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How Do You Handle Home Media?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the one-bit-at-a-time dept.

Data Storage 381

carpoolio writes "Yahoo's Tech Tuesday has an interesting series on bridging the PC/home entertainment gap. The solutions are fairly complicated, and very Windows-centric. As I store more media on my PowerBook, I'm finding more ways I can't listen to or view it on my stereo and TV. One example: TiVo Desktop won't stream AAC files - only MP3s - from iTunes to TiVo. That's an easy fix, but still: how do you get stuff off of your computer and onto your TV, stereo, etc.?"

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381 comments

Oh Boi (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780949)

I dedicate this fp to all others that wanted it. Yes, I know we try and try for FP.. but I have it.

Xbox + XBMC all you need (5, Informative)

systimax (324144) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780954)

http://www.xboxmediacenter.de

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (2, Interesting)

datbox (800756) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780987)

That's exactly what I do. I run the ccxstream server from my linux box for content on demand.

It's wonderful.

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (2, Interesting)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781050)

I'll second. I actually serve my content to XBMC from Samba shares on a box running ArchLinux.

No AAC support, but then, everything I buy from iTunes I immediately burn to CD and re-rip as MP3 anyway... I've had to rebuild my desktops too often to not burn a physical copy of anything I buy electronicly.

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (1)

Aggrajag (716041) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781051)

Exactly, plays pretty much every format there is. At least I don't know any that it doesn't.

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781253)

When playing Quicktime (.mov) files, I get video, but no sound.

- Andreas

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (1, Interesting)

mesach (191869) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781060)

With the DAAP Protocol It works great with iTunes Playlists...

I just wish I could get it to listen to the party shuffle stream, or if they could break the airtunes protocol so i can "Send to Xbox" from my iTunes, it would be the best item I have used for my xbox

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781078)

For a non MS OS, try xebian or gentoox, both of which work splendidly.

who's einer?

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (3, Informative)

dresgarcia (251585) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781175)

I have a windows server and a linux server sharing things up over samba shares(simple workgroupd from the windows computer, samba on the linux box)Very little extra configuration is necesarry on the x-box end. Also you can set up your xbox to boot right to x-box media center and this can be done for as cheeply as $150 bucks ($120 dollar used xbox, $20-40 modchip, no larger hard drive is needed unless you want to physically stor things on your x-box.) The only thing this thing cant do for me is DVR, but I plan on implementing a DVR on one of my servers, possibly using freevo. (freevo.sourceforge.net I believe)
I hardly even turn on my digital cable box and am planning to trade it in because I use the xbox for everything. I have ripped copies of all my "episode dvds" (ie futurama, family guy, x-files) for easy access. And since I have the audio going through my reciever its GREAT for MP3s and movies as well.
I don't own a standalone DVD player because its 100% unnecesary.

Re:Xbox + XBMC all you need (1, Informative)

JofCoRe (315438) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781237)

Just chiming in w/my endorsement of XBMC. It's how I play all my media. Actual files are stored on a windows or linux box (I have one of each, and files are put wherever I have space :), and then played on XBMC via SMB.

I can even stream shows off my TiVo using the ccxstream searver and TivoX (module for TivoWeb).

It truly is wonderful :)

I still do it the low-tech way (2, Interesting)

J3zmund (301962) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780956)

By jacking the audio out from my computer into an AUX audio in on my home theater. I play my music loud enough that the noisy pc fans aren't a problem. Video out is another story. My mini-ITX box combined with Windows XP provided horrible results.

Re:I still do it the low-tech way (1)

AaronD12 (709859) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781208)

An EveTV 500 HDTV tuner hooked to my G5 and 21" CRT monitor, along with nice 5.1 speakers attached through the optical port on the G5.

One fix.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780962)

I make my computer my tv and stereo.

Re:One fix.. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781067)

Damn fucking moderators need to take it in the ass for once.

My setup (5, Informative)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780963)


Video: ATI Radeon 9800 Pro w/TV out (composite & svideo). A coax line runs composite -> the TV in line of my receiver.
Audio: Audigy 2 card with coax running from the SPDIF connector to the receiver's digital TV in.
To control it all: an ATI Remote Wonder [ati.com] remote control. It works by RF with ~10M of range so the source computer makes its noise in another room.

The Remote Wonder works well under Linux and MacOSX although you may have to google for drivers.

