The construction of HoloDeck01

I’ve decided to build myself a media-pc and PVR out of an old system I had laying around.  Since I got my new LCD TV (Acer AT3220A for those who like to go check the specs themselves), I’ve been playing around a bit with the PC input from my laptop and I’m VERY impressed with the quality I’m getting.  I tried the same thing with my roommates LG 42″ plasma, and was very unhappy with the resolution and the clarity of the images … the Acer is as crisp as any computer monitor, and while its resolution of 1360×768 is in the low end for a 32″ LCD monitor, in my current use as a TV, the max resolution works perfectly for me.  Any higher resolution, and I’d have to be bumping the font size up significantly to see it across the living room.

There’s a two-fold purpose to this project really.  The first is to build myself a PVR and gain some knowledge and experience in video I/O … my old VHS VCR is getting VERY tired, and I’ve always found it a bit ironic that a techie guy like me is still using VHS tape to record TV.  The second reason, of course, is that I want to be able to have access to my digital media (music and video from the internet for example) and other computer functions.  Further, I don’t use game consoles (its a matter of principle, especially with Microsoft entering the fray with the XBox … I’ve already spent good money on a very powerful computer that can play games as well as any XBox, or better, and I won’t be bullied into buying a special purpose, lower-powered machine with functionality I’ve already paid for), and I’ve been drooling a bit to try Tiger Woods and NHL ’06 on the ‘big screen.’

I’m still on stage one, really.  I’ve just updated the system to Fedora Core 6 (Redhat Linux, ofc) and I am now applying all my updates and getting my media players installed.  Stage two will be the purchase of a Hauppauge Win-TV capture card at Staples later, and the installation of that.  Stage three will be the final installation of the PVR software I will be using, MythTV.

Hopefully, I should have all this done in a couple of days and I will report on the outcome.  I plan to upgrade this machine at some point in the near future to a newer box (this one I am using now isn’t terrible, but its a 2.2ghz Pentium 3, so its not the bee’s knees either) to fully implement everything I want (for example, gaming on this machine isn’t going to be worth much, even with a decent 3d card), and I may end up running 2 machines, one for serving video and music based on Linux and MythTV, and a second for games running Windows XP.  The main point of this test is to see if MythTV is a viable, open source alternative to Windows XP Media Center, which is of course the way ‘normal’ people would do all this, lol.

I’ll keep everyone posted (though I hardly think anyone is on the edge of their seats for updates, LMAO) on my progress … right now I am just watching yum try to download the packages I need to update (Openoffice is freaking HUGE, btw).  Hope your Saturday is as fun as mine will be *G*.

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