XBMC vs. Media Player

Has anyone had any trouble playing M4V files with Media Player? Once I realized that NitoTV doesn’t have any of the fucntions that it had on the first ATV, I started using Media Player for my videos. All of my AVIs work just fine, as do some of my M4V files (mostly DVD rips of TV shows), but any time I try to play an M4V movie (ripped or purchased), it attempts to access it for about 30 seconds, then says the content isn’t available. There is also about a 12-second lag between when I select a file and when it plays for a 22-minute TV episode. Movies take about twice as long, if they work.

I decided to give XBMC a try to see if it was any different, and it worked 100% better. After some wrangling trying to figure out how to tell it where to find my external hard drive, I was able to access all of my files. Playback was less choppy and the access time dropped to 5 seconds or less for my TV shows. I haven’t had a single restart or crash as I’ve had with Media Player.

Can someone tell me if there are documented issues with Media Player? I thought that since it wasn’t a 3rd party program like XBMC, and the files I’m having trouble playing are all iTunes-compatible, it would work more efficiently. I am running the latest version of all software.

Media Player is still in beta so there are expected to be lots of small issues at this stage, whereas XBMC has been around much longer.    Having said that, I much prefer the Media Player interface over the XBMC one (which I find overly complicated) so I tend to use it in preference.

There are a number of roadmap items for Media Player which are still to appear.  The one that affects me most is support for dvd image files (as oppesed to the files ripped from a dvd), so at the moment I still ahve to use XBMC for this sort of material.

Thanks for the reply! At least I know I’m not crazy. =) I’m hoping a new beta or the final release resolves all of this, because I also find the Media Player interface much easier to use. In the mean time, I guess I’ll stick with XBMC.

The next version of MP will have a healthy dose of feature and fixes.

Stay tuned.

I have tons of M4V, MKV, AVI, and other movie files that work wonderfully in MediaPlayer … playback starts instantly and the only issue I have (and this is getting really nitpicky) is the little “blip” you hear at the beginning of a movie that has a Dolby Digital audio track … but that’s getting really picky :wink:

how are you accessing your movie files?  I DID find that XBMC’s SMB access worked better than MediaPlayers’ (though I’ve since switched to AFP, which has been rock solid in both) … AFP has less overhead (from my understanding), so it uses less bandwidth … also, I found that even using my ATV over dual-channel 5GHz 802.11N, playback was choppy … this is with a 100Mbit backbone from my server to AirPort Express … I switched over to a wired, 100Mbit connection to my ATV2 and that fixed all of my issues … not the most convenient, i admit, but i haven’t seen a single movie or TV show skip or take a long time to load in the last 3 versions of MediaPlayer :slight_smile:

oh, and there are some great enhancements in 0.9 if you haven’t upgraded, yet … solved a few minor issues with AFP connections :slight_smile:

Hmm…I have an external 1.5 TB HD with a power supply attached to my Airport Extreme via USB and my ATV is wired directly into the AE. I’m not sure why I have such different results than you. Even after upgrading to Media Player 0.9, I still have a substantial lag when starting up TV shows and movies. It’s about the same as it was before. I do have better results with the types of files it will play though. Despite the lag, it seems to be ok with more of my M4V files than before. Until it’s equal to XBMC though, I won’t be using MP as my regular player.

As a side note, is it possible to use AFP on XBMC? I was under the impression that since it was a Microsoft creation, it didn’t support AFP. Has that changed? I’m currently using SMB, which works perfectly fine, but setup using AFP is SO much easier, so if that’s an option, I’d love to use it.

hmm, that is odd … i have done a lot of tweaking on my server, though (running Ubuntu Server using Netatalk 2.2 beta for Lion TimeMachine support), but it all worked pretty well before that … i actually completely removed XBMC around 2-3 months ago and only use MediaPlayer for all my media … the only files I had issues with were m2ts, but I ended up transcoding them to m4v (though 0.9 is supposed to do better with them anyway) 

The later version of XBMC do support AFP (not sure when it started, but I’d been running nightlies for a while) … it’s actually not by Microsoft, it just happened to start out it’s life as a media center for the XBox


Not sure what else I can do then with Media Player. Maybe it’s just how I encoded my files? I used Handbrake and pretty standard settings, so I’m still not sure why one piece of software works perfectly fine and the other is very slow, and why M4V movies didn’t work, but M4V TV shows were fine. File sizes weren’t enormous either. I didn’t have problems playing anything on NitoTV with my original ATV, so that’s why I think it has to be something with Media Player.

