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Bedroom PC to Lounge Plasma. How?

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Henry, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. Henry

    Henry
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    After downloading a few programmes and watching them on 15" LCD screen sitting on an uncomfortable chair in the spare bedroom, I am looking at how best to show it on my plasma downstairs so I can watch it in comfort.

    What sort of hardware, software and(?) cabling will I need

    Very very new to this side of AV, so not even sure if this is the right part of the forum to post on!

    Got a Pioneer 504HDE downstairs. A fairly standard Dell PC with not many bells and whistles on it. :smashin:
     
  2. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Hey,

    there are a few ways of doing it, the way I do it is with Xbox's (modded). I will describe my prefered method and let others more expert on the other methods describe theres.


    OK. Here's how I do it:

    WiFi network (54g). You would need a router/card for your PC and whats called an Ethernet bridge for the Xbox. I use Linksys but there are lots of others. Cost ...er ... not more than 80nuggets.

    An Xbox (old not 360) plus AVkit and I suppose a wireless controller (optional). This then needs to be hard modded for you and setup with Xbox Media Center. This should cost no more than 200 quid and allows up to 1080i hidef. If you're watching the same sorts of things as me (Lost, Surface etc) then these are mostly at 720p. Total cost for the xbox should be no more than 150 gold ones.

    Share a directory on your PC... setup the xbox xbmc.xml file and hey presto! Your using your "no bells or whistles" PC as a file store for your downloaded programs. These are being streamed wirelessly to your xbox and watched on your big tv.

    Oh, don't forget the xbox will also play all your music mp3', wma etc and hey, you can even play games too! :D

    As mentioned though, there are other ways of doing this that others will help you with :)
     
  3. hutters

    hutters
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  4. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    If you go this route, check the formats it supports. I have not looked at these so cannot confirm that they will play back your downloaded stuff. Do these support Divx or Xvid etc? Hutters, any idea?

    I can tell you that XBMC DOES support Divx and will happily play back the HD material I download.
     
  5. lisag

    lisag
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    I also use a modded xbox, but the other way round (HTPC connected to plasma / xbox in bedroom) the new build of xbmc is VERY good and plays back DVD's ripped in file mode on your PC.

    I bought my xbox pre-modded with all software installed from www.advancedxbox.com for £150 - if you run an ethernet cable instead of wi-fi, it will be very cheap, and more reliable (I had bad stuttering with wi-fi).

    lisa

    MONTY: I can't get XBMC to playback my WMVHD files (720 or 1080) it just flashes a white screen and then bounces back - any ideas?

    lisa
     
  6. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Sorry no. :confused:

    I have noticed a new issue (remember this new core is beta) in that it will not always play files from inside ISO/Zip files. It mostly works but some won't :confused: They worked fine when extracted back to the MPEG though. Have you tried the simple stuff like playing it directly from the xbox hard disk instead of over ethernet?
     
  7. dejongj

    dejongj
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    Or sometimes there is the non-technical, non-networking solutions that could work for you....Drop the video cable through the ceiling down to your plasma....Probably together with a digital audio feed for sound and an IR extender for control...
     
  8. Henry

    Henry
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    The Linksys looks a interesting bit of kit. Would I need a new PC or can this be used from a "normal" Dell desktop. It's about 2 years old and a fairly bog standard spec.
     
  9. Henry

    Henry
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    I've got an XBox already. Are they easy to get modded and what would that cost roughly?

    I've been admiring the gleaming new 360 and wondered if hanging on a bit and getting myself one of those to do what you've outlined would be an option?
     
  10. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    er.... x360 for modding? Dunno.

    To be honest, I doubt very much if MS will leave the next Xbox open to modding as easy. Not to say it won't be possible but, i can imagine it being a lot harder to do.

    The standard release X360 is still very limited in terms of playback. It is limited to "proper" Microsoft formats, I think AVI/WMA and so won't play back a lot of the movies you download (Divx etc). These will also ONLY play from an MCE installed system. A normal xbox does not require MCE to stream, it will even stream from XP Home ;)

    To get one modded? Have a snoop at xbox-scene.com on the forums there. I believe Lisa also pointed out a "pre-modded" seller, maybe they will mod it for you?

    If you are good at soldering ... im crap ... then it's fairly easy to do yourself I believe. Simply hop over to xbox scene and you should get some pointers on mod chips that cost as little as 20gbp. You can also check out XMBC (Xbox Media Center) at www.xboxmediacenter.com and see what it looks like and how it performs. So far its capable of:

    Streaming mp3/wma/other music formats
    Streaming Divx/avi/wma/xivd+others
    Streaming of Photo's (also in combination with Mp3/wma/etc)
    Constant weather updates (via the internet)
    Constant newsfeeds (RSS via the internet)
    Download movie trailers
    So much more via python scripts
    ... ooo nearly forgot, play games!

    There is currently an alpha release of a webbrowser for it as well although, remember this is Alpha.


    Many of us swear by this as the best way to do a lot of things with an Xbox and not just play games.


    The Linksys thingy does look very interesting but, media encoding formats (more commonly known as codecs) change and are updated frequently. You need to check that the video you download is also supported by this Linksys box or is easily upgradeable. XBMC supports everything i've ever thrown at it.

    Not saying don't buy Linksys, just saying be carefull it will actually do what you want it to do. :)
     
  11. lisag

    lisag
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    If you have a look at the xbox forum on here there is a forum soft-mod kit doing the rounds... I think that costs nothing :)

    I have just upgraded my xbmc build and it is a VERY impressive piece of (free) software, what sort of media files are you wanting to stream to the plasma?

    lisa
     
  12. oxygenuk

    oxygenuk
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    try a dvi cable from your gpu to plasma?

    dont take my word for it though, but i imagine thatll work..?
     
  13. Glenagoolie

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    One word of warning; if you get your xbox chipped you will have difficulty with Xbox live. Might not be relevant but thought you should know !
     
  14. Monty Burns

    Monty Burns
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    Change the above to "if you get your xbox chipped you might have difficulty with Xbox live."

    Worth pointing that out Glen, nice one, i'd forgotten :oops:

    As Glen says, if you want to play online with Live (there are other Xbox Live systems out there) then make sure the chip you buy has a fall back mode. Or you can just play on X-Link Kia or Gamespy or another 3rd party networking system for the Xbox :)
     
  15. ellisbailey

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    I asked this exact question around a week or so ago.

    I solved it by just building myself a new pc. I bought a really nice all black gloss metal case with just a single led (look life the rest of my A/V gear rather than a pc) and then whopped in a 300gb drive wireless mouse soundcard etc. All for around 300 notes. I now store all my films/dvds etc on it and use a caddy hard drive to transport files from upstairs pc to downstairs one.
     
  16. Henry

    Henry
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    Not entirely sure. I've been downloading various torrents and then just playing them through Windows Media Player.
     
  17. lisag

    lisag
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    Sounds interesting - which case / mobo / cpu did you use?
    lisa
     
  18. Henry

    Henry
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    £300? That's sounds pretty good. Any pointers as to what you got and where you got it? I quite fancy a project like that? A good way to learn the ropes? :smashin:
     
  19. MikeTV

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    Well, if it were my plasma, I'd probably connect an HTPC. Perhaps convert the Dell to an HTPC, and get the best picture and sound quality possible downstairs. If you need a second PC upstairs, get one cheap - you can always share files or remote desktop to your main PC, perhaps wirelessly.
     

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