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View Full Version : Media Center PC as "remote"



gusi
2006-11-17, 23:21
I have been looking at different devices as a remote and since my TV and hifi are in the same room it struck me that I could get a media center PC as a remote. As a bonus this would reduce the box count around the TV.

Does anyone use a media center PC? I haven't seen one in action before but I assume you have a wireless keyboard and mouse on your lap and big fonts on the TV.

Pros
No laptops around the sofa
Can put dvd and stb's in one box
Could run SS

Cons
Could be noisy
TV might be hard to read across the room.
Can only be used in front of the TV

Wirrunna
2006-11-18, 03:18
I have started to run SlimRemote on my HTPC, works well but the pc text output on a 720 x 576 CRT screen is very bad and pretty well unreadable. Will be a lot better on a 1080p 102cm LCD when I can afford one.
I use a Shintaro wireless keyboard to control the HTPC.

Rangdo
2006-11-18, 04:23
I've got a HP Compaq slimline business desktop that functions very nicely. Very quiet, hooked up to my LCD telly with a 5m VGA cable so the PC is actually inside my hifi cabinet.

Logitech wireless keyboard and mouse for when I need to use them, otherwise I control it via VNC from my laptop.

LogiSoft
2006-11-18, 04:43
What gusi is looking for (and also me) is the possibility to have a webbrowser/interface/plugin INTO the mediacenter interface. So that you can control a Squeezebox with the romote controller of the Media Center PC connected to a plasma screen and that you can select music, artists, genres, playlists, ... with the Media Center Interface.

I know how to work with my laptop and VNC; my wife, parents, children, visitors, ... don't have those technical skills.

gusi
2006-11-18, 06:28
Does media center come with it's own remote? Does it use a TV and a "normal PC" monitor? I might have to visit a shop and see how it works.

I know how to drive VNC but once I use a laptop I may as well point its browser straight at my SS.

Rangdo
2006-11-18, 07:43
My mistake, I'd assumed you'd have already seen topics such as this one http://forums.slimdevices.com/showthread.php?t=29789&highlight=mce posted yesterday which discusses whether you can control SS via MCE.

MCE is just Windows XP but with a full-screen application optimised for viewing on a TV (large icons, easy navigation using the included remote, etc).

If you want you can hook it up to a normal monitor, or a TV - my TV is my sole monitor hence the reference to VNC if I want to use the PC as a PC.

There is a plugin that allows MCE to act as a browser (quick Google will take you there) together with zoom functions for easy reading at a distance but navigating the SS web interface isn't great via remote, you'd need a wireless mouse for that.

LogiSoft
2006-11-18, 08:04
Does media center come with it's own remote? Does it use a TV and a "normal PC" monitor? I might have to visit a shop and see how it works.

I know how to drive VNC but once I use a laptop I may as well point its browser straight at my SS.

I use my TV as a monitor. I have connected the VGA cable of my PC to the VGA port of my TV. The PC is in the basement. So when you are in the living room you see only a normal plasma screen on the wall. But in fact it's the monitor of the PC in the basement.

With the remote controle of Media Center you can control the PC. Optionally there is also a wireless MCE keyboard. Both the keyboard and mouse have a infrared port. The receiver is on top of my plasma and is also connected to the PC in the basement. The 5.1 Home Theatre System is also connected to the audio card of the PC.

I am using a dual tuner card in the PC. With this card it's possible to record two TV shows or watch one and record another.

When I use the wireless keyboard I can go on the internet, chat with my friends, ...

gusi
2006-11-18, 23:50
Ah ha I didn't realize that MCE = media center thanks for the links.

Does linux or Mac have a media center option?
You'd think that an X windows based solution would be much more flexible. You could then display controlling apps on remote X window managers such as a linux pda or phone.

peter
2006-11-25, 03:09
On Sat, 18 Nov 2006 22:50:12 -0800, "gusi"
<gusi.2hic9n1163919301 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> Ah ha I didn't realize that MCE = media center thanks for the links.

The E is for Edition.

> Does linux or Mac have a media center option?
> You'd think that an X windows based solution would be much more
> flexible. You could then display controlling apps on remote X window
> managers such as a linux pda or phone.

