Do-it-yourself media center


    Once, over a glass of beer, I told a friend about the idea of ​​creating my own media center from junk that had accumulated at work.
    Tasks to be solved:
    • play any video
    • sound 5.1
    • silence in the studio
    • LAN connection
    • downloading torrents
    • controlled by remote control
    • sitting on a sofa crawling on the internet with a wireless keyboard and mouse
    • maintainability

    It turned out that he had long wanted to collect such a miracle and there is an old corps from the dead karaoke for this.

    After a couple of weeks, we met to exchange experiences.

    And so, the creation of my friend!
    view: Top view:
    view: General view:


    • Core2Duo 2.4 / 2GB
    • MCI MS-7529
    • ATI RADEON HD4350
    • WD3200AAJS
    • self-made IR receiver for COM port
    • some of the keyboard keys are displayed on the front panel


    1. Windows XP
    2. K-Lite Codec Pack
    3. xbmc
    4. Irlink

    That's basically it.

    Positive traits:

    1. high download speed
    2. reads almost everything
    3. conveniently and quickly configured
    4. in case of failure of any part, it is easy to replace without peeling
    5. IRLink gives a good ability to control the system without a keyboard
    6. Setup does not require in-depth knowledge of the system


    1. startup noise
    2. 1080p movies slow down, only one core loaded in task manager
    3. for the sake of speed, they donated an antivirus, as a result of which there is no torrent download and the browser is only IE6

    In the case of an antivirus, according to the author of the piece of iron, he does not need it. It’s easier for him to plug in a portable hard drive and roll up the image again.

    The second option, mine, due to the lack of a successful case, had to be stuck in the old system unit.

    Front view:


    • P4 3200 / 2Gb
    • asus
    • ASUS EN210 SILENT / DI / 512MD2 / LP (RTL) + DVI + HDMI
    • BP noname, 120 mm
    • AVerTV Studio 307
    • Cooler for Zalman processor "CNPS7500-Cu LED"
    • additional network, to work in router mode


    • mythubuntu 10.04 up to ubuntu
    • TweakUbuntu
    • VDPAU support from PPA
    • Transmission 2.01 of PPA
    • xbmc from PPA
    • Samba
    • nfs
    • Firefox 3.6.6
    • Lirc
    • openvpn
    • apache2 + drupal

    Almost everything is installed without unnecessary gestures. A typical set for a home computer, only in autorun added xbmc.


    • work 24/7/365
    • real ip allows you to safely get to your home network via ssh or openVPN
    • I download torrents and manage downloads via the Web or GUI remotely, slightly adjusting the config
    • I distribute downloaded in LAN through smb
    • for me nfs + gigabit switch, it’s very convenient to mount anywhere and quick access to the remote screw
    • there are no problems with antivirus, viruses, everything works quite quickly
    • VDPAU allows you to view 1080p without loading the processor
    • mce remote hooks into xbmc immediately, just stuck it and use
    • maintainability, any part can be changed

    In the plans:

    • understand mythtv to use AVerTV Studio 307 and record TV programs
    • cram into a “convenient” building or move outside the room / hall
    • assemble a self-made IR receiver and program the remote control from another player BBK DK929s that has gone into the world
    • buy telly 42 "

    The server turned out to be very quiet. There are only two coolers in the case; they work at low speeds.
    While standing in the room you can hear only the faint, barely noticeable rustle of the power supply. If I can’t find the case, then I will remove it into the closet behind the wall. And I’ll only output wires to the TV: usb, mce and the power button.
    I don’t see the disadvantages of such a system yet, everything is pretty harmonious. All of the above is done without deep knowledge and reading configs, Howto or studying logs. Only minimal experience with Ubuntu is required.

    Microsoft MCE

    The remote control decided to disconnect a week after the start of operation. The remote control came to life after closing the contacts "+" and "-" in the battery compartment.
    Remote mce

    If interested, then in the next post I will tell you how to set up your server in steps.

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