Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Hardware Hacking Media Television Technology Build Entertainment Hardware Linux

Ask Slashdot: How To Make My Own Hardware Multimedia Player? 140

Posted by timothy
from the many-have-tried dept.
An anonymous reader writes "I was looking at multimedia players from brands such as SumVision, Noontec and Western Digital. They all seem to be some device which accepts a USB hard-drive and commands from an IR remote control, and throws the result over HDMI. I have my own idea of what a hardware multimedia player should do (e.g. a personalized library screen for episodes, movies and documentaries; resume play; loudness control; etc.). I also think it will a good programming adventure because I will have to make the player compatible with more than a few popular codecs. Is this an FPGA arena? Or a mini-linux tv-box? Any advice, books or starting point to suggest?" There certainly have been a lot of products and projects in this domain over the years, but what's the best place to start in the year 2012?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: How To Make My Own Hardware Multimedia Player?

Comments Filter:
  • The easy way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:41PM (#39608985)

    XBMC

    • Re:The easy way (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NFN_NLN (633283) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:45PM (#39609015)

      This story only has 2 comments right now. One recommending XBMC and another recommending RaspberryPi.
      Correct on both counts. I don't think you need to reinvent the wheel on this...

      Also, "USB hard-drive"? Do you really want to transfer media to a drive? Build a home NAS and stream everything to the media player. The media player should be small and quiet. There is no need for an HDD.

      • Re:The easy way (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spire3661 (1038968) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:09PM (#39609129) Journal
        Even with the best of tools and setups, pure streaming is not always an option. My synology NAS barfs on .mp4s sometimes. Flat out, dont use DLNA, it sucks, it has always sucked, it will always suck. Streaming is great, but it still not a universal thing that always works unless you very tightly control the media you feed into the system. You got things like the netatalk devs playing games, Apple messing around, its still complicated. LOVE my synology NAS, but DLNA sucks donkey dick. Im typing this as im waiting for handbrake to finish another pass trying to find the optimal format/size for xbox, android (nook color, hrdwre lmtd) and iOS.
        • by NFN_NLN (633283)

          Even with the best of tools and setups, pure streaming is not always an option. My synology NAS barfs on .mp4s sometimes. Flat out, dont use DLNA, it sucks, it has always sucked, it will always suck. Streaming is great, but it still not a universal thing that always works unless you very tightly control the media you feed into the system. You got things like the netatalk devs playing games, Apple messing around, its still complicated. LOVE my synology NAS, but DLNA sucks donkey dick. Im typing this as im waiting for handbrake to finish another pass trying to find the optimal format/size for xbox, android (nook color, hrdwre lmtd) and iOS.

          To say DLNA sucks donkey dick is an understatement. I have an DNS-323 and if the indexing messes up it takes 20 minutes to re-index my MP3s. I stopped using DLNA 2 weeks after I tried it.

          I have no problem with CIFs though.

          Another tip: instead of letting XBMC store all the artwork/covers/nfo/etc locally, leave it on the NAS. Then any new XBMC connection is ready to go from the start.

        • Re:The easy way (Score:5, Informative)

          by grantek (979387) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @07:25PM (#39609483)

          Even with the best of tools and setups, pure streaming is not always an option. My synology NAS barfs on .mp4s sometimes.

          Your NAS doing DLNA is doing more than a NAS needs to. XBMC happily supports connecting to Samba or SFTP shares within the application, or you could just use NFS and attach the NAS share to the local filesystem. If a NAS cares about what type of file it's sending over a plain filesystem access protocol like that it's a broken NAS.

        • Re:The easy way (Score:5, Insightful)

          by PNutts (199112) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @09:32PM (#39609971)

          DLNA sucks donkey dick.

          Hey, slow down. We're talking about building it, not what we're going to watch on it. But since you brought it up is it available on Blu -ray?

        • by walshy007 (906710)

          DLNA does suck, this is why you simply use an nfs share on the nas which is running linux on an old core2duo in a large case, will support far more hard disks, will not be tied to any particular hardware as any linux machine could read the raid, etc etc.

          One big beefy box with all the hard disks, many small nimble network clients, works a charm.