Would you be able to tell me how to connect via AFP in XBMC or point me to a thread that shows how? Glad to know Microsoft didn’t have anything to do with this one. Hehe.

huh that is weird … what iOS version are you on?  I use Handbrake for a bunch of BR rips and use a slightly tweaked version of the AppleTV 2 preset … in general, my files are around 2-3GB using h264 for video and AC3 for audio

it’s been quite a while since I messed with XBMC, but if I am correctly remembering that AFP works, it’d be in the same place you setup SMB/NFS shares … it might only be in the nightly builds, though … for a while, I used NFS (also a great protocol, compared to SMB), but switched to AFP when I switched to MediaPlayer

I’m on the latest version of the ATV2 software.

I’ll poke around and see if I can find anything about the AFP shares. Are the nightlies unstable compared with the regular version?

technically, yes, they are … however, in my experience, I found the extra features to outweigh the minor glitches (that said, I don’t remember ever having any major issues … and since the updates come out nightly, chances are any dealbreaking bugs will get fixed quickly) … then again, i’m running beta releases on my Mac, my phone, my server, just about everything :wink: haha

Let me share my experience. I have used XBMC as well as Media player. 

  1. Yes XBMC does support afp shares as well as smb, although smb is unavailable on Mac running Lion. Other than, m2ts support, XBMC runs all the above mentioned formats very well.

  2. If I connect my shares directly to my AEBS, both the afp and smb shares perform worse on both software XBMC as well as Media Player. This is despite the new update that addresses some of the airport extreme sharing issues on Media Player. Please note that not everyone experiences this reduction in performance but many have mentioned it.

There is a difference in sharing form the AEBS in comparison to the Mac for the same protocols. Therfore at present, the optimum setup for me is to have shares on the Mac and then use XBMC or Media player depending upon the format support.

Thanks for the reply! For me, the ideal setup is to use my AEBS. One of the reasons that I hesitated for so long in updating from my old ATV was that I had modded it to hold a 640GB HD instead of the little 40GB one that it came with. I needed a solution that would provide me with similar functionality because I don’t like having to turn my computer on every time I want to watch a TV show or movie. Once I discovered the AEBS option, that’s when I upgraded. I know that routing anything through a network isn’t going to be as fast as having the storage right on the device, but this seems to be the next best thing, and it works very well with XBMC.

I have no problems continuing to use XBMC, but I’d prefer Media Player if possible because the interface takes a few less steps to access and it’s easier to add shares.

Since when does XBMC support AFP? Are you talking about the add-on? I have never been able to browse for afp servers from XBMC. On my Mini the only way to get them into XBMC is to mount them with the Mini and access them as local drives.



Since about a month ago.

How do you access the afp feature? I dnt see it anywhere when I’m looking for shares. Do I have to update to a nightly? I’m using the version that came with atvflash.

Thats correct. Its approximately 16th sep onwards but i would simply update to the latest nightly. it is quite easy and is considered more stable that the official which is soon to be updated anyhow. http://wiki.xbmc.org/index.php?title=HOW-TO:Install_XBMC_on_Apple_TV_2#Installing_the_latest_nightly_build

The afp shares should appear automatically under zeroconfig browser. In case they do not, you are can easily add it by location or in the source file. Details are all there.

Hy *.

the new media player update rocks ! Thanks for that. 8)



I am also using both XBMC (nightly builds) and Media Player to access AFP shares located directly on a Mac running Lion. XBMC’s access via AFP is not stable: once about every hours the connection drops. No such problem with Media Player.

is there an easy way to clean and install the nightly’s every night? On the newest version of flash black and whatever xbmc comes installed via nito I get crashes, so I’m sticking with media player for the family, but I’m a huge xbmc fan (I’ve even got an experimental version of xbmc on my xbox that has a built in web browser)