HDTV dashboard?
March 6, 2008 3:21 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving to a new place next week and now that my nice HDTV will be in the livingroom and getting a lot of foot traffic, I would like some ideas on how to put it to good use both visually and audibly.

The easiest option would be to set it to one of the Sirius music channels but thats not good enough.

Do you know of any good digital screen savers or plasma windows? I've not managed to find any that catch my eye.

An interesting idea I just came across is the Ybox, described as an Atari2600-era Konfabulator for the TV. This is too primative.

Is mythTV my best/only option for widgets/dashboard, music jukebox, visualizations, etc? If so I want to know before I put money into a DVR.
posted by phritosan to Technology (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Of course I think of more information after I post.

I don't have any of the current generation game systems.
As far as digital screensavers go, I'm looking for something along the lines of ElectricSheep
posted by phritosan at 3:26 PM on March 6, 2008

It would be cool to run electric sheep, but that would need a computer as well. Runs on just about anything though.
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 3:29 PM on March 6, 2008

Jeeze. Guess you already know about that.
posted by Ctrl_Alt_ep at 3:30 PM on March 6, 2008

Those Grass Collective DVDs are still available.
posted by box at 3:34 PM on March 6, 2008

There's that Brian Eno paintings DVD. Or you could just show Baraka and Koyaanisqatsi on an endless loop.

(Upon rereading, though, I'm beginning to think that you want less pretty picture, more widgets and tickers and whatnot. And in that case, I think it'll be hard to beat the versatility of a plain old pc.)
posted by box at 3:38 PM on March 6, 2008

I'd go with MythTV, or just a stock Ubuntu system that you tweak out a little bit for DVR. You're going to get lots of great and Free and free software. Likewise, your storage capacity for DVR should cost radically less than with a set-top box.

Invest in a tasteful case and discreet controls that can be operated efficiently from any comfy position. Maybe one of those gyro-based mice. You don't want to have to use an actual mouse and keyboard when you're lying on your back on the couch.

As for software, there're about fifteen screen savers that come with Ubuntu that I find artistically stunning. You can find even cooler ones out there.
posted by Netzapper at 3:42 PM on March 6, 2008

Also, there's the AppleTV...
posted by Netzapper at 3:42 PM on March 6, 2008

Throw an Apple Mini under it, and run iTunes with visualizations, or show your friends Flickr streams, or video iChat your friends.
posted by nicwolff at 3:43 PM on March 6, 2008

Realize that leaving your HDTV on all the time will use a non-negligible amount of electricity and lower its lifespan.
posted by dcjd at 3:49 PM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

box beat me to it! Grass Collective, although they aren't selling Rivers of Light any more. But you can get some pretty jellyfish!
posted by Joh at 3:50 PM on March 6, 2008

Response by poster: dcjd, yes, thanks for mentioning that. I'm expecting to be using it when I'm entertaining or cooking, not as "oh, I'm not watching TV, make the TV do something. dance monkey, dance"

Additionally, the entire entertainment center is currently shut off when not going to be used for 24 hours to avoid the vampire drain.
posted by phritosan at 3:53 PM on March 6, 2008

I have the whole HTPC setup, but I just run plain ol' windows XP and have a wireless keyboard and mouse on the coffee table. If the mouse is a pain you can get a wireless keyboard with a built in track pad.

That being said... Audiosurf in free ride mode (you dont have to play, just watch the pretty) is pretty great background. The only downside is if there's a way to make playlists, I haven't found it. It's a cheap game on Steam and I prefer it to most of the visualizations I've seen.

Youtubery can also be good for company. I had an evening with friends with 80's cartoon openings as our background :)
posted by utsutsu at 7:24 AM on March 7, 2008

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