Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Linux Home Media Center

I was at my in-laws this past weekend and my father-in-law was all set to discard a 1.6 Mhz 512 RAM Dell Optiplex machine (it even has a firewire card he added on). Putting aside for one moment that these specs are almost on par with my work laptop--and realizing that in retrospect I should have just calmly packed it into the van and said goodbye, I decided to follow up on an ambition I've had for the last couple of years--a home media center that uses Linux. Unfortunately, if it works I'll be giving it back to him because I opened my pie whole a bit too early. Not to mention something like this at our house, with our "TV" and our "stereo" would be a bit like putting a fresh coat of paint on a pig.

So far I'm just at the stage where I'm reading, and Jen is giving me weird looks about the conspicuous box parked in our living room, but I'm starting to get optimistic (when I see videos about people popping in a DVD and having it automagically work right out of the box) and at the same time a bit nervous overall (when I read about a 30 minute project turning into an hours long nightmare). But hey--the hardware (so far) is free right? I'll keep you all posted on just how well this works out.

Right now, the plan is pretty simple (which should help):
  • No TV in (they get HD and I don't think this machine could take that kind of heat).
  • Simple DVD playback
  • .mp3 playback
  • web browsing
  • arcade emulation (when is the last time you played a nice game of space invaders--or the game that could have funded my first year of college: cyberball). This, incidently is the other reason why we can't have something like this in our house.


MB34 said...

So, are you going to post any updates on the progress of this project?

I'm interested in building one myself.

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