A media centre - transferred from beginners

  jack 10:31 14 Jun 2009

I am considering a unit that will turn my LCD TV into a browser- so that I can access BBC and other players, regular Web stuff - PCA - from by armchair in the lounge rather than perched in the box/computer room.
A search under 'Media Centre' threw up lots of what to me were over specified PC's.
What I think I need is a basic box[not a tower as I intend to hide the 'box' away in the TV media cabinet.] to be controlled by a wireless combined keyboard/mouse and of course connectivity to the internet.
Would I need a separate 'modem/router for this or can it be integrated?

All thoughts and advice appreciated.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:57 14 Jun 2009

This is what I did. I have a plasma screen with HDMI connectors at the back. (a lot have VGA as well). I cobbled together a computer that sits, invisibly, behind the set. I then bought this keyboard..click here and hooked it up to the computer. I connected the computer by cable to my router (you can do it wirelessly but my router happens to be near the TV). The tricky bit was to connect the DVI output from the computer to the HDMI input of the TV and a simple cable does the job which I bought off Ebay for around a tenner. You do not need to buy a 'media center' computer. If you cannot hide a desktop computer then a laptop would do.

The whole thing, using a second-hand computer and including the keyboard, should cost no more than £120. You do not need a flashy graphics card or a fast processor.



  Taff™ 11:07 14 Jun 2009

If you`re starting from scratch I would suggest you measure up the space available in the media cabinet and consider building your own or buying one ready made. A media center in the lounge has to run very quietly and that is probably the reason the proprietary ones are relatively expensive. You will obviously need a reasonably good graphics card, TV Tuner (Dual if you want to record TV and Playback at the same time)and the ability to connect to your router for internet connection.

Your existing router can be used either by ethernet cabling or a wireless card. To save on the software I would suggest you use Linux as the Operating System and there are various free Media Centre programs available - Myth being one of the popular one`s. See click here for some others as well.

Now let`s see what the computer building experts have to say.......

(What`s your budget?)

  jack 12:14 14 Jun 2009

Gandalf- TV has both HDMI and DVI so
experimentation here.
The router is 'upstairs' and cabling downstairs could be messy- besides which it would have to dual for both - Considering another router into the downstairs lounge phone socket - Feasible?

Dual recording a possibility -but not necessary as the PVR can cope.
A second hand lappie would do very well- but do they function with the 'lid' screen closed whilst plugged to the big screen/
Plenty of room in the unit- its 2 metres long with a virtually empty section.
With closing flaps and an 'electronic remote mirror-' so no wires,no boxes on view.
No budget as yet - just considerations on feasability

  Taff™ 12:30 14 Jun 2009

You can only have one router on the system, so a Wireless connection is the route to take.

Lid closed on a laptop is no problem. The setting is accessed from Advanced Power Settings (XP) You have a choice of three options for "When I Close the Lid" which are No Action, Shut Down or Sleep.

I think you are just looking for a way to use a computer alongside your current TV setup, just switching between the TV/PVR display and the computer display using your existing monitor. That`s fine however I was looking at having one Media Centre that provided both facilities.

Not sure how the "Electronic Remote Mirror" works but a wireless keyboard and mouse should work because that uses radio frequencies not infra red.

  audeal 14:52 14 Jun 2009

This subject has crossed my mind also. Saving thread for the future.

  jack 15:11 14 Jun 2009

I threw that in for a diversion- to cause some thought I don't see it being a problem.

Forget the existing monitor Taff.
Computerabilty for the the dgig TV PVR
Simply another box- the TV will be the display[it is switchable [2 AV 2 HDMI PC and audio- nott ried the audio to see what happens

OK so would I need a new wireless router and a dongle thing thingy for the computer unit.
OK will not start alooking for a suitable box
already tracked combined wireless keyboard/mouse

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

AMD Ryzen news - release date, UK price, features and specifications

The 12 best apps for drawing and painting on your iPad

Mac power user tips and hidden tricks

Comment faire des captures d’écran sous Windows 10 ?