I want to roll my own media center
January 23, 2014 1:14 PM Subscribe
Looking for suggestions on the best way to replace a tv with a networked device.
posted by tractorfeed to Technology (15 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
A relative recently lost what was probably an illegal cable hookup in her building in NYC. They are not interested in paying for cable but do want to have the ability to watch movies and tv in their living room. I'm visiting soon and as a gift to them would like to set up a system that can do the following:
* play content from amazon prime
* play content from netflix
* play content from hulu
* play local files (avi, mkv, basically whatever VLC can play)
* serve as an automated torrenting box, something like a DVR so new episodes of shows they like can be automatically downloaded
* enable one-off downloads of torrents
* youtube and vimeo would be nice, as would a web browser
* switching between various interfaces is not so nice -- one ring to rule them all would be great for the users in the household who want it to "just work"
I've done some searching and had hoped that I would find a nice article on lifehacker or somewhere like that which would tell me how to "roll my own" including what hardware and software to buy and use, but most of what I found assumed that users would want cable, and video game hookups, and blueray capability. I did look at some past askme questions but they are dog's years old at this point. Assume I am savvy enough to build a box from purchased parts. They also have a large TV with hdmi input so I assume that is what I will want to hook into. Platform is irrelevant (mac/unix/windows) but this will live in a household that has both macs and pcs, and it might be nice if those other machines could put files on this machine. I've used xbmc (mac) in the past and found it a bit restrictive, and I had a lot of trouble getting it to interface with torrents so in my own house we just use a dedicated mac running macos for this purpose. But if xbmc is nicer on another platform I'm open to suggestions. Basically what hardware should I buy and what should I run on it to achieve these modest goals?