Alx9r's Hybrid Core Install

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Alx9r's Sample Setup
System Diagram

At the start of setup, the setup was according to the system diagram with the following exceptions:

  • I also had an old CRT monitor connected to the VGA connector. With this setup, some parts of the overall installation are shown on the TV while others were shown on the monitor.
  • I also had a keyboard and mouse connected.
  • I temporarily used Input 5 on the TV instead of Input 6 shown in the diagram.
  • I unplugged the null modem cable between the hybrid/core and the TV.

Bare-metal Install

I downloaded a torrent of the Linux MCE 0710RC1 AMD64 DVD .iso and burned it to a DVD. I plugged a cable from the Realtek network card into my router and unplugged the power supply for about a minute to reset all the chips in the system -- the Realtek-based network card seems to get in a bad state sometimes. I also rebooted my router to make sure it was able to provide a good connection to the internet. Then I booted from install DVD and let the OS install. This took about 25 minutes. During that time it only prompted me to select the default password and the disk to install to, then near the end to remove the install DVD.

There were a few things that I encountered during install that I thought were worth noting:

  • There seems to be an install-time screensaver. It basically just blanks the screen which cause my heart to sink as I thought something had gone wrong. The mouse did nothing to bring it back, but pressing the shift key worked fine. Whew.
  • There was a point in the install where the system displayed "Probing System for BIOS drives, this may take a while." A while in this case was about 10 minutes, then install progress continued.
  • Shortly after the "Probing System..." step completes, the screen went blank except for a flashing cursor for about 2 minutes. Then, it showed some aliases for and continued.
  • Sometimes I found that during the install the system hangs indefinitely at the flashing cursor. Everytime this happened, I found that there was some problem with the network connection to the internet.

AV Wizard

Once at the AV Wizard, I set up the AV gear as follows:

  • TV on, input 5
  • Receiver on, DVD input selected, volume -50

At the AV Wizard, I made the following selections:

  • Resolution Settings: DVI/HDMI, 1080p (16:9), 60 Hz (after clicking OK, the wizard display switched to the TV and was no longer shown on the monitor)
  • Graphical Aspect: OpenGL with overlay (medium) Note: Selecting OpenGL with alpha blending (high-end) causes tearing on video playback.
  • Adjust Image Size: No adjustments
  • Audio Settings: SPDIF Coaxial
  • Audio Volume: 100% (at this point test audio is output on the SPDIF output jack, the SR7500 displays digital indicating that it is receiving digital input) Note: This volume doesn't seem to affect the SPDIF output. It does affect the volume of analog line out. In some circumstances audio seems to be output from the analog line out only.
  • Dolby Audio Test: I could hear audio in surround. The SR7500 displayed the dolby digital symbol and 5.1 speaker surround.
  • DTS Audio Test: I could hear audio in surround. The SR7500 displayed digital the DTS symbol and 5 speaker surround.

Note: After selecting the resolution, there is no longer any output from the VGA port. At this point, I put the CRT monitor back in the closet.

Sarah (Setup Wizard)

The next step was the setup wizard. This is the one from the Video with video clips of Sarah prompting you to do various things. I simply followed the prompts except for some unintuitive exceptions when prompted about the TV as detailed in the two sections below.

After the wizard and a few minutes of letting the system set itself up, the progress bar reached 100% and the LinuxMCE showed the on-screen orbiter with pictures as the background. It is worth noting that the pictures at this point are a good sign that the internet connection is working.

Note: During the Setup Wizard I was interrupted and asked if I wanted to use the "Internal HDD". I selected yes, and allowed it to be used automatically to store media using LinuxMCE's directory structure. This is the built-in media drive that I prepared earlier.

Note: The first time I did a fresh install, I didn't have the USBUIRT connected. Once I added the USBUIRT to the system and did a fresh install, the system froze the first time the Setup Wizard was displayed. I hard rebooted (by pressing and holding the power button) and everything seemed to proceed fine.


After connecting the RS232 cable for TV control and letting it autodetect, I did the following:

  • "You connected a Acquos LCxxD6U / LCxxD7u(Sharp TVs/Plasmas/LCD's/Projectors). I think it is in the room Living Room Shall I use it?": Yes
  • "This is connected to a tv: Acquos LCxxD6U / LCxxD7u. Is that correct?": No, that is not the TV
  • Then select the Sharp Acquos LCxxD6U / LCxxD7u manually from the list.

This seems to disable the auto-detection for the port that the TV is connected to. If it is not disabled, the TV is re-detected and the Setup Wizard interrupts whatever you are doing. When prompted I selected a COM port (which doesn't matter, it will be reconfigured later) and selected input 5. I still had to perform some other steps as described here to get TV control working.

Install dvd css, Rip a DVD

DVD CSS is required to rip DVDs but isn't installed by default.

From the on-screen orbiter I selected Advanced->Advanced->Add Software. This shows the Add Software screen from the wizard. I chose to install DVD CSS even though the GUI seemed to show it as being install already. I later noticed that once all the downloading and installing took place, a big green checkbox appeared beside DVD CSS.

After I was pretty sure that the dvdcss downloads had completed and were installed, I popped the "Finding Nemo" DVD into the optical drive. LinuxMCE showed a message about a disc being detected, then the screen went blank for a worrying amount of time and eventually the movie started playing, no warnings, previews or anything. Nice.

Ok, I wanted to rip Nemo to disk, so I exited the playing DVD and selected Manage Drives which showed the DVD. I clicked on the Rip icon and the ripping commenced. After about 10 minutes, a message appeared saying the rip was complete.

Now to play the ripped copy. I removed the DVD from the drive just to make sure that it wasn't going to be played. I clicked media->video and there was Nemo. A few more clicks and the movie started. Sweet success.

Special Steps

  • Some orbiters (eg. my laptop) connect to the core using the wifi connection provided by the WRT54GL. This connection is on the "EXTERNAL" network card which is firewalled by default. Since the core is behind the OpenWrt firewall I disabled the core's firewall by checking the firewall disabled box at web admin page->Advanced->Network->Firewall Rules.
  • Interlacing is disabled by default. I turned it on by setting Admin Page->Wizard->Devices->Media Directors->Deinterlace Quality to high. The page lists multiple media directers, so make sure you are setting Deinterlace Quality for the right one.

Miscellaneous Setup Notes

According to the end of this thread the infrared receiver that comes with the WinTV-PVR-150 MCE is now plug and play but requires a few setup steps, however, I was not able to get it working.

Alx9r's Sample Setup
Materials Network Gear · Hybrid Core (living room) · AV Gear (living room) · Orbiters · Glue
Preparation Router Setup · Aquos TV Power-on
Hybrid Core pre-LinuxMCE Setup Assembly · BIOS Tweaks · Hardware Testing · NAS Media Drive Setup
Hybrid Core LinuxMCE Installation Bare-metal Install · AV Wizard · Sarah (Setup Wizard) · Special Steps · PVR-150 Remote · Aquos TV · Denon Receiver · Media Drive Setup · Laptop Orbiter · Webpad Orbiter
Hybrid Core Additional Software Bittorrent · Synergy
Toolkit Laptop · telnet/ssh client · Remote Mouse and Keyboard · Partition Tools
Design Rationale Network Topology · NAS