This blog is written so that I can spew my thoughts on a cheap networked hometheater system. I use as much opensource software as I can, but try to keep everything as easy as I can. When I am done, I will create a tutorial to sum up what I learned.

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Wednesday, 16 November 2011

back to work

Well I've been in the states awhile, but I'm back!
So with the internet working, I've downloaded the new uTorrent for mac, which has scheduling!  Now I have to figure out how to get wired internet to my room for my pc and linux server.  Once that is done, I'll start intalling programs to the server to help with managing and downloading files. 
I think tomorrow, I'll add the advanced launcher to my iMacs XBMC set up, and see what it is like.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Router 2

Well I finally got my router working.  Took some intense googling!  problem is that my router is in the closet under the stairs, and its the only switch.  I can't attach my 2 PC's (as they don't have wireless)
I have to work on that.  Maybe I'll set up my computers on the desk across the hall for some set up time.  But i'm using an old CRT monitor, so moving and placing computers can get pretty hard.  I'm in the states (Bleh!) until sunday, so I'll see if I think of a solution then.  If any one knows how to attach a mac and pc by ethernet to share a wireless connection, give me a shout!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Well, I realized that I can’t set up my router…   So my blog has been slowing down.  I have set up utorrent on my PC and set up CouchPotato and SickBeard to go with it, but again, I have no internet connection, so they don’t do anything.  I will also start to work with MediaFrontPage on this. 
Once I do have my connection I will do the following:
1)Continue to set up my Linux server.  I need to start downloading the proper software on to it.
2)which means I can start working on my guide.  One of the purposes of this blog is to act as a guide for those who wish to have the same setup.  The guide will make that available without the whole story.
3)Start testing out configurations for CP,uT,SB,MFP.  I will first have these set up on my XP system.  This way, I get to know how the programs work before I start using them on Linux.  
4)Start downloading media.  I would like to create a large enough archive and doing so means starting asap.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


I am honeslty having such a hard time getting my wireless internet to work.  this is prohibitying my productivity, as I cannot download any programs for my server, or any add-ons for my XBMC test rig.  If anyone knows how to get a lynksis valet working, please say so in the comment.
Once I get the internet working,  I'll do the following:
Download the advanced launcher plug in for XBMC to test with emulators and games.
Start downloading all my programs for the server.  Once this is done, I can have the first part of my guide ready.  Also, I will be able to do some testing for Mediafrontpage, sickbeard and Couchpotato.  Still looking for a RSS torrenter for music.  If there was one for games too, that would be awesome!

Adding storage to your server

I'm just looking for storage and it seems that the cheapest option is the WD Green 3TB drive.  It is priced at $180CDN for $60 a TB.  This is the absolute cheapest per TB.  Its not extreamly fast and is best for just media, nothing heavy, but if all your doing is added more storage to your media server, this is the best.
Edit Nov 9th
Hard drive prices have dramatically increased due to the flood in WD's plants
Seagate has also came out with a similarly prices 3TB HDD which scores better on PC Maximums test

Monday, 31 October 2011

Rom and Saved game locations

It looks like saving the roms on the server will be easy to do, using a rom managment tool.  Also, for older windows games (say pre-2000 ish) it looks putting the saved games to on the server will work fine as well.  The real problem will be the newer games.  They automatically save their games in a designated folder.  There are no clear options to change that folder.
Any ideas would be helpfull.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


I've decided that I will also create a list of instructions for this process.  I've already finished the instructions for installing the server.  I will be building a basic media server, then I find instructions for the more advanced stuff.  Once I have done it, I will look back at it all, and see if that was the best way to do things.  I will write the instructions and then recreate my server by following the instructions.  I will then post the instructions.  Maybe by that time, I'll be good enough at linux that I can just create a package and have it automatically install and configure everything for you.  Hey, a man can dream.
In reality though, its all to document my adventure and provide everyone with the resources to create a free media system.  The instructions will also provide me with a way to look back and see what I've done if something goes wrong. 

Ubuntu Installed!

