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Media Pc


abferm
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My DVD player decided to start acting up recently, and I was looking for a combination DVR, DVD player, digital converter box to replace it with. I haven't been able to find such a device, and I was wondering how hard it would be to build one out of an old-ish Pentium 4 machine I have. I was thinking Linux base for the operating system, are there any Linux distros specifically made for this purpose? Would I need a new tuner card to be compatible with digital TV(I have access to several that were removed from dieing or dead PCs)?

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If you build your own and want access to clear digital stuff, you would just need a digital tuner. If you want access to something like digital cable, you will need a tuner that is cablecard compatible (Ceton makes one, but it is pricey and Silicon Dust has one coming out if it is not out already). XBMC (XBox media center) is the standard for media playback, and MythTV is the most common linux platform (I think) for DVR stuff in linux. To be honest, a P4 may struggle with 720/1080p stuff. I have several media pcs, all running windows 7 ultimate, and I still run a TiVo because it is really pretty bulletproof and the family likes it better. We just use the media pcs for playback of content and nearly never use them for live tv watching. If I could get the family trained to one of the streaming services for tv shows, we would no longer need TiVo/cable.

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In order to record analog/digital TV signals you will definitely need a tuner card such as this one.

http://www.comprousa.com/en/product/e650f/e650f.html

You will also need a computer with a decent CPU and sufficient RAM, to be able to handle all the HI Def contents.

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I was wondering how hard it would be to build one out of an old-ish Pentium 4 machine I have. I was thinking Linux base for the operating system, are there any Linux distros specifically made for this purpose?

This is exactly what I have done with an old pentium 4 XP box I had lying around. I found the biggest hard drive I had, stuck all my media on it, plugged it into my TV through an average nvidia graphics card and it was blissful. :)

With regards to linux distros, I wnjoy using Peppermint... http://peppermintos.com/

You might be able to find something better, but it already integrates flash and hulu so I like it.

Good luck with the build :)

Tombo

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