Media PC Project

One thing that I’ve been planning for quite some time now, is a media centre PC. You know – one of these fancy living room based PC’s… that does your digital TV, DVD playing, music playing, picture collection, the whole works.

I’ve already tried once. First time around, I used a 1GHz Mini-ITX Via board, a Hauppauge WinTV PVR 250 TV card, a laptop DVD drive and a few assorted bits and bobs. The plan was to get it all up and running in a tiny case (a Travla c137), running Linux. Things didn’t go to plan. Nothing really worked particularly well. Certainly not well enough to give to the family to use.

It’s been a few months now since that last try. After a bit more research (and a few more products on the market), I’m putting together a plan to have another stab at things.

Things are all up on the air, as I can’t afford to spend a couple of hundred notes on computer parts. Maybe in a couple of months, which is why I’m just doing the planning.

Here’s a brief guide to what I’m wanting to be sitting under my TV :-

  • Nice, attractive case that fits in with a living room surroundings.
  • Minimum of 2.4GHz. Probably Celeron.
  • 512MB of RAM.
  • Minimum of a straight DVD drive.
  • Good quality sound card with 5.1 & digital output
  • Digital “Freeview” TV card.
  • Windows XP Media Center 2004 + remote control

So far, I’ve got the software and remote. I’ve also been scouting out the options for a case. Kustom PC’s have some very nice cases. Particularly this Silverstone case and this Accent case. Shame they’re around twice the price or more of a desktop PC case.

Things’ll get updated as the project moves along.