First of all please excuse me for such a long post.
I just started my expedition to LinuxMCE! I have another WindowsXP MCE already mostly used with MediaPortal. Media portal is much better than Windows XP MCE for playing archived music in local machine or from a FTP server. I preferred LinuxMCE because I can use it to share music files and DVDs either archived or by using the CD/DVD changer. I also like the concept of disk-less MDs. For movies I prefer to use DVD changer so that I do not have to use huge disks for storage and thereby reducing huge data loss in the event of a disk crash. I might later add an HDHomeRun for local TV channels. But for now it is exclusively to share media (DVD/CD) across all rooms in the house. Right now I am just experimenting with the setup and will be commissioning this once the basement is ready. My setup, so far is:
==== Core =====
(which is same as http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186104&Tpk=N570SM2AA-8EKRS2H)
(has two Network connections - one for Internet from my home network and the other connected to an 8 port switch for a separate media network)
Video Card : ASUS EN6200LE http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814121019
CPU : AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ 2.1GHz
RAM : 2GB DDR2-800
Harddisk : 80GB (will add more later)
Drives : DVD drive/writer
External Dr: Sony XL1B3
InputDevice: Media center compatible Keyboard/Mouse combination
: Gyro Mouse
IR Remote : USB-UIRT (not yet installed)
OTA TVTuner: ATI HDTV Wonder (not sure if it is compatible - not yet installed)
Media Director ======
Currently I am using an old motherboard with minimum configuration as MD. (This sort of old school h/w costs very inexpensive these days)
Motherboard : Intel D815EFV with built in Video/Network/Audio
CPU : P3/Celeron 1GHz
Memory : 256MB SDRAM
(Power consumption of this setup is only about 40W or so. I will use similar configuration for all my MD needs if it serves the purpose)
My experience so far:
Even though most of it is working, there are quirks and they are.
- Core and MD both keep running the detection scripts (for various TV models and such) every few minutes (or more frequent than that) -- which is very annoying
- Core and MD both saying they found some Windows share called MOON or MOON12 or something and is ready for use!!
- Could not play DVDs from the DVD changer, it is saying DVD changer drive is not accessible. But it can list the filled slots, eject a disc etc in the drive management screen. The same hardware setup including DVD changer worked fine with Windows XP Media center (I just installed WindowsXP MCE to test it).
- I would like to hibernate (or shutdown) my Core when not in use and get it remotely woken up (or switched on). I will tackle that myself, once everything is working fine. But I noticed that each time I start the Core it goes through all the initialization scripts such as re-building the screens and all that -- which really slows things down. Same issue is with MDs also. Is that normal?
- Move my DirecTV HD-DVR along with MCECore and DVD changer to a basement corner Room (nook).
- Rip all my CDs using DVD changer to MCE's native format (ogg?)
- Mount all my DVDs in DVD changer and make it available for entire house.
- Run wires from DirecTV DVR to two different locations in the house to watch DirecTV programs/recordings (one LCD TV in Living room and one Projector in basement family room). Have two MDs in these two locations control the TV, local receiver and DVD player using USB-UIRT.
- Have one or two MDs in bedrooms for music, DVD and OTA TV programs from HDHomeRun (no receiver - audio though TV)
- While someone is watching a DVD from DVD changer using one MD, if someone else try to play another DVD in another MD what will happen?
- If I get one more DVD changer can I watch two movies in two different places (one each from two different collections)?
- If I change resolution of an MD or add new devices to one MD will linux keep track of the changes per MD?
- Is it possible to remove the KDE Desktop option from the menu and add an option to start just the web-browser?
- Can LinuxMCE play DVD-Audio?
- Can LinuxMCE use shared folders from the external network?
- I hear a lot of bad things about DVD changer, is it too unreliable for my use?
- Movies can be stored (after ripping) in a raid-5 array or a DVD changer, which is better?
- Should I wait for a Gigabit version of HDHomeRun? Or is 100mbps good enough?
Any other comments are also welcome. This is my favorite project now!