Have just read an interesting 2-part article in Australian PC (May & June 2003) on building a pc based home entertainment system for playing MP3s, watching DVDs, recording TV, web surfing etc.
In this article they discuss using a VIA EPIA M9000 Mini ITX Motherboard in a stylish slimline desktop case hooked up to a large tv, 5.1 speakers and a Hi-Fi receiver.
The M9000 mo/bo has onboard video withS-video and AV out, MPEG decoding; 5.1 surround sound plus usb/Firewire ports.
The article suggested adding 256 or 512MB RAM, a slimline notebook-style DVD drive and a 20-40GB notebook hard drive (for size and quietness reasons).
Also suggested cordless keyboard/mouse, TV tuner card and PC remote (eg: Pinnacle PROTV pacakge) features to top the system off.
The idea quite took my fancy as an interesting alternative to the lounge standard setup of Huge TV, DVD player and home cinema system (receiver and speakers).
A rough pricing of the hardware (from NZ computer resellers) put the cost at $1300 approx which compares favourably with a new home cinema/dvd/hifi set up.
But I had thought of converting my old Celeron system (500MHz/512MB SD-RAM/40GB HDD/FIC socket 370 mo/bo) to do the same job at 2/3 the cost.
Would just add a DVD drive, sound card (Creative sounblaster Live! 5.1), video card and either a tv tuner card (eg: Leadtek TV2000XP TV tuner) or a Pinnacle PCTV Pro kit with remote).
Am presuming I wouldn't need both the Pinnacle PCTV Pro and the Leadtek TV2000XP Tv tuner card -- is that correct?!?
Some thoughts:
1: Would the Celeron (given the other specs) have enough grunt for the task?
2: What do you techno-geeks out there in "PressF1 land" think of the idea?
3: What about software requirements?
In Windows -- WMP9 or Musicmatch for Mp3s
WinDVD or PowerDVD for DVD playback
WMP9 or Div-X Playa for DivX playback
Utilities such as uICE and DVD Genie
Or Linux --- XMMS for MP3/Audio playback
Xine for DVD & Div-X playback
Realplayer 8.0 for media centre (if desired)

Await your responses with interest.

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