Wednesday, September 11, 2013

PC or PoC: XBMC Media Center

This little PC is one of the cooler computers I've seen recently that doesn't run Linux. It isn't even mine!

My brother actually designed and built this system himself. It is an XBMC media Center running Windows 7. It is a mini ITX system with a large hard drive and a Blu-ray burner. The USB cable you see on top is a way for him to connect additional storage to be unit. It is controlled not with a keyboard and mouse but a wireless Xbox controller.

This system is connected to his 50 inch rear projection television and plays movies games and is his primary entertainment source as he does not have cable or satellite TV.

In XBMC, he has set up what is called pseudo-TV. This is where he has taken and digitized all of the TV episodes he has on Blu-ray and DVD and setup channels that play through just like channels on television. So at 8 o'clock on the BAB COM channel episode X of Babylon 5 airs. Starting at nine episode Y of Babylon 5 starts. So on and so forth. If you change channels to the Star Trek channel and happen to jump into the middle of an episode it will begin playing from the middle of the episode. I'm not completely sure how it works but I'm guessing it has something to do with time indexes on the video syncing up with the clock on the system.

The other neat thing he has played around with is Valve' s Steam engine. If you are unfamiliar with it this is a gaming engine designed to run across multiple platforms. It is currently supported in Ubuntu and it is one of the things that we want to get working in the Gigastrand OS.

In a way, this system is the prototype for a game box that we want to build using the Gigastrand OS. We can see with this type of system can do running Windows so it gives us a target to shoot for when designing and building a similar box with the Gigastrand OS.


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