Adventures in HTPC

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Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:57 am

So after looking and researching mini-itx setups I settled on on something completely different. I knew I wanted to use Xbmc as the front-end/ overall OS because it does what I want it to do and besides its damn sexy!

After doing more and more research I cam across VDPAU. (Mind you all of this is really new to me so it was interesting.) Which led me to one thing, the Ion Chipset by NVIDIA. Then I came across this article.

I went to purchase a Acer Aspire Revo AR1600. Actually Best Buy had two in stock at my local store and I had 75 bucks worth of rewards points stashed for a rainy day. I walked out of the Store with the Revo for 130 bucks.

So last night I set it all up according to the guide I have. (I didnt add another gig of RAM yet FYI) Pretty easy except for one caveat:

I used UNetbootin to 'burn' the Xbmc live image to USB. I cannot tell you haw useful UNetbootin is!

Everything installed without any problems, I was quickly watching 1080p Blue ray rips with ease. The Revo is quite the little powerhouse.

I am a Xbmc noob and now I need to set up wireless on the Revo, can anyone guide me on how to do this? I would like to use a USB NIC. If anyone has any tips how to sweeten Xbmc feel free to post. I am doing some "out of the box" scrapes with IMDB for some meta data for my files.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:51 pm

Nobody an Xbmc guru?
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Tue Jun 22, 2010 8:49 pm

Well, looking through their wikis they dont document it much. But it seems like you just have to install it how you normally would in the OS. Then just set up the Upnp in the network tab in XBMC.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:40 am

Yeah I thought that as much but the problem is that I cant find exactly if and what drivers they include in their distro. So that leaves me adding drivers on my own and to be honest I am not a expert in linux.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Wed Jun 23, 2010 6:30 am

Well, here is a list of wireless card support http://linux-wless.passys.nl/ . After that I think it should recognize it automatically.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:35 am

fent wrote:Well, here is a list of wireless card support http://linux-wless.passys.nl/ . After that I think it should recognize it automatically.


Thank you thank you thank you thank you....Thats is what I was needing!
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Wed Jun 23, 2010 3:14 pm

If the USB adapter doesn't pan out, you could always get a ethernet to wireless bridge or make one out of an old router and third party firmware.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 5:42 am

Steel wrote:If the USB adapter doesn't pan out, you could always get a ethernet to wireless bridge or make one out of an old router and third party firmware.


Ummm......ok I am in ignorance of this.....what does this involve? Is there a guide? Heck I have an old WRT 54G sitting on my shelf right now!!!!! If this saves me money heck yeah!
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:27 am

Yup, just google "using a wrt54 as a wireless bridge" and theres a number of guides.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:35 am

DOH!
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:44 am

Just wanted to say, this looks like a nice setup for a silent and tiny HTPC!
Do .MKV files play well? Does the HDMI port pass 5.1 audio? Does it play flash based video OK?
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:06 am

FroBozz_Inc wrote:Just wanted to say, this looks like a nice setup for a silent and tiny HTPC!
Do .MKV files play well? Does the HDMI port pass 5.1 audio? Does it play flash based video OK?



Yes, all I ....ermmm.....down load are 720 and 1080 mkv. Smooth as butter. I found that if there is an issue its usually the file itself.

As for passing 5.1 sound, I am not entirely too sure. I want to say yes, but I am not positive. The reason why is when doing research I found a guide on how to enable 5.1 for the Revo. However, the date on the guide was older than the Xbmc Live version So I am assuming this was corrected in the newest version, just like the Nvidia Ion Drivers were. (I use a soundbar and sub in the living room not a true 5.1 setup) (Again this is all new to me)

Flash....I have'nt loaded the YouTube plugin yet. It on my 'to do' list after I get this bridge thing set up. :wink:

OH, I also have to add, that I bought a Windows media center remote and it worked right out of the box, no config required!
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:37 am

I've been going back and forth between something like this vs. either building an HTPC or getting something like a Dell Zino. I'd be running media center rather than xbmc, though. Is there any fan or anything that makes any noise or is it pretty much silent? Lower power consumption and noise are attractive for my application...
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 7:51 am

There is a small fan, thats virtually silent. I have had it running for over a week now and its slightly warm but not alarmingly hot. I might mod the case but for now it is fine.

