Small media streamers. My experience

Hi all. I've invested a few hundred dollars trying to find something to get my media streaming as small as possible. Here is a summary of devices:

($40ish)ARM based integrated boards: Every one can stream your 1080p h.264 8-bit media without any real issue.
Getting one that has gigabit internet smooths things out quite a bit also. Youtube gets flakey sometimes, and they tend to start overheating and lagging after a few hours.

($100ish)Matricom G-Box Q android streamer:
Can software decode 720P 10bit h264 BARELY
can software decode 720P h.265 barely
runs youtube streaming without much issue, but kodi leaves a large amount to be desired. HOWEVER, ifyou set up your own Google api key for the youtube plugin with kodi, you can get all the main features working without a problem.
The 4k playback is for VERY specific video formats, and is not reliable.

($300ish)Intel NUC:
Celeron no fan integrated x86 celeron device.
The bios is completely trash, and it can not render h.265 really - chokes on 1080p/720p playback. It can render 720P h264 10 bit without much of an issue, but it will overheat after 3 hours of video streaming.
Everything else. It's a full linux box. Works great.

After that you're looking at a full machine. the plus side to all these is the small electric footprint. Downside is reliability and playback of various media types.

What about you guys? have any media streamers you're really happy with?

The smallest capable machine would be the Nvidia Shield with Plex Media server installed. Works with h.265 files streaming to Android clients. To transcode 4k content the only thing in my house that will do it is a xeon E5-2670 server. 4k is highly demanding since its encoded in h.265 and around 60-70GB per file

I'm trying to avoid plex. Plex has not supported server side decoding with client side choosing subtitles and has broken some of my shows.

If you go the plex route, the Quadro4 and IntelNUC both have no issues with that.

Banana Pro also has no issues with that due to gigabit internet link... But the remake of that was trash so I don't recommend buying a new one.

The Pine64 might also be able to handle Plex, but I've not tried it for streaming. Use it as a VPN and seed box.

raspberry pi 3 with libreelec and a 4tb hard drive. may struggle a bit with 1080p content but most of my stuff is only 720p

I too would be interested in seeing what others think about this as well. I've been using an RPi 3 for my media streaming and it has been pretty decent overall for the last few months. One part it does struggle with is streaming with moonlight (steam-link open source). It does struggle from time to time and I would love to have 1gb link to the router for this.

Maybe try picking up a Pine64. If network bandwidth is the limitation, Pine64 should be able to handle the network connection since it comes with a gigabit interface at 20 bucks

I have two of them and they're running really stable for my small usecases

I would want ya to run it with a 10bit encoded h.264 file at 720 and 1080p. Even the Matricom G-Box Q thing I have can't do that.

Further, h.265 still doesn't decode on the latest rpi last I checked.

I personally and done with raspberry pi company, and won't be picking one up due to some public statements they have made. But can talk technology still.

Interesting, haven't looked into the pine64. One thing I'd be hesitant about is the ability for it to run retropie without having to recompile and make builds just for my use. I enjoy the drop in aspect that the RPi has currently with builds for different OS's being readily available.