Thursday, July 1, 2010

Our Media PC

Yesterday Scotty and I set up our new media PC. We wanted a computer hooked up to the television that could play any file type of videos and music, basically so that we can just go to that PC rather than figure out if the PS3 can play it, which computer to watch it from, etc. It needed to be cost effective, obviously (we are 'allergic' to credit - I won't pay for anything I can't pay cash/debit for anymore), so we decided that the best thing to do would be to upgrade a few parts of Scotty's PC first. He got a new motherboard, processor, and memory. The parts he replaced went into my PC and I also got a new video card and larger hard drive. The media PC, then, got my motherboard, processor, memory, hard drive and video card. That way we were able to 'build' the PC from old parts rather than buy new parts and then buy new parts again when Scotty wants to upgrade. We did buy a new case and a BluRay drive for the PC, but altogether didn't spend too much at all.

I love the case a lot:

It sits next to the TV with the Wii to the right of it and the PS3 and Air Mouse on top. It actually goes pretty well with our Crosley radio/CD player (with a record player on top):

The Crosley radio and record player used to be in the spot the media PC is now, but now it is next to the bed. When we have our own place again I think both the radio and media PC will look nice in the same entertainment center.

The media PC has an 80 gb hard drive, which is small for a media PC, but it won't store too much on that hard drive. Most stuff will either be played from physical media like CDs and DVDs or will be pulled from computers or the file server. It has a BluRay drive and DVD burner, and in the front you can see a card reader setup that can handle CompactFlash and SD cards. There are three USB slots in the front, and a Firewire and ESata drive, neither of which are actually connected (my motherboard is kind of limiting and I don't think we even have any Firewire or ESata devices).

It has an analog TV tuner in there and will be running Mythbuntu last I heard. Scotty installed that last night. Mythbuntu is a flavor of Ubuntu Linux that is for media. It allows you to record shows and other cool stuff, so it's like your own DVR. According to Scotty, with the tv tuner and the right setup we will be able to get PBS World again - which means I can watch History Detectives again! Excited about that. Currently it is hooked up with HDMI cables but that might have to change. HDMI cannot carry closed captions so we need to see if there is any way around that or what we can do.

I really like the setup, and I'll have to see how it all works once we really get time to play with it. I'll be working on a blog post for Hearing Sparks about how the caption issue works out. And I'm glad we were able to do it on a budget - it is a really nice addition and it will last us a long time, I'm sure.

1 comment:

  1. If the device before the HDMI connection will decode the closed captions then it will work. For instance my digital cable box will receive the closed caption signal, decode it and paste it on the picture as it sends it through the HDMI cable. I just have to make sure that the Digital Cable box has closed captioning set to ON. Now for DVD/Blu-Ray play back that is a different story because normally they do not have a built in decoder and rely on the Television to decode the signal. The HDMI connection on Televisions bypass the decoder but the co-ax cable connection or the AV jacks do not bypass the decoder. I find it weird but that's how the televeisions were designed.