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Linux Media Jukebox on the Cheap

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the duct-tape-and-beer dept.

Hardware 225

tsetem writes "Over on ExtremeTech, they have a write-up on building your own Linux Media Jukebox for a little over $500 and a bit of elbow-grease. This is probably the PC we were hoping that the Lindows Media PC would've been." This particular project uses Freevo which has matured significantly since I last looked at it.

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FP!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5734963)

W00T!!!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5734965)

you love it how i was able to get first post. w00t w00t w00t

YOU ARE THE FAILURE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735491)

bitchtits, you are the massive failure....and shall be shot at dawn...

you silly cunt....

Freevo, MythTV (4, Informative)

Mysticalfruit (533341) | more than 11 years ago | (#5734974)

I like Freevo, but MythTV actually have live TV pause features and lots of addons...

http://www.mythtv.org [mythtv.org]

Re:Freevo, MythTV (5, Insightful)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735063)

The problem I had with Freevo is I could never get the XMLtv stuff to work right without tons of fscking around. Maybe I was just doing it wrong, but it seemed like you had to enter all the channels you want it to pick up into the config file. Seems like too much work. :-) With MythTV on the other hand I grabbed a handful of Debian packages with apt-get, configured the mysql setup via the dialog prompts and had a PVR up and running on a prototype server in no time at all.

Now all I need is the $1500-$2000 to build this project ($1000-$1500 for a backend server with between 500 and 800 gigs of space, $500 for a nice quiet living room system). Maybe I'm way too into this "free software" stuff. I could just buy a ReplayTV if they don't go out of business for much cheaper, but I'd have less functionality. Hmph. My goals are at least 500 hours of recording time, two tuners, enough horsepower to do DivX encoding from two tuners at once, and a nice quiet set top box for TV output in my living room.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (1)

Saint Aardvark (159009) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735219)

Holy crap -- 500 hours of recording time? Wow. I suspect your long-term storage requirements are higher than mine. :-)

I agree about two tuners though -- one of the things I'd want from a box like this is the ability to record one tv show while watching (w/full Tivo-like 30-second replay ability) another. I'm guessing two CPUs would do best for this...anyone care to let me know if that's right?

Re:Freevo, MythTV (1)

Tack (4642) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735343)

I'd want from a box like this is the ability to record one tv show while watching (w/full Tivo-like 30-second replay ability) another.

I have a 15GB ring buffer setup with MythTV, which gives me 10 hour replay ability. :)

Jason.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735326)

Too much work? Geez, dude - just go to tvguide.com and put in your zip code, pick your service and get an html page with all the channels. Then awk for the right fields and cat it into the config file.

This took me about two minutes (I'm on win32 right now) and the spam filter wouldn't let me post all 500+ lines ...
2 WPBT
3 WPTV
4 WTVX
5 HSN
6 WXEL
7 WGN
8 WPXP
9 WPEC
10 WPBF
11 WFLX
12 QVC
13 WFGC
14 WBZL
15 WTCN
16 TVGC
17 WHDT
18 WLRN
20 GOVACC
21 WPLG
22 WSVN
23 PSA
24 LIFE
25 COURT
26 MAX
27 HBO
28 HBO2
29 HBOSG
30 SHO
31 TMC

Re:Freevo, MythTV (4, Informative)

leighklotz (192300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735423)

I dunno, the perl intaller for XMLTV just did that all for me by itself.

Freevo, on the other hand, is a moving target with tons of documentation about how to solve obscure past problems for people deeply involved. Despite there runs at it with a WinTV card, a DVD drive, a Packard-Bell remote, and a Matrix G400 (at one time the recommended configuration), I've not been able to get it working. Once or twice I tried installing from RPMs hoping that would set more defaults up, but it failed in obvious ways. When I noted this to the list, I got back a polite "Please don't report bugs when installing the RPMs; use the .tar.gz file." Next time when I tried the .tar.gz file and provided a bug fix, I got back "Please use the CVS tree." Conclusion: Freevo is not for ready for me to try. And yes, I looked at it this week.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (1)

skillet-thief (622320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735400)

I think that having a separate server is definitely the way to go for this kind of thing. Get the jet-engine into a closet somewhere and have a semi-thin box in your living room.

Now the modern household will have a utility room for the washer and dryer, and a server room for all those backends.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735114)

great link - thanks - if I had mod points I'd mod this up!
I'm moving out of the country and where I'm moving doesn't have TiVo. I currently have TiVo and love it - but once I move, I'm considering making my own system, and it looks like either Freevo or MythTV would be great for what I want.

the downside is that for the first few months I'm there, it looks like I certainly won't have more than dial-up in terms of internet, and I'm not sure I'll even have a TV for awhile... hard to do TiVo type things with no TV.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (4, Interesting)

starvo (33598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735127)

Yea, and unless you're running Mandrake 9.0 or 9.1, it ends up being a bizarre ritual that takes into the 3rd level of hell when you try to get everything working.

MythTV has more features, and it works slightly better, BUT.. It's a pain to config and setup, and don't even get me started on the hell of making LIRC work with MythTV, on Redhat.

