your needs. The chromebox is the most powerful. There is a whole slew of various android boxes, but they are all over the place feature/support wise. The best android box for home theater integration is the firetv with an flirc, in my opinion.
WARNING: /r/buildapc heresy alert!
Take a step back and ask the important question. Do they actually need to do anything other than web surfing? If that's all they need, there's absolutely no reason to inflict Microsoft Windows on them when all they actually need is a $158 Chromebox. They're virtually virus proof, they're dead simple to use, they plug into whatever monitor you want (HDMI/DisplayPort), updates happen automatically with no waiting, and they're tiny.
Does she HAVE to have Word and Excel? If those aren't hard requirements, a Chromebox and Google Docs might serve her better and be simpler to administer.
For what it's worth, my wife runs a NUC (not sure of exact model) and plays WoW on it without issue.
I've got an ASUS Chromebox M004U and absolutely love it! I have to admit though, as soon as it arrived I flashed OpenELEC onto it. I use it all the time to play my h.264's via USB and also stream all my HD movies from my NAS over wireless. It has played everything I throw at it flawlessly.
That being said, I don't know what your tech experience is or what your budget is looking at. The model that I use runs about $140 but they do go on sale quite a bit.
I'm not sure if you are comfortable with flashing a new OS over the top of ChromeOS, but if you elect to just run it stock, then it should work just fine as well!
>Capability wise, the ChromeBox fully supports hardware accelerated H.264/MPEG-2/VC-1 video playback at up to 2160p24/p30 (4K), proper 24p output, and full 7.1/HD audio bitstream output. 3D playback is supported (HSBS/HTAB), though the decoding of MVC streams (as used in 3D Blu-ray ISOs) is not supported under Linux at this time; the hardware itself is capable. Hi10 H.264 1080p playback is software decoded, but works well with few exceptions. 2160p60 is available only via DisplayPort with MST (multi-stream transport), as HDMI 1.4a is limited to 2160p30. H.265/HEVC is software (CPU) decoded, so playback is limited to 1080p max and low/moderate bit-rates. From a purely Kodi/media playback standpoint, there's no advantage to the Core i3/i7 models over the Celeron model (outside of non-GPU decoded formats, like Hi-10P and HEVC); dual channel memory (2 identical capacity modules) can provide a decent performance boost in some situations but certainly not needed for a standard OpenELEC/Kodi setup.
FWIW, I also have a WDTV device that I bought a few years back. The chromebox blows it out of the water. I'm not sure if they've fine-tuned the device, but the one I have is very laggy and often requires a reboot for it to identify new media.
I bought the standard cheapo Asus Chromebox for $150 last year. The processor is great and runs smoothly. It's easy to pop the feet off and open up the insides to change out the RAM and SSD. I up'd mine from 2 GB to 8 GB RAM and the SSD from 16GB to 64GB.
They're deceptively good. I got World of Warcraft to work on my low-end Chromebox at Medium settings (even in high traffic areas it stayed above 30 FPS). Never had lag on the ChromeOS side even with dozens of tabs open.
I haven't looked recently at the different options but I would definitely recommend you find one that has upgrade-able RAM and SSD. It gives you the opportunity to upgrade when you want.
I have the ASUS chromebox and I love it. For the base version it is only $136.99 right now on amazon. (Link)
I threw in an extra 4GB of RAM and it runs like a dream.
The thing is dead quite, comes with 4 USB ports and a SD card reader. It is really all I need from a chromebox.
There is an i3 version available as well.
Yes, they are flexible. Your best bet is the Asus Chromebox as it can be upgraded.
http://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEBOX-M004U-ASUS-Desktop/dp/B00IT1WJZQ is currently down to $142.
I purchased one, cracked it open and added another 4 GB of RAM and purchased a 128 GB SSD to replace the small 16 GB. In total I spent about $220. I had zero issues installing Crouton and getting things up and running. I play a ton of Steam games and WoW with very few lag issues. For a few hundred more dollars you can get the i3 version which would give you a really beefy machine.
It comes with 1 HDMI port and 1 DisplayPort and supports dual displays. I haven't tried this out but I'm hoping to pick up a DisplayPort adapter and see how it goes.
Is your C720 a 2gb ram model? You could buy an Asus Chromebox with the included keyboard and mouse for $199, and then upgrade the ram. Or, without the keyboard, for $160. If I'm not mistaken, all of the Chomeboxes have a more powerful processor than the CB2, so that's also something to consider.
That's really cool, this bot or whatever it is, to do that. Case is kinda bulky though.
I was just looking more and came across one of these:
Good price, but Chrome OS. No idea how that is. Also feels like it'd be limited if he had to install an application for some reason and it wouldn't work. It also does not have a PS/2 port. It is tempting for the price and the video I saw.
I paid $150 for it, but it's at like $130 now I think. I also bought a $15 generic remote that included an IR sensor for the remote.
Is it possible to do this on my current Asus ChromeBox m004u? I wouldn't even know where to start on how to do that.
Great question! I'm looking for a box that can get 1000m but I don't think the Mi Box can. All the amazon boxes are obsolete and cap you at 100m. We have gig speeds now and I have not found one solid certified android box running Google TV that has it. I was even thinking of one of these but was told the box won't run android apps which is absurd. https://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEBOX-M004U-ASUS-Desktop/dp/B00IT1WJZQ/ref=sr_1_11?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1534911693&sr=1-11&keywords=Asus+Nexus+Player
Also, want to make sure it can run HDR as that looks amazing and we can update the OS/firmware as needed. Some boxes can't be updated and you need to but an entirely new tv box.
