Home Theatre Pc??

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JetJockey

Guest
Hi Folks.

I have been looking at trying to stream media from a computer in one room, to my Plasma display in another room quite some distance away. Normal signal leads are not practical.

I am now thinking it may be easier to build another small PC (very quiet) and place that in a cupboard under the Plasma display. I would then network this to the master PC using ethernet and possibly run remote desktop or something to allow web browsing and media streaming to be displayed on the Plasma.

Does this sound sensible? Is it overkill? :eek: Could somebody with some thoughts or experience in this area make some suggestions? :lease:

Many thanks, Gerald. :)
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
Yes that would work... a cheaper option is a modded xbox running xbmc (opensource xbox media center) connected to main pc via ethernet. There are a variety of connections to the plasma, I think you can use component, although the advanced RGB scart is also pretty good.
 
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J

JetJockey

Guest
Cheers Lisa

I had forgotten about the X Box. The new 360 comes out shortly, Im sure that would do it. :thumbsup: Or would it. Can that be modified?

I could either hard wire a Cat5 cable, or use a pair of those Devolo Plugs that give you an ethernet link over the house mains cable. I am currently getting 60Mbps using them. :smashin:

4 Questions: -

Does the Xbox have a wireless link?

Can the X Box be controlled using a remote control? I could then use a universal remote to select inputs on the X Box, like ethernet.

How does the X Box Media software work? In other words, how would I use the normal mouse and keyboard functions to work the remote PC upstairs?

Basically, I am trying to route the desktop on the computer upstairs, to the plasma display downstairs. The object is to allow web browsing and media streaming to the plasma downstairs, from the computer upstairs. I am looking for a fairly robust link that will not suffer from "stuttering" etc when HD video is streamed. :rolleyes:

What is XBMC and where could I find info on this?

Thanks for the help, Gerald. :)
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
JetJockey said:
Cheers

I had forgotten about the X Box. The new 360 comes out shortly, Im sure that would do it. :thumbsup: Or would it. Can that be modified?
NO - not until someone (illegally) modifies it anyway - plus it will only work for media playback as an extender for an existing MCE2005 pc, and only for file types that Microsoft allows (not xvid/divx).


JetJockey said:
Does the Xbox have a wireless link?
Not as standard but you can buy an ethernet to wifi dongle type thing

JetJockey said:
Can the X Box be controlled using a remote control?
Yes, I have the Microsoft xbox media center kit which includes a remote / dongle and software - the remote works within xbmc and other xbox apps also
JetJockey said:
How does the X Box Media software work? In other words, how would I use the normal mouse and keyboard functions to work the remote PC upstairs?
You just leave the pc upstairs switched on and have all the media files in a folder that is shared on the network. The xbox can then navigate to that folder and playback your media files.

JetJockey said:
Basically, I am trying to route the desktop on the computer upstairs, to the plasma display downstairs. The object is to allow web browsing and media streaming to the plasma downstairs, from the computer upstairs. I am looking for a fairly robust link that will not suffer from "stuttering" etc when HD video is streamed. :rolleyes:
There is a web browser plug in available for the xbox, it is new and I haven't tried it yet,so don't know if it is any good. An ethernet link should stream HD content ok. I tried a wi-fi link between my HTPC downstairs and xbox upstairs and could not even stream ripped dvd's (vobs) without stutter - works perfect with a wired connection. Other people have been more successfull with wifi.
JetJockey said:
What is XBMC and where could I find info on this?
Xbox Media Center - the xbox forums on here would be a good place to start, and a little google search of course.


JetJockey said:
Thanks for the help, Gerald. :)
You're welcome!
 
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Rambles

Distinguished Member
meansizzler said:
Just old out of the Xbox 360....NO Newbie should ever touch a modded Xbox...
And... why not? :cool:
 

Mr.D

Well-known Member
He doesn't sound like a "newbie".

People might refer to themselves as a "newbie" when humbly asking a question they might get flamed for on another less polite forum but I don't think that's really necessary round these parts.

Implied inferiority and all that.
 
J

JetJockey

Guest
Cheers Keith and Lisa.

No, definately not a newbie, spent 20 yrs in electronics before taking up flying for a living, (pays a hell of a lot more). :clap:

I'm on this site asking because it's good to let those more experienced than yourself help. Luckily for me, people like Lisa and Kieth are happy to share thier knowledge. Why spend days flogging a dead horse, when a few words of advice from another can get u sorted in hours? :smashin:

Regards, Gerald. :)

P.S. Who does the mods? :oops:
 
S

Skunkpipe

Guest
You could always import a proper dedicated MCE extender from the US. It certainly won't be as noisy as an Xbox (and teh noise of the 360 is an unknown at the moment)
I have one (A Linksys box) here that I will be trying out over the next few days - if it works well I'll be getting some more. It's the same size as my slimline DVD player and does 54g and wired ethernet, component and s-video out
 

Rambles

Distinguished Member
I bought my xbox from www.advancedxbox.com, it was about £150 with the modchip pre-installed, and all the software already loaded (xbmc, pal/ntsc selector, some emulators, dvd player, etc...)
 
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richjthorpe

Novice Member
Hi Gerald,

Alternatively, you can do exactly what you've suggested, build a client PC to connect to your Server PC. You mentioned about streaming HD video, I'm guessing you've got a HD Plasma.