Re:My setup (1)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781037)

Mine is quite similar. I use my Yamaha CDRW to read the music, or just play MP3s, and I have a direct connection from my box to my PC headphones, which lets me enjoy the music in STEREO!

Dear carpoolio (5, Insightful)

slashnutt (807047) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780970)

This is a response to your question about 'How Do You Handle Home Media?'.

In reading the question, you have actually answered the solution yourself. As you point at problems simply eliminate that area. You pointed to Tivo not streaming then eliminate that component from the problem.

There is nothing preventing you from hooking the computer to a stereo tuner solving the issue or hooking a composite video card to a TV (better would be a DVI input directly to a flat panel). If the component doesn't suite your needs then that component is not part of the solution. That goes for the Windows Centric issue you addressed; if it doesn't solve the need than there are non-proprietary solutions, I think the name start with L or something someone.

Really, Tivo and other you named are fighting a battle that may be hard won. The proprietary market seems to have slowed in response, yet the onslaught of FOSS solutions hasn't eroded over the years. The FOSS solutions seem to now fit needs faster than their proprietary relatives. Now if the true lower level hardware could be non-proprietary so you could order a manufacture to assemble components you designed in a collective community. Don't like Intel great IBM has some neat PowerPC chips don't like the video card drivers great we'll build it to your specs - this is a dream not achievable just yet.

cheap setup... (4, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780972)

TV-out with an old Voodoo3 3000 and a simple 16 bit cheap SoundBlaster from 10 years ago to cheap cables. I mean, after all, it's mostly divx or another format for downloaded movies.

For serious music I usually burn the SHNs/FLACs to CD and play them in my stereo.

I have tried using my Tivo for MP3s but I just don't see the point. Maybe if I could use it for video I would. That would be a lot easier than screwing around with TV-out and waiting for the screen to resize, etc. I have a feeling that won't come to fruition from Tivo though ;)

FreeBSD, FLAC, and a sound card... (4, Interesting)

phallstrom (69697) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780973)

I bought a low-end Dell server with room for a lot of disk space, a 160gb drive (for now), and a $5 sound card. Converted all my CD's using EAC and FLAC and at the moment am using flac123 to play them. Sound out the server, up the wall, across the ceiling, up through the ceiling into the livingroom and into the stereo.

Works great. One of these days I'll put a web interface on it and be done with it.

Don't really need to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780974)

how do you get stuff off of your computer and onto your TV, stereo, etc.?

I don't. The computer works fine for playing everything.

Cable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780975)

Have you tried a cable running from your computer to the stereo?
I mean, come on.

Xbox + Exploit + XBMC (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780978)

www.xbobmediacenter.com

mmmm bitty goodness :)

And the other way too (1)

mfifer (660491) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780981)

I have one of those Comcast HD DVRs and I can't get any of the recordings OFF of it to burn on to DVD (Red Sox playoff game I was at).

Why can't this be done?

Why is it such a pain to share material across devices?!?!

Re:And the other way too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781063)

Two acronyms. One starts with RI, the other with MP. Both end in AA.

The most obvious solution works just fine. (5, Informative)

arbi (704462) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780983)

I have a networked computer in my living room with these things plugged into it:

1) TV
2) Stereo
3) Wireless Keyboard / Mouse

It works. I'm really not sure what the issue is here. :P

Lack of forethought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780985)

The money you spent on a TV and stereo should have been spent on a BETTER PC SOLUTION.

cables... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10780990)

The old-fashioned way... with cables. Video card with S-Video out, miniport-to-RCA audio cables.

a few ways (5, Interesting)

anjrober (150253) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780995)

this has been an issue I (we all) have been fighting for a while. I recently saw an interesting system called sonos (www.sonos.com). It's an amp with built in mp3 decoder and wifi/wired connections. It comes with an ipod-with-screen based remote. You can connect them together and use one as a standard RCA input (for things like a tuner, dvd, etc) and all other amps share that central source. All amps play mp3s and stream web radio. This does not come out until later this year.

For now, I'm using Tivo home media and not really loving it.

Building my own DVR... (3, Interesting)

ChiGodOfKarma (829932) | more than 9 years ago | (#10780999)

I am running into similar problems with getting my media from my PC to my entertainment center. The best solution I have seen to date is to build my own PVR. I have even managed to find ATX cases that look just like the stereo components I have, with little LCD displays and all. The hardest question I am having is which software to run? Windows Media Center is the best option so far and I am not thrilled with it.

