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Soon I could received an extra home computer for personal use. It is very old, and it wasn't a very good computer to start with. Its a dell something or another with basic setup (Copy link below for picture), but there was recently 80 dollars worth of ram put into it.

What I want to do is make it into a home entertainment system.....

Hear is what I am thinking of doing.....

1. Getting a free OS like Lunix that doesn't take up much hard drive.

2. Then I would work my magic and put all the computer settings on lowest, and take off all programs I don't want like everything besides word, Firefox, and a few others.

3. I have various sources I was then planning on getting some programs from. Just some simple movie players and music players.

4. If the computer is still slow I would possibly see about having someone overclock it.

What I was wondering is if this would work. I obviously would want it hooked up to my tv and speakers, but what else could I do besides play music and movies. (since the hard drive isn't very big I would probably buy a bigger one, but you can get ones on ebay for fairly cheap)

Could I do things like put movies on there compressed and then have them open unzip, and play when I wanted them to? Is there a program that would like give me a list of files I have on the system and when I click on one unzip it and run it automatically? If there isn't a program like that what other options would I have.

Also is there a way to hook up a remote control to a computer?

What do you think? I don't really need to have a sweet home entertainment center but it would be cool to see what my dad and I could do. Also the catch is I have a low budget. Maybe money for a new HD on Ebay, and possibly some other things depending on how cool it could be.

http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-GX50-COMPUTER-TOWER-1-2GHZ -256MB-OF-RAM_W0QQitemZ3301034 38410QQihZ014QQcategoryZ140070 QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem://http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-...1QQcmdZViewItem://http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-...1QQcmdZViewItem://http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-...1QQcmdZViewItem://http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-...1QQcmdZViewItem://http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-...1QQcmdZViewItem://http://cgi.ebay.com/DELL-OPTIP LEX-...1QQcmdZViewItem

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hmm im not fully sure about the compression to play, though im sure u can do it ur self, or even write a shell script to do it, though the issue is, it will all be needed to be extracted b4 u can watch it, so on avg, u will always need about 1gig on ur HDD to watch the show if its a standard DVD Xvid compression used.

The other thing i suggest, and is a shit load more legal, is to buy a DVD Drive or Burner, this then allows u to save the space, back-up ur shows, and also allows for a more redundant source.

Next, i suggest if u really are pressed for the HDD space, go with somethink like Damn Small Linux, download a copy of VLC (Video Lan Client) and run them together, all this im thinking will be about 60-70meg (DSL current is 50meg, VLC is about 10meg for full install).

As for overclocking, i dont think it would be needed, and i highly dont suggest it for a Linux Media box. The issue is, if u OC, the fans will need to be replaced, else ur gonna be generating a shit load more heat, depending on ur Mobo the fans will get louder (work harder) and the whole concept for a media box will become kinda blurred behind the wherring of what sounds like a lawn mower [/over exaduration].

Though im thinking ur PC should be able to run DSL and VLC rather easly, since it is built for low end systems (VLC isnt as much, but still will work). So yeah, give it a try ^_^

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you could always try something like mythtv. ( http://www.mythtv.org/modules.php?name=MythInstall ) its basically like a OS that turns your box into a TiVo. You can buy IR board and remotes to control the computer remotely. Also Mythtv has a video viewer which will allow you view videos you put on it. Heres a video of putting a decent mythtv box together http://revision3.com/systm/mythtv

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Doesnt MythTV also work with streaming content over network?

obviously its not the best thing streaming video over a network, but you could always use the above idea of mythtv with IR control and stream stuff from your other comptuer in another room, and then you can buy decent hard drives and stash everything on that other pc which reduces the need for overclocking and many other issues :)

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  • 1 month later...

A media center box needs to be more than a shit box old pc that you found lying around if you want it actually run good

You can buy a 250gb hdd for around 60$ if your pressed for hdd space.

you could probably put together a decent media center pc for around 600$ if you really wanted to and run myth tv

watch the "systm" episode on mythtv it really good. (rev3.com)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Also is there a way to hook up a remote control to a computer?

I don't know about buying a seprate remote just for a pc, it maybe a bit expensive, ive really not looked at them. Though I bought an adapter the other day that will convert a PS2/Gamecube/Xbox controller to a USB connection (10 bucks at the local walmart, cheaper for a ps2 only one if you look around amazon.com). If you could pick up one of those and a PS2 DVD remote and a program to make joypad buttons act as keys on a keyboard then you maybe able to work something out.

As for the rest of it, I just got an RFU modulator hooked a cheap ATI card (about 80 some dollars) into the S-Video port on it, and bought some really nice speakers (cheap around here, around 40 bucks) then youre good to go. It maybe around 130 bucks that way but just check around here to see if anyone knows something cheaper.

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