Finally, it’s done, and with fantastic results.
If you’ve been following along, you might remember that I was trying to build a low-end, low cost HTPC for my brother-in-law so he could watch downloaded content from his PC on his TV. We put Ubuntu and MythTV on a really old PC I had laying around and it was a pain in the ass. We got to the point where we were going to have to spend some coin on a VGA – TV converter… for around $70 at the local Fry’s.
At this point, I told him to think about getting an original Xbox and putting XMBC on it. That’s exactly what he did. He found an Xbox on Craiglist, with games, for under $100. This past weekend, we did a softmod on it and installed XBMC and had it up and running in less than 30 minutes. He was thrilled and his wife was also happy that she could play her MP3’s on it. There was much rejoicing and then we kicked each other’s asses on the boxing game he got.
So, this had a happy ending and I must say the latest releases of XBMC are superb. I think one would be hard pressed trying to find something as robust. We even had international streaming IPTV in matter of minutes, (it took a little while to find the files).
- UXE softmod Installation Tutorial
- XBMC (Xbox Media Center)
We had found another website with a stream pack, but I can’t find it now.
There should be no need for a signal converter if you follow the typical mythtv recipe. Either you want to use a Hauppauge PVR-350 for its TV out functionality (picture perfect for a simple record / watch PVR) or a fanless Geforce with TV out. Usually an FX5200 is a great fit, as they are typically cheap, fanless and support xvmc using the nvidia binary X driver. I got my FX5200 online for $36.
Anyway, the XBMC setup sounds cool. If things at home settle down before our move I’m gonna try it.
You are absolutely 100% correct. The problem with getting another card is that, I didn’t personally want to buy anything for this, (since I was “donating” the PC anyways), and this was getting too complicated for my brother-in-law. The simplicity of the XMBC setup and the robust functionality is what makes this the perfect solution for him. Don’t forget the “Spousal Approval Factor,” too! The Xbox in the media center looks a whole lot nice than an old, dirty PC with a keyboard and mouse sitting on top of it behind the chair! 😉