After a long time thinking about it, I’m finally decided to use a computer as my media center. I already have a DVD recorder, which uses Windows as OS and, of course, which fails a lot , and that every time it loses the signal for a single millisecond, it hangs, and you have to reboot it by plugging it out. Also, I’ve been using a USB hard disk, which has “media center” capabilities, but which doesn’t accept all video files I have, even though I first test them with mplayer on my Linux box, where they work. Also, I use only once in a while my HI-FI system, given I listen to music on the computer most of the time. So, it’s time for a change, and for removing lots of wires and hardware from my living room
But I still have some doubts that, I hope, dear lazyweb can help me solve:
- I’ve tried the S-video output on one of my servers, and it worked great with the S-video integrated in the graphics card. Since I need to buy a new computer for this media center, I assume all graphic cards with S-video output integrated would work the same way, right? That is, I just need to configure X for the TV output, no need to use atitvout or anything similar, right?
- For audio output, what would be the best way? Using separate speakers, or buying a cable to connect the audio output of the computer to the input on the TV? I’ve got a very good 5:1 sound system on my desktop machine, but of course I’d prefer to keep it on my “office” room, where I’ll still be listening to music for hours every day.
- As for software, I’m going to use MythTV unless someone convinces me there’s something better. MythTV seems to include everything I need (recording, TV, DVD, Music, … even a web browser), and seems to be quite healthy from what I heard.
- As for normal computer usage on TV, my previous experience is that it’s quite hard to read the fonts on the TV, and since the only screen the computer will be connected to is the TV, I’m worried I might not be able to do some tasks. On a virtual terminal, on text mode, it’s not perfect but you can read it quite well, but on the graphical mode, it’s quite hard to read. Is there any solution to this?
- I have bought a Pinnacle PCTV 400e, which is the only one I’ve found that can be used for the satellite antenna cable I have. I’ve read people with good experiences with this, but I’d love to hear more opinions.
Any other pointers, ideas?