Freevo is nice only because it puts everything together, in a slightly simpler package than MythTv. But it lacks features.. Hrm.

Recently my roommate and I each built PVR boxes, and in the end, I heard a lot less swearing, and cussing from him, because he went with a Windows (XP) solution. He's using the Snapstream 3.0 Beta.. Pretty much does everything that Freevo/Myth does.. except you don't go insane when installing it. But yeah, if you can't get beyond having to run windows, then try MythTv or Freevo.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (2, Interesting)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735149)

for me, the nice part of running a linux box is being able to telnet/ssh into it and setup scripts on it to do xyz, and then more importantly - track stats on it - have it run a webserver that you can watch to track fan rpm levels, heat levels, cpu, etc.

windows is very likely easier, but from the geek standpoint, I think the linux way allows so much more tinkering ability - so it is whether you want something that just works - or something that you can fool around with and have fun.

I'm personally a stats junkie, so I'll likely go the linux route (or perhaps both - the windows one for "everyone" to use in my apt, and the linux one for me to tinker with)

Re:Freevo, MythTV (5, Informative)

Silwenae (514138) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735217)

I would disagree that Snapstream is a fair comparison to MythTV, especially when you include the weather, music and game modules available, though setup is the biggest differentiator.

In addition, with MythTV having the ability to do frontend and backend - record on one box and play on another, so you can have the noisy machine in a closet somewhere and the quiet one by the TV, is one of the best things Myth has going for it.

That, and it has an extremely active community on the mailing list.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (4, Interesting)

PhysicsExpert (665793) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735247)

Has anyone tried running MythTv on one of the VIA Eden boards? I'm really tempted to build a media box but all the solutions I've seen so far are either too ugly/too noisy/too expensive. If the processor on one of these boards can cope with the video stuff then they would solve these problems at a stroke. As a side issue do you know how the MythTv people are coming along with hardware encoding? The news on the site is a little confusing on that one.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735310)

In MythTV CVS there is basic support for the WinTV PVR 250/350 card. You can record/watch live tv/playback but right now there isn't any seeking functionality -> coming soon.

Freevo vs. MythTV (5, Insightful)

staini (236747) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735256)

MythTV really is better when it comes to features around TV. However Freevo plays any format that MPlayer does. It works on any Video-Out that SDL works on (fbdev, dxr3, x11, ...) and has some nice addons, too. GPhoto2 integration, imdb a web recording interface just to name a few.
From my experience it is much easier to make it look the way you like it and to make it do what you like...

Re:Freevo vs. MythTV (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735265)

MythTV plays any format that mplayer does to via the MythVideo module. FYI.

Re:Freevo, MythTV (3, Informative)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735852)

MythTV looks cool but for god's sake don't go looking for help from the developers. They point you to instructions that don't work. Then when you ask a question they again pint you to the instructions and then they call you stupid when you tell them that you get an error on step 3 of the instructions.

The whole attitude was that MythTV was great and had no bugs. Anyone who reported a bug was an idiot and should go back to Windows.

Glirnath (0, Offtopic)

SHEENmaster (581283) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735873)

I just threw glirnath [sourceforge.net] onto a pentium 120 with apache running Debian/Woody.

If anyone wants to do this really cheap, this [osnippets.org] script to remotely controll xmms through a console session.

Finally... some instructions! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5734984)

Now the question is:

Can it run Windows Media Center Edition?

here's another one ;D (4, Informative)

Brian Boitano (514508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5734990)

made by a friend of mine ;) [bluelightning.org]

Re:here's another one ;D (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735169)

very cool!

it is nice to see someone that has pictures and an account of what they went through (or are still going through) in order to do it.

the best part of that site for me is the list of hardware that he has running it, and then the pros and cons that come from that.

I'm adding that to my bookmarks to check back on when I go to make my own pvr.

thanks for the link!

Re:here's another one ;D (2)

lordrich (647355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735213)

And then theres Movix [sourceforge.net] as well.

Or even less thanks to Microsoft... (5, Informative)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735001)

I've been labouring under the impression that one of the reasons why chipping XBoxes (list price £129 as of last Friday) with a mod chip (~£50) or even less thanks to yesterday's /. story is so great is because they do an excellent job as media jukeboxes themselves.

The only part missing is that they don't have the inputs to record your own stuff, unlike these tv-tuner equipped boxes. If you just want to use playback (either from the internal drive or over the local network) then a chipped XBox is much cheaper.

Re:Or even less thanks to Microsoft... (1)

13Echo (209846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735359)

The XBox still doesn't support any halfway decent video accelleration under Linux. It has framebuffer support though, but it wouldn't be ideal for any form of video playback without acceleration.

Re:Or even less thanks to Microsoft... (1)

glesga_kiss (596639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735617)

Exactly, you answered your own point! The XBox lacks the tv-tuner part. I was going to go down the XBox route myself, but I'd rather have TIVO-like functionality if possible.

For a media centre, this seems like the ideal choice. I'm not sure if the MythTV or similar projects are mature enough yet though.

Re:Or even less thanks to Microsoft... (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735807)

Aaah. It all really boils down to what you want from a media thing, really. I never bother recording stuff off the TV, and just wanted something that would play mp3, CD, DVD and video files off my main PC's hard drive, which the homebrew media player does admirably.

