Media PC OS suggestions?
July 15, 2009 11:34 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to configure my PC as an internet television hub?

I bought a pretty decent used PC from my work's IT department. It's good enough to run Hulu, etc but it's nothing too fancy. The catch, I've found, is that it comes with Windows 2000 which keeps me from installing anything like Chrome, Boxee, Hulu Desktop, etc. on it.

I tried installing Ubuntu last night and found that it ran incredibly slow. Windows 2000 runs really well in comparison. This surprised me.

If you had the same resources and didn't want to spend much (if any) money, what would you do to provide the best setup for an internet tv hub? (basically a hulu center)

I'm interested in every possible crazy idea, not limited to Operating system solutions. Another thing I'm trying to figure out is how to control it from the couch. (this issue is complicated by trying to come up with remote software for iPhone compatible with the OS I have)
posted by superbird to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You could try a lower-spec version of Ubuntu like Mythbuntu, which is designed for home theatre pc use. Or the lower spec version Xubuntu.
posted by JauntyFedora at 12:08 PM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

P.S. If you can give specs on the machine, I could give you more specific advice.
posted by JauntyFedora at 12:09 PM on July 15, 2009

Also, if it will run 2000 it will run XP. Especially one of the light versions. If configuring a mythtv box is a little epic for you (you're not planning on putting tv decoder cards in it are you?) I would go that route.

Seriously. We've got a pIII 700 and a PII 400 at home running a minimized xp install. They're surprizingly snappy.
posted by TomMelee at 12:20 PM on July 15, 2009

Of course, what you'd pay for a 2000 to XP upgrade, you'd be halfway to getting a new machine whose specs would blow the used one away.
posted by gjc at 5:42 PM on July 15, 2009

It's really hard to tell you what the options are without knowing what the hardware is. I used to watch anime on a box I bought for school on an AMD k6-II 500mhz (pentium pro 500Mhz, basically), running Debian. It wasn't always snappy, but I'd been used to it.

The critical elements of speed in this scenario is RAM, disk speed, and graphics card. Oh, and you can pretty much write off Hulu flash. That shit makes my MODERN computer spin up fans, and render poorly. You need to stick with stuff your video card can help with.

MythTV used to have a bittorrent plugin, but that's been ditched. Mythbuntu is based on XFCE, which might be lighter in terms of RAM consumption, which is usually the challenge with older PCs. But basically, spending money on stuff like RAM to make this thing work smooth seems pointless when you can replace the whole damn thing with a netbook, get better specs, and spend less time futzing around.
posted by pwnguin at 7:57 PM on July 15, 2009

AFAIK you cannot buy a liteXP disc. That's about all I have to say about that.

I would, seriously, put on XP, and then either download the CCC codec pack and install it (call me lame, I like the MP interface more than, say, VLC) and then use a combination of peerguardian2 and uTorrent to grab my TV shows via torrent, and then watch them that way.
posted by TomMelee at 4:44 AM on July 16, 2009

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