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My Media P.C. Build


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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 5:52 pm   
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Hello, I am in the process on building a home media P.C. /server. I have already built the P.C. , its a Zotac mini ITX with 4gig of ram and (4) 1T hard drives. I am very much a linux noob, although I have played around with many distros over the years. I installed the latest Ubuntu on the 1st hard drive and have the OS up and running. I also have installed the codecs so I can watch DVD's on it. I have not yet partitioned the other 3 drives till I have a better idea on the best way to proceed. Most of the online resources that outline linux media center builds seem a bit dated to me, thats why I'd like to ask for some advice on the best way to proceed.

This is what i want my media P.C. to do;

1. Rip and compress DVD's and store them and then be able to stream them to my TV or other P.C.'s on my LAN.

2. Rip and store music files and then be able to stream them to my stereo or other P.C.'s on my LAN.

3. Be able to access the media P.C. via other P.C.'s on the LAN using remote desk top so I can control it remotely. My other P.C.'s are running the "other" O.S.

What would be your recommendations for the Apps to do all this, and have any of you run across an online tutorial to help me bring all this together ?

I hope I'm not asking for instructions for building the space shuttle, lol.
I have been watching movie's from HULU so far, and my wife is loving it.
So far the thing about Ubuntu that amazes me is the fast boot and shutdown time. Crazy fast !
Thanks for all your help and I look forward to your advice.


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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 6:04 pm   
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I'd take a close look at handbrake, and at vlc.

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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:25 pm   
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1) There are many different ways of streaming... what exactly are you looking for? Do you want the other PCs on your LAN to be thin-clients where they are just logging in to a stream? Then VLC can do this although IMO the interface isn't that great and its a bit cumbersome to use. It does provide the option of controlling the streaming server through a crude web interface.

To "stream" them to your TV I would just hook up the PC to your TV's VGA/HDMI/DVI input (depending on what kind of output your box has..) and play the videos fullscreen. You can use VNC (see #3) or a wireless keyboard/mouse to control it. I assume this is how you're watching Hulu already?

For PCs on your LAN (BTW - what operating system(s) are they?). I'd think the easiest thing to do here is simply to setup SMB shares on the media server and then have the other PCs connect to the share. SMB works pretty well on Windows, Linux, and Mac, plus it provides "random access" (unlike ftp) so you can skip through a video without having to wait for the local PC to "download" or cache the entire video file. This isn't really "streaming" since you are just accessing the files over a network and your local computer is handling decoding/playing the video, but IMO it's significantly easier than setting up and trying to remotely controlling streaming. Plus it has the added benefit of the server simply acting as a big network storage device, rather than doing the heavy lifting of streaming and decoding - which could be bad if you were trying to access different things from multiple PCs.

On the other hand, if you wanted to watch content on a console like a Playstation 3 then you will probably want to setup some sort of streaming server. I use a combination of "ps3mediaserver" and Netflix at home.

2) What kind of stereo? Normally these aren't network enabled. Again for PCs on the network I'd recommend just setting up file sharing rather than streaming.

3) Check out VNC


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 PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:55 pm   
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gnump3d 3.0
A streaming server for MP3s, OGG vorbis files, movies and other media formats.
http://www.gnu.org/software/gnump3d/
That's pretty cool too.



I'm just guessing, but you might really want something like this:
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/MediaTomb

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 PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2010 10:06 pm   
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Thanks Crouse and VHockey86 , I think between Handbrake for the ripping and SMB for the storage that will get me started for a home media server. I'll keep you posted how it goes.
Thanks again.


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