You’ll be hard pressed to find anything as useful and â€˜openâ€™ as the Xbox Media Center. The XBMC is your DIY entertainment hub on a budget: The host hardware (and therefore the cost) is yours to choose because XBMC is open source, free and cross platform. You can build your entertainment HQ from a high end processor heavyweight to a small, capable netbook. It’s actually really easy to setup as the tutorial below shows you how to build your own personal XBMC using a $200 Netbook from Acer.
- Acer AspireRevo: Cheap on eBay – The netbook has 1GB of RAM, an Intel Atom 230 processor, 160GB hard drive and more importantly an integrated NVIDIA ION graphics chip that handles HD video and outputs it to HDMI.
- XBMC Live: The Live CD for the XBMC installation based around a Linux distro with a light processor footprint.
- A Flash Drive: Minimum 1.5GB formatted to FAT32 that will load the XBMC installation on the netbook.
- Windows Media Center remote (optional): A USB receiver and lets you control the media center from a distance.
The tutorial gives an in-depth step by step approach to the installation and setup of the XBMC. To help you along, links to the source files are just a click away. Hereâ€™s a sketch of the setup process â€“
- Download the XBMC Live installer with the updated NVIDIA drivers.Â Both the direct link and the torrent sources are given. The download is a 341 MB zipped image file.
- Create the installation CD – Simply burn the unzipped image file to a CD using a CD writing software.
- Install XBMC Live on a Thumb Drive – Because the Acer AspireRevo doesnâ€™t have a DVD Drive, using a thumb drive as the installation source is the cheaper option.
- Tweak the System BIOS of the Acer AspireRevo – A couple of changes for booting with the thumb drive and for smoother HD playback.
- The Final Installation – Install XBMC from the thumb drive to the netbookâ€™s hard drive.
- Finishing touches for smooth play – For squeeze the most out of the graphics processor like HDMI playback, make some changes to the video and audio settings. Some final touches relate to setting up a file transfer protocol for streaming in third party add-ins and other files via a FTP program like FileZilla.
Well, the basic setup doesnâ€™t seem that back breaking, especially when all source files are provided.Â If you have succeeded and are itching to stretch your experience further learn how to Turbo Charge your XBMC Installation. This tutorial takes you into ways to pull media from the internet for your listening and viewing pleasure.
Recline and enjoy!