      • Streaming over the NAS is excellent if you're OK with building the collection. For about two years I've been using an old Mac Mini running Win7 automatically booting into Windows Media Center running the Media Browser [mediabrowser.tv] addon. Add in this [amazon.com] remote and everyone that comes over automatically wants the same setup. I've found that by far the most difficult parts of this setup are ripping your movie collection and finding an inexpensive way to back up your movies.

        Having set all that up, I'm currently looking at XB
        • Sorry to reply to myself but the AC above me has an excellent point. There's no reason at all you couldn't run this off any small/silent/underpowered machine and hook up an external drive for mass storage. I was working off the (in retrospect) silly assumption that there was a NAS and network in place already.
      • by Skapare (16644)

        Also, "USB hard-drive"? Do you really want to transfer media to a drive? Build a home NAS and stream everything to the media player. The media player should be small and quiet. There is no need for an HDD.

        Why not have "everything" (and the builder gets to choose what she knows she wants):

        • USB and eSATA ports for bulk drive(s).
        • 2nd USB port for memory stick sharing and rescue booting.
        • Camera card adapter for stuff from your camera.
        • Ethernet for your NAS and LAN and streaming from internet.
        • TV tuner card for over the air reception and cable ripping.
        • NTSC/PAL/Component digitizer card for copying all the old VHS and BETA tapes.
        • DVD/Blu-Ray player/recorder.
        • SDI/SDI-HD card if you work at a TV station.

        And be sure to also

        • by Skapare (16644)

          Oh, and I forgot the most important thing ... wifi ... so you can play things through your phone when on the loo.

      • by flyneye (84093)

        O.K. is there a problem with MythTV ?
        I keep promising myself a system based on MythTV.
        http://www.mythtv.org/detail/mythtv [mythtv.org]

    • Re:The easy way (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Keruo (771880) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:05PM (#39609113)

      XBMC

      Combine this with AppleTV, it's only $99, and you have somewhat sane system.
      It comes with remote already so one less extra step to tinker on.

      Your question is about media and entertainment. Are you entertained by tinkering stuff or consuming entertainment generated by others?

      • Everyone always raves about XBMC, but I've had nothing but trouble getting it up and running. Namely, 1) how it parses folders and files, 2) how doesn't sync and notice new files very well. I have an HTPC connected via SMB to a file server.

        For #1, I've followed the naming structure down to the letter as described in the wiki. It still misses some shows or flat-out won't catch the year (Dr. Who) For #2, I keep telling it to update the library, or scan for new content, but it denies there are new files. Ba
        • I just add files to the folders on the NAS and XBMC finds them, every time. The ATV replaced my PS3 streaming files from PS3 Media Server running on the NAS (the NAS is a Core 2 Duo PC running Ubuntu server). I really like the Apple TV over-all. Have you updated to the latest version of XBMC? Having said all that, XBMC crashes daily on my Apple TV. I've re-flashed it and all that, but I believe the unit is a dud. Once the IOS on the v.3 units have been jail broken, then I'll send it back to Apple for replac
        • by Jesse_vd (821123)

          For large libraried MediaCompanion, Ember Media Manager, or similar is an absolute must. By generating the NFOs yourself you take the guessing and searching out for XBMC. It works great once you set it up properly and the new Eden build has added a TON of great features and usability

          • by Reapy (688651)

            +1 here, works great and can notify xbmc when it updates. The best part is if it finds the wrong show you can manially hand it an id and be done with it.

        • by DavidTC (10147)

          I rather suspect you're having a problem with SMB, not XBMC.

          I've never seen XBMC refuse to catalog anything with even close to the correct name. Ever. (In fact my biggest problem is sometimes it ends up cataloging stuff that isn't even shows, like the 'lost+found' or 'Transfer' directories.)

          So if XBMC isn't seeing things, I suspect that's because XBMC isn't seeing things. XBMC uses different SMB networking code than Windows does. It has built-in cross-platform code.

          However, I think you can force XBMC to

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Boxee box is a cute little box with a modified XBMC. Works surprisingly well, indexing and streaming tv-shows and movies of my NAS.

      Some bugs and limitations sure, but the WAF is incredible!

