This is topic Media Centers. What do you all use? in forum Ask a Geek! at The Geek Culture Forums.


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Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on April 22, 2009, 17:00:
 
I am pretty sure that while I am in the minority of members here, I figured I would ask...

Do you use a media center application?

If so, what do you use?

Why?

Here is my set up.

I have gone back and forth between XBMC and Boxee. Since I prefer Linux and I am not planning on shelling out the greenbacks for a Windows Media Center or an Apple TV, that left me only a few real choices.

While MythTV does exactly as it advertised, I don't watch enough TV to really mess with its main goal. And the music interface really stunk.

I have pretty well decided on XBMC for a few reasons.

Support. There is a good sized user base out there.

Usability. The interface is not too obscure and can be relatively easily customized by the use of themes.

Reliability. It just works.

I tried Boxee for a while but there were just too many bugs and problems for me to continue using it. And they really have not been doing much for the Linux side of things, mostly Apple. And even though it was forked from XBMC it was still too buggy. Things such as crashing when OGG files were played and while they supported HULU for a while, it would send my system into fits every time I played anything.
 
Posted by Ugh, MightyClub (Member # 3112) on April 23, 2009, 10:10:
 
The closest thing we have to a media center is when we plug the MacBook Pro into the televizzle. If we were to get a dedicated box it would probably be an AppleTV because it would most easily fit into the existing ecosystem.
 
Posted by angryjungman (Member # 2434) on April 23, 2009, 12:31:
 
I've got a Mac Mini plugged into my TV via VGA cable. Better than an AppleTV IMHO.

I have Boxee installed on it, but haven't played around with it much. I mostly just control everything via Screen Sharing from my MacBook or one of the various VNC/Remote/Mouse apps from my iPhone. Or if I'm using Front Row, the Apple IR remote.
 
Posted by Infinitesimal (Member # 4865) on April 23, 2009, 17:11:
 
I went with XBMC as well, just because the UI is pretty good and it was easy to get working, my remote also just worked out of the box, though there are some odd mappings/behaviours and I need to figure out how to get it to go back to DVD menus without playing through the entire feature.

also I did discover an add in/hack that allows XMBC to front end for mythtv as well so you can have all the TV goodness of Myth without a decent UI [Smile]
 
Posted by maswan (Member # 269) on May 08, 2009, 10:49:
 
Was going to try out xbmc or mythtv one of these days, but so far haven't gotten a remote to work.

The setup is that in the closet there is a machine with disks that gives an nfs mount to a mini-itx computer next to the TV (totally passive cooling, and 0 moving parts!).

Then I ssh into it from the laptop and play movies using mplayer. I use a little script that also logs to a file which file I just played, which helps you pick back up a series that you watched a bit of but not finished months ago...
 
Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on May 08, 2009, 11:07:
 
quote:
Originally posted by maswan:
Was going to try out xbmc or mythtv one of these days, but so far haven't gotten a remote to work.

My issues stemmed more from the fact that Debian and Ubuntu have broken implementations of LIRC. They sorta work, or at least work well enough to make you think you have it right until you actually make the remote do something.

I had to build from source, and then actually copy the files into the correct folders, replacing what was there already. Create a custom init.d file and then it worked...

Soundgraph stuff really is junk too. I had a few extra hack just to get that one to even pretend it was working.

And right now I am debating about whether or not I want to upgrade 9.04, because of that hassle.
 
Posted by maswan (Member # 269) on May 08, 2009, 11:13:
 
quote:
Originally posted by CommanderShroom:
quote:
Originally posted by maswan:
Was going to try out xbmc or mythtv one of these days, but so far haven't gotten a remote to work.

My issues stemmed more from the fact that Debian and Ubuntu have broken implementations of LIRC. They sorta work, or at least work well enough to make you think you have it right until you actually make the remote do something.

I had to build from source, and then actually copy the files into the correct folders, replacing what was there already. Create a custom init.d file and then it worked...

Soundgraph stuff really is junk too. I had a few extra hack just to get that one to even pretend it was working.

And right now I am debating about whether or not I want to upgrade 9.04, because of that hassle.

Nah, it was worse than that. I fiddled quite a bit with that, but then I ended up poking directly at the device too, and there was nothing at all coming in no matter what buttons I was pushing. No events on the usb cord connecting the reciever whatsoever.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on May 08, 2009, 15:57:
 
____________________ Whats a Media Center, and why would I want one?
 
Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on May 11, 2009, 11:58:
 
MoMan,

Media centers are basically an entertainment center built into a computer. Works well if you are equipped with high speed 'net and have lots of digital files. Basically a computer host for running saved videos, MP3's PVR recordings, etc.
 
Posted by TheMoMan (Member # 1659) on May 12, 2009, 03:22:
 
______________________ CommanderShroom __ Does 40k dial up qualify?

The modem is 56k but the phone lines are so poor, that they end the handshake at 40k. The noise also rules out DSL but that is not avail. up here on the hilltop.

I have been looking at Sprint & A.T.&T. wireless data plans but both are just out of reach and we would end up roaming. The Cell company we use is slow on data and is in a merger, with the company that owns the copper wires here. We already have bad feelings about them, it took eleven weeks to get a phone wire hooked up to this house.
 
Posted by Richard Wolf VI (Member # 4993) on May 12, 2009, 05:23:
 
Heh, I don't think you need net access at all for a Media Centre. You can use a TV card and record your TV episodes, think of a MC as a VCR+HiFi on steroids, with computing capabilities.
 
Posted by CommanderShroom (Member # 2097) on May 12, 2009, 07:33:
 
RW,
True it isn't absolutely needed, but I think one of the things that can make media centers so useful are their web connections.

Things like Boxee's Hulu stuff, or Shoutcast streams. I tend to use mine with some favorite web stations that I will stream over the course of the day.
 


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