Author Topic: Building a new system - please help!  (Read 6030 times)


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Building a new system - please help!
« on: June 08, 2008, 05:10:52 pm »
Okay.  I want to build a new system, so I will describe what I have now and what I want to be able to do.  I'm kind of a newbie so go easy on me.

I've got a 21" crt TV with a PS2 for dvd playback and a Tivo for recording junk. I get basic basic cable from comcast. I'd like to get a large lcd tv - but have been told that that won't function with my basic basic cable.  I also wouldn't mind getting rid of the tivo in favor of something else. 

Then it occured to me to look into building a linux midia center.  I watched the video for MCE and was impressed.  So here's what I'd like:

42"-47" lcd tv.  Media center with ability to play dvd's, music, photos, tivo functionality, and live tv functionality.  also, ability to use internet on the tv would be great.

I'm at that point in my life where i'm increasingly wishing things would 'just work' - so i don't want any beta or experimental stuff.  That being said, what equipment do i need?  I don't have the money to blow on all this stuff, so no extravagant stuff here.  What are things I need to watch out for when picking a tv, computer components, etc?  do i need to upgrade my cable?  I don't know any of this.

To top it all off, here's the last question.  My wife is legally blind and so ease of use is very important.  She can see a little, and has figured out the essential functions of the tivo, but it's hard.  does this sound like something she will be able to use?  to watch live tv, recorded shows, or dvd?

Sorry for my long post, but thank you in advance for any help!


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Re: Building a new system - please help!
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2008, 05:42:22 pm »
Here are some things you should know:

1.) Linuxmce will require tweaking.  However, once it's working, you'll quickly find it's worth it.  If you're not willing to seriously work at it, don't even start.
2.) Use an NVIDIA graphics card.  ATI has poor linux support (although it's making great strides) and NVIDIA is plug and play.
3.) Use the quick DVD install method if you can.  It only takes 20 mins as opposed to 2 hours.  However, it does format your whole hard drive.
4.) linuxMCE can replace your tivo.  However, you'll need to sign up for a schedules direct account to get listings.  This is much cheaper than tivo.  It's around $15 a year or something close.
5.) If you are plugging into an LCD tv, you'll need a way to get video to it.  TV with a DVI port is the easiest.  If it only has hdmi, you need a HDMI>DVI cable.  Also, alot of tvs have a VGA plug
6.) The easiest remote you can get for this is the fiire remote that was shown in the video.  Would be easy for your wife I think
7.) The only real hardware you need is a computer, display, and remote.  You can use a mouse as a cheap remote too.  It's only when you get into home automation that you need new hardware.
8.) This is a problem I had.  Watch out for your video card over heating. 
9.) If you get a tv with a rsr232 control port (make sure it's control, not service only), you can control the TV with linuxmce. 
10.) If you want to watch TV on this thing, you'll need a tv tuner card for the computer.  I recommend haupauge cards.  Look around the wiki and forums and you'll find plug and play lists.  But haupauge generally are going to work, maybe just not plug and play

Also, check youtube.  Search for linuxmce.  I made some videos that might help you with the computer side.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2008, 05:45:04 pm by Afkpuz »


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Re: Building a new system - please help!
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2008, 03:47:43 pm »
I am delighted to hear that people that are legally blind are looking into using LimuxMCE. I too am legally blind and set up an accessibility section in the Wiki. Things you should know:
- Accessibility is largely untested
- Magnification is crucial
- A gnome enviornment as opposed to KDE would be great. I mean, use KDe for the base and then add on top a gnome desktop.
- You may at this point be better off with Mithbuntu for what you want to do. Accessibility is much better for surfing the internet and possibily music playback.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to contact me via private message or reply to this thread.
Thanks for listening,