    • Re:The easy way (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Saturday April 07, 2012 @08:36PM (#39609771) Journal

      Even better answer...don't. Seriously the power draw of anything he can cook up (unless he builds his own raspberry Pi based unit) will be nuts compared to the already built. I've had plenty of happy customers with the Nbox and Nbox HD, both are simple enough your average 6 year old can use them and its $25 for the Nbox and $60 for the Nbox HD. The only thing you need to know is use an external drive with its own PSU as the nbox doesn't put enough power over USB to drive laptop drives. But they are cheap, easy to use, VERY low power, and have both USB and SD slots which is great for when i want to take a movie over to watch with my dad as i can just slap it on an SD and drop it in my pocket.

      Now if you want to go HTPC well there has never been a better time as tiger has been selling AMD kits crazy cheap on account of the impending socket change. You can get a fully loaded triple for like $220 bucks right now and the AMD IGP supports just about every time of codec you can name.

      If you want even cheaper there are several kits at newegg based on the Brazos platform which gives you a dual core APU that has 2 bobcat cores and an AMD HD6320 GPU. The Brazos platform is great, in fact i liked it enough i sold my laptop for a EEE netbook and just love it. I've also built several HTPCs out of Brazos and its just a great little unit. If you want to go Linux its been supported OOTB since Ubuntu 10.04 so no worries, i'm pretty sure the XBMC Linux build supports it as well. And of course if you want to go Win 7 it has full support for DXVA and can even play some older games like L4D and Crysis with the graphics lowered.

      So if all you are wanting is a video player just get a prebuilt like Nbox HD unless you want to build a pi based, or if you want a full fledged HTPC look at the Brazos followed by one of the Athlon kits, just depending on how much power and money you are willing to spend. Brazos is only 18w so its the lowest powered HTPC i know of but with a little underclocking and a good board with the ability to turn off phases you can get an Athlon down to sub 50w.

  • Raspberry Pi (Score:5, Informative)

    by Auroch (1403671) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:42PM (#39608989)
    I've gotta say, that if you're not aware of the Raspberry PI project, then you're asking the wrong question.
    • Specifically use OpenELEC running on a RaspBerry PI:

      http://openelec.tv/news/item/235-openelec-on-raspberry-pi-our-first-arm-device-supported [openelec.tv]

      Of course getting hold of a RaspBerry Pi will be tough, but once you have done that it's all done :)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Maybe he wants to make his player soon, not in a few months. If you order a RaPi now, you get a delivery estimate in the third quarter. If you can wait, you should probably wait for the new Google TV, which is based on the Marvell Armada 1500 SoC. Like the RaPi it has HDMI, hardware H264 decoding and a GPU, but unlike the Rapi with its slow ARMv6 single core and no disk or network interface on chip, the Marvel SoC has a dual core ARM v7 with NEON support, and SATA and Ethernet on chip. I expect it to come w

    • by thegarbz (1787294)

      I'm not to sure this is the right solution. Given my past experiences with making video run smoothly on underpowered devices even with hardware decoding it'll be an uphill battle.

      For only a few square cm more you can buy a pico ITX board with significantly more power and features.

  • XBMC (Score:5, Informative)

    by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:42PM (#39608993)
    Small form factor media PC running XBMC [xbmc.org] will do everything you want and more.
    • by iCEBaLM (34905)

      XBMC 0.11 (Eden) seems to have a few issues with some remotes, specifically media center ones, and has pretty lousy netflix streaming integration. I've been trying for a few weeks now to iron out the issues, but quite frankly it just "isn't there yet".

      XBMC is good software, and I applaud the teams working on it, if the remote issues can be ironed out and proper netflix support added it would be awesome.