It's official. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735020)

BSD on the desktop/xbox is DEAD!

Small but more than just an MP3 player (5, Interesting)

robslimo (587196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735031)

I'd like a media play that is a nice compromise between portable and full-featured.

Features:

1) tablet form with about a10" screen with a foldable or removable stand
2) support solid state media (smart cards, etc) along with a replaceable/ugradable hard drive for (somewhat limited) data storage.
3) WiFi capability (to network to a media server in your home) and wired network capability.
4) runs from battery or wall wart
5) robust. don't want to break the display the first time I accidentally knock it off my desk.
6) affordable!

So, any entrepeneurs out there with a load of ready to design and tool up to build this thing for me?

Re:Small but more than just an MP3 player (3, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735596)

6) affordable!

Sorry, this criteria is incompatible with all previous criteria. Thank you, play again.

Liberals are dieing! (-1)

Horny Smurf (590916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735034)

The latest opinion polls confirm it -- liberals are dieing. Let's ignore the rhetoric and look at the numbers. 73% of voters overall, and 61% of democrats approve of the George Bush Presidency. Meanwhile, Liberal leader Bill Clinton is an embarrassment to himself. And I won't even mention France, Germany, Russia, China, or North Korea.

risky (1)

xao gypsie (641755) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735039)

is probably the PC we were hoping that the Lindows Media PC would've been.

well, lets hope that this jukebox isnt plagued with half-arsed claims this time....

xao

Cases (5, Informative)

minaguib (591953) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735046)

I've been researching this myself for a while and one of the problems I faces was actually finding a case that resembles a VCR in dimensions rather than the traditional TOWER-pc. Here are a few links to interesting cases/systems that you might find interesting:

http://www.littlepc.com/
http://www.msi.com.tw/program/products/slim_pc/slm /pro_slm_detail.php?UID=335&MODEL=MS-6243
http://www.partshelf.com/giggmaxmodgb.html
http://www.storever.com/
http://www.linux-works.com/browser/html/our_produc ts.html
http://www.evalue-tech.com/evalueweb/products/spec ifications/model.cfm?mn=EEC-5000

For the ones that come with a mobo/any hardware I cannot vouch for how well they work under linux (or windows for that matter).. These are just bookmarks from some initial research I did.

Re:Cases (1)

tommten (212387) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735275)

been playing with something like this myself..
I found a few nice boxes.. but since i want to put in a few cards (bt848,dvb-c,dvb-t,cmpci soundcard,geforce graphics) a matx motherboard isn't enough.. so I gave up and am now using a slighly modded rackmount case :)

btw.. the site seems getting slashdotted.. anyone care to put up a mirror?

Re:Cases (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735495)

compusa has sitting on their shelf a pc case that LOOKS like a 100 disc CD changer/ amp/whatever with a nice fold down front door that revelas the drive bays.

$250.00 for it but if you are screaming for a look and dont want to do it yourself.

Samba Server? (1)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735049)

Not a bad machine, very nice job with it. But why install Samba Server? Server would only be required for Windows -> Linux, Samba-client is for Linux -> Windows...which sounds like all it needs.

I guess if you are going to be sharing the files with other system on your network that makes since, but I didn't see a mention of this...did I miss it?

Re:Samba Server? (1)

skillet-thief (622320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735119)

They don't seem to be too god awfully uptight about security -- they assume that if you are behind a NAT router you don't really need to worry about a possible Samba hole --, so that is probably why they didn't wonder about whether to install samba server or not.

That said, it could be handy to get some of those files off your A/V box and onto your... well, some other box running samba client.

Re:Samba Server? (1)

Sagz (194284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735143)

I use samba on MythTV so that my wife may easily dump her music and pictures on the box without my help.

Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (3, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735057)

Quick question to the world: is anyone running one of these on an Epia [mini-itx.com] board, preferably the fanless variety?

I'm a current (and very happy) Tivo user, but I wouldn't mind the ability to add MP3 playback and so I've been keeping half an eye on Freevo. The idea would be to put a fanless Epia-M into a hi-fi style case, and use it purely through a remote of some kind. Just like a Tivo in fact, but with the ability to do music too.

Cheers,
Ian

Noise / fanless epia (4, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735145)

My first reaction to the article was that it doesn't consider noise, and my ideal Freevo box would have to be whisper quiet, if not silent.

I've investigated the mini-itx boards, and it appears that they might have just enough oomph to play back video, maybe to encode video with low compression, but not do both at the same time.

Some of the mini-itx boards have onboard hardware MPEG decoders, which would help a lot, but I'm fairly sure there is no Linux support for these, and I know Freevo doesn't support any hardware MPEG decoders yet.

One day, one day.

Adding an PCI MPEG encoder/decoder uses up your one PCI slot...

Re:Noise / fanless epia (1)

Strog (129969) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735290)

The latest release of MythTV is broken up into a server/client model if you like. A mini-itx system would be perfect as a front-end for this and put your noisy powerful system out of earshot.

