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Kyoto

Built A Media Centre This Weekend

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The girlfriend is currently away so I've decided to go rogue by building a techy media centre at home.

I have stacks of downloaded / ripped / physical DVD movies and a bunch of TV series on my various computers. Plus a huge collection of music, lots of radio recordings, podcasts etc. Spread all over the shop and completely disorganised.

I wanted to get easy access to all of this + IPlayer, Sky Player, 4OD via the TV etc. So I ended up buying one of these to act as a media centre - an Acer Rrevo 3610:

acer-aspire-revo-nettop-pc.jpg

It's a great little unit - slots under the TV, almost silent, capable of processing 1080p, boots in about 10 seconds from an SSD drive.

I also invested in 2 x 1 terrabyte external hard drives and an external blu ray, and then used various programs to organise all of the digital files, download album covers, metadata etc.

The main interface for watching this is XBox Media Centre which has a great interface for accessing movies and TV etc:

xbmc2.jpg

Backed by Windows 7 Media Centre for watching TV and Sky Player, recording, timeshifting etc. You can switch between this and XBMC transparently and IPlayer and YouTube are also integrated into XBMC:

3190223583_3228e864f6.jpg

It's all linked in to Wireless speakers which sound ace and avoid the need for cables draping everywhere.

I hooked up an ipod and and ipad via the media centre and use those as remote controls, and to stream in radio stations from around the world using an AWESOME app called TuneIn radio or via the ITunes streams and ITunes remote apps.

4028044242_1fc18f70bc.jpg

ipad-app-tunein-Radio-screenshot-03.jpg

Have been listening to Dutch Techno music this evening live from Amsterdam!

The whole setup is accessible in the office using an old XBOX 360 which acts as an extender over wireless and works like a charm.

To cap it off, I've been doing a Skype video conference call via the TV and a blue tooth headset. The quality is not as good as the below yet, but you can see it's the future:

HD-video-calls-with-Skype-coming-soon.jpg

All in all, an amazingly slick HD setup for less than £500, not including the TV. Spending half of that would get you 90% of the value too if you are this way inclined.

Just figured I would share in case anybody wanted to attempt something similar! For now, I await the telling off from the Mrs :)

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The girlfriend is currently away so I've decided to go rogue by building a techy media centre at home.

very nice, one day when I get bored with books and vinyl records I may have a go at this... ;)

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I've had XBMC on a chipped ancient Xbox for a couple of years, just to listen to music stored on a network hard drive. You can pick up old Xboxes for about £30. It's always worked really well too. I don't watch much video or stuff but I do occasionally listen to Shoutcast and Last FM. Seeing this thread prompted me to go back and visit the website and I see a new version was added on the 2nd. Think I'll download it and give it a try.

The only problem with the Xbox is that it can be slow so I have considered getting a small, quiet PC to shove under the TV instead but, all in all, I think I may plump for a ready-made system instead. The Cambridge Audio and Sonos stuff is a bit over my budget but Logitech Squeezebox stuff is good and I'm waiting for the Pure Sirocco 550 to come out as I like their other products.

One thing that XBMC couldn't do is to let you stream simultaneously to more than one player and I'd like to be able to that for parties. With Virgin cable I get BBC i-Player and 4OD anyway, and you can watch You Tube via XBMC anyway.

So what wireless speakers do you use?

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I've had XBMC on a chipped ancient Xbox for a couple of years, just to listen to music stored on a network hard drive. You can pick up old Xboxes for about £30. It's always worked really well too. I don't watch much video or stuff but I do occasionally listen to Shoutcast and Last FM. Seeing this thread prompted me to go back and visit the website and I see a new version was added on the 2nd. Think I'll download it and give it a try.

The only problem with the Xbox is that it can be slow so I have considered getting a small, quiet PC to shove under the TV instead but, all in all, I think I may plump for a ready-made system instead. The Cambridge Audio and Sonos stuff is a bit over my budget but Logitech Squeezebox stuff is good and I'm waiting for the Pure Sirocco 550 to come out as I like their other products.

One thing that XBMC couldn't do is to let you stream simultaneously to more than one player and I'd like to be able to that for parties. With Virgin cable I get BBC i-Player and 4OD anyway, and you can watch You Tube via XBMC anyway.

So what wireless speakers do you use?

I looked at the pre built things. The WD TV Live has excellent reviews on AV forums and is a nice price.

Once you approach £150+ on a unit though, I decided it was better to go for one of the Micro PCs such as the Revo or the Zotac and have full control of everything.

The speakers are JBL Controls, though mine were around half that price over a year ago. Maybe an older model or maybe I got lucky in a sale.

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Nice work and I could do with advice on something.

In a previous home I had a tower pc plugged directly into the TV to watch downloaded content and some internet stream TV. This isn't suitable now but I ahve most of the kit I would need but its not connected/no software.

