How to Build Your Own Home Theater Personal Computer With an Older Computer

This guide has the purpose of helping you to reuse an old computer transforming it into a new living room or bedroom’s media center or HTPCUbuntu Linux and XBOX Media Center, both with GPL /GNL licences, will be used for this purpose. First at all, what is Ubuntu?Ubuntu is a complete desktop Linux operating system .With Ubuntu users can install a wide range of software, from a simple video game up to a productivity suite , all of them completely free of charge. And what is Xbox Media Center? XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, and Windows. Currently XBMC can be used to play almost all popular audio and video formats around. It was designed for network playback, so you can stream your multimedia from anywhere in the house or directly from the internet using practically any protocol available. Use your media as-is: XBMC can play CDs and DVDs directly from the disk or image file, almost all popular archive formats from your hard drive, and even files inside ZIP and RAR archives. It will even scan all of your media and automatically create a personalized library complete with box covers, descriptions, and fan art. There are playlist and slideshow functions, a weather forecast feature and many audio visualizations. Once installed, your computer will become a fully functional multimedia jukebox.(Extract from http://xbmc.org/about/)

Steps

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    Download and burn a bootable CD .iso file. Get the most recent stable release (LTS). Go http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download and follow the download and how to burn a CD’s instructions. This part can be done in another computer.
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    Restart the computer. Put the CD into the CD/DVD reader and restart the computer. If you restart your computer and it return back to your installed operating system (i.e. Windows XP) go to Set Bios to boot from a CD ROM and follow the instructions. If you cannot boot from the CD/DVD reader, even when the instructions were successfully done, check the CD in other computer in order to discard a CD/DVD unit malfunction.
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    Install Ubuntu: after restart the computer with the CD/DVD into the computer, a screen like this one will appear. Press Install Ubuntu button.
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    If Ubuntu cannot detect Internet do not worry, press continue. Updates can be downloaded later, but they are not necessary unless the computer will be used for another purposes such as Internet browser or e-mail reader.
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    It is recommended to select Erase disk and install Ubuntu in order to use the hard disk drive at full capacity. Press continue
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    If you have more than one hard disk drive, select the drive where Ubuntu will be installed. Press Install now.
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    Before finishing the installation, Ubuntu will ask for your location, this is for time and date setting
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    Select you keyboard layout and press continue.
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    In this screen is important to fill all the information required. Select the option Log in automatically and press Continue. Save your user name and password in a piece of paper for future references.
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    Please wait until the installation is done. Restart the computer when Ubuntu ask for it.
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    After restart the computer a desktop like this will appear. Ubuntu Linux is already installed and ready for it use.
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    Install Xbox Media Center. Go to the first icon, select it and write in it the word terminal. Double click over the icon with the same name.
    • A window like the next image will appear.
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    Write or copy the next lines, one line at the time, inside the window and press enter. If Ubuntu asks you for a password please enter the password created in point 11. Note: do not worry about warnings, just repeat the instructions.
    • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:team-xbmc sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install xbmc sudo apt-get update
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    To try the software make a click over the first icon and write xbmc, if everything is correct an icon with the name Xbox media center will appear, if not try the previous step again. To avoid repeating the last point every time just drag the icon and drop in into the vertical toolbar(For how to use XBMC go to www.xbmc.org)

Tips

  • Minimum requirements for these software. A 5 year old PC can be enough.
    • Intel Pentium 4 2 GHZ /AMD Athlon XP 2000.
    • 512 MB RAM
    • 10 GB Hard Disk Drive
    • Intel GMA 900 /Nvidia Geforce 4 mx/ATI 7000 or similar video card
    • LCD/Plasma/LED TV is recommended with VGA/DVI or HDMI connector
  • CRT TVs are not recommended because the quality of the image (signal) could be not good and those TV have not HDMI,DVI or VGA connector.
  • Wireless keyboard and mouse are highly recommended.

Warnings

  • Be sure of backup all the information previously to the installation

Sources and Citations

  • www.xbmc.org
  • www.ubuntu.com

Article Info

Categories: Hardware