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How I collected a home media center. Postmortem

Monument Recently, my strictly comrade, laptop Lenovo z61m burned down monitor. Upon reflection, I realized that it would be long and expensive to repair it and bought a new laptop. The old laptop decided to adapt to the home media center, since the screen is not needed there, and everything else worked fine.

So, initially I had a Lenovo z61m laptop running Windows 7 Ultimate, a Phillips CRT TV and a desire to make it convenient. As it turned out later, the first two components were not entirely suitable, but more on that later. I started by choosing the program that will turn the content, since it did not require investments. I tried Microsoft Media Center (MMC) and XBMC .

MMC beautifully showed covers for music files, thumbnails for video files and played any content just like I used to in Microsoft Media Player and Media Player Classic - Home Cinema. Bribed also that it was planned to buy the maykrosoftovsky remote control, so, most likely, compatibility problems will be a minimum.
XBMC liked the fact that it has a large number of skins (skins), and the default skin in black initially liked more than the blue background of MMC. The abundance of settings in XBMC, plug-ins, relatively frequent updates, and the built-in plugin to display the weather also added interest to this program.

At this stage, I thought that I had at least two options for software, and took up iron. The laptop has an infrared port, and the thought arose of trying to use it and the remote from a TV or an old DVD player. I reread a large number of instructions on various websites, tried to install various programs such as WinLirc in order to be able to use the console in Windows. Nothing worked. The software did not work hard, editing the registry in Windows, changing drivers, BIOS settings in a laptop - nothing helped. Spending about a day on unsuccessful attempts, I came to the conclusion that such a scheme (built-in IR receiver and an arbitrary remote control) would not work, since the receiver and the console most likely have different frequency ranges. About the possibility of such problems on the forums warned, by the way. It was decided to spend about 600 rubles on the purchase of a specially designed console. Remote :-)

First of all, I went to the Omsk Knicks, as there had been such consoles before. When I arrived, it turned out that all the consoles had been sold, and no new delivery is planned. Apparently, slow-moving goods. After that, I went to “Whist”, where I was told that they did not have remotes, and there was not and would not be in “DNS” with the same success. Almost in desperation, I went to "Rhythm" - hurray, there is! The price was about 360 rubles (I do not remember exactly). Remote - some noname (clickable image).

A couple of days later, a friend told me that he went to Rhythm and was told there that they didn’t have remotes, never had one, but he bought a remote control for about 900 rubles at DNS. So trust the sales consultants after that, when they say one thing, then the other.

I stuck the remote receiver into the laptop and, as the seller promised, it all worked right away. No drivers, no programs. Launched Microsoft Media Center - everything works, everything scrolls. Hooray? Nothing like this. :-( The range of the remote turned out to be slightly lower than that of a conventional television. And most importantly: there are unnecessary buttons on the remote:

While I tried the remote, I myself repeatedly pressed the Desktop and Media Center buttons, which means that other family members will also press them and find themselves in the situation “everything is gone, you have to call your dad to repair”. The Power button in the presence of a small child is a guarantee that you will constantly get a laptop and take it out of sleep mode by pressing the button inside. The meaning of the remote is lost. The Close button is also completely superfluous for my purposes. Media Center button launches Microsoft Media Center and only that! If you use an alternative program, you understand.

All my attempts to reconfigure the buttons of the remote or block some of the buttons were unsuccessful. I tried to change the keys in the registry, install programs for reassigning buttons, install alternative drivers - all to no purpose. How it works out of the box, and it works. Nothing can be changed. True, I found a couple of alternative solutions:

The result was a conditionally acceptable functional remote.

We return to the choice of software. I dismissed Microsoft Media Center for the following reasons:

I don’t know how good MMC is with plugins, but I suspect it’s as good as XBMC, for example.

After that, I tried Media Portal . But somehow I didn’t like him right away, it seemed that he was worse off than MMC and XBMC.

Decided to configure and use XBMC. In general, everything turned out, but there are drawbacks:

After such a relative success with XBMC, I decided to also try Boxee . Overall, Boxee is good. The interface is a little more thoughtful and, subjectively, navigation is made a little more logical. But the obvious bias towards online video, etc. things that I did not plan to use completely leveled the joy of the interface and navigation. I am back to XBMC.

I decided that was enough, it's time to start everything in operation. I connected everything to the TV and ... was horrified. On the computer, everything looked good, but on a low resolution TV, the fonts are small (you can enlarge it if you edit the configs), the image does not fit in width (16: 9 in a laptop and 4: 3 in a TV), and even diagonal stripes run along the screen. With the permission it was possible to try to figure it out, but I postponed it and engaged in pickups. Since I connected the laptop to the TV using the old S-Video cable -> Tulip, I decided to buy a new S-Video cable -> S-Video. Bought, did not help. It turned out that the problem was not in the cable, but in the fact that the power supply unit of the laptop gave pickups. If the power supply was disconnected and the laptop was running on battery, then there was no interference. And why did I not notice this right away?

Since the power supply costs about 2,000-2,500,000, I decided that it was not enough to change its meaning, and that was the end of my experiment with a home theater. I returned to the old BBK DVD-player, which is connected to an external drive via USB. I do not leave hopes for a second attempt after changing the TV.


If you are not too picky about the type of software, are ready to put up with some flaws, or you don’t have an old laptop with a burned screen :-), then I advise you also to look at the ready-made software-hardware solutions. After reading the reviews and watching the video, the following options seemed interesting to me (didn’t use anything):

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/106639/

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