Alx9r's Sample Setup

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Alx9r's Sample Setup
System Diagram
Quick Specs
Living Room (Hybrid Core)
LMCE Version: 0710RC1
Graphics Chip: nVidia GeForce 6150
UI Option: UI2 w/ Masking
Max. Tested Res.: 1080P
Speaker Count: 5.1
TV Tuner Channels: 1
AV Equip. Ctrl.: All RS-232
IR Receiver: USBUIRT
Orbiters: wifi laptop · Nokia N800
Remote: Hauppauge PVR-150
Topology: Nested
Router Hardware: Linksys WRT54GL
Router Firmware: OpenWRT/X-WRT WR 0.9

Note: You are on the opening page of my sample setup documentation. There is a navigation box at the bottom of each page to get around to all the other pages. Scroll down there and click on the links to explore!


In May 2008, I began building a LinuxMCE test system. I wanted to see if I could replicate at least part of what I saw in the Video. The test system system would hopefully become my main working home theatre system.

AV gear-wise, I started with a completely clean slate here as I had nothing: No TV, no speakers, no receiver, no remotes -- a blank canvas.

My criteria for the design of this system is as follows:

  1. Wherever possible use known-compatible and mainstream components.
  2. Wherever possible follow recommendations from forums, reviews, Video and wiki.
  3. Use components in the price/performance sweet spot.
  4. Aesthetics should be living-room friendly.
  5. Keep it simple, but still test the broad capabilities of LinuxMCE.

I intended to document the design and results from this system as completely as I could. That way, it would hopefully serve as a reference for others to replicate or at least learn from. This collection of wiki pages is the up-to-date description of my system. I will try to keep it up-to-date as my system evolves.

Probably the best overview of the stages I went through to set the system up is by using the Navbox at the bottom. It is shown more-or-less in chronological order.

Current Capabilities

This system is a work-in-progress. It doesn't exercise everything that LinuxMCE is capable of, but even in its current configuration it is a very capable media center. Here are some of the things that it does that I find most useful:

  • Plays 1080P content flawlessly.
  • A single remote or orbiter controls everything. The AV gear is controlled entirely by LinuxMCE. That way, I can use any orbiter or a single infrared remote to control my whole system. No more masses of remotes cluttering the coffee table.
  • Downloads bittorrent directly to the media center hard drive. When a torrent completes, it automatically shows up in the media library. No more downloading to my laptop, then transferring the completed downloads. Starting new torrents and viewing progress is done over a web interface. I still use my laptop to hunt down torrents, but the media center takes care of all the downloading. Downloads of new episodes are automatically started using rss feeds.
  • Holds my entire DVD collection on-disk. I figured it costs about $1 CAD worth of disk space per DVD, which works out to be cheaper than a DVD jukebox (assuming you could get ahold of one). It takes about 5 to 10 minutes per DVD to rip. It is a bit labor intensive to rip them all, but worth the effort: No more messy DVDs hanging around the living room.
  • Does a reasonably good job managing video cover art, genres, etc. I've added cover art and updated meta data for most of my media. Most of them get downloaded from amazon automatically (for DVDs) or can be downloaded from Amazon manually (for example for a downloaded PBS Frontline video). With the cover art displayed, searching for videos to watch is an esthetic experience. I've also added the genre to all of my media so searching by genre works. That feature is actually more useful than I anticipated.
  • Allows me to control media out of site of the TV using a webpad. I use this feature when I want to listen to music in the kitchen.

Coming Soon

I'm currently working on refining how bittorrent downloads are handled. Hopefully I'll have a decent setup to post soon.


If you have any questions or comments about my system design, please post them in this forum thread.

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