My ambitious home theatre PC project

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by nigelly, Mar 2, 2014.

  1. nigelly macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2008
    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?

    Thanks for your suggestions

    Attached Files:

  2. Toubro macrumors newbie

    May 4, 2013
    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 :)
  3. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    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.
  4. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    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?
  5. nigelly thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2008
    I would do that, as I am a Mac guy but I think I'm going to make this a windows machine.


    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
  6. waw74 macrumors 68030

    May 27, 2008
    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.
  7. nigelly thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2008
    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.
  8. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    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.
  9. OmegaRed1723 macrumors 6502


    Jun 19, 2009
    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.
  10. nigelly thread starter macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2008
    I think that is exactly what I have been looking for. They seem hard to find without having to buy the full kit though.

Share This Page