Author Topic: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post  (Read 2967 times)

geekincolorado

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Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« on: December 01, 2008, 09:24:07 pm »
It has been just about a year since I first looked at this project but still have not
seen as much progress as I have hoped for.  I am still running my MEDIA CENTER back
and forth between linuxmce and MCE 2005 (swap drive out and put another drive in) as Vista Ultimate was joke.  I like MCE 2005
because the extenders can be bought cheap (DMA 2200 around $130 or 2100 for about $100) or
you can go really cheap like I did for the kid's rooms and use an old KLEGG box to just pick the
.vob files off a share (have gotten these for as a little as $60).  I don't have any clients (Media Director)
that I can use with linuxmce at this time as I still haven't seen anything that this small and works well for under $200.00.  Because
of this I am asking people to post three things about their Media Director(s) if they have one:

By the way for those who care I am in the U.S.

1.  How much you got in the rig?
2.  What does it consist of (specs including models if possible)
3.  On a scale from 1 to 10    1 being easiest   10 being hardest how hard was it to set up.

Thanks!

tschak909

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2008, 09:48:42 pm »
"Still haven't seen as much progress as I've hoped for."

Well gee, sorry we haven't done enough to please you.

Here's a thought! Why don't you get down in the dirt with us and help?

*hmm* people like you really piss me off.

-Thom

hari

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2008, 10:07:14 pm »
By the way for those who care I am in the U.S.
I don't.

Quote
1.  How much you got in the rig?
plenty!!

Quote
2.  What does it consist of (specs including models if possible)
even more!!

Quote
3.  On a scale from 1 to 10    1 being easiest   10 being hardest how hard was it to set up.
Full PnP!! It even washes my laundry.


Get an apple TV.

Hari
rock your home - http://www.agocontrol.com home automation

geekincolorado

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2008, 10:46:45 pm »
Absolutely totally uncalled for.  Is that what this whole forum is all about spending time and throwing insults and stupid remarks at people trying to find things out?  If that is the case then you can just delete my membership and all my threads together.  This IS not how linux came about or any other distro.  I spend my days supporting engineers that are from all aspects of development and when we all get together and throw ideas out something gets done.  I do over a hundred kickstart loads a month and don't feel like spending my hard earned time at home figuring something else out.  We don't throw insults at each other or nasty comments like the above.  Please just read post the 3 items or keep your trap shut.  Enough said!!
« Last Edit: December 01, 2008, 10:50:30 pm by geekincolorado »

totallymaxed

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2008, 11:18:51 pm »
Absolutely totally uncalled for.  Is that what this whole forum is all about spending time and throwing insults and stupid remarks at people trying to find things out?  If that is the case then you can just delete my membership and all my threads together.  This IS not how linux came about or any other distro.  I spend my days supporting engineers that are from all aspects of development and when we all get together and throw ideas out something gets done.  I do over a hundred kickstart loads a month and don't feel like spending my hard earned time at home figuring something else out.  We don't throw insults at each other or nasty comments like the above.  Please just read post the 3 items or keep your trap shut.  Enough said!!

Well ok you have a point... but on the other hand Hari & tschak909 are two of the driving force developers here and they rightly get pee'd off when people casually drop back here and expect something they have no right too.... try contributing instead of taking is my recommendation. Dont just criticise... get involved.

All the best

Andrew
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golgoj4

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2008, 11:26:09 pm »
Absolutely totally uncalled for.  Is that what this whole forum is all about spending time and throwing insults and stupid remarks at people trying to find things out?  If that is the case then you can just delete my membership and all my threads together.  This IS not how linux came about or any other distro.  I spend my days supporting engineers that are from all aspects of development and when we all get together and throw ideas out something gets done.  I do over a hundred kickstart loads a month and don't feel like spending my hard earned time at home figuring something else out.  We don't throw insults at each other or nasty comments like the above.  Please just read post the 3 items or keep your trap shut.  Enough said!!

Actually, far from enough said.

The two people who responded are devs who have busted their ass in THEIR free time to move this project along. In what universe exactly do they suddenly become your employee / research assistant because you want to know something?

Sorry you dont 'feel like' spending your free time to research, but it is FAR from anyone else's job to sit here and do your research for you. And just in case you missed it, there are pages upon pages of those same people helping other uses who have actually put forth a good faith effort to do their own research into their hardware. Seriously man, wtf!?!?! Im no linux guru, but im pretty sure it didnt evolve because of people who 'didnt feel like spending their hard earned time'.

