Media Centre from an old PC, Windows works well

With all the media we use in our daily lives today, having a media centre in a house is almost becoming a necessity. The problem is even the cheapest media centre still requires some cash to be spilt.

Toss the router idea

I had to get a new router when we moved away from the super reliable, but now slow iBurst, and though I would be able to add a media server to the NetGear D2200 v3, but after getting the router to work as soon as I added the 1gb external drive it kept rebooting, so that did not work very well.

I then remembered we have and old Acer Tavelmate C300 lying around, even though it is 10 years old I thought lets make that a media server. It only has a 100gb drive and a Celeron 1.5 GHz, but surely that would be fine)

Linux, my Rs


Anyway so knowing that it would take a little time I put an evening aside and start prep. Most of the sites recommended uBuntu, do I downloaded the ISO, fired up the LapTop and started installing. I was greeted with a message saying

This kernel requires the following features not present on the CPU: 
pae 

Unable to boot - please use a kernel appropriate for your CPU. 

What the flip?

Off I went back searching trying to get a solution and ended up downloading:
  • Fedora-Live-Desktop-i686-19-1
  • Puppywary-5.3
  • snowlinux-4-e17-i386-nonpae
  • ubuntu\lubuntu-13.10-desktop-i386
  • ubuntu\miniubuntu
  • ubuntu\ubuntu-10.04.4-server-i386
  • ubuntu\ubuntu-12.04.3-desktop-i386
Each one of them had a problem, hanging during installation, not actually installing (Puppy) giving me driver errors.

Needless to say it was a late night.

Windows XP to the rescue

I did some more digging the next day, and found this turn-an-old-pc-into-a-home-media-server. So I thought what the hell, this Linux thing is pathetic. It is supposed to work with any hardware but does not.

So I loaded XP onto the laptop (took me a while to find the OEM disks. You cannot use any one disk otherwise the serial key does not work. This was probably took me as long to find the disk as download the uBuntu ISO.

Then once installed I attached the External Drive, shared some folders, had to enable file and printer sharing obviously. I also set the machine up with a static IP, and enabled Remote Desktop so I can access it even on my iPad, I purchase the remote desktop tool. I did also try and find a free version on VNC server but the Remote worked fine before I found one.

Serviio

I then installed Serviio, I had installed Plex but uPNP is not supported, so installed Serviio, added the folders of movies and media onto their library and I now have a media server.

I next plan to purchase a VGA to HDMI converter, but other wise I watch on any device on the network, or plug my iPad into the HDMI port (I have that converter) and we can watch anything we have downloaded or encoded onto the media server.

So in the end the surprise for me was how awesome the windows stuff is. We added Microsoft Security Essentially so it has antivirus. So we now have a media server for free :)

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