      • by BLKMGK (34057)

        Umm, no the remote works fine for me and many others - I use cheap MCE remotes. However since you're trying to get NetFlix running you're obviously doing this on Windows. Dump that and move to Ubuntu, you'll be happier. For Netflix and Amazon VOD I use PlayOn running on a windows desktop and DLNA - works fine for MANY WEB sources. That said, I prefer media off my own NAS at far higher quality

    • Unless you're really dead set on DIY, I recommend the Xtreamer [xtreamer.net] Ultra for $399, available on Amazon. From the blurb "Xtreamer ULTRA Mini-ITX SFF HTPC (1.8 GHZ Intel Atom Dual-Core D525, nVidia ION 2, 4GB DDR3, HDMI 1.4a) Includes Remote, Mini Wireless Keyboard w/ Trackpad, PLUS XBMC and Boxee Configured and Ready to Go!", so it's a full PC and a very small, nice and quiet one at that.

      The Ultra comes without a hard drive, but it has a 2.5 bay where you can add an HDD or SSD. I did the former. It boots off

      • by SScorpio (595836)

        $400 is way to much for this kind of box when you have things like this Asus for $180. http://www.amazon.com/Asus-EB1012PB0320-Eb1012p-Fcbga559-Desktop/dp/B004X1PICM/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1333841714&sr=1-3 [amazon.com]

        Atom Dual core D510 /w Nvidia ION. Add your own DDR2 RAM, and a small HDD or boot off a thumb drive. Then pick up a USB IR receiver for ~$15.

        Install the XBMCbuntu or OpenELEC and your done. The mini keyboard with your box is handy, but outside of the initial configuration, I

        • by BLKMGK (34057)

          I have one of the ASUS boxes an ASROC and about 4 Zotac ND01s. The ASUS is VERY nice and swapping HDD in it is cake. Memory not so much. IMO this is one of the better ION boxes around and runs XBMC extremely well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A friend of mine is looking at doing this very thing. He is going to use a Raspberry Pi, Linux and an XBMC style application.

  • by solidraven (1633185) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @05:44PM (#39609011)
    A good ARM board with proper multimedia functionality should be sufficient (I think the Beagle board might be sufficient). Though obviously the larger FPGAs would excel at this. But it'd take quite a lot of time to rewrite everything in VHDL or Verilog. And even then, you'd need one of the larger more expensive FPGA's with enough slices. In the end it'd be easier to grab an old computer and make your own IR sensor and use one of those universal remotes with it.
  • The one thing all of the little hardware boxes do that your Pi running XBMC (or small Atom) can't do is streaming media. To be allowed to do that you have to prove to Netflix, Amazon, etc. that the box is tamper proof enough they feel safe in allowing 'The Precious' to be sent to it. Of course since pretty much every BlueRay player streams and sucks at actually playing irregular discs (as in downloaded content) just have one of those to cover locked content and build a media box of your own for everything

    • by SScorpio (595836)

      My Atom boxes running XBMC can access both Amazon instant watch, and Hulu content just fine. I can't access Netflix as I am running Linux and Silverlight doesn't exist on that. But if I actually used Netflix I have a PS3 or Google TV I could stream to.

      Outside of Netflix XBMC will pretty much stream everything. The nice thing about the Hulu plugin is that you don't need Hulu Plus, and if you have Plus all of those shows that won't let you stream to a TV will still play just fine.

      If you are interested in e

      • by paulatz (744216)

        I can't access Netflix as I am running Linux and Silverlight doesn't exist on that.

        Silverlight actually exists for Linux (aka Moonlight); I reckon that it works really bad, it's acutally completely useless in general.

        • by blacklint (985235)

          DRM isn't implemented in Silverlight (for obvious reasons), so it can't play Netflix. About all I've ever seen in Moonlight is a notice to update my version of Silverlight.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Get yourself a WD TV Live Media Player Plus, get a 7200RPM 2TB USB hard drive. Connect the media player to your network via wired Internet. Copy media to the media player's share.

  • The quote of

    I also think it will a good programming adventure

    Indicates that at least you have some sense of what it will take to do this and what the end result may (or may not) end up like. Too many people would go into a project like this with the idea of saving money (doesn't work) or making something that is better than mass market version s and usable by others in the household (no real chance of that).

    But if you're looking for an adventure, this may be a good choice for you.

  • The big picture (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zAPPzAPP (1207370) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:08PM (#39609127)

    [TPB] ---Internet---> [PC] ---LAN/WLAN---> [NAS] ---LAN/WLAN---> [HTPC with XBMC] ---HDMI---> [TV] ---vision---> [guy on couch]

    Go and fetch the parts you are currently missing.

