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View Full Version : Which OS for a home media server



nofam
03-12-2008, 11:23 AM
Since upgrading to ADSL2, I've decided I want to centralise everything I download. My plan to do this is:

1. Re-purpose my desktop PC (P4 with 1Gb RAM) with a suitable OS that can store music, pics, movies etc. It can be a Linux distro or Microsoft. Something stable, easy to use, and with a nice frontend that SWMBO can use (maybe something like MythTV, but I don't want a PVR). I can add new drives for storage, and will add a gigabit NIC to push all the media out to a Linksys WRT610N router.

2. SWMBO and I have laptops which we use to surf the net - if there's something we'd like to download and keep, my idea was to be able to rdp into the server from our lappies, and download onto there.

3. Get a Logitech Squeezebox connected to my stereo, and stream music to this

4. Stream movies (hopefully!) to either of our laptops anywhere in the house. Its a very small (97sq m) house, so range shouldn't be an issue.

I'd also consider adding a NAS device at a later stage to back things up.

Thoughts??

:thumbs:

CYaBro
03-12-2008, 11:41 AM
If you aren't wanting PVR capabilities I would recommend you look at XBMC (http://xbmc.org/home/).
Originally made for the 1st Xbox it has now been ported over to the PC, Linux and MAC :thumbs:
It has to be the easiest and best looking media player available.

SolMiester
03-12-2008, 11:49 AM
If you aren't wanting PVR capabilities I would recommend you look at XBMC (http://xbmc.org/home/).
Originally made for the 1st Xbox it has now been ported over to the PC, Linux and MAC :thumbs:
It has to be the easiest and best looking media player available.

Is that an O/S?..looks like its just an app to run on top of an O/S?

CYaBro
03-12-2008, 11:51 AM
No just an app and just a front end so would be installed on the laptops.
The media server could be anything as long as the files are accessible from the laptops.
You could just run some opensource NAS software like FreeNAS (http://www.freenas.org/) on the old PC.

kersonan
03-12-2008, 12:23 PM
Media portal all the way, proven to be WAG freindly.

SolMiester
03-12-2008, 12:28 PM
Nice apps, we OP is after an O/S!

wainuitech
03-12-2008, 12:40 PM
There was a thread a short while back regarding Server OS's - one that is free, but came in the Aust PCUSER mag ( october) is called USEROS - Linux based.

Edited: Found it (http://pressf1.pcworld.co.nz/showthread.php?t=95091&highlight=USEROS).

IF you decide its for you, and cant get the Mag - I could always copy off the ISO and post it on CD. Its 600Mb

Chilling_Silence
03-12-2008, 01:11 PM
Run any flavor of Linux if its *just* going to be a file-server, or windows, heck it doesnt really matter...

If you're going to store all your files on your Media PC though, AND use it to play back through a TV or something, AND stream to laptops etc on the odd occasion, then keep them all XP (Media PC and Laptops), and run XBMC on them.

MediaPortal is based off the XBMC code a little, but its become rather bloated, especially with the TV stuff, wanting to install MS SQL etc... XBMC is nice and it "just works"!
Also does HD movies considerably well!

dyewitness
03-12-2008, 01:29 PM
I would say use the O/S you are most familiar with for administering, be it Windows (server version) or Linux.

SolMiester
03-12-2008, 02:02 PM
i get pc authority and pc world...bugger...

nofam
03-12-2008, 02:29 PM
i get pc authority and pc world...bugger...

x2 :D

Anyone care to upload 600Mb to zShare?????? :rolleyes:

kersonan
03-12-2008, 03:13 PM
Media portal all the way, proven to be WAG freindly.

Hehe i was commenting on OP needing a front end, OS wise the use what your comfortable with comment gets my vote.

I use XP pro and just generic file sharing to feed my media box, sure theres better ways but it works.

gary67
03-12-2008, 07:40 PM
x2 :D

Anyone care to upload 600Mb to zShare?????? :rolleyes:

Not me trying to eke out our BB till it rolls in 10 days time :mad:

Erayd
03-12-2008, 08:01 PM
If you guys are after mirrors, I can do it if somebody posts a torrent or http link to the iso, provided there aren't any copyright issues.

wainuitech
03-12-2008, 08:16 PM
There is no "offical" download site / torrent for the Server OS from PCuser - they say on their site its only available through buying the Mag with the DVD.

I can post it if anyone wants the ISO - May ?? consider putting it on my own server, but I will have to check on the usage at the moment.

Myth
03-12-2008, 08:20 PM
All I did was install a Linux distro (in my case Gentoo) and then install My Media Center. Sound (from movies, or mp3s/internet radio) is output from the soundcard to my stereo speakers, video is output to the TV via s-video

I set up a few shortcuts to make it easier for SWMBO (she likes to play movies while Im at work sometimes).
It is also a part of my home network, I use scp for data transferral

Greven
03-12-2008, 09:28 PM
XBMC is available as a standalone OS - it uses a customised version of Ubuntu.

