Time for the Media PC to Evolve?
I've been having a few chats since I put up this blog post a few days back and feel I should put up a discussion in the forums rather than keeping it in the blogs: Goodbye old boy - Retiring our HTPC - Blogs - EduGeek.net
Once the kids Wii arrived on Christmas day it became apparent that almost all of the reasons we had been using a media PC for (over an 8 year period) had become redundant in our house. These primarily were:
- Being able to access and record digital TV without a freeview box
- As above but for satellite
- Gaming on the TV
- Providing blu-ray playback
- Storing digital photos/movies
- Internet access
Now, a lot of these features were added over a period of time and as things in the home entertainment market progressed almost all of these reasons were replaced with affordable dedicated devices that provided far better functionality, such as a blu-ray player, Tivo box and the Wii for gaming (It's for the kids...honest!). That is not to say that this will be the case for everyone. A newly built media PC can provide, at little cost, all of the functions listed above for those who need it and don't want cable contracts or have space issues or just need something more portable.
But for us to bring the media pc up to speed it would have involved buying new HD tuners, graphics card and motherboard/processor/RAM in the next year. In short, almost a whole new setup.
However, we still need some of the features that it provided, just delivered differently. Primarily amongst these is storage. We need somewhere were we can place photos, music, movies etc, and now that NAS boxes are affordable, we can have a couple of terabytes at hand in a small, low powered, networked chassis that can be available 24/7 from our laptops. So I ordered a duel bay Zyxel one in the sales :)
On top of this we still need to have internet access on the living room TV for browsing, YouTube and other online media. For this I'm getting a Raspberry Pi that can be powered either from the TV's USB port or by separate mains adaptor. Running XMBC it should also enable us to access the NAS for photos and movies (our TV is a few years old and not DLNA enabled).
I'm also toying with the idea of getting a cheap Android tablet such as this:55509 - STORAGE OPTIONS - SCROLL BASIC PLUS V2 7" ANDROID | CPC to go in the kitchen and stream music/radio into an old set of Creative speakers we have fitted there, as well as possibly into the bedroom.
So, if you have any thoughts or ideas you want to add to this little project (I'll keep you all posted on how it all goes on) please feel free to add them. But I do feel that the next big (yet affordable) step that any self respecting geek can do is to get some centralised storage in the house and if you have already done this please let me know what you have done with yours and what pitfalls (if any) I should be looking out for.
Re: Time for the Media PC to Evolve?
Replied to this before from the end of the pier but Board Express ate it :(
Basicly see if you can set up the pi as a dlna dmr (digital media renderer). With the tablet see if it can run aVia from the play store, it can act as a dmr and DMC as well as a dlna server. This means that you can push media to it from dlna sources and use it to push media to other dlna devices. This makes it really easy to setup and push a playlist of stuff from your has via a phone or even share pictures and videos right from your phone to the device.
I use dlna push all the time as you can do it from many devices and it's quicker than fluffing with a menu and remote.
Re: Time for the Media PC to Evolve?
Looks like xbmc may support dlna dmr mode:
Enable the UPnP Renderer under System --> Settings --> Services -->UPnP
and enjoy it :-)