Tag Archive: ubuntu

Adding electronics to the Media Center

My media center/entertainment center is in constant flux.

The configuration a month ago was:

– 42″ HP HD television
– GE DVD Player
– ROKU Player
– Sony 5.1 Receiver/Surround Sound System

Since then, I have made some upgrades:

– Vizio Wireless Blu-Ray Player
– ROKU 2 Player
– Pioneer 5.1 3D Receiver/Surround Sound with HDMI
– Playstation 2

I pulled my two game units out of storage and wired them up.  I took a trip down to the used video game store and picked up 5-6 games for under $50 total.  That should keep me occupied.  The Pioneer unit was a great deal off of Amazon.com.  List price is $400, but I picked it up for $140.  The Vizio unit was an upgrade for BLU-RAY, and the ROKU-2 was an upgrade so I could play Angry Birds.

NOW – this weekend found me hooking up the new surround system.  I kept the same speakers (upgrade later) and honestly – it was a bear.  One of the HDMI cables I had was defective which threw everything off, and I was confused about the on-screen instructions to get for the speaker set up.  BUT – once I got it working right, the speakers adjusted themselves and everything is working.

I also pulled an old desktop PC out of the closed (I did a lot of cleaning of that closet.  Half the Jeep is filled with stuff to be tossed out) and was trying to get some sort of Ubuntu software running on it.  I had a PC a while back, but I broke it.  The reason I want to get the new software on it, I want to add XMBC, a media center software on it to stream music, movies, etc.  I also want an avenue to watch Hulu Plus and the programs only available via the Web on the big television.

I was struggling all weekend.  It looks as though the harddrives are shot.  Aargghh…  I didn’t get it working this weekend.  There’s always next weekend.

Upgrading my Living Room Ubuntu PC (power supply)

I upgraded the power supply unit on the ubuntu living room PC.

It was an easy install and the cables were all wrapped in a cable management mesh.  I installed a 600W power unit that fit the ATX case.

Plenty of power now for the drives.  It powered up quickly and with the added RAM from a few weeks back upgraded the software quickly.

My next upgrades are the video card and wifi internal card (draft n).

Upgrading my Ubuntu Living Room PC

Since I have a 3-day weekend, I thought about upgrading my PC situation. Of course in my house if I can power it and connect it to a network – I do. Well, I had an old PC that I wiped and installed Ubuntu 7.10 on it a few weeks ago to hook up to my TV. I wanted to use it to stream hulu or youtube to my living room without having to move my laptop or desktop.
Today, I dug through my parts box (any respectable geek has at least one parts box filled with pieces parts from old upgrades or salvaged parts) and found a 70 GB harddrive and a new fan. My old one was really noisy and the HD was only 4300 MB (4.3 GB) which barely held the install.
I put everything together, powered it up and am now installing Ubuntu 10.4.
Once I get it working – I’m going to try for the 10.10 beta (Maverick Meerkat).
Reports in the comment section as they develop.

Ubuntu 10.4 in the living room

My weekend project this weekend was to run some CAT5e cables through my attic and down to an old PC in my living room.  I ran these cables down there so that I could finish the installation of my “media center” computer.

I connected an old PC (Pentium4 2GHz with 512MB of memory and a 4GB HD) to the network and ran a monitor cable to the tv (the hardest part was finding the monitor cable.  I realized that I have 0 extras in my box-o-junk!) and installed Ubuntu 10.4.  After a few restarts to get the software working right, I ended up using a wireless dongle to get service to my network.  I’m currently installing all the updates to the OS (only an hours worth of downloads – not bad) and then I plan on installing some multimedia software so I can browse the web, and then switch over to an internet radio station, get the local news, update my facebook, etc.

The main reason I decided to hook this up is so that I can watch HULU and Netfilx on the large television.

The only updates I can see are:
1.  Fix the stupid network cabling issue and get this thing hardwired properly.
2.  Upgrade the memory on the PC to 1GB (I don’t know what I will do with that much memory! j/k)
3. Attach an external harddrive to watch recorded television/music through the stereo.

more later…

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