I use a projector for my table and have it hooked up to this:
It works fantastic and it is fast.
To be fair, if this is true
> to be used for streaming videos and browsing the web
then what you actually need is this.
I use this and I love it. It's cheap and u can upgrade the ram and hdd. ASUS CHROMEBOX-M004U Desktop https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00IT1WJZQ/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_YF1ezb4YE6JS1
$226.99 Free ship
i'd probably get this:
it will be be plenty powerful for your parents needs, and upgrading the ram and storage is extremely easy if needed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8aBOWOKAQo
could also just plug in an external hdd if lots of storage is needed.
Its a chromebox :( https://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEBOX-M004U-ASUS-Desktop/dp/B00IT1WJZQ
A chromebox would really be the way to go. I have the Asus one and its great.
I did the same some years back; I've still got the old Dell I snagged running XBMCBuntu, and the programs mentioned above. Did purchase two Chromeboxes as the client to the TV, as it became clearer I needed a server. Though, there's a bunch of other devices that can support KODI, just use your Google-fu. If you decide to go this route, look into /r/kodi and /r/xbmc to guide you. There's plenty of help on the net too, for the programs.
So - agree with all the folk here that you'll be OK with pretty much anything that has an HDMI out port.
One other thing to consider - for maybe $350 you could pick up two units, a desktop to permanently plug into your TV and another Chromebook for your business activities.
ASUS Chromebox for $165 currently:
ASUS Chromebook C201 for $214 currently:
So that's $379 total (there are also cheaper options out there, like this (http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hisense-Chromebook-11.6-Quad-Core-Processor/44389793) which is actually a great unit.
You could get a cheap Chromebox and put Linux on it. Here's one.
We've been happy with our Chromebox: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00IT1WJZQ
It's a bit pricey at $160, but it has the full Chrome OS and a fully functional (Chrome) browser.
I recommend getting a chromebox and flashing openelec (kodi) onto it. You can purchase a remote and you are set. This is more expensive than a pi2 but the chromebox is now the gold standard with media players. It plays everything including blu-ray iso. You pay more now but you're never gonna have to worry about getting a better one in the future. Plus you get awesome kodi Add-ons for video. All of my media is 1:1 blu-ray MKV's or Iso and it plays them all. It will bitstream all the HD audio codecs as well.
Remote with IR 18
you will need to use a usb keyboard and a blank usb thumbdrive for setup only
Do to this website for a easy step by step
I'd get a chromebox: http://www.amazon.com/Asus-CHROMEBOX-M004U-ASUS-Desktop/dp/B00IT1WJZQ
Then run openelec on it: http://openelec.tv/
You'll need a FLIRC: http://goo.gl/a95jLO
I use a Harmony remote. You could just use a smart phone for Kodi remote too and avoid FLIRC.
I'd leave the gaming rig setup as is, she'll come around, it's just a small annoyance. Good on you for thinking of it though.
I've used wdtv players for a few years now. They are a "good enough" player to get the job done. But if you are willing to invest a little bit of time, spend an extra $50 and get an Asus Chromebox and throw openelec/kodi. Its what I replaced my wdtv and its 1000% more capable, faster, no file playback issues (I do full bluray rips with lossless video and sound). The metadata and media art work make the experience amazing. Here are some links.
For me, the Asus Chromebox works fantastic for the most part. Direct play, surround sound, FF even works nicely, once you hack it to run Plex. (this gets rid of ChromeOS completely, at least in my case, which I was fine with)
I use OpenElec w/ Plex Home Theatre. Specifically, the Intel build. It's will take some effort and tweaking to make it work, but it's a thing of beauty when it does. I was used to that garbage Fire TV (now in another room, and is sorta useful at least) and once I got this running I really felt how awesome Plex was.
This one: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IT1WJZQ/ref=pe_385040_121528360_TE_dp_1
For a remote I use flirc adapter (running as keyboard input) using my logitech harmony.
This is the one I use. Remember this is as a player, not at all as a server. My server is my retina iMac. I paid around $125 around xmas. This is the remote which I use with it, no problems at all but it is IR.
I have not upgraded the Chromebox in any way yet, however I just might go to 8GB of ram because I have the memory lying around doing nothing.
Can you please give some examples?
Doesn't have the optical audio! So no 5.1 here I guess...
For the same price you can get this box of awesomeness.
Boots fast, has 4 usb 3.0 ports, SD card slot, built in wi-fi, dual display, easy to upgrade ram and stock drive ($40 will max out memory to 8gb, upgrading stock drive isn't necessary, just use external HD). Supports every logitech device I connected to it with no drivers needed.
If you have a family member/friend that is hopeless using computers, but still wants to to surf, netflix/youtube, email, etc. this thing is perfect.
don't waste money, just get her an Asus Chromebox and be done with it
For that price, you can get an Asus Chromebox, which has an Intel Celeron (x64 architecture, not just ARM) with Intel HD Graphics, 2gb RAM, 16gb built-in SSD storage, 1000/100 ethernet that is not constrained in performance like this CuBox, plus everything else. The only thing that this CuBox has the advantage is the optical audio port.