Re:Noise / fanless epia (1)

slim (1652) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735401)

The latest release of MythTV is broken up into a server/client model if you like. A mini-itx system would be perfect as a front-end for this and put your noisy powerful system out of earshot.

This is true, and a great solution if you don't mind putting your video/audio sources in the same out of earshot place. Certainly possible, but it's not conducive to dipping your toe in experimentally.

Re:Noise / fanless epia (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735515)

and I know Freevo doesn't support any hardware MPEG decoders yet.

WRONG!!!!

it supports the Hollywood + mpeg decoder board.

I can play a DVD quality mpeg2 on a P133 with only a 25% processor load.

Mpeg ENCODER support is missing in linux except for the horribly overpriced optibase cards.

Re:Noise / fanless epia (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735862)

WRONG!!! :D

WinTV PVR 250/350

http://ivtv.sourceforge.net

Re:Noise / fanless epia (1)

slim (1652) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735900)

WRONG!!!!

it
(Freevo) supports the Hollywood + mpeg decoder board.

So it does. My mistake. My excuse is that the documentation is hidden behind the cryptic link "dxr3"... Your rebuttal was a little gleeful for my liking though ;)

So that's good news, although it seems a shame to spend money on a board when the epia mobos have MPEG decoding built in.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735167)

Currently my Media box is running a Fanless EPIA with DVD and Remote only control, with all the disk residing in a different box in the basment. (Yes the machine net boots:) As for performance the machine works great with DVD's, mp3s, DIVX etc, etc. The machine is running FreeVO, but currently has issues with playing CDs and randomizeing 40GB of MP3s :(

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

wulffi (176311) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735235)

I am currently running a self built mp3 playback box from my 800 mhz Epia board.

I strongly suspect that it won't have enough power to do the encoding/decoding of the video streams that you need.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

13Echo (209846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735408)

Decoding shouldn't be a problem. Even if it had a VIA C3 chip, proper X drivers with the "xv" extension support would allow it to run on machines as low as a P233 with the right media player. The key is hardware accelleration, and it isn't a task for any run of the mill video card in Linux most of the time. I'm running on an ancient ATi at work, with a lowly PII, and all videos playback very fast. At home, my Kyro 2 and Athlon 1400 experience no more than 10% CPU load in the worst cases, but are around 2% for most video playback.

Encoding is another story though. That takes some time, but works. But for real-time stuff, it might be tough for the Epia solutions to handle.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735301)

I presume you don't have a S2 box, since they can do MP3 playback now with HMO.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735357)

presume you don't have a S2 box

Yep, I'm UK-based and you can't get Tivo hardware here at the moment. That's another reason why I'm keeping an eye on the alternatives.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (4, Interesting)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735351)

I played with one of the 800mhz boards, wanting small form factor PCs to build for my kids with at least enough juice to play some light games and stream DVDs and DivX off of my network.

DVDs played, but were skippy and annoying. High-quality DivX was even worse.

It has so much trouble playing back these streams, I cant imagine the struggles it would have trying to encode them in real time (with a capture card in its free PCI slot).

All in all, I thought it would be neat for a little kiosk-type workstation or something, but didnt cut it as an entertainment device. So back it went.

There are newer, faster, better models. But, I ended up going for Shuttle's FV25 flex-atx boards with Celeron 1.0a's (tualitin core, 256k cache). It's almost as small, has everything onboard (just add 40$ celery CPU and ram), and was much more powerful.

It has onboard S4 savage video with shared ram (it aint high end by any means, but is more capable than people give it credit for - my kids play Dragons Lair 3D and other recent titles on it all the time). DVD/DivX/MP3/etc playback is A1.

It's not fanless, of course, but the way they mounted in the cases I used (refurbed and repainted "Barbie PC" flex atx cases), air is drawn in the bottom, over a fanless CPU/sink (I had to hunt for a sink that was not too big, the intel stock sink wouldnt fit) and straight out the back, so one 80mm fan pinned down to 7 volts keeps the board nice and cool, and you cant hear it.

Shuttle also has FlexATX boards for P4 and Athlon, if you wanted some real power for gaming. You find 'em primarily in their spacewalker barebones kits, but you can buy them seperately if you look around online.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735367)

I meant to mention it has onboard TV-out, which can be enabled always-on through the bios, and the quality of which is on par with my Radeon card.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

Eric Ass Raymond (662593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735415)

DVDs played, but were skippy and annoying. High-quality DivX was even worse

There must have been something wrong with the setup.

I have the fanless 600 MHz version and it plays DVDs just fine. DivX play perfectly too if you drop the quality by two notches in the DivX player.

The only time I had problems with DVD playback when I tried using Xine.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

luzrek (570886) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735361)

I'm using a EIPA-M with a 600 Mhz Eden processor. There is a fair amount of information over at mini-itx.com [mini-itx.com] including a review of that board/processor combo. From the reviews of the EPIA with the 400 Mhz and 500 Mhz processors over at Tom's Hardware [tomshardware.com] I'ld have to say that these are not sufficient for anything past mp3 service. The main difference between the two setups seems to be the amount of processing which has been moved onto the other parts of the motherboard on the EPIA-M as opposed to the EPIA. If you do descide to go with the EPIA-M/Eden combo I'ld suggest getting a TV encoder card with onboard compression, such as the Hauptpage PVR line since that will off-load the processing involved with the compression.