Moral of the story, less flame, more effort on your part. youll find that road a lot more usefull than the entitlement attitude. Oh and searching works too. there are so many threads on hardware... Also, check out the wiki. Im sorry but the hardware aint rocket science. But ill give you some high points:

-Nvidia GPU
-non crappy hard drive for system
-other drives for media
-linux compatible motherboard. <--- general statement because i bought multiple boards which are no longer produced. Dont know what the kids are using for new builds these days.
-pvr 150 or 500 for sd tv
-hd homerun for HD
-(2) nics
-usb_uirt for av control

thats basically what you need. there is more as you expand, but ill leave that to you.

Or you can check the wiki and bypass my generalizations for more specifics. Wiki put there by other users who somehow found the time...
Those people who tell you not to take chances, they are all missing what life's all about.

Wiki Hardware Page http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Langstonius

krys

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2008, 12:00:00 am »
-Free server from work
-4 x $50 workstations off ebay (2ghz, 512 RAM, no HD, small form factor)
-free hub
-free old NIC
-$60 in cat5e and connectors
-$50 usbuirt
up and running for cheap, but I have a long way to go till I am satisfied.
So far the experience has been a little rocky but I would say its easy enough for a novice who knows how to browse this forum. The only problem I havent resolved yet is a NIC that wont netboot.

Zaerc

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2008, 03:40:48 am »
Absolutely totally uncalled for.  Is that what this whole forum is all about spending time and throwing insults and stupid remarks at people trying to find things out?  If that is the case then you can just delete my membership and all my threads together.  This IS not how linux came about or any other distro.  I spend my days supporting engineers that are from all aspects of development and when we all get together and throw ideas out something gets done.  I do over a hundred kickstart loads a month and don't feel like spending my hard earned time at home figuring something else out.  We don't throw insults at each other or nasty comments like the above.  Please just read post the 3 items or keep your trap shut.  Enough said!!

Looks like we've got another live one here. ;D  Care to point out what exactly was so insulting? ???

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geekincolorado

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2008, 04:23:29 am »
Let me point out a couple of things and then I will move on.  First, I asked politely at the beginning with the word, "Please".  Second, I never demanded anything and I was just sharing an observation as to what I have seen as a Linux user over the last year.  Thirdly, being an ass is no way to get help or money for development.  Do you think a company like FIIRE treats their customers like this...I don't think so.  I work for a very large storage company and feedback from customers is primarily how we build our product to have it become what it has (not going to mention names) and treating someone like this is not going to get you any cool toys.  This is just my advice and if you don't like it then please just delete myself as a user and I will look elsewhere. 

« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 04:29:16 am by geekincolorado »

freymann

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2008, 04:25:38 am »
1.  How much you got in the rig?

Over $3 grand and counting.

Quote
2.  What does it consist of (specs including models if possible)

Read all about my setup on my wiki page. Link in my signature below.

Quote
3.  On a scale from 1 to 10    1 being easiest   10 being hardest how hard was it to set up.

I would say that the initial setup was rather difficult, but I came back with new equipment that 'just worked' (thank goodness) and then put in some time and effort to make it work.

If you're into the Microsoft run the exe file and be finished mode LMCE ain't for you.

As for media directors...

I've tried two VIA based boxes that cost me under $200 including shipping. Both were initially connected to older style TV's via the RCA Video Out. I added a remote and some network cabling. Probably still under $200 a pop. I have since sold one that was in my office and swapped out an old CRT TV in the master-bedroom for a 22" widescreen Acer monitor. Both via boxes wouldn't run LMCE properly so I installed MythBuntu onto them, mapped to my media drive in the LMCE core, and enjoyed.

Other media directors? For testing purposes.. my existing Dell Notebook. UI1 works fine with LMCE here. My HP Pavallion a1730n. Boots up great as a LMCE MD. However on both of these machines I can't watch LiveTV but lights, photos, music and movies all work. This hasn't been a major problem yet and I'm waiting for 8.10 to be released to see if that fixes up my issue.

Other cheap media directors for under $200? I've got my eye on this box to eventually go into the master bedroom and replace the via box:

http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856167032&Tpk=N82E16856167032
MSI Wind PC Intel 945GC 1 x 200Pin Intel GMA 950 Black Barebone
Currently $165 CDN.

If I book marked that correctly, this box was talked about recently in the forums and is workable. That's a bit cheaper than the other box I had in mind:

ASUS EEE BOX B202 BLACK, INTEL ATOM 1.6G,1G,80G,XP,KB

which is currently $355 CDN from a Canadian ebay store.