    • by PNutts (199112)

      [TPB] ---Internet---> [PC] ---LAN/WLAN---> [NAS] ---LAN/WLAN---> [HTPC with XBMC] ---HDMI---> [TV] ---vision---> [guy on couch]

      Go and fetch the parts you are currently missing.

      Careful. If the OP reads from right to left she won't have the time nor desire to build the media center.

    • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @12:19AM (#39610533)

      Go and fetch the parts you are currently missing.

      I have everything else, but I'm presently missing "[guy on couch]". I've never run into a distribution system that required one. But if I must have one, can you tell me what the minimum system requirements are? I'm not sure what the battery life of 'guy on couch' is, but I've heard from my heterosexual friends that economy models generally weigh more, have limited ram, and the processor has what was described to me as a "very aggressive power saving feature". I'd also like to know how much these things cost and if there are any maintenance requirements beyond feeding him and giving him access to the bathroom. Again, very new to the market, so apologies in advance.

      • by slydder (549704)

        At first I was like "cool. A woman on the internet". And then I was like "oh wait. We are on the internet".

    • by BLKMGK (34057)

      I believe swapping TPB with sabNSB\SickBeard\CouchPotatoe and perhaps Headphones would provide a better solution.

  • by dmesg0 (1342071) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:14PM (#39609155)

    For ~70$ you can buy a chinese box running Android with HDMI output, wi-fi and remote on sites like dealextreme, merimobiles, pandawill etc. Something like this
    (it's just an example, there are literally hundreds of slightly different options):
    http://www.merimobiles.com/GV_11A_VI6131_Android_2_3_TV_Box_1080P_1GHz_HDMI_p/meri3957.htm [merimobiles.com]

    Don't expect it to work well out of the box, but as a DIY project it should be fine. You can write a custom android app to control it, or install something like plex for android.
    For more possibilities, make sure you get a device with an available root access.

  • I was involved in development of some hardware players (Sigma chipset). And media companies plays there major role. And most important for them IP. This means DRM. Also this means NDA. Realtek, Sigma, all the same in that.
    Amazing hardware power, but very locked down before product release by patent restrictions and DRM.
    I believe the best you can do and archieve your goals - Atom with some kind of GPU acceleration, but again proprietary drivers, to get acceleration.
    FPGA i believe will need too much effor
  • I'm sure there's many other devices and firmware to choose from, but I have a few of these WD TV boxes and have considered coding some of my own stuff for them starting with one of the custom firmware projects [wetpaint.com] that are already available.
  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @06:52PM (#39609325)

    I assume you mean by hardware video player you're trying to make a dedicated piece of gear to play multimedia files. If so that is insane. Why re-invent the wheel for something everyone from the hacker community to the big manufacturers are doing perfectly fine with software and off the shelf components?

    Most hardware media centres are nothing more than some fanless microITX PC with a TV card, harddisk, and some custom made LCD front display. It's one of the reasons they take so horrendously long to start up. Why not just whip together something like that and then throw XBMC, Myth TV, or MediaPortal on it? Bonus points for making it run on a Raspberry Pi, or some other ARM based processor.

    Those three packages seem to do basically all of what you're suggesting anyway so what are you trying to gain?

    If you think you can do it better than the existing packages then why not make a plugin for them? You get to build on an already established project which has been through the countless mistakes you're likely to make on the way, and you can give back to an existing and large community rather than competing with the established players.

  • You want loudness control? Movies AND documentaries?

    Resuming play?(!!)

    You're going to need a lot of FPGAs, and you're going to need to rewrite a lot of popular codecs. Movie codecs. Documentary codecs. TV episode codecs. Audio codecs (with loudness control).

    Thinking about this some more, are you sure the "popular" codecs meet all your requirements? Those codecs are for the kind of people satisfied without a customized library screen. Think big. You need to write some of your own codecs, running on you

  • Most of the devices use the ffmpeg libraries to handle the decoding (and encoding on those that can rip or record).. which always made me wonder why some don't support certain formats/codecs while others do considering they're nearly all built using ffmpeg...

