After having the concept drawn out, I created a cardboard mockup of the cabinet which lay around the house for a few months.
Tweaked the mock up time and again, and tried different placing in the house, until I was happy with both shape, functionality, and the whereabout.
It was then important to ensure the end result satisfies everyone in the household. That meant:
*Natural* oak wood that matches the living room furniture, and smells good *Desk* monitor for the kids education and fun *Shelves* for the kids toys *Comfortable* folding stool you can load oneself and the kids for long game play (fits 1 to 4) *MIDI* keyboard for piano lessons *webcam* to keep in touch with the far and beloved *MediaReader* to upload family pics and videos online *MAME* (cream of the crop, flower of the flock, pick of the bunchcrop !!) *one place* for the whole family to spend time together *private* user accounts for the 5 of us, and the nanny *Silent* media center PC
What we also got on the way: - PVR convenience (never miss Desperate Housewives again) - Juke Box and Winamp (music for the living room) - Mood light (cuddling time) - Browse family pics on living room TV (MCE) - Watch kids videos on living room TV (MCE) - Cleaned the house of old PC's and replaced with a single modern one
Technically to support above: - silent uBTX Gateway 4019 Athlon 3500+, 1GB RAM, Media Center Edition 2005 - silent XFX7600 dual DVI + TV video card - Svideo connected to TV - DVI out 1 connected to desk monitor - DVI out 2 connected to cabinet monitor - Audio out 1 connected to living room stereo system - Audio out 2 connected to arcade speakers
Cost wise: - 4x8 feet Oak sheet from Home Depot $75 - misc. Home Depot $25 - Folding stool from IKEA $36 - Hanaho Hotrod Controller $150 - Gateway 4019 Media Center PC $400 - XFX 7600 video card $100 - Video and Audio Cabling $50