home flickr
Your Ad Here

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Linux in the lounge room

.. Now with even more fresh zeroes and ones!

Since moving back to Australia and buying a tv, we have been using an old desktop computer of mine as our poor man's 'home theatre PC'.

While it has been functional, it's also really been a bit of a piece of crap, the fan is really noisy for at least the first 15 minutes of turning it on, if you reboot rather than shutting it down it can't find the harddrive, that sort of stuff.

We actually have been using it quite a lot, the standard nightly mealtime conversation usually incorporating a 'what to watch' component, along with the more standard 'what to eat'.

After the recent untimely death of my laptop and nicer than usual tax return, I decided to give my wife a new computer (she's been using my old gateway 9300 which is a p3 600 with 256mb ram), and hating it... and fix our media centre situation at the same time.

On the recommendation of a friend from work I went down to Bestone computers on Victoria Rd one afternoon and got us some new toys. It's pretty amazing what $550 gets you nowadays. I know I'm going to look back on this and laugh, but Core2 duo 2.6, 2gb ram, 160gb hdd, certainly enough juice for the job.

For Peilin's pc I added a Acer 23 inch LCD which looks awesome, and for the htpc (home theatre pc - that's the lingo), I added a HDMI video card, figuring the tv supports it, so may as well.

From a software point of view I put Ubuntu 9.04 on Peilin's machine (we ended up with too many toolbars of unknown origin when we had xp), and initially mythbuntu on the htpc.

I ended up ditching Mythbuntu and using a standard Ubuntu 9.04 install with X-box media centre (xmbc) for linux on top, simply because we don't really need anything other than a tool to allow us to watch downloaded shows on the tv, no recording, no remote servers etc.

Also we were familiar with the xbmc interface as we used the windows version on the old noisy xp box.

Besides a crystal clear display and a 45 second boot time, another advantage is that our generic htpc remote ($14.95 from Ebay, delivered) works almost entirely out of the box.

I'll look at doing a little tweaking as things like the shutdown button on the remote no longer actually shuts down, but I've found some info on editing the control info here.

Isn't it great when things just work?

No comments:

Odd Search