In this Instructable I will show you how to make a Small Set top box that will allow you to watch Video Files that are accessible on your Network . By loading VLC into the permanent flash drive of a HP T5700 thin client With just a few minutes of software modification.
The advantage of using this Thin client for this Job rather than a full size PC are its size (Small and Unobtrusive), Tiny power consumption and the fact that the Unit is totally silent ( apart from its Audio Output ) In testing will Happily Watch AVI files without Issues FLV Adobe files Files in .mpg format in Up to DVD quality and .mkv files if they are not too compressed and do not have encoded subtitles ( Small files that need decompressing are more of an issue than big files as the Streaming over a network can be up to 10-20 Megs per second without issues it is the Conversion that the machine struggles with)
Step 1: Start With The Right Unit
This Project assumes that You have a Newly flashed fully working HP T5700 1G.These are easily available second hand online ( one local supplier has 40 in stock from $99) - I got one this week for $30 delivered! ( was Bargain as it had no power supply but as it is a simple 12 Volt regulated unit with a round plug Making a power supply was not an issue ) These come with a 1000MHz CPU 256 Meg of Flash Hard drive and 256 meg of Ram Lower specification ones with a 750Mhz CPU will probably work but the faster the better, Even at 1000Mhz the CPU still has a Passive heatsink and so No fan Noise.
If you get one with the Higher 512 Meg Ram or Flash so much the better - The Ram can be increased later easily ( 200 pin pc 2100 laptop ram to a max of 512 megs =$15) the Flash cannot be increaed without either adding a Laptop Harddisk [noise and heat] or getting the 512 Meg HP unit ($++) or a male 44 pin compact flash adaptor a laptop ribbon and a 512meg-1Gig compact flash (high speed) card.
First step is Plug in the Power supply a USB mouse Keyboard and a Monitor. Turn Unit on and Unlock it! in the Default mode ( as the unit is after reflashing which is very very easy will post an Instructable on that if needed ) it starts up in a very restricted User mode - to unlock it need to change into Administrator Mode to do this Simply Press and Hold the Shift key while clicking on start Log Off . The Unit will log off and then Back on again but this time it present a User/Password Box Change the User from User To Administrator and enter Administrator as the pass word : Should now be in Administrator mode!
Click on start
then Administrative Tools
Click on HP Login Manager
Edit the Default user name to Administrator ( note this is case sensitive ) and the Default user Password to Administrator (again this is case sensitive )
Leave Enable Auto Login Checked and Leave Clear Event Log at Login
At this stage these changes are not permanent
To Make then Permanent need to Disable the EWF temporarily
Go back to the Administrative Tools
Open the EWF Manager
click on Commit Data To Volume
Then click on Disable EWF
will then need to reboot !
If things are set right will Reboot back into Administrator Mode with the EWF off which will cause a small red Padlock icon to appear in the Bottom corner