My ambitious home theatre PC project

SolarCanoe

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 30, 2008
146
6
Hey guys

I am starting a fun project, I want to build a HTPC inside an old Atari 2600. I have the Atari, I have seen others like this on the internet, however I can't decide on what components I want to buy. Obviously I want it powerful enough to watch HD content through my tv.

Do I buy all the parts separately? Or do I buy a cheap mini PC like this one and hack it apart?

http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/zotac-zotac-zbox-id42-barebones-mini-pc-intel-celeron-847-zbox-id42-u-zbox-id42-u/10249628.aspx?path=bf05642d9e193186552d18c4b223c2eaen02

Thanks for your suggestions
 

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Toubro

macrumors newbie
May 4, 2013
28
0
If I were to do a thing like that, I would use a Raspberry Pi running XBMC, with either a USB drive, or connected to a NAS.

If you are not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, try googling Raspberry Pi HTPC and you will get millions of examples :)
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,196
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
The pi is ideal....very small and plenty powerful. If you want a PC form factor, I guess a micro ATX board might fit into the Atari casing....streaming video really isn't all that demanding on hardware, it's when you start rendering and encoding that you need powerful machines.

If your just going to use the box to store and view, then you should be able to put it together pretty cheaply.
 

SolarCanoe

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 30, 2008
146
6
I would actually buy a refurb Mac Mini and remove it from the casing to put it in the Atari. I think it would fit?
I would do that, as I am a Mac guy but I think I'm going to make this a windows machine.

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If I were to do a thing like that, I would use a Raspberry Pi running XBMC, with either a USB drive, or connected to a NAS.

If you are not familiar with the Raspberry Pi, try googling Raspberry Pi HTPC and you will get millions of examples :)
I'll check out the Raspberry Pi, but I want more than XBMC. I want to be able to run iTunes as well as video files
 

waw74

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2008
3,173
194
i also would go with the pi.
it's the best option for what you want to do, unless you need HD audio. (Pi will only do 5.1 dolby digital)

you also need to look at what software you want to use, the 2 main ones being plex and XBMC, both of which have been ported to the Pi.

the main differences are ...
Plex requires a server app running, so you'll need another computer running on your network to serve the media, it can also convert files to something the client can play.
XBMC will pull direct from a drive. either local or NAS, but the files need to be in something compatible.

also think about control, a lot of people like to use their phones, but an IR remote with hard buttons is nice to have, so you aren't fumbling trying to get an app open if you want to pause the TV.

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or even easier, you'd probably be able to squeeze a roku in there.
 

SolarCanoe

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 30, 2008
146
6
i also would go with the pi.
it's the best option for what you want to do, unless you need HD audio. (Pi will only do 5.1 dolby digital)

you also need to look at what software you want to use, the 2 main ones being plex and XBMC, both of which have been ported to the Pi.

the main differences are ...
Plex requires a server app running, so you'll need another computer running on your network to serve the media, it can also convert files to something the client can play.
XBMC will pull direct from a drive. either local or NAS, but the files need to be in something compatible.

also think about control, a lot of people like to use their phones, but an IR remote with hard buttons is nice to have, so you aren't fumbling trying to get an app open if you want to pause the TV.

-----

or even easier, you'd probably be able to squeeze a roku in there.
What I really want is a windows setup so I can run VLC and iTunes, with the content stored right on the console. And I want to control it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. It might be tricky to fit a motherboard in there but I have heard of it being done before.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,268
725
What I really want is a windows setup so I can run VLC and iTunes, with the content stored right on the console. And I want to control it with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. It might be tricky to fit a motherboard in there but I have heard of it being done before.
While both VLC and iTunes exist for OSX, Windows is a better option with XBMC. The reason is one big one - OSX does NOT support HD audio streams.
If you install Windows on a Mac (or Linux), XBMC under the non-OSX system is capable of playing HD audio streams within a given file. Windows can handle with XBMC DTS-Master but on OSX, it will be reduced to the core which is plain ol' DTS.
 

OmegaRed1723

macrumors 6502
Jun 19, 2009
318
16
The Waste
Stick a Intel NUC board in there. The Atari is big enough that you should be able to fit a 3.5" SATA drive in there along with the mSATA drive you'll put the OS/apps on.
 

SolarCanoe

macrumors regular
Original poster
Oct 30, 2008
146
6
Stick a Intel NUC board in there. The Atari is big enough that you should be able to fit a 3.5" SATA drive in there along with the mSATA drive you'll put the OS/apps on.
I think that is exactly what I have been looking for. They seem hard to find without having to buy the full kit though.