  • There are many comments regarding procs with HD video with 1080p support. Unfortunately, most of these do not come with DTS-MA or Dolby TrueHD capability. A true multimedia box should have these capabilities and more. Take a good look at Sigma proc based multimedia players like the Popcorn Hour [popcornhour.com] and you'll know what I mean.
    • by Lussarn (105276)

      Nvidia Ion2 does HD Audio (all supported BR formats), I'm running a Asus S1-AT5NM10E. It's cheap and only missing harddrive and memory. XBMC Linux does not yet do HD audio but standard mplayer does. I'm streaming full BR rips over NFS and it's smooth. I'm running XBMC for now, and if I want the full experience I just start the movie with mplayer.

      I have tried some media streamers in the past altough not the Popcorn Hour, my problem have been with scale, the one I've tried didn't do a collection of thousands

  • by AbRASiON (589899) * on Saturday April 07, 2012 @08:19PM (#39609685) Journal

    Was using PS3 w/Media Centre (DLNA streaming app) on a PC.
    Then I read up cinavia
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinavia [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1265114 [avsforum.com]

    Decided to convert my NAS
    https://www.google.com.au/search?q=hp%20microserver&hl=en&meta= [google.com.au] into a HTPC with a slimline video card (40$) and put XBMC on it (plus XBMC remote for Android, no IR, no bluetooth required)

    Has been better than expected, XBMC came a long long long way since my Xbox 1.
    Playback is smooth, UI is good, even installed MySQL on the little NAS and now the library can be accessed around the house easily with multiple copies of XBMC tied in to the main box.
    Very good stuff.

  • by LikwidCirkel (1542097) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @09:08PM (#39609887)
    Tiny cheap solutions like the raspberry pi are kind of limited.

    I've got an Intel Atom/NVidia ION mini ITX board that was pretty cheap. It has a single PCIe x16 slot and 4 SATA ports and was worth less than $100. There are similar chipsets which I'm sure would work equally well and still beat the crap out of tiny boards like R Pi.

    It's a file server, a media center, and it even does well with office suites and web browsing. Media players like XBMC are no problem, as are standard peripherals like wireless keyboards. I can also drop in up to 4Gigs of RAM and some 12TB of hard drive space.

    Way, way way more flexible than any ARM device on the market could possibly be, and much more mature and easier to get working for multiple common tasks - not just playing media.
    • by marsu_k (701360)
      Seconded. If you're feeling lazy, ION-based nettops can be had quite cheaply - pros: small, quiet; cons: limited expandability (usually space for only a single 2.5" hard drive). I personally got a nettop from Asus that includes a slot-loading DVD-drive and an IR-remote, combined with a 2TB external hard drive and XBMC things have been peachy, it will happily play back everything I've thrown at it. Although ION doesn't support hardware decoding of MPEG4 ASP (i.e. DivX/XviD), so I suppose if one has 1080p con
    • I'd agree, for a number of reasons.

      It still isn't clear how the Pi is going to perform for multimedia content - it will ship licensed only for H.264 acceleration AFAIK so if you've got any HD MPEG-2, for example, you may have some issues. Also, if you're planning "a good programming adventure" you'll probably be cross-compiling on a different architecture and then attempting to debug on an unfamiliar platform.

      With something like an Atom/ION platform you can more conveniently do your software development on

    • by gshegosh (1587463)
      I second this. I have one Atom mini itx board inside a full size pc chassis with several harddrives working as an energy efficient and powerful file server. I have put together an Nvidia ION board, an eSata pendrive as its harddrive and put it inside a small factor chassis which was meant to be used in a car -- it's small enough that I could hide it between my LCD TV and the wall. It runs a custom Ubuntu distribution with XBMC, uses Microsoft remote and is great. It is also very usable by non-technical peop
  • by Strider- (39683) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @09:18PM (#39609923)

    This is what I just put together. System PXE Boots Debian, and starts up XBMC within about 20 seconds. When running, it's only 25 watts or so, and it boots fast enough that I have no problems shutting it down when not in use. Plays 1080p high profile smooth as silk.

