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Author Topic: The TV via computer thread  (Read 4600 times)

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rva

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2009, 12:11:58 AM »

I have a new solution to try:  Vortexbox.

It's a free program.  You down load the iso., burn it to a CD, put the CD into an old machine and it turns your machine into a media server. 

Example:  You have a "main" PC, a laptop, possibly a Squeezebox or Soundbridge, and possibly an Xbox/WII or TIVO/cablebox of some kind that is uPnP and that the cable provider hasn't purposely screwed up to prevent you from not having to buy 2 more cable boxes.

You take a junky PC, and install Vortexbox on it.  Connect Vortexbox to your router--preferably via cable for optimum speed, but wirelessly will work if your old PC has the capability (or a USB port for you to stick in an external wireless doodad).  Vortexbox is now in your network.  You can then put all your media on the Vortexbox machine hard drive.  You can have it scan specified folders or you can just copy and paste the old fashioned way as Vortexbox should show up as a networked drive.  And then Vortexbox can stream all that media to any other wireless device in your house.

Perhaps the easiest and cleanest solution (although also somewhat expensive) is to buy the pre-setup Vortexbox 1TB server for $350.  Now you have a full terrabyte of storage space for media, and vortexbox is already set up.  It also comes with a DVD drive so you can put all your CD's and DVD's on it.  I would then hook up the Vortexbox to my receiver (which is in turn hooked up to my tv).  Now I've got all my mp3's and DVD's on Vortexbox.

The Vortexbox comes with a webclient.  So what I can do is fire up my laptop in the living room, and tell Vortexbox to go ahead and play some movie.  That movie will show up on my TV via my receiver because Vortex box is connected to those devices the old-fashioned way (audio/video out or HDMI).  But I can also take the laptop up to my bedroom and tell Vortexbox to stream the movie to my laptop.  Or my main PC.  I can do this using either Vortexbox's webclient OR WMC's ability to hook up two upNp devices OR just regular-ass network and playing a file off a network drive through iTunes or whatever.  Or you can use TVersity.  OR since I have Squeezebox and Squeezebox's client (Squeezecenter), I can fire up squeezecenter and do it. 

The advantage of a media NAS is that you save hard drive space by having a dedicated server just for storage.  And also, you can leave it on all the time.  Like for me, my Squeezebox can connect to the web on it's on and play streaming radio.  But some of the cooler net functions like giving me sports scores or news info require me to have my PC on.  And obviously it can't access my PC hard drive if the PC isn't on.  But I don't like to leave my PC on all the time because it's noisy, it cuts down on its life (and a PC costs more than $350 to replace plus you have all sorts of programs and data on it), etc.  Also, Vortexbox knows to hibernate itself when no one is asking it to stream anything, and then turn itself on.  Unlike my PC which if it hibernates I have to go upstairs and turn it on.  Also, now you got all your media in one place and you just back up that one disk every once in a while.  If you bittorrent, it has Azureus built in which is also controllable via a webclient so you can download stuff directly to the Vortexbox while using your PC for other things. 

It really doesn't do anything that couldn't be accomplished in other ways, but it's a nice all-in-one solution.  Especially for those of us with Soundbridge and/or Squeezebox because it is compatible with both.  And for $350 you are getting a streaming wireless player a la Squeezebox so you can stream WOXY and all your media to your stereo and all your PC's plus 1 TB worth of storage and either a Squeezebox or a 1TB ReadyNAS server would run you more than $350 individually. 

Or you can look at it like an Apple TV for $30 more, only with 5X the storage space and it actually works with whatever you want instead of just other Apples and iTunes.  It's much more flexible because not only do you have lots of linux open source geeks working on improving the VortexBox OS, but it can also be hooked into Squeezecenter and TVersity so you have a whole 'nother group of geeks coding fancy shit for those apps as well.
For example, if you opt to use it with Squeezecenter (which you can do even without a Squeezebox), there's a (probably illegal) Squeezecenter plugin that lets you stream BBC audio from outside the UK.  There's another workaround for MPlayer, which can be run on Vortexbox since MPlayer is a linux app and Vortexbox runs linux.

What's nice is it works right out the box to do most things a normal user would want, but you can also get crazy fancy with it and customize it to do all sorts of crazy things although figuring out what it's capable of can take you awhile.
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Ella Minnow Pea

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2009, 01:49:53 PM »

It appears that ABC just joined hulu. There also appears to be more British shows along with "classics" from the 80s. I'm subscribing to shows left and right. I haven't seen Benson or Silver Spoons since they first aired almost 30 years ago.  ;D
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 01:53:08 PM by Ella Minnow Pea »
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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2009, 02:03:20 PM »

The tiny perl script listed in the first post here...

http://www.myp2pforum.eu/live-tv/41045-british-tv.html

Will allow you to watch live TV from the UK via a VLC player. The main five channels plus a selection of the freeview channels. Very easy to use - just remember to close down vlc between choosing different channels

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Ella Minnow Pea

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2009, 03:05:51 PM »

Thanks, CR!

Also, hulu is adding social networking features. If you have an account, you may want to check your settings to set things to friends only or private. It also shows your full name and zip code, so I'm now Ella Minnow Pea.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2009, 03:14:27 PM by Ella Minnow Pea »
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2009, 10:51:50 PM »

I haven't seen Benson or Silver Spoons since they first aired almost 30 years ago.  ;D

There's a reason for that.
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Buzzstein

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2009, 05:52:40 PM »

I'm on Hulu. Feel free to add me as a friend.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2009, 09:58:52 AM »

Well, we're now thinking about ditching the cable and just upping our Netflix subscription to a more robust plan.  Between Netflix, Hulu and individual networks' sites we ought to be able to see most of what we want to see now, even if we have to be behind a season waiting on DVDs to come out.

We'll miss Food Network, DIY and TCM but, are those things really worth what we're paying right now for cable to me?  Not hardly.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2009, 10:59:36 AM »

Does anybody have any experience with PC tuner cards?  Looks like they're hit or miss.  I tried one many years ago but found it too frustrating to bother with.  Have they gotten any better?
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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2009, 11:06:52 AM »

I have tried 2 and have 2 worthless pieces of equipment.  Neither recent purchases... but one of them is still in my PC, so I upgraded all the firmware and software... still nothing.

I either get no picture w/ sound or picture w/ no sound.  OR sometimes I get both and neither in the middle of the same show.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #24 on: November 30, 2009, 01:55:14 PM »

Gah, still waffling on this.  There's just so much to consider.  Really want to do the media PC thing with that old desktop.  Any suggestions on inexpensive video cards that would eventually support a blu-ray drive? 

Wally world had a decent wireless N router on sale over the weekend for $25 wish I'd picked one up.

How afraid should I be of a Windows 7 install from a sharing site?  I mean, it's not like I couldn't go back and restore with the original restore discs.
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Nate

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Re: The TV via computer thread
« Reply #25 on: November 30, 2009, 11:08:31 PM »

I'm going to get an EyeTV at Christmas and leave it at that.
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