Media Centre Spec advice

Hi Guys…I really feel that now is the time to look at the possibility of ditching my DVD player for a proper media centre (of sorts).

I dont have too much money to play around with, so I was thinking about purchasing a laptop with s-video and optical or co-axial out capability.

I could then use this as my main dvd player, and also play any AVI files that I currently have on my machine at home.

If any of you have any great suggestions other than this, or better spec advice (within budgetary limits, of course) then please drop down your thoughts here.

Thanks guys!

Well recently put together a media center myself on a budget (stundet…)

I used this as a guide…
http://www.linuxis.us/linux/media/howto/linux-htpc/index.html

Very helpful.

Only things I thing I need to change are perhaps the DVD player. (Got off Preecy here because it doesn’t play all new film DVD’s…whihc is what it’s needed for :chuckle: )

Also think I need a new graphics card because mine seems duff. I did go for the FX5200 like they say in the guide there. Except I’m running Windows so I could go for the ATI option.

I guess you have a reason for the laptop over a dedicated HTPC?

few options, firstly wait a bit …

Windows Vista is said to have Media Center capabilities, which even though it means you are going the MS route, an Xbox360 that has the Media Center Extender built in means that your Xbox can play movies that are streamed from your Vista PC. It is very hard to get a PC quiet enough for use as a media center, even most laptops have got fans in them somewhere.

If it was an urgent, then I would go the Xbox or laptop route personally over the PC option. With the laptop route I’d be looking at older models that have tv-out and can support tv-in with a usb dongle.

I find it hard to use a machine that is based on a PC to do something that it really wasn’t designed architecturally to do. Buy a dedicated PVR box that you can load things onto or get Sky+

Can you tell I’m not convinced with the media center ideal ?

DT.

yeah…It’s not a full media centre that I was going for per se;, but something that would allow me to play ALL my dvd’s in good clarity, with 5.1 sound. I also have some avi files on my pc upstairs, so I was thinking about being able to move these from the HDD upstairs to the laptop at the tv and play them in WMP or something like that…

It’s all new to me, so I’m feeling my way through this and trying to do it on the cheap!!!

I got a crystal Divx dvd player (£30) for doing just what you describe. One pack of cd-rw on pack of dvdr and away I go.

Plays photo cd’s and mp3’s as well and for £30 a can’t go wrong purchase imo.

DT.

That where I went wrong :chuckle: £150 later and I’ve got something that can do that :chuckle:

Expect we were grabbing ourselves a projector as well…and speakers…

Though I might regret it and wish I’d just gone the PVR route…we’ll see.

Aim was that the media center would br our house “hub” as it were with regradless of who was round we could listen to everyone’s music etc in the front room without bringing laptops in from upstairs etc (something that ilked us a bit in uni accom this year…) So in that respect with a bit of networking and sharing folders we can do that. And thats what I think is the main reason.

yeah…It’s not a full media centre that I was going for per se;, but something that would allow me to play ALL my dvd’s in good clarity, with 5.1 sound. I also have some avi files on my pc upstairs, so I was thinking about being able to move these from the HDD upstairs to the laptop at the tv and play them in WMP or something like that…

It’s all new to me, so I’m feeling my way through this and trying to do it on the cheap!!!

strange double post!!

That sounds like a good plan…is there something along these lines that would allow me to drop something onto (for example) a usb memory stick and just upload the file and watch like that.

The only problem with cd’s is that in order for me to watch something I would have to burn it first, then take it downstairs, then I have it on a disc whether i want to keep it or not.

The laptop idea came about just so that I could move it from one pc to another via memory stick, watch the file then delete…

Any thoughts?

couple of options - there is the IISONIC II3016PU DVD/DivX player which has a USB port, but it is only USB1.0 and so high bitrate movies stutter at times due to the transfer rate. At £27 + postage well worth a “go”, they sell on ebay for £40 :wink:

The other option is to go wireless and get one of the KISS divx players that have wireless built in. Once again it is subject to a transfer speed but wireless 54Mbs is good enough for most movies. For the KISS don’t forget the Amazon affiliate link product is here

hth,

DT.

Sorry for my ignorance here…again…this is all new to me.

If I have wireless…what does that mean? Will it have an operating system to connect to a shared folder on my computer upstairs? then access the file that way?

How does it work sorry?

The wireless depends on if/how your home is already setup. If you have a router then you need an access point, if you are single PC, then buy a wireless router suitable for your internet connection type (adsl or cable).

The KISS pc-link software runs on your pc, the player picks this up. You simply select the folders you wish to share from the PC-Link software and then you can browse them from the remote on the player.

DT.

It HAS to be link…I’ve just been looking at their website and OH MY WORD, how gorgeously decadent are they…and at such a cheap price.

I’m having trouble deciding whether I want the DP-1100 or the DP-1500 now

DT…I really want to thank you for pointing me in this direction…I owe you big!!!

I bought the same but LG. 1 DivX player for the bedroom and the DivX player/recorder for the lounge.

If you want a media PC type thingy go for one of these. It has wireless and can connect to your server PC and stream video files to the telly. It does a lot more than that as well, have a looksie.

Pinnacle Sytems Showcenter 200

Well, after much consideration (and thanks Juggy for another option) I have decided to go for a KISS DVD/DIVX player…just trying to decide which one at the moment, but I am feeling the DP-1500 would be better.

Just waiting to hear back from KISS about a question and I’m ready to go I think!!!

Can I just ask one question…on older specs, such as machines which we created around DiVX 3 or 4…how will they fare when playing files encoded into DiVX 5 or 6?

Should they be ok or will they struggle?

I dont know much about them so I’m a little in the dark!!!

What I’ve found in the past is that generally they play OK-ish but there tends to be the odd stutter in playback or in extreme cases audio but no video.

I recently bought one of the Dual DVD/DivX players from Asda (£40) which has card reader slots as well - officially I think it supports DivX 5 but has had no problems playing DivX 6 or even Xvid to date.

well, I have been doing my research and trying to understand it all. I assume that if a player can have the firmware upgraded, then it will always support the latest DiVX version? I’m not sure.

That said…I have finally decided on the player I want (after much toing and froing), and will be going for this one:

http://www.pixmania.co.uk/uk/uk/157741/art/lg/dvx9900h-high-definition.html#avisconso

It has one of the highest ratings I have seen on a low-priced machine…and at the end of the day, if it breaks I only lost £50!!!