  • by darkgumby (647085) on Saturday April 07, 2012 @11:20PM (#39610359) Homepage
    I have a Roku 2XS. It has a Plex client. I've run the Plex server on my Mac and on an Ubuntu box and in both cases this setup works just fine. I've streamed a handful of movies and TV shows and so far am very satisfied with the results. I have an older Linksys E1000 using stock firmware. I haven't even bothered to optimize my wifi network. With some QOS I might get higher quality streaming but I have an old SD TV so my standards are low. Will get an HDTV sometime this year and will want 720p or better so will probably upgrade the WLAN. When I had the Plex server running under Ubuntu it was running inside of a Proxmox VM. That worked really well. I'm rebuilding the Proxmox host now and will probably go back to that setup.
  • If a media/content producer/distributor wants to use DRM, then I don't want their crap. So I don't care if the media play box can do DRM or not. I'll make or get DRM-free content. I want a box that can play any and all of that, from anywhere, including media in Linux and BSD filesystems.

    As I see it, any media/content producer/distributor that wants to use DRM is clearly not marketing their product to me. That means they cannot claim what I'm not buying from them as a loss, because their businesses model

  • There are some great discussions going on here, but too many people are saying stuff like XBMC or building PCs or some crap. Doesn't sound like what you are looking for.

    I am no expert, but I could tell you what some of these devices that you talked about actually are.

    First, you would probably need a customized motherboard which has HDMI output for both audio and video. As building your own motherboard would be costly, it sounds like you are going to need something like a microATX motherboard to start with.

  • If you fancy some DIY, there are several good chipsets for media players: Intel CE4200 (i386) and several Marvell ones (ARM) just to name a few. They normally handle 720/1080p, stereo/5.1 audio and yes, they all run Linux :-)
    I personally like Marvell Armada chipsets (have been working on them in the past) and they're also used in some plug computers [plugcomputer.org], which is something you may like to try (double-check the specs though).

    Once you've got your HW decoder, you can generally run gstreamer on it. You may need
  • Here's what i have:
    * i3 2120T with no cooling
    * Some Asus micro-ATX board
    * 2x4gb of ram
    * 2x3 tb Hdd
    * Pico PSU
    * Media center case with 1 12cm case-fan (the only fan in system)

    As a result i have a media server that serves all other systems (primary tv via HDMI, rest via DLNA or fileshares), that is always on (seedbox), can play 60fps 1080p with no problems and takes almost no power (12w idle/seeding, 14w playing 1080p, 75w peak at startup)
  • I actually started a project like this years ago for a college project. We were making an open source game console with the ability to act and preform as a multimedia hub. Of course the profs threw the idea out, it wasn't acceptable for a 3rd year Electronic Engineering Project ( somehow ). It might be a cool to revive what I started with a move forwards. In the design we had it was a Linux based project with a custom distribution.

    I think going the FPGA route would be wrong, do you think you wou
  • Happy HTPC user for 9 years now. Windows Media Center Is the only 10ft PC display that I've been satisfied with the HD Television performance on. Media Browser plug in for local media. It's stable and easy to use.
  • Put together a small quiet desktop PC with a fast processor, plenty of RAM, a TB HD, very good video card, and two twin tuner HD receiver cards. Load it with MS Windows 7 ultimate 64 and run windows media center. That's it! None of the others can match the elegant user interface. I don't like MS much either, but it is free if you are prepared to put up with the nag screens.
  • The Propeller multicore Micro-controller can do all of those things and is now sold on the shelf at radio-shack. if you are not afraid of a little soldering, you can build it up and load it with software modules readily available as part of the Propeller Object Exchange, OBEX, (under the MIT license) for communication, displays, storage, and pretty much anything else under the sun (if not in the exchange, check the forums). There is even a modified Linux that will run on one.

    Propeller: https://www.pa [parallax.com]
  • download netinstall image of favorite linux distro (debian squeeze stable for me), install onto old junked pyewta obtained for free from work/friend/family, plug into telly (most lcds have vga) and a decent sound system and you're done. no need for new internet telly or pvr.
    works for me anyway

"One Architecture, One OS" also translates as "One Egg, One Basket".

Working...