Author Topic: What do I need for my plan?  (Read 1147 times)

nonc

  • Making baby steps
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
What do I need for my plan?
« on: June 03, 2010, 03:07:13 pm »
Hey all,

I'm thinking of taking the plunge and building a media centre. I've done some research and think I've figured out exactly what I'll need, but before I buy anything I would like somebody to check that my plan is sound and the hardware I'll need to buy is fine to do what I want to do.

Just to point out, I am in the UK, and I'm not sure how this will effect things for TV.

Firstly, what I expect my set up to be like. I have a Ubuntu computer in my bedroom, and a HDTV in the living room. I'm expecting to build a basic 'PC'/Core/Hybrid thing which will sit beside the TV and be the LinuxMCE box. With both My computer, and two others (which are windows laptops) and the LinuxMCE being into the network.

Secondly, what I want to be able to do is watch, record and pause live TV (including the new HD channels that are available on freeview). Play DVD's, Copy DVD's to the hard drive. Play videos (HD and non-HD) from the hard drive on the TV as well as my computer. Be able to edit the contents of those folders from my computer, and ideally have them accessible from the other two computers, and any changes syncing with the media centre. Also I like to have music videos on when using the living room for other things (such as playing board games) so having a playlist(s) which will continuously play on random. I understand that LinuxMCE will be fine with all of these.

So I think, all I need to purchase is;
  • Case
  • Motherboard
  • CPU
  • Graphics Card
  • RAM
  • Blue Ray DVD drive
  • HDTV tuner
  • Gyroscopic Remote (+ dongle)
(I have enough hard drives already) and perhaps a wireless keyboard and mouse.

Some specific questions I have:
  • Is it better to get a motherboard with a built in graphics card - how can the quality be as good, and would it affect watching HD stuff?
  • HDTV tuners - Is there a difference? or are all TV tuners HD? How do I tell the difference?
  • I already have a user account on my Ubuntu box (obviously), can I have a merged user experience across both? is it worth it? is it better to keep it separate?
  • Should I go to any extra lengths to keep the LinucMCE box running quietly? such as buying better heat sinks and fans, and how much do you think I might need to pay to get reasonable noise reduction?
  • How much space does it take to record TV? i.e. how much room on hard drives should I need to leave available for it to record automatically? And the same for pausing live TV?
  • Is there anything else I have forgotten? Either that should be on my list of things to buy, or in my set-up.

Thanks for reading all that, and for your help.

nonc.

B34N

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 156
    • View Profile
Re: What do I need for my plan?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2010, 03:37:58 pm »
Welcome to LMCE. I'm a newbie too but I'm hoping that my experiences can help you make some of the right decisions.

You'll need to do more research than you have done so far. Many of the questions that you asked are already answered multiple times in these forums and on the Wiki. I'm not hating, I'm just trying to give you a friendly warning that some/many of the bigger LMCE supporters get frustrated when people ask questions that they have answered many, many times. Trust me, I made and continue to make the mistake of asking questions that I could have or can answer on my own.

Again, I'm a newbie so don't take anything that I say as gospel but hopefully it will be a starting point. Here are some of the things that I see which may be problems:
Blu Ray - There is no reason to have a blu ray on the core and blu ray doesn't play nice with Linux
Orbiter - What are you planning on using as an orbiter?
Laptops - How do you plan on using the windows laptops? I don't believe that PXE works with wireless (well or at all)
HDTV Tuner - I'm not familiar with UK TV. Are you planning on OTA or over cable? If cable is the signal unencrypted?

If you are like me then you will want to try to get every piece at the lowest possible cost. Unfortunately the money spent on the equipment was the least significant cost in me getting my LMCE box running (I'm still trying to get all the features working). The time spent on getting non-compatible (or not commonly used) pieces working has been the most significant cost. I highly recommend that you consider buying a core from some place like http://lmcecompatible.com/. I bought a barebones core from them and it was the best decision I made. I seem to have had troubles with the pieces that I found "good deals" on and bought elsewhere.

I hope that this helps a bit.

purps

  • NEEDS to work for LinuxMCE
  • ***
  • Posts: 1396
  • If it ain't broke, tweak it
    • View Profile
Re: What do I need for my plan?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2010, 04:29:45 pm »
I was always dead against onboard graphics, but my nVidia ion 330 atom board has completely changed my opinion, I think it's fantastic. 2 gigs of ram, 512 MB dedicated to GPU, job's a good 'un.

If you're talking about HD over freeview, forget about it, I have it on good authority that there are no tuners on the market for us in the UK that support HD over freeview. However, freesat is possible for free-to-air HD stuff, and other SD channels that aren't on freeview. I'm looking into this myself as I have an old sky dish on my house from the previous occupants.

Your ubuntu box will be seperate. LMCE can scan media on your hard drive I believe. Personally, I like to use the core as backup for my "normal" desktop PC, so all the media is there regardless of whether my desktop is switched on. I have an rsync script on my desktop to "sync" the two.

I swapped the fan on my ion atom board for a scythe mini, and it is now barely audible. Worth doing I reckon. Bear in mind this is my MD, not my core. My MDs are in the living area, so I go to great lengths to keep them quiet, especially the one in the bedroom. The core is in a cupboard, so I just chuck any old crappy fans in that (but not too crappy - the core is on 24/7 remember!)

Hard disks - if in doubt, go bigger, they are so cheap these days. I have 1TB just for media, which is all mine and my girlfriend's music, movies, series, backup, and my TV recordings, and it's plenty for us. But your needs may differ. I have an 80 GB for the OS.

