Home Theatre PC

Having a Google TV was nice. However, Google burned its bridges with the Networks and it never lived up to its potential. So ended up just being a box that could watch Amazon Instant, Netflix, and files over the network.

I realized I had a fair number of parts lying around the house and decided to put it together.

Behold: Kiwi the HTPC


Putting it together was really easy, the case easy to work with. I installed Ubuntu and then downloaded XBMC. The last bit will be adding DVR functionality via the network tuner.

Other designs I ruled out:

  • Raspberry PI - I thought about putting PI by the TV and having a second PI be the NAS/DVR. It seemed like a good idea, but it means I'd have two machines to care and feed for. Plus after spending roughly the same amount of money, I'd have just barely enough CPU to accomplish the tasks.
  • New Basic Desktop - I would have a modern processor for cheap. However, the cases definitely looked like computers. I really wanted to have a case that looked like an AV component.
  • Samsung Chromebook - This one was close. My understanding is that it has the requisite horsepower and it would be nice to have a Chromebook ready to go in case of emergency. However, the vision is for this to be a DVR. That means, I'd end up with an external drive and it would eventually seem like a clean setup.

Outstanding issues:

  • Netflix for Ubuntu doesn't report to the OS that it shouldn't fall asleep
  • Can't wake Kiwi using hte keyboard or network. I have to hit the power button on the case.
  • It could use a Blu-Ray Drive
Posted: March 15, 2013 | | comments