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Thread: Question about making a media center from old computer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Beans
    7

    Question about making a media center from old computer

    I have an old Dell optiplex Gx110 with ~256mb of ram and a 20gb hdd. the ram maxes out to 512mb and I can buy a bigger HDD but I really don't need much right now. I have a basic direct tv receiver in my room (it doesn't include any DVR features like recording and rewinding live tv). This is what I want my dell optiplex to do. What all will I need? I just want it to record my Tv shows/ps3 gameplay and be able to rewind tv if possible. I have a few movies and music on some old spare hdd's that I can just run in vlc and play on my tv (right?). Also, if I'm trying to get it to record tv shows, will I need an active internet connection in order to get the tv schedule or will it get the schedule from my direct tv receiver and use that? My internet connection is limited to a usb broadband modem on the other end of the house. any input?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Beans
    44

    Re: Question about making a media center from old computer

    You've got me interested too. There's people working on the Raspberry Pi computer to get a media center going, but no definitive results yet. Ubuntu TV looks good, but will it run on your box?? That might be the killer app that gets Linux into living rooms. Try MythTV but that might be too heavy to run. Altho if you ran a lightweight distro ...? Bodhi should run on it, and has nice eye candy. If not, Puppy. I don't know anywhere that rates distros for "heaviness", or speed vs. processor and memory. You just have to try them all.

    The real problem is useability of your setup. You don't have a remote control, so you need a keyboard to clicky around. If we get thousands of nerds thinking about this, something should appear on a forum, or makezine, or Instructables.

    And you could always get one of those Roku clones that go for like $60, get a hard drive enclosure, and have a remote. But what fun is that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Beans
    7

    Re: Question about making a media center from old computer

    I found a few guides online but they are for computers with higher specs and have a wifi internet setup. I'm running puppy on the computer as a matter of fact.I liked MythTV's interface but honestly I'll run any low resource program that can do the work just the same. It would be nice to have a controller as you stated. Ireally thought if I posted here of all places, the responses would come piling in

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Lynne Valley, BC
    Beans
    2,575
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Question about making a media center from old computer

    If you are using Lucid Puppy, (Lupu), you should be able to install stuff from the Ubuntu repositories.
    The main problem I have had using Ubuntu with a Mini ITX MB as a media center is lack of S-Video support.
    I mostly watch downloaded movies and TV, Do you need a TV card to use direct tv?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Beans
    7

    Re: Question about making a media center from old computer

    Quote Originally Posted by C.S.Cameron View Post
    If you are using Lucid Puppy, (Lupu), you should be able to install stuff from the Ubuntu repositories.
    The main problem I have had using Ubuntu with a Mini ITX MB as a media center is lack of S-Video support.
    I mostly watch downloaded movies and TV, Do you need a TV card to use direct tv?
    This is basically what I want to do, watch downloaded movies and possibly record stuff. IDK if I need a tv card to use Direct TV with my computer. If I do need one, I can go buy it. I just have no clue where to start tbh

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Lynne Valley, BC
    Beans
    2,575
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Question about making a media center from old computer

    With Lupu I plug in my Flash drive with AVI's on it, click the sdb1 icon to open the drive then double click the AVI file to start gxine.

    I have not tried S-Video with Puppy yet but a VGA to HDMI cable works to connect my Mini ITX board to my TV.

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