all i want for christmas...

...is a media player for my TV :P

Basicly I can't seem to find what I am looking for. All I want is a small set top box that I can plugin, or use wifi to play mp3/oggs via my entertainment system's stereo system, and a way to put my large collection of avi,mpegs, and vcds on my nice TV screen.

MythTV looks like its neat, but I'm not in the mood to put together a computer... and the threat of a athlon 1800xp humming away by my TV is terrifying. Doesn't anyone sell a media player with a simple GUI that can connect to my network shares? The best I could do was PC based media centers... really I just want a nice small set top box. Ideally that costs less than $200...

Any ideas from developer land out there?



By narishma at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 01:13

this is a neat looking device, have you personally tried it. i read on a few of the chat boards that there where some annoying problems with getting files on and off of it.

By Ian Reinhart Geiser at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 03:31

I didn't try it personally but I saw it running in a store and if all goes well I should be getting one in a month or two.

By narishma at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 13:03

I use a modified Xbox for that, running Xbox Media Center and using the Xbox DVD Remote to control it from my sofa. XBMC: http://www.xboxmediacenter.de/

Since the Xbox got Ethernet, I can open my media files directly on the network shares of my file server.

Modified means it includes a modchip that allows it to execute unsigned programs. This is legal over here, and you can buy modified Xboxes from a number of different vendors. http://www.xbox-scene.com/ is a good place to start.

XBMC is an open-source app, based around MPlayer, Samba, FileZilla, and some other stuff. It's really the best "media center" UI I've seen so far. It's theme-based, so its visuals can be changed to your liking quite easily. And it plays pretty much everything you throw at it.

The ability to play a game now and then is a plus. But really the reason I decided to go with a Xbox as my media player some two years ago was that building a PC with a similar form factor and comparable performance characteristics would have been more expensive, and considering how much cheaper the system has become since then, that's still the case.

By eike hein at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 09:15

You want a Digital Media Receiver, my favourite topic. Basically there are four categories available:

  • The HTML-based devices, like the Pinnacle ShowCenter, the Neuston Virtuoso Mc-500 (I have this one) and the Actiontec Wireless Digital Media Player. They all seem to have almost identical hard- and software, based on this design. Beside the manufacturer's software (only Neuston has a Linux version, and it sucks), there are at least three free software packages for them: OpenShowCenter (I use this one), Oxyl-Box and SwissCenter.
    All free packages are based on Apache and PHP, as the devices are not much more than a webbrowser (with a few HTML extensions to map remote control keys) with a build-in music- and videoplayer. They support MP3 and Ogg Vorbis, MPEG1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 (mpeg4 has some compatibility-issues, as usual) and Divx (needs to have the right profile).
  • UPnP-based players, like the D-Link DSM-320, the Roku Family (Music only) and the Terratec Noxon (Music only, just ordered mine). There's a pretty large selection of interoperable Windows Server software for them (Windows Media Connect, Nero MediaHome, Musicmatch Jukebox etc), but AFAIK only one Linux server, and it's not free software and the video-capable version costs 15 EUR: the TwonkyVision Media Server. Main technical advantage of UPnP is that it does not use an HTML-interface, but a database-like protocol that allows queries etc. That's why all the music players with LCD displays are using it, but there are only relatively few video-capable models.
  • Windows Media Center Extenders. You dont want them, unless you have a Windows Media Center.
  • Completely proprietary devices, like Hauppauge's MediaMVP (which uses a strange VNC-derivative as protocol, but a few people have hacked it) and the Squeezebox (with official Linux support)

By tjansen at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 13:04

I'm not going trying this out anytime soon (I haven't the money, and also I have everything on my linux box: tv, dvd player, divx player... and a good sofa in the room :) ), but I know there's a mediacenter project for mac to be released (free software).
The problem is that it cost "a little" more than $200.

By Diego Elio Pettenò at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 13:53


They've got some nice stuff there :)

By KDE User at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 14:34

I can only say good things about KiSS. I have KiSS DP-1000 and it is working great. Simple to setup and simple to use. It is also small and quiet. And it so far has played all the movies and audio I have thrown at it, including Ogg Vorbis. It also supports subtitles, which I include if I can because of my father. It is also simple to make it RPC-1 (no DVD region restrictions). It doesn't have harrddrive and network connectivity you need but I have seen other models from KiSS with features like this.

Live long and prosper!

By Jure Repinc at Sun, 02/13/2005 - 18:52