Chilling_Silence
03-12-2008, 09:55 PM
Yeah, as a Bootable CD isnt it? :D

Im tempted to download it and give it a whirl ...

nofam
03-12-2008, 10:06 PM
XBMC is available as a standalone OS - it uses a customised version of Ubuntu.

I can't see an OS on the XBMC website?? :dogeye:

wainuitech
03-12-2008, 10:15 PM
I can't see an OS on the XBMC website?? :dogeye: X2

Edited:OOPS... its there - didn't see it at first -- down the bottom, center Download (http://xbmc.org/download/) 329Mb Can it be installed as a standalone OS on a HD - it does say to a USB Drive ??

Chilling_Silence
03-12-2008, 10:44 PM
Coolest thing is the AirMouse works brilliantly with XBMC as a remote from my iPhone! :D

nofam
04-12-2008, 01:44 PM
Here are the system requirements for the XBMC Live OS:


# x86 (Intel/AMD-based) processor computer capable of booting to CD-ROM.

* Intel Pentium 4, Intel Pentium M, AMD Athlon XP/64, AMD Opteron, or newer CPU (that support SSE).
* Very fast modern dual-core processor is required to decode H.264 videos in FullHD (1080p).
* For clarification; XBMC Live does not work on the Xbox game-console.

# ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA (recommended) graphic controller which supports OpenGL 1.4 or later (2.0 recommended).

Would my P4 3.0 CPU possibly handle decoding H.264, or am I wasting my time even trying?

What's a good graphics card for a home media box that meets the above specs? (I know SFA about graphics cards!!) :o

CYaBro
04-12-2008, 02:12 PM
Here are the system requirements for the XBMC Live OS:



Would my P4 3.0 CPU possibly handle decoding H.264, or am I wasting my time even trying?

What's a good graphics card for a home media box that meets the above specs? (I know SFA about graphics cards!!) :o

Well if the media box is just serving out files to your laptops then it doesn't matter what graphics card it has in it.
You are not going to watch movies/videos on the media box itself are you?
You would need to look at the specs of the laptop graphics cards.

Chilling_Silence
04-12-2008, 02:21 PM
If its a P4 3GHz, even without acceleration you should be able to do at least 720, potentially even full HD @ 1080...

But of course, as CYaBro said, if its just sharing across the network, then its your laptops that will need the grunty hardware.

nofam
04-12-2008, 04:06 PM
If its a P4 3GHz, even without acceleration you should be able to do at least 720, potentially even full HD @ 1080...

But of course, as CYaBro said, if its just sharing across the network, then its your laptops that will need the grunty hardware.

Of course - sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself!! :o

Long-term plan is build a proper media centre PC/PVR once I get my shiny new 46" Bravia V-series, and play via the graphics card over HDMI. Hopefully by then, XMBC will have PVR capability.

My current PC would then be re-re-purposed as a NAS box with FreeNAS etc.

Chilling_Silence
04-12-2008, 04:14 PM
You can always just keep the media in the same box as you run XBMC?
I run things across the network personally, coz Ive slowly added more & more HDDs.. have several 120, 250 & 320GB drives in a separate box which I keep in the garage :)

750GB Drives these days are only around $120 though, so yeah :D

nofam
04-12-2008, 04:26 PM
You can always just keep the media in the same box as you run XBMC?
I run things across the network personally, coz Ive slowly added more & more HDDs.. have several 120, 250 & 320GB drives in a separate box which I keep in the garage :)

Yeah was thinking about that Chill, but the issue I can see is trying to squeeze all those drives into an aesthetically pleasing SFF case where there's already a Quad-Core cpu and graphics card. Too much heat, and not enough space. ;)

And yeah, I'd be happier to have my NAS box hidden away from thieves etc.

Chilling_Silence
04-12-2008, 04:49 PM
Fair enough ;)

wainuitech
04-12-2008, 05:39 PM
Well the XBMC works well on Xp :thumbs: Just installed it on a workshop PC music streaming fine :banana ( not saying whats playing) :xmouth: I see from the Live CD you can do a complete install on the HDD - may be a weekend project - Couldn't get to load from the Live CD - kept asking for a login password ---EH!

Chilling_Silence
04-12-2008, 06:08 PM
If its the same as it was back in the days of the old xbox version, then both the username and password are simply "xbox".

If you have anything high-def (Movie Trailers?) then I'd be curious to know how they play on a variety of systems :)

mabix
05-12-2008, 01:57 PM
Windows Home Server is pretty kickbutt, it has all of these features built into one console, and can be controlled nice and easy. Plus, all storage is done on the server, so you don't have a problem. It's built on Windows Server 2008, so it's reliable, and it means that any computer running XP with Windows Media Player 11 or Vista can access it straight off.

Torrent.

SolMiester
05-12-2008, 02:33 PM
Windows Home Server is pretty kickbutt, it has all of these features built into one console, and can be controlled nice and easy. Plus, all storage is done on the server, so you don't have a problem. It's built on Windows Server 2003, so it's reliable (After the 1st power pack fixed the data corruption issues), and it means that any computer running XP with Windows Media Player 11 or Vista can access it straight off.

Torrent.

Fixed for you!