The Home Computing Experience

There seem to be a few media freaks at work, or more precisely, Media Centre and Home Server freaks. Now that I have moved I’m looking at getting into this stuff myself. I’m interested in Media Centre because I’m pretty much sick of normal television – there are a few shows that I like and I plan to record them so I can watch them on-demand.

Pretty much what I am after is a total experience:

  • Media Centre connected to the television.
    • Streaming down lots of YouTube (and YouTube-like) goodness.
    • Integrated program guide.
    • Foxtel integrated if I decide it is worth it.
    • Pulling movies/music/pictures from Home Server across the network.
  • Home Server
    • I’m thinking about getting the HP one that is scheduled to come out soon.
    • I won’t buy it if it is too expensive in Australia or if they do something to break add-ins (I don’t want to be locked out of adding cool features to the system just because they didn’t come from HP).
  • Home Automation
    • This is really just to play since I don’t have anything to automate. Although it would be cool if I could get Home Server to do my laundry. Hrmm🙂

I was talking to the guys at the water cooler (our internal mailing list) and gave them these requirements for my Media Centre system, and they came back with a range of options, but it looks like I could get what I want for under AUD$1500 (if I look past Foxtel for the moment).

If I handed you AUD$1500 to buy me a Media Centre machine, what would you buy?

7 thoughts on “The Home Computing Experience

  1. Pat Bettels

    I would buy you a chipped XBox with XBMC on it, 10 meters worth of ethernet cable to connet it to your main computer and then pocket the other $1100🙂
    Seriously, XBMC rocks more than than any other media player available. It can play movies right out of the rar’s, for goodness sakes.
    Check it out… most featured and cheap media center you can get. All you then need is a cheap whitebox computer with lots of hard drives to store your content.

  2. Paul Hacker

    The XBMC is awesome. I run everything off the home fileserver. Performance is great. I actually had a Media Center and opted out of it for the XBMC. Never looked back.

  3. Muffy

    I bought a Medion MD8818 Media Centre PC from Aldi last year for $1299.

    It comes with every conceivable video/audio socket!
    There are 7 video outputs… DVI, HDMI, SVGA, SCART, S-Video (in + out), Component and Composite! Audio outputs for Toslink (in and out), and 5.1.

    Excuse the French, but it is shit hot! I’m running Vista MCE and it runs that well, even the wife has learnt to use it!

    Muffy

  4. trentini

    I would (err, did!) buy a cheap PC with a tuner card or two and a largish hard disk, install Ubuntu and MythTV on it and then buy a Mac Mini to put in the living room as the front-end.

    I know you’re a “Windows guy” but this combination delivers a powerful and flexible back-end (I use the back-end for many other applications – Azureus for torrent downloading controlled via a web interface, picture hosting, backing up to Amazon S3, Firefly for streaming music to iTunes around the house etc) and a front-end that is quiet, small and looks good in the living room.

    Total cost: ~$1450 ($300 for the PC, $70 for a tuner, $100 hd, $950 mac)

    If you’re like me you’ll have an old PC lying around so can probably save yourself a few hundred $$.

    Setup is not the horror it once was, though you do need to be PC-savvy. I still wouldn’t recommend it to general consumers.

    I’ve been very happy with my system.

  5. Chris Hewitt

    Case Antec Fusion V2 265.00
    M/B ASUS P5B-VM 160.00
    CPU Core2 E6420 (2.13) 250.00
    Memory 2GB (2x1GB)Kingston DDR 667 88.00
    Video ASUS EN8600GT Silent (2 Slots) 250.00
    Or GigaByte GV-NX86T256H Silent (1.5 slots) 180.00
    Disk Seagate 320GB SATA II 100.00
    TV Card Dvico Fusion Pro HDTV DVB-T Hybrid 169.00
    KB/Mouse Logitech Cordless Desktop MX 5000 210.00
    Total 1,492.00

  6. murls

    Forget all the other stuff grab yourself a BeyondWiz PVR. I did. They are not perfect yet but they will be soon with a firmware upgrade. Call me if you want a full run down on the features. 0419982922. And yes I love it that much I published my number!

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