Airport Extreme (5, Informative)

Gannoc (210256) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781002)


For $130, you can plug it in anywhere in your house, and play anything that iTunes can play from any computer. As a bonus, its also a 802.11g extender and printer server.

Re:Airport Extreme (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781149)

Gee, this obvious astroturf solves the problem easily and completely. Not.

Airport Express! (2, Informative)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781173)

which uses Airport Extreme (which is Apple's awful way of marketing their new '802.11G' wireless).

Not to pick nits. ;)

Re:Airport Extreme (2, Interesting)

Mike Farooki (85314) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781191)

I second the Airport Extreme. An added bonus is the AE's mini-TOSLINK digital optical output.

Xbox is the only way to fly (1)

javajoe99 (471731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781006)

A lot of thise home media devices from people like linuksys and dlink just plain suck ass in terms of media support and options. Wehere as my chipped xbox (which ends up being cheaper than the brand name stand alone media devices) serves my needs very well. My 1 TB NAS servers DVD's all day

MythTV you insensitive clod! (5, Interesting)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781012)

I use MythTV [mythtv.org] , of course! Actually, I use KnoppMyth [mysettopbox.tv] , but -- same thing.

FABULOUS TiVo replacement, but sometimes a bit hard to get working, especially if you only have seemingly random hardware, or just whatever is laying arround. The machine I dedicate for this is piped into my TV, stereo, local network, and it is convenient to drag-and-drop whatever media files I want (including MAME ROMs!) onto the MythTV box, and play away! Check it out, it really is worth it. Use an MPEG tuner card if you can.

Easy Solution (4, Interesting)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781014)

My computer is my TV/stereo. I got a cheap TV tuner a couple years ago and it works fine, and I have my computer connected to my stereo. As a cheap college student, this is especially good as it also saves cash (TV tuners are much cheaper than TVs and I don't have to buy a seperate set of PC speakers) and space.

Re:Easy Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781198)

Yeah, any home theatre component you can think of is right there on your PC. 5.1 Surround, projector, Happauge TV tuner card; why all the fuss about getting media from your computer to subpar media solutions?

Windows now - moving to mythtv (5, Interesting)

Sabalon (1684) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781019)

I have a notebook setup just for this. The bad thing is that it has an ATI card in there for TV out which is a pain to get working with Linux, so for now I'm just using Windows. I can play vids for the kids and stream my favorite radio stations.

The next step is to get MythTV running on the box, which has a much easier interface and can do more, such as image galleries, etc...

The biggest problem I have is input. Right now the notebook is on top of the entertainment center because of the aforementioned kids. And it's running windows so things like forcing video out is a pain, plus my wife doesn't know how to work it. And what idiot decided that play/pause in media player should be Control-P instead of space.

My main mythtv box has a remote controller for the video capture card, but I have nothing to hook to the notebook. I guess I need to bite the bullet and either buy some cheap IR receiver for use with lirc or threaten to burn the house down by building my own.

I'm surprised no company has come out with a USB based IR receiver that can be taught so you can control all your apps with it. Seems like a simple little item, not much needed to make and could be sold cheap enough to return a decent product and get lots of people to buy.

Build an Entertainment Center PC (1)

SomeGuyTyping (751195) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781023)

I bought a Shuttle XPC and connected a wireless Keyboard/Mouse to it. I've tried various programs to integrate TV/Audio/Video, but have had no luck. InterVideo's HomeTheatre has promise (especially the DVD bookmarks) and I may register my expired demo. I still never got MythTV running, though.

XBMC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781025)

XBOX Media Center

With my XBOX networked with my PC I stream movies/music/pictures with the greatest of ease.

MythTV (2, Informative)

crow (16139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781028)

I have my Myth box handling all my video, photos, and music.

In general, you have to deal with two sides of the issue: the format you get your media in, and the formats that your output device can handle. For me, that means I can do just about anything that doesn't have DRM involved. If instead of running your own system directly connected to you media setup, you rely on some consumer electronic solution (TiVo, etc.), you're going to have to deal with the formats accepted by that system. This is one reason a roll-your-own approach is so enticing.

Airport anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781030)

http://www.apple.com/airportexpress/

Aiport + iTunes + Stereo anyone?

