Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Ubuntu Media PC with Boxee

I have recently ordered all the parts I need to build a new Digital Media PC (or DMPC).
This varies from the usual Home Theatre PC (HTPC) in that it intentionally will have no optical drive for playing CD, DVD or Blu-ray discs.

I intend to install Ubuntu 10.04 on this DMPC, then strip it back to the bare essentials; removing standard packages such as OpenOffice, games and so forth – all that is not required for my intended use, as well as disabling Compiz desktop effects and so forth.

LIRC will be installed to enable my remote control as well as all the various codec’s and flash player required to play digital media without interference.

I shall be using these guides “How to install Ubuntu 9.10 and the Boxee Beta on an Aspire Revo (including 64bit option)” and “Boxee and Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on the Acer Aspire Revo” as reference to do this, adding my own customisations as I go and cataloguing them here for you to read.

I shall not be using the Aspire Revo though, instead I have opted for the following specification.

I also have my own media centre remote control and Nexos 2.4GHz Wireless USB Multimedia Keyboard with Touchpad to use in conjunction with the DMPC, and it shall all be hooked up to my LG 42” Plasma (via HDMI).

The ZBOX is a nice little bit of kit, as you shall see in the coming photographs (also expect a review over at SingleSentenceReview) and comes with a VESA mounting bracket that I shall use to attach it to the rear of my TV, making it out of sight and out of mind.

I have used Boxee on my current HTPC setup, which consists of my girlfriends aging (but adequately spec’d) Dell Inspiron 1500, installed with XP Home Edition (SP3) and Boxee Beta.  I did try XBMC on this setup too, but found this requires far too much manipulation for me to bother with in order to get it running how I would like it too.

I also briefly trialled this setup with Windows 7 Media Centre, and found it to be too much of a closed product for me – I want streaming media!

Also, you may have noticed a lack of TV Tuner card in the specification above?  This is intentional.  I believe that the future is online video, not broadcast… therefore I want no live broadcasting to be available on this unit unless it is being streamed via the internet.

Have you any thoughts or comments you would like to share?  Any tips of your own?  Have you tried this setup yourself?  Leave a note in the comments!

1 comment:

  1. i bought a new Athlon II X2 245 Regor 2.9GHz and ASUS M4A785-M w/HDMI withg the same intent. I just cant get aroung thew lousy video playback. Linux codecs suck, even VLC is choppy on HD playback. I figure its cause Im not a LINUX pro, buit still I find WMCE is best for HTPC


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