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Home theater Pc Answered

I'm making a home theater pc for out in my living room. I had some problems with getting colour through tv out for some ungodly reason, but installing the catalyst drivers for my ati card seemed to solve the problem. Anywho, the specs are:

Pentium 2 450mhz
192mb of ram (I have more that was origionally in it, but I was having problems with it just flashing off and corrupting the hard drive, bad ram = corrupt data so I have yet to sort out what's bad)
A really old 6 gig hd, I plan to buy a 80 gig hd for it in about 2 weeks.
Ati Radeon 7000 w/ dual vga out and tv out obviously

I think it's fine for playing movies and the such, and it's a generally fast computer, (I have xp pro installed) but the hd slows it down unbearably so hopefully I get that fixed soon with the new hard drive. I've had a 80 gig in it before and I know how fast it gets. Anywho, I need suggestions for a media front, like windows media center type of thing, because on a tv, it's rather hard to see the print on the screen and navigate through files and music. I appreciate anyone that can suggest and software.

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opqdan (author)2007-03-26

This topic is pretty old now, but I thought that I would throw in my $0.02 since I have had some experience with media PCs. I've been using MythTV on Gentoo Linux for 1.5 years now, so I have been through a lot of changes and updates to both MythTV and the underlying IVTV drivers (for my hauppauge PVR 150 TV capture card). I run bleeding edge MythTV and IVTV drivers so that I am up to date on the latest developments. MythTV is a fairly mature solution as a media center, but is designed around recording and watching TV. Without a TV capture card, you won't be using the bulk of what MythTV is good at (it has excellent commercial detection and skipping for example). You can still use MythTV without a TV capture card, but none of the other components are nearly as mature. The video/DVD player is fine and depending on how you set it up, it can use any other player (xine, mplayer, ogle) rather than the internal mythtv player. The music player, on the other hand, is very lacking, with a very poor interface and no updates for a long time. In your case (no capture card), I would just go with a basic desktop (either windows or linux), and use whatever apps you are currently using. Giving up XP for Linux will bring with it a lifestyle change that you may not be willing to invest in. No matter what advances there are in WINE, you probably won't be able to run any of the programs that you are used to. Even after spending time with MythTV (and constantly mucking around with the configuration in order to get things to work.. this is something I enjoy though), when I build my new media PC in the next few months, I will be using the Media Center that is included with the Premium version of Windows Vista. As far as I am concerned (from playing with both), Windows MC is much more robust and is much more enjoyable to use than MythTV. Using Windows MC requires a much larger monetary investment though as you would need a computer with Vista minumum requirements (WAY higher than MythTV minimun requirements), and probably an HDTV to get the full experience.

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opqdan (author)opqdan2007-03-26

also, for more of an answer to the OP: you might want to look into Snapstream's BeyondTV and SageTV which are two different attempts at media center solutions in the Windows world (since XP media center is only available vendor installed). I have never used either, but both are mentioned often in various locations. I don't know whether they will work with you system though.

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Punkguyta (author)2007-02-14

I've never used or installed linux before, I can do it as far as command lines and the installation process, but I don't know what to expect, and I'm not sure if I would want to use it as there are some xp programs that I use that aren't avalible for linux. Would windows mce look decent on a "crt" tv? I have a 30 tv, but the font is too small, that is really my only problem.

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LasVegas (author)Punkguyta2007-02-14

You won't know until you've tried it. Packages like MythTV have matured to such a degree that there are idiot-proof installs that will install and configure linux for you. I've yet to see an XP program that an equivalent can't be found for Linux or UNIX. You can ever get around the search process by installing WINE to run the XP program directly.

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Punkguyta (author)LasVegas2007-02-25

Can you take a look at this post? Projector

No one has looked at it yet

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LasVegas (author)Punkguyta2007-02-25

Yes, I did... I just didn't respond to it.

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Hyperviking (author)2007-02-13
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Punkguyta (author)2007-02-12

Background processing time? Ha ha, wanna see a screenshot of this beast with the task manager open? It uses a mere 2% idle and doesn't spike. But I am going to look into this "mythtv".

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trebuchet03 (author)Punkguyta2007-02-12

He's talking about daemons - not idle load ;)

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Punkguyta (author)trebuchet032007-02-12

Idle load? Those two words together are contridictory and cancel each other out. Just stop where you're at.

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trebuchet03 (author)Punkguyta2007-02-12

You said the same thing ;) Why would there be any usage while idle :P

It uses a mere 2% idle and doesn't spike.

Again, he was referring to daemon processes ;) Background process (like cron jobs et. al.) does not mean exclusively while idle.

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Punkguyta (author)trebuchet032007-02-13

Oh but it does. That is all the cpu it uses while I have my msn and antivirus open

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LasVegas (author)2007-02-12

Get rid of Windows! That's your primary slow-down. Install a good Linux based Media Center package like MythTV that's easy to setup and doesn't use so much background processing time.

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trebuchet03 (author)LasVegas2007-02-12

I second the motion for MythTV.

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