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Friday, May 7th, 2004

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To build a multimedia centre
Slighty off-beat debate/discussion for you all :)

Some friends of mine are moving out of residence and into a 4 bedroom house. They've discussed making some sort of central server to host all their music files so that their local drives don't get completely filled. Basically, a poor man's NAS with a 120Gb drive or something of the sort. I could easily get a box up and running with any sort of Linux distro that would just use samba to share out all their stuff to them, slap in boot scripts so that it comes back up after a power failure and have it run perfectly.

I got to thinking though - why stop there? This box is probably going to live in a central location, probably with their TV (if they get one). So if you've got that TV and computer right together .... idea!

I'm pretty good with doing things on a shoestring budget, but I'm not totally familiar with the hardware this would involved. What be your best recommendations for:

Video card with TV out (coaxial out preferrably, along with composite)
Sound card (right question here would be "which chipset?")

Another question would be, what sort of processing power would it need? I have a somewhat faulty DVD-Rom drive kicking around I could load up into that machine. How many horses does it need to decoded DVD on the fly and display properly?

Furthermore, is anyone familiar with the VLC/VLS project? That's VideoLANClient/Server for those not in the know. Looks like a promising project for piping A/V over high bandwidth connections, like 10/100. Anything over a 200mhz box should be able to use the client - but could you also do a server from this location?

In any case, remember the key to this project is that the hardware will come from rooting through the discount bins at places like Computer Recyclers lol
repartitioning software
recommendations...? something that can be burned to a cd and free preferably... thx.

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