If you look over my wiki page you'll see my living-room MD was simply a AMD 4200 barebones that I added more 'stuff' to and the core is the same thing.

How much money you may need to spend depends on your requirements.

Zaerc

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2008, 05:12:51 am »
Let me point out a couple of things and then I will move on.  First, I asked politely at the beginning with the word, "Please".  Second, I never demanded anything and I was just sharing an observation as to what I have seen as a Linux user over the last year.  Thirdly, being an ass is no way to get help or money for development.  Do you think a company like FIIRE treats their customers like this...I don't think so.  I work for a very large storage company and feedback from customers is primarily how we build our product to have it become what it has (not going to mention names) and treating someone like this is not going to get you any cool toys.  This is just my advice and if you don't like it then please just delete myself as a user and I will look elsewhere. 


Customers, products, companies... are you sure you're in the right forum here?  Maybe you should ask for your money back.  :P

Furthermore the only one that I see being an ass here is you.  I don't see anyone telling you to "keep your trap shut" as you so eloquently put it yourself. ::)  And like I asked you before, "treating someone like" what exactly? 

Also feel free to delete your own account anytime, nobody will be in a rush to do it for you.  Oh the drama!

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hari

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2008, 09:38:30 am »
Get an apple TV.
this was no offense, but it looked like that our geek in colorado does not want to spend time into his home automation project. So a finished product is maybe a better idea.

And it was a subtile pointer to my setup

 |
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\  /
 V
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totallymaxed

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2008, 11:34:43 am »
Let me point out a couple of things and then I will move on.  First, I asked politely at the beginning with the word, "Please".  Second, I never demanded anything and I was just sharing an observation as to what I have seen as a Linux user over the last year.  Thirdly, being an ass is no way to get help or money for development.  Do you think a company like FIIRE treats their customers like this...I don't think so.  I work for a very large storage company and feedback from customers is primarily how we build our product to have it become what it has (not going to mention names) and treating someone like this is not going to get you any cool toys.  This is just my advice and if you don't like it then please just delete myself as a user and I will look elsewhere. 

Hmmm... firstly I would not hold Fiire up here as a good role model... searching the Forum will show you that a number of people have had rather less than stellar service from them.

However the reference to customers is interesting... no one here is a 'customer'. This is a FOSS community and not a commercial endeavor in any way shape or form. Yes I work for a company and yes we build home automation systems and those systems ship with our 'flavour' of LinuxMCE which is called Dianemo. However my participation here is not about selling anything to anyone at all... its about putting something back into the community to balance the incredible value we get back from the people here and the software they create and shape. This community is a mix of all kinds of people from an incredibly diverse set of backgrounds and who have an equally diverse range of skills that they contribute. Some are developers and contribute code others are just users who contribute by testing or jut using the system... and there are all kinds of people in between these two extremes.

All of us here will help anyone who needs help on a 'free as in beer' basis. But we all get a little peeved when someone arrives here and just moans about everything.

Get involved positively is recommendation :-)

All the best

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom
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Build your system on the latest Ubuntu LTS OS Release!

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seth

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2008, 02:02:22 pm »
 :(
I would come to the defense of the people using their vast knowledge and spare time in making this project desirable. There are good reasons for the things that were said in response to the original post. These guys work very hard, and sacrifice very much for this project. They have my respect, and if you stick around, you will learn to respect them as well.

But as to cost, I can chime in on this as I do not have a lot of money for this project, but I get by.

My Core is headless and is running on an hp proliant ML330 G3. I received this from work, but have seen them on e-bay for <= $300 US.
This has a single Xeon 2.8GHz dual core CPU and 2.5G of Ram. It does the job nicely.
It has an onboard Broadcom Gigabit ethernet, and an additional Broadcom chipped Compaq Ggabit ethernet adapter.
It has 1 100G IDE drive (OS and MD images), that I bought for $40 US
A 80G SATA2 drive (Audio, Photos, Documents as per pluto structure) that I got for free from a friend
A 500G WD SATA2 drive (TV recordings) This was $69.99 OEM from Newegg.
A 500G WD MyBook external USB/SATA2 drive (Videos) $69.99 eCost.32+14+
2 Asus OEM Black DVD Drives (Read only) that were $16 each from newegg.
A Rosewill SATA2/E-SATA card 4 - SATA ports, 2 - E-SATA ports that I got for $14 from Newegg. (Newegg rocks)

