Media center/server/etc.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by 7on, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. 7on macrumors 601

    7on

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #1
    I've been wanting something like the :apple: tv for a while. However, the biggest problem I have with the :apple: tv is price and lack of codec support. Many of my media is DIVX or X264 so Apple would most likely never cater to my needs. I understand I'll probably need something running Linux to support the video formats that I want. In the past a modded xbox would have supported my dreams completely - however - an anime I download have switched codecs around their 180th episode and now reports are that they are now too cpu intensive for the first xbox. That and the show recently switched to HD. So that idea was fubared. What I want is also something pretty cheap. All it needs is composite out, vga, dvd-rom, and HDD storage. Nothing too fancy. The big problem I have buying my own pieces and putting it together is that I want a small footprint.

    Any recommendations?
     
  2. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #2
    My friend is just today putting together a little media center PC to do exactly what you're describing. He managed an Athlon64 4000+ system with a 400GB hard drive, 1GB of memory, and (I think) a PCI-E GeForce 6200 graphics card all in a tiny cube-like case for around $400. Let me see if I can find some parts for you...
     
  3. 7ttman macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    #3
    I'm using a Linksys NSLU2, unslung with WIZD ( use Google !) streaming to a Snazio 1350. I don't do X264 and I don't thing there is a codec for that, but the snazzi supports everything i've thrown at it. take a look at Hi-Jack's DIVX portal and you'll find a huge amount of information there.

    I'm also using EyeTV to record and then I stream to the Snazzi (after convert to a standard MPEG stream {'cos I'm mean and won't buy the eyeconnect s/w} )

    All done using 802.11g!
     
  4. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #4
    OK here's a good system for you (in wishlist form at NewEgg):

    - Mini shuttle-type case
    - Athlon64 3000+
    - 1 GB RAM
    - GeForce 7100GS video card with VGA/DVI/tv out
    - Dual-Layer DVD burner

    All for $339. All you have to do is add a hard drive (here's a 200GB for $50, a 320GB for $90, or a 400GB for $110) and a CPU heatsink/fan. It will do what you're wanting wonderfully, and it will be a full-fledged computer to boot so you can do anything on it (unlike the :apple: tv). I will say that in the interests of keeping costs down, this is a Socket 754 system so you're not really going to be able to upgrade that processor beyond what it's already at. If you're willing to spend maybe $50-$70 more you can switch out the barebones kit and the processor for Socket AM2 models, which will give you long life in upgradability. Either way, a darn good system for a homebrew media center. I personally love my modded Xbox with Xbox Media Center; it's too bad it can't handle the new codecs.
     
  5. 7on thread starter macrumors 601

    7on

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Location:
    Dress Rosa
    #5
    Yeah I'm pretty upset about this particular fansubbing group going with X264. IMO they should have used h.264. I made a big uproar on the forums about it but I couldn't change their minds. Basically because ffshow or whatever under windows already supports it. VLC supports it (and probably Mplayer) but that's about it. I hate when people backwards engineer a codec just "to be open source." It's often not needed - when something like h.264 is just fine. >:[
    The XMC plays X264 but it's choppy according to reports.

    That link doesn't seem to work as it takes me to my wish list which is empty - which shuttle do you recommend?
     
  6. rogersmj macrumors 68020

    rogersmj

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    Indianapolis, IN
    #6
    Odd...I'll do it the old-fashioned way:

    Barebones system
    CPU
    Memory
    Video card (if you can make do with just VGA out you don't even need to buy this -- the barebones system already has video)
    DVD burner

    EDIT: I figured out what I did wrong with the wish list link above and fixed it. Here you go.
     

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