Upstair - 5 y.o. tower pc (P4 - 3Ghz) running XP, wireless connection to router, this machine is normally what I would download and store media with

Downstairs - Laptop but its crippled by being 3 y.o., little storage and running vista. wireless obviously

XBox360 currently attached to the TV but no wireless connection but could plug it directly into my router which is an Orange Livebox

So whats the best way of watching the internet/stored files from upstairs machine on downstairs TV, possibly via the eggbox? Would consider getting a base Revo if tis was the best way but would prefer ussing what I've got to start with. Also, whilst be computer friendly, I'm not up to much of a technical standard for networking/software.

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Nice work and I could do with advice on something.

In a previous home I had a tower pc plugged directly into the TV to watch downloaded content and some internet stream TV. This isn't suitable now but I ahve most of the kit I would need but its not connected/no software.

Upstair - 5 y.o. tower pc (P4 - 3Ghz) running XP, wireless connection to router, this machine is normally what I would download and store media with

Downstairs - Laptop but its crippled by being 3 y.o., little storage and running vista. wireless obviously

XBox360 currently attached to the TV but no wireless connection but could plug it directly into my router which is an Orange Livebox

So whats the best way of watching the internet/stored files from upstairs machine on downstairs TV, possibly via the eggbox? Would consider getting a base Revo if tis was the best way but would prefer ussing what I've got to start with. Also, whilst be computer friendly, I'm not up to much of a technical standard for networking/software.

You don-t need to buy anything - just plug xbox into router via cat 5 if close enough or get network adapter (60£)- then in windows media player you have to enable media sharing and permission xbox, make sure you choose folders where your media is, easiest is to put media in my music, my video folders as these are default sharing folders. Then on xbox you should see your computer name under Music or Video and you just play it from there. This is for vista or windows 7, can't remember how different it is for xp, just google streaming to xbox 360 windows xp and I'm sure you'll find the answer there.

As long as all the pc's/laptop and xbox are on the same router and you have at least a G speed network you can stream fine including HD.

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Right. I've just bought myself a new network drive - a proper NAS one this time. I'm either going for Logitech Squeezebox Duet for the living room and a Squeezebox Boom to move around the house, or Pure Sensia for portability and a Sirocco 550 to stay in the living room. It depends on the price of the Sirocco when (if??) it's launched.

The Logitech equipment can definitely play the same track in sync to more than one device whereas I'm not sure that the Pure Audio can. On the other hand, the Pure Sirocco will play old fashioned CDs whereas none of Logitech's products will.

Dammit OP, if it wasn't for this thread I'd be keeping my money in my pocket!

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Right. I've just bought myself a new network drive - a proper NAS one this time. I'm either going for Logitech Squeezebox Duet for the living room and a Squeezebox Boom to move around the house, or Pure Sensia for portability and a Sirocco 550 to stay in the living room. It depends on the price of the Sirocco when (if??) it's launched.

The Logitech equipment can definitely play the same track in sync to more than one device whereas I'm not sure that the Pure Audio can. On the other hand, the Pure Sirocco will play old fashioned CDs whereas none of Logitech's products will.

Dammit OP, if it wasn't for this thread I'd be keeping my money in my pocket!

I have a squeezbox, one sb2 or 3, not sure if they still do it which is plugged into my stereo in the lounge, and one boom in the kitchen. Be aware that your computer has to be on unless your network drive actually runs the server software, I also have a network drive but tend to use it as back up rather than for streaming music as it seemed slow things down a bit adding an extra journey for all that data. Having said that I do think the sb is great, there are loads of add ons that geeks have written to add extra functionality. You just need to be aware of the limitation such as above and with respect to drm protection on songs.

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I still use my xbox with xbmc but I think the time for her to be replaced is approaching.

That acer setup in the OP is lovely, but at just under £500 I think I might consider a PS3 instead.

I'm running an older £150 Acer Revo (the 3600, not the more powerful 3610) with an ebay MS remote and customised XBMClive (installed to HDD) from xbmcfreak.nl. Runs 24/7 pulling about 18w, as well as been my media center it runs transmission (Bit torrent client - with web front end), runs sabnzbd+ (newsgroup, rss), sickbeard (RSS and media/episode management) and several upnp servers, mediatomb etc.

The internal drive is for music and current downloads and torrent, 3TB of external storage holds most the rest the media but is usually in spun-down state.

Plugins give me access to iplayer, youtube etc, never got round to running all the emulators as have got consoles for that. Music is streamed to Roku soundbridge when not playing music via the xbmc/TV interface**.

Currently running Alaska revisited skin.

Always helps to have harmony remote as well, to switch amp, tv, Roku, console etc

Can honestly say it's the best gadget I own (except my forerunner 305), it's an appliance and I treat it as one.

** Could use XBMC remote for iphone/android via amp as well.

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You don-t need to buy anything - just plug xbox into router via cat 5 if close enough or get network adapter (60£)- then in windows media player you have to enable media sharing and permission xbox, make sure you choose folders where your media is, easiest is to put media in my music, my video folders as these are default sharing folders. Then on xbox you should see your computer name under Music or Video and you just play it from there. This is for vista or windows 7, can't remember how different it is for xp, just google streaming to xbox 360 windows xp and I'm sure you'll find the answer there.

As long as all the pc's/laptop and xbox are on the same router and you have at least a G speed network you can stream fine including HD.

Is it possible to watch something on a webpage this way though?

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  • 312 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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