My Living Room MD is my primary viewing/listening station
This has just recently been upgraded, and I am sad to say is not running just yet. I purchased a new board and chip combo from Newegg, it cost $114.99 Free Shipping and is an Asus M3A78-EM with and AMD X2 5000+ CPU. I also purchased 2G of ram DDR2 1066 for $32.99 free ship.
It is house in an nMedia HTPC200BA Black HTPC case with a silent nmedia powersupply, this cost $180 for everything from Newegg about 2 years ago. Was previously a knoppmyth box.
It also has 2 Hauppauge PVR150MCE cards in it, that both came with MCE remotes, and USB IR receivers (fully plug and play w/LMCE) and I got them for about $60 each on e-bay.
I do not use the MCE bits here, I use a USB-UIRT $65 Shipped, and a Gyration remote 310US $40 Circuit City (I have 2 of these) so $80.

My Family room MD is a Compaq Evo w/ a 1.8GHz CPU and 512M of ram. $50 Craigslist
It is attached to a Kworld PC to TV converter $55 Newegg
Has one of the MCE remote/receiver combos on it.

These are the only new items in my setup, the rest can be viewed on my user page contained in my signature.

So recently, and the ones that are most used the total is:

$1000 rounded up.

I do not currently do HD, if this were the case the MD specs would probably need to change, but even with the MD's in my girls rooms, I still come in under $1300 dollars, for everything.

This does not include my Insteon automation deployment, but even adding that it would still come in under $1600 US.

The most heavily used MD in the house would be the Evo. And that if you were to buy a MCE remote seperate, only would cost approximately $160 US, so that would come under the $200 price range.  :)

Lets see Fiire do that  ;)

I hope you see that this project is worth staying with, and that giving the proper respect to those who make it all work, will definitely allow it to improve your style of life. It has improved mine.

Welcome, and Regards,

Seth
« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 02:05:47 pm by seth »
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fearingsept

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Re: Media Directors for $200 or LESS! Please post
« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2008, 02:43:43 pm »
Quote
how much is in your rig?
About $700 and some change in actual computer hardware, Did not include cost of cable, wall jacks.

Quote
What does it consist of (specs including models if possible)
Hybrid Core: Abit-AN8 Motherboard, AMD Athlon 64 x2 3800, 1Gig of RAM. 2 Western Digital 250GB Hard Drive, Western Digital 160GB Hard Drive, Hauppauge PVR 150, Biostar NVIDIA 7300LE, iPanel w/pen

MD1: ASUS Mother board that I scrapped out of an old unit, I don't even know what it is off hand. Intel Celeron 2.6Ghz Processor, Nvidia 5100 PCI video card (running UI2 w/translucencies), 1Gig of ram, NIC 10/100, Microsoft IR blaster and remote.

MD2: Dell GX270 small form factor. given to me by my work. Had blown caps on the mother board. I replaced the caps and it works great. P4 2.5Ghz, 512mb of ram. some crappy ATI video card running UI1, NIC 10/1000.
 
1  8 port gigabit switch
I am sure there is more but I cannot recall at the moment.

Quote
On a scale from 1 to 10    1 being easiest   10 being hardest how hard was it to set up.

2 or 3 if you get known working hardware. 6-8 if you just plug in whatever you happen to have lying around. I am on a fixed technology budget but I still manage to find ways to get parts and try them out. I find that it helps if you have an old system set up as a test hybrid and maybe a slow switch. I use these for testing changes to my system so I don't break anything. Since I fix computers on the side anyway this is hardware I happen to have. It has proven very helpful in troubleshooting and testing unsupported hardware.




To go further on the point I think others are trying to make: perhaps you may have perceived others reactions to your comment rude or uncalled for. But you have to at least understand where they are coming from. Unlike large companies that have vast amounts of resources most developers here are using their spare time and funds to do a great deal of work. The results may not come as quickly as you might like but as it sits this system does so much more then anything else out there right now for the least amount of cost. Still, I believe LMCE has more potential then any other media project and home solution then I have seen to date.   It has not always been easy for me but I am in love with the concept and am die hard for this project. Which leads me to a point where I even feel bad because I cannot help more. I am often asking questions and most of the time I get answers that are very helpful.

If you are looking for just media extensions and a DVR then I would suggest going with another system that just does that. But if you are looking for a smart home solution that basically does everything and is still improving then I say be patient, buy supported hardware for ease of use and build good relationships with people on this forum and you will see the reward with very little effort.
Core: Broken :(