If you use the EPIA-M you might want to consider the ALSA sound drivers. Oh, that's the other problem. If you want to use 5.1 sound, you lose your line-in and mic inputs.

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

dk.r*nger (460754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735579)

This makes for an interesting case mod .. put the Epia mobo inside your TV, and rewire IR, sound out (to your Hifi) and, ofcourse, video out. Even connect a relay to control tv on/off (now that we stole its remote IR-reciever)..

As another poster suggested, put tunercards and harddrives in a powerful (noisy) computer in another room. No boxes, no fans, just your own invisible PVR :)

Here's your Tivo with MP3 playback (1)

jjjefff (525754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735594)

behold, the solution:

Tivo Media Option [tivo.com]

and you don't have to set up any partitions, or get all that shit working together, or wait 5 minutes for it to boot up, or install samba, or patch anything, or compile anything, or spend hours trolling the newsgroups to make mplayer work when all you want to do is watch this week's Sopranos...

Re:Here's your Tivo with MP3 playback (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735835)

Thanks - looks pretty much like what I'm after. The trouble is though, I'm in the UK and Tivo has stopped distributing hardware here. I can't get a series 2 box, which is a shame because as you say it's exactly what I'm looking for.

Importing's out too - too many different I/O hassles (no SCART, NTSC not PAL etc.).

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Curious: Anyone running this on a fanless Epia? (1)

DeBaas (470886) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735682)

The new models run at 1 Ghz and have a hardware MPEG2 decoder on board. Unfortenately that decoder seems unsupported in Linux.

Runnig Windows some tests show that it will play DivX etc.

Encoding is probably still a problem!

wankers (-1)

macksav (602217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735060)

need i say more? well, in fact, i will. you are all wankers for some very sound reasons:

1.) you all eat shit for breakfast.

2.) you all take it up the ass in public.

3.) you all have life-sized pictures of cmdrtaco jerking off.

Sad news ... Stephen King dead at 55 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735070)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Why not an Xbox? (3, Informative)

calbanese (169547) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735079)

$199 for the Xbox. $59 for a mod chip. $10 for some Cat5. And the open source Xbox Media Player [xboxmediaplayer.de] .

Though you won't get Tivo-like functionality with it. But at that price you could afford to buy a Tivo if you really wanted it.

Re:Why not an Xbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735300)

$199 for the Xbox. $59 for a mod chip. $10 for some Cat5. And the open source Xbox Media Player.

Though you won't get Tivo-like functionality with it.

There. You answered your own question.

HDTV (2, Interesting)

boy_afraid (234774) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735082)

What about HD signals? I currently have Tivo, but is there another capture card that can take in HDTV?

Re:HDTV (1)

vondo (303621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735225)

Well, there are cards, of course, but none of them seem to be supported by linux. As I recall, the prospects don't look too good either since manufacturers aren't willing to share the specs.

I've been looking at this too, but figure I'll just have to buy an HD-Tivo when they become available. A usable more open solution doesn't seem likely.

Re:HDTV (2)

Silwenae (514138) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735251)

There are HDTV PCI cards, but good luck getting them to work in Linux.

The Hauppauge cards are infamous for getting not working in Linux, and the Hipix cards, I *believe* can be made to work, but it's a ton of work.

I recommend you head over the AVScience forums, they have a dedicated forum for HTPC, and a subforum for Linux HTPCs.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb

Great service, but software could be better (1)

Interesse (666072) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735096)

Thats a service I am looking for for a while now.

Im not the hardware geeks that's able to finding the best and cheapest combination of hardware for a special purpose. Other can do this better and they did, so now I can start building my own media portal. Great!

But I would suggest another software for a all-in-one media box: vdr [cadsoft.de] , a pvr software running under linux for digital satelite tv, very stable and complete.

ps: my first /. post, very exciting*g*

But how quiet is it? (5, Interesting)

elwinc (663074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735133)

Sounds interesting, but how quietly does it run? The article never mentions noise/quiet. The case [yeongyang.com] comes with 2 6cm fans; are they needed? The PSU is a 200W microATX that comes with the case; is it quiet? The AthlonXP 1.47GHz runs pretty hot; what kind of CPU cooler does it need, and how quiet is that? A noisy media PC is not much fun...

What I want from a media PC (5, Interesting)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735136)

1. Small form factor, similar to VCR/DVD player.

Hey, it's a media PC. I want to put it in the front room with my TV.

2. Near silent operation.

See above. No use being in my front room if it sounds like a jet engine.

3. Ability to play, rip and stream (to other PCs) a variety of music file formats now and effortlessly accept more codecs in the future.

Right now my collection is in MP3 format. When I have time, I will probably rip to Ogg from scratch. In two years time, who knows what new super-duper format will be king?

4. Ability to play DVDs (of all regions) effortlessly.

Region encoding is ridiculous. If I bought it then I want to be able to play it. It shouldn't matter if I live in London, New York or Tokyo. 'Nuff said.

5. Ability to watch and record TV, PVR-style.

Hey, it's not that difficult.