Gyro mice/remotes - I always had a gyro air mouse, for the last 2 year or so, and I finally stopped using it the other day, it was just getting on my tits. Now I have a Nokia N800, and I think it is superb, very swish. Got mine on ebay for about 50 quid, which was actually less than the gyro mouse was 2 years ago. That said, if you have your heart set on a gyro mouse, I have one for sale  ;D
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
my setup :: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Purps

totallymaxed

  • LinuxMCE God
  • ****
  • Posts: 4540
  • Smart Home Consulting
    • View Profile
    • Dianemo - at home with technology
Re: What do I need for my plan?
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2010, 11:29:21 pm »
Secondly, what I want to be able to do is watch, record and pause live TV (including the new HD channels that are available on freeview).

FreeviewHD tuner cards are not available yet here in the UK. Therefore the only option for HD is Freesat where you have a wide range of DVB-S2 cards available to you.

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

http://www.dianemo.co.uk

nonc

  • Making baby steps
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: What do I need for my plan?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2010, 03:05:59 pm »
Thanks st8ofmi9d, purps and totallymaxed.

Thanks for the help, it has cleared up most of my points;

HDTV with a satellite is a no go, totallymaxed do you know when will HDTV tuners be available? by the looks of it it would need to be a DVB-T2 tuner. Otherwise I shall just have to settle for SD TV.

Bluray - So after searching it doesn't look like I will easily be watching Bluray on my TV without a Bluray player, however, eventually support will be there, so if I buy a Bluray drive now, will it still work with normal DVD's? or is that just extra hassle worth avoiding.

Graphics Card or No graphics Card - seems like no is a simpler choice.

Nokia N800/Orbiter - Im not planning on having those, I don't think I will need one, I only plan on controlling the TV.

Gyro Air mouse - I was hoping for a remote with all the other buttons as well. such as the newbielink:http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Using_the_Gyration_Remote_GYR3101US_(Non-Fiire_Chief [nonactive])

Cooling - I will look into that more when I come to pick hardware I think.

Quote
I highly recommend that you consider buying a core from some place like newbielink:http://lmcecompatible.com/ [nonactive]. I bought a barebones core from them and it was the best decision I made.

Which core did you buy? I can only see media directors on the site quoted, and no cores as all. The PC that I use now i double checked all the components would work looking on the newbielink:http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/ [nonactive] and asking in the forums once I had chosen everything I wanted. If it should come to building it I can do the same again.

Also the other computers (windows boxes) I don't want anything to happen to them except being able to share what's on the HDD, and even that's not a priority.

Cheers

nonc.

totallymaxed

  • LinuxMCE God
  • ****
  • Posts: 4540
  • Smart Home Consulting
    • View Profile
    • Dianemo - at home with technology
Re: What do I need for my plan?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2010, 03:28:54 pm »
Thanks st8ofmi9d, purps and totallymaxed.

Thanks for the help, it has cleared up most of my points;

HDTV with a satellite is a no go, totallymaxed do you know when will HDTV tuners be available? by the looks of it it would need to be a DVB-T2 tuner. Otherwise I shall just have to settle for SD TV.
Re Above
FreeviewHD will require DVB-T2 compatible tuners. No one so far as i know has announced when they will be available.
Quote

Bluray - So after searching it doesn't look like I will easily be watching Bluray on my TV without a Bluray player, however, eventually support will be there, so if I buy a Bluray drive now, will it still work with normal DVD's? or is that just extra hassle worth avoiding.
BluRay support is still in its early phase of development under Linux and is not currently part of the LinuxMCE builds as standard. I would suggest not buying a BluRay drive now...they will certainly drop further in price & increase in performance and therefore buying one later when you actually can use it would be a better strategy in my opinion.
Quote

Graphics Card or No graphics Card - seems like no is a simpler choice.
Since your building a Hybrid Core I would suggest looking at PCie nVidia graphics cards (9400/9500 would be fine). It will widen your choice of motherboards.
Quote

Nokia N800/Orbiter - Im not planning on having those, I don't think I will need one, I only plan on controlling the TV.

Gyro Air mouse - I was hoping for a remote with all the other buttons as well. such as the http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Using_the_Gyration_Remote_GYR3101US_(Non-Fiire_Chief)

Cooling - I will look into that more when I come to pick hardware I think.

Quote
I highly recommend that you consider buying a core from some place like http://lmcecompatible.com/. I bought a barebones core from them and it was the best decision I made.

Which core did you buy? I can only see media directors on the site quoted, and no cores as all. The PC that I use now i double checked all the components would work looking on the http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/ and asking in the forums once I had chosen everything I wanted. If it should come to building it I can do the same again.

Also the other computers (windows boxes) I don't want anything to happen to them except being able to share what's on the HDD, and even that's not a priority.

Cheers

nonc.
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

http://www.dianemo.co.uk

B34N

  • Guru
  • ****
  • Posts: 156
    • View Profile
Re: What do I need for my plan?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2010, 03:33:24 pm »

Quote
I highly recommend that you consider buying a core from some place like http://lmcecompatible.com/. I bought a barebones core from them and it was the best decision I made.

Which core did you buy? I can only see media directors on the site quoted, and no cores as all. The PC that I use now i double checked all the components would work looking on the http://www.linuxquestions.org/hcl/ and asking in the forums once I had chosen everything I wanted. If it should come to building it I can do the same again.

The owner (tkmedia) frequents the forums and the IRC. I sent him an e-mail letting him know what I wanted to do and listed the components that I already had. The next day I had a quote and a week or two later I was installing LMCE.

I would skip the blu ray for now. It may be a VERY long time until it is supported in Linux.