I have sucessfully install Ubuntu server on a PC.  It was pretty straight forward.  but I have yet to get my router working, so I haven't been able to download any programs. Currently I know how to log in, find the help menu, and then turn off the computer.
It's awesome!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Server (Finally)

So I've decided how to run my server!  I'm using instructions from here.  I'm currently downloading the Ubuntu server ISO.  Really excited for this.  This linux server means every system can use it.  I'm slightly worried about the power consumption of my box, but it isn't stopping me.  I will hopefully be putting together the server tonight.  I do all my program downloading at work due to large bandwith.  My home internet sucks and is usually stuck at 3-4mps download.  But it seems that I have to do alot of updating from the actual server it's self.  Dang!  Also, the instructions use things like TED (which suck, I'd rather use sickbear) and don't include media front page or CP.  I'lll do some research on these to find installation instructions.
I also found a good site at home yesturday, but I didn't copy the address, so I have no idea where to find it. 

Monday, 24 October 2011

live vs W7 vs OpenElec

I am still working on choosing how to run my main HTPC.  I ran XBMC on my wxp desktop, but when I woke it up from standby, it still required me to log in to the windows user (the PC only has one user, and it doesn't have a password).  I'm reading about OpenElec and it looks pretty good.  It can use add-ons, which is awesome.  http://lifehacker.com/5851924/openelec-is-a-hassle+free-xbmc-distribution-for-home-theater-pcs
But then again, I would like to use my games.  If I can find a way to run it on WXP without ever seeing the log in screen, it would be awesome!  That way, I could easily close XBMC and work on the back end with no coding knowledge.  In that case, I'd just leave the computer on sleep.


I'm currently looking at a Linux server.  I've done some research and it looks like thats the only way to have it work for both Mac and Windows.  I've been doing some research on linux and will hopfully be learning how to use it.  It uses the comand line alot, which I'm not familiar with.  I have a computer ready to become a server though, so this should be a free endevour. 
In other news, I drilled some holes in my house and ran some cable.  There is now network access at the main computer, the main TV, and the downstairs bedroom.  I also have a put my wireless router there and placed a computer in there aswell.  This will become my server.  Notice there is no power going to it, this will probably come tonight.  I think I'll build a couple doors on it.  I'm quite excited for that.  Even if there is not a home theater front at the moment, it will really help future implementation of it

Friday, 21 October 2011

Media Front Page

I just discovered a program called "MediaFrontPage"  This program work on your HTPC and runs with certian programs to automate all your processes. It can work with SickBeard, Couchpotato, uTorrent, and XBMC.  It looks like it works on Linux.  This could really help and get rid of a lot of extra work on my end.
I'm starting to feel that I actually understand some of this stuff now.
PS SickBeard can be used for torrents as well as NZB.... YAYA!.  Now to find Headphones for torrenting.

XBMC forums

I have been looking at some XBMC forums and there are some really cool feature that are avalible.
I really like the program which puts trailers infront of your movies to give it more of a theater experence. 
The other is a program which looks at your data base and checks which movies you don't have.
I'd like to see these both interated with couchpotato.  Images getting to the end of a trailer, and having a button pop up asking "Do you want this?"  This would be so cool.
Or looking through a list of the movies you don't have and clicking "Want" beside each.
I also found a forum about sombody trying to do something really similar to me: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=107931
There is also talk of creating a XBMC Backend http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?t=105883
The Trakt addon also looks cool and it seems very popular.  Keeping my eye on that one

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Creating My Home Network

So I figured out that you don't need a server but to have a central storage space, I do require either a router with a USB hub (Asus RT-N56U) or a NAS.  I really should add a NAS.  There is this opensource program called FREENAS which would work, but I think I would have a hard time adding programs to it (I know it can torrent, just click here but I don't think it can run any programs).  I could leave on computer to be the torrent/sort/scrap machine (Using these instructions) and just send all my media to the NAS once that is done (I think event ghost can do this for me).  But then I need to have 2 computers dedicated to the back end.  I only have 1 working spare computer.  I'll probably have to find another crap computer to be a NAS.