Tuesday 16 August 2011

DIY Version of Apple TV and Google TV Media Centers

We’ve covered a few ways to build a media center on a budget,
but with AppleTV and GoogleTV launching soon, we have another superb
media center tutorial for you.  But with some versions of DIY media
centers, usability isn’t always targeted toward the non-tech savvy. So,
here’s a media center build that is so user friendly, your grandma could
use it.

Starting with Windows Media Center software, extras are added such as
Netflix, media sharing with Windows 7, plugins , and more.  The step by step instructions show how to install, download and organize content, and showcase movies, music, and shows (thanks to Hulu or a TV tuner).

The Setup:

A spare computer that can pull off high-resolution, TV-sized graphics is ideal. The author recommends the Acer Aspire Revo
that runs on an Intel Atom with NVIDIA ION graphics processor. If you
have your Windows Vista or 7 installation discs with you, installation
should only take a few minutes.

Sharing Files:

Installing UltraVNC on the home theater machine makes it remotely available
from any computer on the home network. For sharing of media files
between the home theater and the home network, you have to setup network
sharing between the machines. You can also tweak the file sharing
protocols to use BitTorrent or UseNet so you can automatically download
and deliver media files in the correct format and folder.

Extras and Plugins:

One hassle-free thing about WMC is that it works smoothly with Hulu, Netflix, Boxee, and XBMC.
Thanks to third party apps, the plugging in is seamless so you can
switch back and forth between these apps and WMC with a click on the
remote.  You can add-on utilities like a TV tuner for recording shows,
the Remote Potato app to access and watch from anywhere with a browser, and the Media Browser for interface skinning.  Enjoy!