6. Ability to do more than one of the above at once.

If I want to stream music to elsewhere in the house, I still want to be able to watch a DVD without it skipping frames. It's not that much to ask.

7. Ability to burn CD-RWs and/or DVDs

It would be really nice if this DVD+/DVD- format war would just resolve itself. Multi-format players, like the ones from Sony, are nice but we shouldn't have to pay a premium just to avoid the risk of buying a turkey.

8. Automatic update option.

Some people like to have complete control of their box but the mass market demands simplicity. The Average Joe doesn't want something he's going to have to tinker with every two weeks. Let the AJs have their automatic updates and let the power users do what they want too.

I'm sure I've left something off this list but these are the bare minimums that I'd look for in my ideal media PC.

Re:What I want from a media PC (2, Funny)

lordrich (647355) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735243)

In two years time, who knows what new super-duper format will be king?

Dare I suggest wma?

Re:What I want from a media PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735350)

no

Re:What I want from a media PC (2, Informative)

Eric Ass Raymond (662593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735305)

VIA EPIA mini-ITX [via.com.tw] series would seem to fit your requirements.

I've built a multimedia box based on one of these sweet motherboard/CPU combos. They can be run without fans (or with a small 40 mm fan) and have integrated 100 Mbps LAN, USB2, Firewire, VGA (+tv out), 6 channel sound and a hardware MPEG decoder. Add a slimline DVD/CD-RW combo and a large external harddrive (external to avoid problems with the small power supply). There is a one PCI expansion slot for the TV card.

I'm running it under Windows, but Linux drivers are available here [viaarena.com] .

Re:What I want from a media PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735369)

My needs are somewhat simpler.

I don't need to encode, just decode. I'll hive off the decode to something else. Drip/Grip on a more powerful machine.

I'll store the information on the network, so it only needs a small disk, not necessarily all that fast.

I want it quiet.

I want it low-power.

I want it upgradeable (basically, run linux as I could on a normal box).

I want Stereo Phono Out, Digital Out, SVGA Out and TV out.

If I have to use a remote, I'd like bluetooth on a Zaurus to do so, so the machine should have a web interface available.

Re:What I want from a media PC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735767)

In two years time, who knows what new super-duper format will be king?

If you are worried about that, pay for a few more gigs and encode in lossless formats such as flac [sf.net] .

DROP THEM SOCKS AN WAGGLE THEM COX!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735179)

http://www.jesusgeeks.net
http://www.christdot.or g ("stuff for jesus freaks, eternal matters")

Go sic[k] 'em, guys!!!!!

Links for the Lasy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735192)

http://www.jesusgeeks.net [jesusgeeks.net]

http://www.christdot.org [christdot.org]

A swing and a miss (5, Informative)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735216)

This is all fine and good. A guy built a PC and put linux on it and hooked it up to his TV. It's no great feat, but it's linux so it's on slashdot.

Anyways, here's what's missing or could have been improved..

TV Tuner Card Hauppauge WinTV PCI $60

Does the Hauppage WinPVR card not work? This costs only a few more beans, but provides vastly superior captures and onboard MPEG2 compression, IIRC.

Keyboard Silitek SK-7551 $20

A keyboard and mouse? This is the main stumbling block. A true MediaPC needs to be controlled through a simple interface with a remote control.

Also, stick an LCD display on the front with a few buttons so it can be used without the remote.

Of course that requires a bunch of coding work to make sure everything fits together seamlessly, and there's no trace of being a "PC" left in there.

The new Radeon AIW Pro cards fit the bill for both video capture, playback, remote capabilities, and firewire transfer. Of course, they cost as much as this whole project.

(In a nutshell I just spelled out the Media PC I'm working on putting together)

In the end, this guy built a PC and installed Red Hat on it. Whoopty do. He can call it a MediaPC, he can call it a Star Trek supercomputer. It's still just a midrange PC with Red Hat installed.

Re:A swing and a miss (3, Informative)

Sagz (194284) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735430)

"Does the Hauppage WinPVR card not work? This costs only a few more beans, but provides vastly superior captures and onboard MPEG2 compression, IIRC."

I know that the MythTV folks are working hard on getting this to work.

Re:A swing and a miss (1)

Beatbyte (163694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735522)

but it's linux so it's on slashdot.

it's a bitch about slashdot and how shitty the articles are so it's modded +4 insightful.

newsflash! nobody forces you to come here! besides, I've seen 2 posts on this particular story from you. must not be that bad.

*endofrant*

anyways, the LCD display and a few buttons won't ever happen. the most you could hope for is a wireless keypad to do basic controls and move the mouse cursor around with a built-in trackball.

It's still just a midrange PC with Red Hat installed.

I can do wonders with an extremely old computer with Red Hat. With a midrange PC I could pull of plenty of useful things. It may not fry your eggs but its more than just a midrange PC with Red Hat installed.

Re:A swing and a miss (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735578)

the LCD display and a few buttons won't ever happen

Really? I've already done it, and so have many many others. Look here. [crystalfontz.com]

It's pretty much a no brainer to read keypresses off the serial port.

