Home Theatre PC – Todd’s Test HTPC —

I had cable.. it was pricey.. so I dumped it. In the interim I have this big freaking TV that now has nothing on it since I’m more or less living the online life. So.. even before I decided to dump the cable TV (which has now saved me 110 a month) I decided: “Hey.. why not just hook a PC up to my TV.”

Thats really not a bad idea.

I already watch Hulu on my monster on linux.. can’t I do the same thru a PC connected to my TV?

Well here was what I did..

I started with some old hardware that will eventually be going back to Nashville, for now tho it will suit my needs, I have 2 Dell Optiplex GX240’s these are old, almost 10 years old now. They both have ATI cards with SVIDEO out and are both Pentium 4’s clocking at about 1.7 ghz.. not fast enough to run Hulu

I started by piecing together what I could from them to get a working PC.. one had a bad hard drive, and a faulty IDE cable (how often do you run into that really?) Once that was done I had a PC with a sad sad 512MB of ram and a 128mb Ati Radeon Video card.. not bad by 2002 standards. So I try intstalling my Linux.. I have success after finding a distro that isn’t so picky on old hardware, but no success in getting the SVIDEO out to work.. so.. I pile on the Windows XP Pro.. this is just a test.. and the TV I have is old and analog..

After Installing XP and getting the VIDEO to work with the TV I’m experimenting with cheap ways to control VLC. I discovered that many of the files I have to watch are in HD and are MKV (Matroska) and I’ll make another post on how I was able to convert those into something “more friendly” for a PC this old.. but the real issue was that I’m LAZY.. and I really needed a remote of some kind..

Well.. VLC has a web based player controller that you can use to control the player from anything on the network with a web browser! I scripted the system to not flip out with a keyboard missing, made some playlists via RDP, scripted some drive mappings to delete if present then remap during restarts.. and now I have a fully functional way to play video’s from another PC on my bigscreen old ass TV and it cost me $0

Whats Next? I want a nice spiffy HDTV and I’ll build a real tiny Home Theatre PC with bluetooth keyboard and mouse for a true home theatre experience.. till then.. this will do nicely, well.. at least till I have to get this PC back to Nashville >:D

Categorised as: Geeking Out

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