There are new motherboards coming out that have a nvidia 6150 chipset which, when running nvidias Pure Video will look pretty damn good. Being new though, they wont be that cheap. Failing that, get a motherboard and a series 6 graphics card from nvidia.

Get quite a quick CPU and 1GB of RAM. The hard disk doesn't need to be huge as all of you video will be stored on the server. Audio can be got from the SPDIF digital output to a surround amp.

One suggestion is that you get a Modem Router. That way, each PC in the house can connect to the internet as long as it connected to the Modem Router so no remote access needed to get to the 'net.

Use Cat5e enthernet cable as this is rated up to 1000Mbps. Sounds excessive but HD video can be up to 20Mbps. If there are 2 people watching HD video in the house, that's nearly half of the network capacity gone already on 100Mbs (Normal Cat5 can only do up to 100Mbps). Plus cabling Cat5e is future proofing.

Richie.
 
J

JetJockey

Guest
Hi Rich

Yes, thanks for that. I am beginning to edge back towards a dedicated PC as I understand these beasts having built enough of them. At least I know what I'm dealing with when I'm working on them. Add to that the inbuilt Ethernet functionality and Bingo! :smashin:

Yes, it will be for feeding a High Definition 50" Plasma. I already have a modem wireless router in my system. It's one of those new Netgear Version 2 devices (ADSL2, ADSL2+ ready) it works a treat, much better than the older Netgears. Was fancying the new Draytek 2800.................. :devil:

Cat 5e................ Yes read an article on that the other day. Much better than plain vanilla Cat 5. Considered overkill for some installations but as you say Future proof.

In reality, I don't think I will install cable at first. I have a set of these http://www.devolo.com/co_EN/produkte/dlan/mldlanhsstarterkit.html and will be keen to see how they work first. I am getting 60 to 70Mbps at the mo down the house mains cables! :clap:

Anyway........ that can be sorted on the day.

More importantly, what does one run on the second machine, Win XP Home or Win XP Media Centre.

Further, what do you use to control the Home Theatre PC? Do you use a normal wireless Keyboard and mouse, or one of those fancy "Gyration" mice as sold on Dabs, or does one use a remote control?

Cheers, Gerald. :)

P.S. And whats the deal on this new Nvidea 6150 chipset Richie?
 
lisag said:
And... why not? :cool:
To much hassle to get it to work the way you want, you need to know how to edit .xml and also how to ftp to your xbox from the PC...i mean it's different if someoen else does it for you, but doing it yourself for he first time it quite tricky...I learned that card way...but i can pretty mcuh do anything in termsof modding that big black box..nebies stay clear of moddign an xbox...hold out for the xbox 360...
 
K

Kramer

Guest
meansizzler said:
you need to know how to edit .xml and also how to ftp to your xbox from the PC
Hardly rocket science though :D .

Plenty of info & assistance available here too. That's what these forums are for :smashin: .

:smoke:
 
Kramer said:
Hardly rocket science though :D .

Plenty of info & assistance available here too. That's what these forums are for :smashin: .

:smoke:
Wel actually if oyu try editing the xboxmediacenter.xml, it gives you some help how to do it anyway, but it can be frustating when it does no do what you want it to do, I've got a pretty good xboxmediacenter.xml, edited by myelf, has a nice layout and all the relevant stuff oyu need, i'll upload if someoen wants to take a look at it and tweak there own...

I had to change the extension from .xml to .txt so I could put it as an attatchment, change it back to .xml so you can read it more clearly...
 

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Rambles

Distinguished Member
I updated my build of xbmc today - first try at it and was a lot easier than I thought. I just deleted the xbox media center save and literally ftp's the new build over the top of the existing build without editing the settings file - it seems to have worked, and the new build is better. The change I was after was to play back ripped DVD's stored in file mode on the network, and get access to the DVD main menu - it seems to work now.
 
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richjthorpe

Novice Member
Hi Gerald,

I'm only just putting my HTPC together but I've been on the Entertainment PC forum for a while and have picked up quite a bit of knowledge ! I have used a product called jriver which is like MCE and you can connect an ipod.

Your set up is exactly the same as I want to have, a central server where all of the files are located and client PCs around the home accessing the Server. In my server, I am looking to get a couple of Freeview Dual Tuner cards (Yes, 4 tuners) and have MCE loaded on the server in order to record directly onto the Server. This way everyone can view Freeview.

Client PC for the Plasma will need a decent Graphics Chipset. The nvidia 6600GT is a favourite on the board and so are the Pure Video codecs from nvidia which upscale the image to whatever screen size to get 1:1 pixel match. The 6150 motherboards are designed for Hi Def viewing and I think they have the 6200 chipset but it can run pure video. They've only just come out though so they might be a bit scarce. I would run MCE on this machine too. At the moment I'm not sure whether MCE can run like this but I know that jriver can. Can anyone help in a Client/Server network using MCE ?

As for control, if you are getting MCE, you will also get the remote control. Others do use something like the Harmony remotes too. Other than that, a Gyration suite as you suggest. If you want cheaper, there is a Belkin Wireless RF for about 20-30 GBP.

Hope this helps.

Richie.
 

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