Gotta buy me one.

Squeezebox (5, Informative)

jallison (693397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781033)

For audio I use a Squeezebox [http://slimdevices.com/ [slimdevices.com] ]. This is an 802.11 gizmo that allows you to stream music from computer to stereo. Works well.

I've not conquered the video thing yet. I like the idea of having easy access to the digital media, but I don't like the idea of having a computer in the family room. Computers go in the office, where there's a desk and a proper work environment.

Airpot Express (1, Informative)

kuwan (443684) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781035)

Apple's Airport Express [apple.com] has been the perfect solution to play music from my computer. It would be nice if you could play more than just stuff from iTunes, but it's a really great product and great for vacations too.

I'd love to see something like this that you could use to broadcast Video too, but for that I'll have to wait I guess.

--
Free Flat Screens [freeflatscreens.com] | Free iPod Photo [freephotoipods.com] | It really works! [wired.com]

what i do for video (2, Informative)

geekschmoe (244913) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781038)

http://gordianknot.sourceforge.net for ripping dvd's to high quality divx

+

$60 DVD burner (fits 6 divx movies per dvd):
http://shop4.outpost.com/product/4105013?si te=sr:S EARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

+

$80 divx/dvd player:
http://www.divx.com/hardware/detail.php?p =7

=

finally!

Re:what i do for video (1)

bigjnsa500 (575392) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781162)

$80 divx/dvd player: http://www.divx.com/hardware/detail.php?p=7

Dude, Amazon has them for $62.94.

Laptop (1)

Sivar (316343) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781041)

I connect my laptop to my TV via S-video (no HDTV yet) and to the stereo with a conventional 1/8" jack.
For movies, I mount a fileshare and stream DivX recordings of DVDs over wireless, with the laptop using the TV as a "second monitor".
For audio, my main stereo is already connected to my desktop PC, which streams my FLAC and MP3 files from the same file server.

"Out" cards (4, Interesting)

Alaren (682568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781043)

"...how do you get stuff off of your computer and onto your TV, stereo, etc.?"

I have an old ATI All-in-Wonder. It has TV-Out jacks that go straight into my TV. I also have a sound card with a mini-plug out, and a simple mini-to-RCA cable connects my computer to my stereo. Seems pretty simple... am I misunderstanding the question?

I'm not being deliberately dense. I just think the article is a bit whacky. Calling it "difficult" seems like a real overstatement... the difficulty isn't watching your media on your TV or listening to your music on your stereo, it really isn't. The difficulty is when your applicances are all in different rooms (mine aren't, obviously, or I'd have cables strung across the house).

But even then, why stream your stuff through special wireless streamers or hard-drive loaders that are format-sensitive when you can just use something like this [radioshack.com] ?

Just seems like people are making this needlessly complex. But then, maybe that's the way we slashdotters like it...?

Bachelor Home Theater (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781044)

I have a JVC receiver with a USB input, which "just works" with my Fedora system. I had 13 inch TV, which was sitting right by my 18 inch LCD. Got rid of the TV, got a tuner card for the PC (which I really only use for the PS2 and the old VCR). mplayer and tvtime cover all my needs.

-Peter

Simple Solutions: (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781056)

Line out on sound card (or optical out) to Sterio system. All the line out needs is a plug adapter from 3/8" stereo to Dual RCA Mono (Composite?) connectors. Video either from RGB/DVI out to TV or through S-Video/Composite out on the Video card. Of course, usually I just watch whatever it is on my monitor anyways.

Xbox! (1)

zeth (452280) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781058)

I use a chipped xbox whith Xbox Media Center for my media needs. It is really all you'll ever need. (well, almost)

My music solution (1)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781059)

I burn mp3s to a CD and play that in my 5 disk DVD/CD/MP3 changer. I dont mess with video from my computer and dont care what is on TV.

easy peasy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781084)

'I have a networked computer in my living room with these things plugged into it:

1) TV
2) Stereo
3) Wireless Keyboard / Mouse

It works. I'm really not sure what the issue is here. :P'

agreed

1x mdk 10 box with 2 video cards 1 with tv out (3 screens) audio split to amp and tv

eh volia

nowt fancy it just works

ok so i got to squit a bit to see the tv out put but hey

Who still owns a TV? (1)

jsares (14664) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781098)

I don't own a TV.