Xbmc may seem daunting because its linux based but really it isnt. Most of the Scripts, scrappers, programs, and addons are already written and its simple as downloading them with the remote and running them.

I also could have gone the route of installing Ubuntu then Xbmc so I have access to PC apps but for now I have no need I just wanted a media player.

Honestly for 200 bucks or cheaper you really cannot go wrong with this setup. Anything else will cost more. At first I was looking a Ion Mini-itx mobo, but after adding in the ram, cpu, case it was almost 300 bucks, something I wasnt willing to pay. Also the footprint had to be small for me.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:18 am

I really dont know why I didnt think (or even know) about using my extra wireless router as a bridge in the living room before but Woot its complete! Now even my Xbox has a stronger connection. (I used to get dropped periodically from LIve. I always thought because I was using the original Xbox USB NIC. I refused to by the newer one with 2 antennae.)
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 11:21 am

tanker27 wrote:There is a small fan, thats virtually silent. I have had it running for over a week now and its slightly warm but not alarmingly hot. I might mod the case but for now it is fine.
That's good to hear.
tanker27 wrote:Xbmc may seem daunting because its linux based but really it isnt. Most of the Scripts, scrappers, programs, and addons are already written and its simple as downloading them with the remote and running them.
In my case I'd be adding on to existing media center infrastructure - I currently use My Movies for movie organization and playback and get TV via a basement-located HDhomerun (with plans to add a second so I have 4 tuners). I'm pretty satisfied in general with this setup, but need to add another client. Price (within reason) and ability to run other PC apps are less important at this point than footprint, quietness, power consumption, and uniformity of interface (everything working the same way makes for a happier household). If not for the TV tuning requirement and desire for uniformity, I'd probably at leasy consider the WD TV Live HD, although for a few bucks more your setup is a lot nicer/more flexible.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 3:25 pm

FWIW, I 'upgraded' from a WD TV Live HD. The dang box gave me fits playing mkv's. I gave that one to my parents.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:07 pm

Fear of thast sort of situation (along with the tv tuning requirement) is part of why I never got one. It's tough to trust a closed device to play everything, and if it doesn't there's not much to turn to.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Sun Jun 27, 2010 10:54 am

FroBozz_Inc wrote: Does the HDMI port pass 5.1 audio? Does it play flash based video OK?


I revisited these two questions this weekend And Can definitely can say that the HDMI port passes 5.1 Audio. I hooked up my old receiver and speakers to test. And as for the Flash based video, yep Youtube looks great. I used the Youtube plugin for Xbmc.

My next step is to get ahold of the Logitech DiNovo and get that working with the system.
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Wed Aug 11, 2010 11:51 am

Just wanted to say that I moved my bedroom HTPC from Mediaportal to XBMC and I'm very happy with the overall functionality and interface. Plays .FLV files GREAT without having to jump through hoops.
I didn't know that Mediaportal acutally was forked form the XBMC project years ago. That explains why they are somewhat similar.
XBMC really does kick ass, it has a lot more polish to it...
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Mon Aug 23, 2010 7:27 am

FroBozz_Inc wrote:XBMC really does kick ass, it has a lot more polish to it...


Check out their forums for how to's on different plugins. One that I like is that I use SABNZB to get "stuff" with some automation from Sick Beard from usnet, SAB processes the files, names it in the format I want then transfers it to my HTPC. all without ever having to touch the file.

Hit me up in a PM if your interested :wink:
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Mon May 02, 2011 10:24 am

I have torn down my Acer Aspire Revo AR1600 HTPC running XMBC. While it was nice I have since jumped to Boxee.

I now want to repurpose the Revo as a SABNZB machine.

This weekend I loaded up Win7 Home 32-bit and noticed that the PC was very "sluggish" in doing everything even the MS updates. Now I havent put any more RAM in it because 1G was enough for XBMC. My question and its probably rhetorical, would putting more ram say 4G worth perk this machine up?
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Mon May 02, 2011 5:21 pm

tanker27 wrote:This weekend I loaded up Win7... and noticed that the PC was very "sluggish". I havent put any more RAM in it because 1G was enough for XBMC. Would putting more ram say 4G worth perk this machine up?
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Re: Adventures in HTPC

Postposted on Mon May 02, 2011 5:51 pm

Thanks JAE. I just needed reassurance :P
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