I use MythTV on Linux for that. I have three tuners so I can record 3
shows simultaneously ;). The TV-Out of my server (which is in a seperate
room) is connected to a stereo AV RF Modulator, which broadcast the AV
signal as just another TV channel on my internal TV cable. I have 4 TV
sets running off that cable.

As for control, that's where my slimserver network comes in. All TV's
have an SB3 next to them which main role is to play music, of course,
but that can also be used to remotely control the MythTV server over a
Lirc (Linux Infra Red Control) plugin and 'lirc junction box' I wrote in
Perl for this purpose.

http://a213-84-196-8.adsl.xs4all.nl/slim2lirc/lircjb
http://a213-84-196-8.adsl.xs4all.nl/slim2lirc/Mythbox.pm

I also added some menu options to MythTV to watch the output of an Axis
IP camera on my TV's (again controlled by the SB3).

Regards,
Peter

MelonMonkey
2006-11-25, 09:08
SageTV is available for Linux in an OEM version and is currently in beta for Mac OS.

http://sageTV.com

I've been running it for over a year under Windows as my primary TV tuner interface and PVR (two tuners dumping onto 800GB of HD in a nice media enclosure).

Setting up an PVR/Server software under Windows is a huge hassle and requires periodic maintenance. I don't have personal experience setting up Sage under Linux nor with Mac OS. I imagine once set up the installs will remain bulletproof however (unlike Windows).

MythTV requires a lot more tinkering and just didn't suit the PVR experience I was looking for.

peter
2006-11-25, 10:15
On Sat, 25 Nov 2006 08:08:10 -0800, "MelonMonkey"
<MelonMonkey.2hu5yn1164471001 (AT) no-mx (DOT) forums.slimdevices.com> said:
>
> SageTV is available for Linux in an OEM version and is currently in beta
> for Mac OS.
>
> http://sageTV.com
>
> I've been running it for over a year under Windows as my primary TV
> tuner interface and PVR (two tuners dumping onto 800GB of HD in a nice
> media enclosure).

Well, yeah, if you prefer to run windows on your server...

> Setting up an PVR/Server software under Windows is a huge hassle and
> requires periodic maintenance. I don't have personal experience
> setting up Sage under Linux nor with Mac OS. I imagine once set up the
> installs will remain bulletproof however (unlike Windows).
>
> MythTV requires a lot more tinkering and just didn't suit the PVR
> experience I was looking for.

That's true. Installing it was not trivial (at least a year ago). Then
again, like most things in Linux it was made for tinkering and that's
exactly why I like it. Not unlike the slimserver experience. Thanks to
the tinkerfriendlyness of my toys I can make them fit together very
well.

How do SageTV and slimserver fit in?

Regards,
Peter

MelonMonkey
2006-11-25, 11:42
How do SageTV and slimserver fit in?


I don't know. ;) I run Slimserver on a PowerMac G4 with Mac OS 10.4.8 and there's no chance I will ever try installing it in Windows. I might move it to Linux in the future, but Windows just isn't a suitable OS for any kind of server-based software. At least not with a desktop installation of XP Pro.

My goal is to eventually run SageTV under Linux as well. But right now that setup is something I can't dedicate the time to.

The PowerMac G4 also runs SVN, FogBugz issue tracking and a few development-related mySQL databases.

I don't mean to upset anyone, but running this stuff on Windows would be like building the foundation of a skyscraper using toothpicks (without glue).

ModelCitizen
2006-11-25, 15:07
I don't know. ;) I run Slimserver on a PowerMac G4 with Mac OS 10.4.8 and there's no chance I will ever try installing it in Windows. I might move it to Linux in the future, but Windows just isn't a suitable OS for any kind of server-based software. At least not with a desktop installation of XP Pro.
I don't mean to upset anyone, but running this stuff on Windows would be like building the foundation of a skyscraper using toothpicks (without glue).
Strange.
I've been running umpteen types of server (including SlimServer) on XP Pro at home for a long time and find it absolutely rock solid. Never a problem, never a crash.
I am also a partner in a web hosting business. We used to run FreeBSD exclusively but in recent years have included Windows 2003 servers. We've had virtually no problems with these either and doing almost anything on them is so much less of a headache then trying to do a similar think with *nix.
BTW, I'm not upset, just bemused.
MC