I have a 15" Powerbook hooked up to nice speakers for iTunes and DVDs.

When I have company or if I'm going over to a friends house I just use my DLP projector and have a huge screen.

Re:Who still owns a TV? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781132)

If you own a Powerbook then you don't have any friends.

My PC is my audio station (1)

Airconditioning (639167) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781099)

It's hooked up directly to my amp and sound system. Any CD I buy is immediately OGG'd and the original put in a safe place. Other than that I prefer watching video on a proper TV, the image just seems a lot clearer on a TV rather than an LCD screen. And I have no interest in piping a TV signal into my machine to encode it badly and take up a whole chunk of disk space.

Very simple. (2, Informative)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781104)

I run everything through my PC.

Sound-out from all the appliances goes into the PC's line-in port using a $4 RCA-to-miniplug adapter from Radio Shack. The PC spits it out through two sets of Klipsch Promedia 2.1s (the microphone port is rerouted to act as a speaker port thanks to the motherboard software).

Video from the PC/DVD player isn't a problem; the S-Video out jack from the GeForce 5200 card routes that to the TV while sound goes through the Klipsches. This creates some interesting situations; I can mute a DVD and play music over it or watch video footage while I work on it.

Other devices are routed through an S-video/A-V switch into the PC or TV as needed

Stereo? (2, Interesting)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781115)

I keep all of my music (1400 tracks) on my computer and play them with juk. I don't bother to play them on the stereo at all. I have a powered subwoofer and four speakers on my pc which can put out far better sound then my small aiwa 3 disc changer, with two non powered speakers.

XBMC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781120)

modded Xbox, Xbox Media Center. Even reads iTunes music store AACs if you un-DRM them with hymn.

a tangled web (1)

jungwirr (249169) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781125)

acquire through giftd, giftcurs on loonix
share through samba on same box
play media via download (httpd) on windows box at work
in living room, use modded xbox with ed's debian (soon to be using xbmc), via smbfs mount of file server

MythTV (1)

Darth Maul (19860) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781128)

I use MythTV as my home theater PC. Of course it does the TiVo-like PVR stuff with TV shows, but I also have ripped all of my CDs onto it and use the MythMusic module to play tunes through my stereo. with a nice front-end. I have several other computers around the house that simply NFS-mount the music dir so I can get the tracks onto my iPod, etc.

There's not much better than a Myth PC hooked up to a HDTV and a nice stereo system.... I highly recommend it. It's a nice way to control your home media without any Windows stuff.

one possibility... (2, Informative)

bani (467531) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781134)

Hauppauge MediaMVP [newegg.com]

it runs linux, and is hackable:

http://www.visi.com/~erl/
http://sourceforge.ne t/projects/mvpbtv/
http://www.dforsyth.net/mvp/so ftware.html
http://mvpmc.sourceforge.net/idx.php? pg=main
http://www.shspvr.com/forum/viewforum.php ?f=38
http://www.rst38.org.uk/vdr/mediamvp/

Easy (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781139)

I don't have a TV or a stereo, and I don't listen to music or watch movies, but I do have a laptop, and it is very easy to connect it to a very large plasma or an lcd screen. Or a projector. It is also very easy to connect a sound system to the laptop. So a laptop can be your entertainment center.

For audio, Airport Express (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781140)

I stream audio from windows and mac to my stereo using Airport Express. It Just Works.

Homegrown + OSS (1)

bigtangringo (800328) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781155)

With the way things are going, making some homegrown solution with some OSS will be the only viable option for a media center.

I already don't want to buy a Tivo with the way they're pandering to those corporate girlie men.

Playstation + Gameshark (4, Interesting)

nharmon (97591) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781158)

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned this. But there is a product for the Playstation 2 called Gameshark Media Player which allows you to connect to a PC server (running windows or linux) and stream video, music, or even pictures to your television.

I've only played with it a little bit, but so far it seems to be very usable.

My setup... (2, Interesting)

Nexzus (673421) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781168)

I use a program called 'QCast Tuner [broadq.com] ', for the PS2, to watch DIVX movies and MPEG TV show captures. It uses a small java server application to stream the content over a network to the PS2. It's a pretty decent program, well worth the fifty bucks or so, although lately the company seems dead.

