Thursday, May 12, 2016

Mr MC on the ATV4

After setting up and using the ATV 4 for about a week I was searching for interesting apps. One of the disappointments was the facility of the two most popular streaming apps, VLC and Infuse. They both worked fine so far as they went but were somewhat limited andin the case of VLC not particularly user friendly.

A lot of people use Plex but apart from the way it wants to organise your media (not always correctly) it also wants to transcode everything before streaming it and it requires a Plex server separate from the media source and player. So what with the media management, transcoding and double handling resulting in doubling the network traffic I am not a real fan of plex.

The first media player I ever used was XBMC on the original XBOX. It has now been ported to many environments and diverse platforms, now including the ATV 4 and has a name change to Kodi. The problem is that you need a developer account, you need to side load it (that means buying a new USB C cable and connecting it to your Apple Mac and loading the binaries from there) and the installation expires after 90 days meaning that you have to re-load it every 90 days.

One of the principal developers of Kiodi for iOS has made his own branch minus a few features and called it Mr MC.

Installation and Setup
As with any app simply search the store and install. It was $10.99 in the Australian store.

I then went into the setup and changed a few settings. I change the Audio Output to 5.1 and turned bitstream on since my amp decodes all audio encoding formats.

I then had to add my media locations using SMB to the Audio, Video and Pictures section. As I added the audio share it asked if I wanted to catalogue my library and I answered yes. That allows it to sort by Artist Album, genre etc.

Apart from that it was ready to go.

I understandably I found it identical to the modern ports of Kodi which I was already familiar with. A first time user would have a steeper learning curve but since I have been using XBMC for well over 10 years, of and on, it was very familiar to me. Apart from the lack of addons there was little difference that I could see.

I had no issues playing lossless music with excellent quality. It is possible to browse music using the file system browser but the music is also sorted by artist album and genre.

I tried various video media and it had few issues with any of the media formats I tried including DVD and Blue Ray rips I have up to and including 1080P, 60FPS DTS HD audio. On the larger files there was a slight amount of stuttering but I put that down to a network issue since I had to use a local USB drive on my Popcorn Hour to play the same media without stuttering. Where the audio needed decoding there was some distortion and have not been able to work out why. Where the audio was bit streamed the audio was flawless since it was decided by my AV receiver.

I found the Apple remote somewhat annoying to use with the MrMC interface but the Blue Tooth keyboard made it much easier to operate. I using the arrow, Enter and Esc keys made it much easier to navigate and the Enter, Esc, arrow and Space keys gave me good control when playing media.

The Mr MC app is so far the best media player I have tried on the ATV4 with no serious issues. The lack of addons I suspect is due to Apple's restrictions on Apps since Apple has no control over addons. Apart from that I think it is a definite winner for me and has now become my default player for local media.

No comments:

Post a Comment