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Media computer

Hello all.  I have been having a really fun time going through the forums lately.  I started in the tech section or whatever it is called.  I have no idea what page I am on but I know I am looking at posts that are about 3 years old.  Not looking at every single post of course but about 5-7 posts per page.  But that is all besides the point, let me get to my question.

The other day just because I happened to have an s-video cable around I hooked one of our laptops to the TV.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the image on the TV.  So I have decided to make an audio cable for it and start to use the computer on the TV for some stuff.  Money is tight around here (that is why I am making the audio cable and not buying one) and we do not have cable TV.  All we have is a converter box and ever since a really bad storm about 1 1/2 months ago we barely get any channels.  I am still trying to get management of my building to look at the antenna on the roof.  But after I saw what kind of quality the laptop had on the TV we are starting to look at getting netflix.  Figure it is only $7.99 per month and you get your first month free so I think it is worth checking out.  Since it looks like we will be using a computer with the TV quite often I have decided to make a media computer out of one of the towers sitting around here.  I am not worried about the power of the computer since the tower I have in mind is not all that old.  But I am trying to decide what OS to put on it.  I know there is a "Windows media" edition but I do not know much about it other then I think it is getting quite old.  I am leaning towards putting either XP or Windows 7 on it since I have those disks.  But I thought I would ask on here for peoples input on the matter.  I plan on networking the computer to my windows 7 desktop in order to access my 1tb hard drive for stuff I download.  My wife will be using this computer too so that is part of the reason I am leaning towards windows xp or 7 so she will not feel lost in some OS she does not know.  So now you have all the details.  Should I just go with XP or 7, or is there something else I should look at?

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LambertusMD4 years ago
What I have done is use WDTV box that connects to your TV and can access your network for video files. You said on the cheap so i didn't mention it before. I also have a Synology Diskstation setup as my home server. There are a number of connection devices you can use to connect your TV to your network seen they had some at walmart for as low as 39.98. My son access my movie/TV show server with his Playstation 2 our daughter with her Xbox 360. Wife uses her Laptop for stored workout videos etc or like you are doing connect a laptop or computer Direct. I had to go with the Synology Diskstation because of the sheer volume of Media I was storing. If you can fit everything you like or need on a PC no need to use a server.

Now I just need a good instructable for what to use my 2600+ DVDs I no will no longer need and the Cases I had them in. LOL Any Suggestions? Hate to land fill that..

My Next step i am setting up is a cloud server so I can access my movie/music/Photo collection via wifi anywhere in the world I can access the internet. Synology has a very nice easy way to set that up. Have it up but haven't tested the user name and password to access yet. Maybe i should have done an instructable on that to get my feet wet...
LambertusMD4 years ago
Another on the cheap media Idea for you is most local Libraries have the latest DVDs Available to check out for free. Those include TV shows HBO series Etc. Also most have a system set up that you may place a hold on Titles you want to see and they will hold it and notify you when it is available. You can also use a program such as DVDFAb to store it on your computer to view later if you get something like a TV series that will take days to watch. Those files can be quite large like 5GB however a free program called handbrake will convert them to a mp4 format and only take up around 1gb for the best quality and to be honest on my 50 plasma I cannot tell the difference in quality between the DVD and the mp4.
jcaresheets (author)  LambertusMD4 years ago
Yup, I will be one of the first to recommend the library. Most libraries now days have websites where you can search for titles you're looking for too and can get then transfered from other libraries at no additional costs. We use the library for movies and TV shows so often that I end up going there once per week every week.

I ended up going with windows 7. I also installed a program called "TeamViewer" on the media computer and my desktop. I plan on installing the same computer on my wifes laptop too. With TeamViewer installed I do not even have to have a keyboard or mouse hooked up to the media computer because I can control the whole computer / desktop from my own computer over the home network. I hear it works just as well over the Internet too in order to give people remote assistance with their computer problems.

Oh and incase anyone has considered Netflix. We are trying out our free month trial of it. So far we love it. On demand cartoons for the rug rat, documentaries galore for me and horror movies for the wife. At about $0.26 per day ($7.99 a month) I think it will be well worth the cost since we do not have cable TV.

Oh and with the S-video cable and custom made sound cable I would never be able to guess this was a feed from a computer, looks like normal TV to us.
canucksgirl4 years ago
Just my 2-cents... You'll probably find networking with 2 computers using the same OS a little easier, so I'd go with Windows 7, since your other computer already has it.
jcaresheets (author)  canucksgirl4 years ago
Thank you canucksgirl for your reply. I was thinking the same thing. But I very well might not get this rolling until this coming weekend while our 8 year old son is away. So I welcome anybody else's reply.