For audio, I have a device called the Audiotron [audiotron.net] from Turtle Beach. It can stream MP3's and full size wav files from Windows or SMB shares, and is really easy to use. It can also stream from some Internet radio stations. Very cool device, and it fits in perfectly with the rest of my black stereo stuff.

My setup (1)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781176)

I have an old Power Mac G4 as a media server, that is connected to my TV through DVI. For audio, I have an M-Audio Transit USB, that gives 5.1 channel optical audio output, which is connected to my receiver. For storage I have a firewire enclosure with 1TB of space.

HTMac [enights.net]
Pictures [mac.com]

My computer Is my home entertainment system... (1)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781179)

how do you get stuff off of your computer and onto your TV, stereo, etc.?

you insensitive clod!. But on a more serious note...I find it very convenient to use one setup for all my "entertainment needs".

A TV Tuner card and capture software nicely double up as TV, VCR and (albeit rudimentary) TiVo, while a 5.1 surround sound system provides the desired audio capability. Don't need no fancy-schmancy "bridging PC/home entertainment" crap when everything's a PC.

The only thing lacking in my setup is a way to streaming audio to my car....a CD burner serves the purpose in the interim (Never underestimate the bandwidth of a pack of CDs riding in your back pocked :))

I use Windows, but I've nearly got linux onmy xbox (1)

farmer11 (573883) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781180)

I use a windows pc with a SVIDEO out to my tv. It works well, but it's kinda a hastle is someone else wants to use the computer.

That's why I'm putting linux on my xbox. I nearly got Xebian on there. Problem is my xboxs optical drive is nearly bit and I can't boot from the Xebian install CD. I managed to copy the iso, and mount them from emergeny-linux ala the mech assault save game exploit. But I'm kinda lost how to install xebian after I've mounted the iso on the hard drive...

philips dvp642 (2, Interesting)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781182)

Evil, evil Wal-mart has the philips dvp642 for like $80 or less. It is a dvd player that plays divx and a million other formats. I can fit 9 hours or so of reasonable quality mpeg4 (divx) video on a dvd-rom. At 9 hours a disk it isn't the best quality but it is good enough to get 18 episodes of teletubies and boohbah on a disk -- which keeps my 7 month old happy for quite a long time :^) Certainly the cheapest way to go especially if you need a new dvd player anyway.

I decided not to bother (1)

CarrionBird (589738) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781185)

I did have my tv-out run to the vcr and all that, but I eventually just quit bothering and started using my PC with it's progressive scan screen and 5.1 audio for everything.

Someone I know went a step further and uses a projector & a real HI-FI with his PC.

mini-itx + freevo (2, Informative)

asv108 (141455) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781196)

About a year ago I decided to build a mediapc to play mp3, divx, aac, flac, shn, along with the traditional CD's and DVD's, and mame games. I had a budget of $500.

I ended up building a mini-itx 2ghz athlon nforce2 machine using a coolermaster case that looked just like a stereo component.

For software I deicded to use gentoo and freevo. [sourceforge.net] For input I have a standard remote, a wireless keyboard, and a wireless game controller.

the box [alexvalentine.org]

on the rack [alexvalentine.org]

playing tapper [alexvalentine.org]

I already have a Tivo so I didn't bother setting up the TV features, but it works great as an all purpose media player.

Low tech (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781199)

My approach is from the low-tech-but-works dept.

I have a DVD-RW drive, a number of DVD-Rs and DVD-RWs, and CD-Rs and CD-RWs. Depending on what the media format is, I convert it to something appropriate, write it onto a DVD, VideoCD or MP3-CD, and play it on my DVD player.

It works for me, YMMV.

tv sucks (1)

Jukashi (240273) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781207)

whats with everyone wanting to use televisions? especially those running homebrew dvr's - i dont get it. Tv quality is total crap, why not use a computer monitor? Either run it through a decent hauppage card or pick up one of the excellent micromsoft boxes like the xrgb2 [lik-sang.com] or x-select d4 [lik-sang.com] for you hdtv buffs. 320x240 is dead..

Use my computer, run through a reciever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781210)

My computer has Fiber-Optic onboard audio in/out, so I run the fiber out cable to my reciever (Onkyo TX-SR601 if you need a start)... Simply hit "Video 1" on the remote, and my home theater system switches to my computer..

My Video card also supports DVI output, which many new TV's support.. but currently my TV doesn't.. Since my TV doesn't really support computer's (output) well at all.. I really just stick to my LCD, and only have the audio running to the reciever....