Likewise with most remote packages. The "devil in the details" is getting everything to work flawlessly together, with an intuitive Tivo-like interface, and all the process control - like making sure that the DVD player stops when you start a DivX and so on.

can do wonders with an extremely old computer with Red Hat. With a midrange PC I could pull of plenty of useful things. It may not fry your eggs but its more than just a midrange PC with Red Hat installed

No, it's still just a midrange PC with Red Hat installed. That's not a bad thing, but it's not a MediaPC (take a look at how Windows XP Media edition, or even the Xbox works and note the differences). Its still a PC, not a piece of AV equipment, until you can sit back on the couch, press the play button, and start a movie. There should be no mouse cursor, no CLI, nothing but a simple menu that you navigate with UP/DOWN/START.

I've actually been looking at another option (4, Interesting)

tweek (18111) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735259)

Instead of spending money on an uber-silent case and mobo (allthough a mini-itx [mini-itx.com] would do the job), I'm considering this [tigerdirect.com] .

I figure I can hook this bad boy up to my powerhouse machine and just send it all wireless.

The only thing I'm concerned about is sound quality. I've already got a dvd player so I don't need that functionality. I just want a way to play my divx files and ogg/mp3s on the main system.

I've done some testing, converting divx to vcd but I always end up with unsynched sound. I also figure that keeping things in divx would be much better than spending the time converting them to vcd and having to change disks halfway through.

Dreambox? (4, Informative)

frozenray (308282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735269)

The DreamBox DM7000 [dream-multimedia-tv.de] looks promising to me. What I'd like to have is a network ogg and mp3 player, and the DM7000 seems to have all the features I want, with hardware MPEG2/PVR functions thrown in to boot (and MPEG4 apparently on the way). It runs Linux, so retrofitting Vorbis and MP3 compatibility should be no big deal. Retail price is about $500 in my area, but I'm sure I can find a better deal on the 'net. More accessories (wireless keyboard) and pictures here [bip.net] .

Anybody have experiences with this one?

German c't magazine ran a cool (but pricey) DIY media center project in 2001, see this [slashdot.org] post of mine. They had plans to convert it to Linux, but it's outside my price range, mainly due to the large LCD screen.

the Linux Media Jukebox total cost (0)

Cached Hit (651577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735283)

based on my research, the total cost of this project is $503.93. see here [ebay.com] for my sources.

Digital Cable, Remote Control (1)

g_bit (253703) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735302)

Well I've gone digital and I'm not going back now 'cause I can get a lot of cool channels that I couldn't before (800 channels total).

Does this work with Digital cable?

Does it playback through my TV?

Does it come with a Remote?

I didn't see mention of these in the parts of the article that I could get to.

Re:Digital Cable, Remote Control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735346)

Not sure about Freevo, but MythTV [mythtv.org] supports external channel changing via either a serial connection (some DSS receivers and digital cable boxes have them) or via an IR blaster.

Freevo looks awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735378)

How come I've never heard of it? I've considered ripping my DVDs and VHS tapes to disk for a media station in my entertainment system. This is very tempting.

forward video over X (1)

mufasio (304185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735437)

Has anyone with one of these homegrown TiVo type boxes tried to forward the video playback over X to view on your PC while browsing or other tasks? and if so what kind of performance have you experienced with playback? just curious sounds like a neat idea.

myHTPC (4, Informative)

SheepHead (610180) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735471)

If you're running Windows try myHTPC [myhtpc.net] . It already does, can do, or will do nearly anything you want.

Play videos, MP3s, view the weather, XMLtv guide information, launch emulators like MAME and any others (see the forum for myGames), view visualization plugins with Winamp or Windows Media Player 9, launch executables, write your own plugins... view your MP3s by cover art, your games by screen shot, control it with a remote or a gamepad... (find a joy2key program in the forums to use a gamepad for now.)

Really, just check out the screen shots on the homepage. It's only been around for a few months and new releases come fast and furious thanks to Pablo's hard work. It is basically "like XP Media Center Edition, but better, and free." (as in beer, for now.)

sheephead

VIA C3 boards? (1)

Alizarin Erythrosin (457981) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735554)

Could this be done with one of those VIA C3 boards [newegg.com] ? They're mini-itx and they have svideo outputs built in, along with audio built in... I just dunno if they would have enough grunt or the Linux compatibility.

There's also a neato case for it that looks kinda like a home theatre component already, but I forget the URL for it (I'll keep searching for it though)... would be an interesting (and maybe cheaper) alternative.

Waiting for drivers.. (3, Interesting)

dmouritsendk (321667) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735620)

Both MythTV and Freevo are really coming along nicely, the already challenge most commercial PVR system in the feature department. Both projects seem to be moving forward in a healthy speed, and projects of this type are bound to get a lot of support from geeks at home. So, the future looks bright for the OS PVR systems i reckon.

But personally Ill be waiting a little while longer before i make my own little PVR box, im waiting for the IvyTV project [sourceforge.net] 's drivers to mature some more. And then use a Hauppauge WinTV 350 [hauppauge.com] as the base for my box, this will give me real time hardware mpeg-2 encoding/decoding. The IvyTV team are doing great, in record time they have a partly working driver and a plug in for mythtv. So i think its safe to say that within a years time well see a Video4Linux2 compliant driver with hardware encoding/decoding support from them.