The Reciever remote is amazing, too, I can control my TV, the reciever, my XBox, and cable TV all from the remote, easily.. no remote swaping.. so no cumbersome fumbling like you get with a lot of TV systems

Since you own a PowerBook... (0, Redundant)

motorsabbath (243336) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781221)

... get an airport:

http://store.apple.com/AppleStore/WebObjects/BEPPS tore.woa/71705/wo/pf1PRfYU8qTX2sApRg82VXbDCt5/0.0. 11.1.0.6.21.1.9.1.0.0.0.1.0

works great.

(stupid apple URLs)

Frankenstein Setup (1)

BlastM (663010) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781222)

For streaming sound to anywhere in the house, I have my Rio Karma [riokarma.com] (the ultimate geek music player) plugged into my stereo (the Karma dock has RCA out and the base glows blue and pulses to the music), as well as the ethernet wall socket just behind the stereo (the Karma has 100Mb ethernet on the dock).

I can upload music to the Karma from any one of my various Linux boxen scattered throughout the house (the Karma has a built-in web server that you can download the Java applet to access it from, which is fully Linux- and MacOS-compatible) as well as from my laptop via WiFi.

I don't do any video streaming, other than when I use "mplayer -vo aa" in an SSH terminal to stream video in ASCII art ;) but a mate of mine tells me that VideoLAN [videolan.org] is good for that sort of thing and it might be what you're looking for.

WiFi is handy, but sometimes you can't get full reception everywhere in the house, and 11Mb mightn't be enuogh to stream certain video formats, so when my house was rennovated recently, I ceased the opportunity to wire up CAT5 to every room, which is all run back to a central place (a cupboard in the middle of the house) which all plug into an ethernet switch, which is plugged into the ADSL modem and the WiFi AP.

I highly reccomend decking out your house with trusty old CAT5 if you have the chance.

What about a simple controler (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781223)

Instead of putting your PC in your stereo/home theater stack why not a simple control box with IR in, an LCD, IR OUT and an Ethernet jack? You could use something like an EZ80 from Zilog and then run your Video and Audio cables back to your server closet or home office to your noisy ultra mega server. A real hardware person might be able to hack in support for an ATA CDROM/DVD Drive into the controller and have it attach to the server through TCP/IP so you could have a convenient optical drive. Maybe a CF card slot, MMC, XD, and Smartmedia interface for loading your digital pictures as well.

Media Center (4, Informative)

McFly69 (603543) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781226)

got a test box of Windows Media Center 2005. Works great with all audio files and even plays/records High Def TV :) It handles hi-def signal from the roof antena and the sat system. Provides Dolby digital optical output directly to my receiver.

how do you get stuff off of your computer.... (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781243)

One RCA plug going from my PVR computer to my TV. One 1/8 male stereo to two male RCA plugs going to my TV. A second such cord going to my stereo.

Any other questions?!

Media Center 2005 (3, Informative)

phishst1k (520646) | more than 9 years ago | (#10781255)

Usefull resource: www.thegreenbutton.com It's all about Media Center and includes downloads, knowledge base and howto's. That's how I set up my Media Box. I use a Antec Aria case with a Athlon64 3200+ and 1gb of RAM. It has a hauppauge 32552 tv tuner and a ATI 9600 graphics card. I run XP Media Center 2005. I have the audio output hooked to a stereo head unit type thing which runs to two speakers. Obviously I went with a nice 19" LCD for this and haven't had a problem yet. It's actually pretty impressive to see this for the first time when most people walk in and ask where my TV is or where that sound is coming from :P

Build your own HTPC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10781256)

Pick up a sweet looking case like the Arisetec HT400. http://www.arisetec.com/products/HT-400.htm/ [arisetec.com]
Pick a nice front end. I'm using Xlobby cause it's free. Connect audio digital out to dolby digital reciever. Connect dvi out from a decent video card to your DVI or HDMI on your HDTV. Use powerstrip to adjust your display settings precisely so that your picture looks fabulous. Use nvidia NVDVD decoders with the software dvd player of your choice, as long as it can handle post processing so that you can use FFDShow to upscale your dvds and other recorded video to 1080i resolution. Turn up the volume and enjoy! Game, Listen, and Watch to your hearts content.
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