So why do i want to encode to mpeg-2 anyways? I want to use mpeg-2 as the primary format on the box and divx as a "backup" format. Also with hardware mpeg-2 encoding, it should be possible for me to include a DVD burner and make it possible for me to record directly to a video dvd. Which would be really neat =)

Geez, I'm getting tired of these articles (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735636)

I'm tired of reading articles about loud, ugly boxes that don't quite replace a Tivo while still managing to cost more and be way less user friendly.

The bottom line on a do-it-yourself media center is that it has to offer some combination of better performance, lower price, more features, and greater flexibility and capability than commercial products. If it doesn't, why not buy something that just works when you bring it home from Best Buy?

Plus with the above requirements it must be in a form factor visually compatible with current audio/visual components, must be silent, and must be remote controlled via some standard-looking remote control unit and TV monitor on-screen status display with an excellent GUI. In short, it must be a media center, not a tricked-up PC. If a wireless keyboard/mouse is required for simplied support of features such as entering/changing file names when ripping MP3s that's OK, but I want to be able to ignore it for day-to-day operation.

Oh, and HDTV. If I'm going to bother to spend the time and money to build one, it needs to be ready for the future.

Why do this at all? (3, Interesting)

jmcnamera (519408) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735668)

Ok, mod me as offtopic but...

Why bother to reinvent on Linux what exists elsewhere commercially.

Yeah, we all want free, but why waste personal time on reinventing, shameless copying even.

How about people do something different, innovative even instead of trying to make Linux do what XP (or fill in your favorite blank) already does?

Ok, I don't watch TV much either, but hey, I have a life.

Re:Why do this at all? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735854)

That's the dumbest thing I've read. XP MCE is the most featureless of them all, and is only available on the edonkey network or through OEM channels. You cannot even buy it.

MythTV, Freevo, and myHTPC are free, and have many, more useful features than XP MCE.

Even Showshifter has more features than XP MCE.

Non-TV based Jukebox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735810)

All I want is a simple audio component sized Jukebox that handles MP3's... Forget all the TV stuff, it isn't quite there yet.

My ideal system would have a small LCD screen on the front of the case to display the name of the band, CD Title, Song Title, and maybe track times. 2 Channel Audio Out. 80+ Gig drive.

Does anyone know of anything like this?

Thanks!

Garth

DirecTV && Myth or Freevo (1)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 11 years ago | (#5735880)

Does anyone know how to handle using either MythTV or Freevo with a DirectTV setup? I dont use broadcast or cable, ive just got DTV at home.

Since this all seems to rely on a TVTuner card, im betting Im SOL. Though the RCA DTV 'tuner' deck has a DB9 (serial?) on the back, im betting channel changing could be accomplished this way...

Has anyone tried using DTV w/ either system?

Re:DirecTV && Myth or Freevo (1)

slashjan33 (665078) | more than 11 years ago | (#5736005)

I use myth tv with directv. Check the mythtv.org faq, there is a link there to sites that sell/have pinouts for cables that you can use to change the channel on your dss box.

Re:DirecTV && Myth or Freevo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5736011)

I'm using MythTV with DirecTV - it works great.

To change channels you can either setup an IR blaster or use the DB9 serial connection on the back of your receiver. There is an external channel changing script which sends the commands to the DSS receiver.

Why Not Windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5735939)

Ok, so this is a flamebait question on /., but why not just build the damn thing with Windows? It works, right now. It supports way more hardware, it supports high quality DVd playback, DVD menus, pausing live TV, and other stuff that Freevo has on their "coming soon" list.

I mean, for the sake of a cool hack I'll run Linux on places it was never meant to be. But for my living room I'd prefer something that works correctly.

Sometimes these articles don't quite get it... (4, Insightful)

sarkeizen (106737) | more than 11 years ago | (#5736034)

There must be over a hundred DIY-settop-with-linux type articles on the net. The majority of them seem to think there is some kind of trick to buying PC parts. Especially considering the people who read/build these things.

This one is a little better since it talks about Freevo which is the only part of this package that an idiot couldn't put together themselves. It's got some things that might actually make this appealing to someone deciding OEM these to folk. It's got a nice menu. Some good features. However it doesn't do DVD menus...(Ogle does this fairly well guys grab that code). It poorly documents the IR remote situation. IrDA ports don't work very well with regular remotes (Which are ASK). You usually have to make/buy something like an IRman to do the job. It also doesn't appear to do 5.1 decoding or talk about using a SPIDIF output. So any reasonably serious videophile wouldn't look twice. It would be nice if instead of making DIY articles someone could make a distro dedicated to this kind of thing. HW detection on Linux is pretty good and a decent graphical installer would make this rock. Imagine a reasonably n00bish user buying some white-box set top box and dropping in a PVR-in-a-box CD and setting the whole thing up.

Don't get me wrong the work in the Linux space isn't all bad I share developer space with a company who makes settop boxen and they don't even seem to get the whole pvr aspect of settops. They all seem to want to make a e-mail gateway with X10 stuff. Which seems like even a smaller market to me.
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