Building (or overbuilding) a Home Media Center – Initial Setup

Posts in this series
  1. Building (or overbuilding) a Home Media Center - Initial Setup
  2. Building (or Overbuilding) a Home Media Center - Partitioning and LVM2

This makes Linux sexy…


This post will detail the steps I took to build a Linux media center server for my home.  Having recently “cut the cord” last year it has been an adventure and involved a lot of trial and error to not only achieve, but actually surpass the level of media availability and variety we enjoyed while paying over $150 to Dish Network every month.


Home Media Center Cases



Antec Fusion Remote Media Center PC Case

Let me start by saying that I have been building and upgrading this machine as just a local file store for all my music, pictures, etc. for a few years now and it is evolving itno something that I thought was worth sharing now.  My intention here was not to show the world that I can build a computer to receive attention.  I’m not Millennial like that.

This case is great.  It fits right alongside that stereo equipment you replaced with a soundbar, the DVD player that you replaced with a Blue Ray game console, etc.  Seriously though, its a nice case.  Things are a little snug inside, but watch what I stuff into this thing and you will be impressed.  On the front it also has a Firewire 400 port that nothing connects to any more (you can get 400-800 adapters still,) a couple of USB ports, and a display screen.  If you are running Windoze there is a software package that you can install to give meaning to the display.  Otherwise if you are running Linux you get to hack it.  It comes with an IR sensor and remote control with basic mouse/keyboard controls which connects to your motherboard using an included USB adapter.  Here is the lsusb output for the display:

root@ayana-angel:/home/spyderdyne/Documents# lsusb
Bus 002 Device 004: ID 15c2:0038 SoundGraph Inc. GD01 MX LCD Display/IR Receiver

You also need to know what IR Receiver (how many do you need?) the display is connected to:

<pre><code>root@ayana-angel:/home/spyderdyne/Documents# ls -l /dev/input/by-id/
total 0
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 9 Jan 4 13:29 usb-15c2_0038-event-if00 -> ../event6</code></pre>

Hint:  It is the only one that is not a keyboard (kdb) or a mouse (mouse) unless your system is designed to be an inverted infrared disco ball.  Next you need to ensure the lirc module(s) is/are installed.  In Debian:

apt install -y lirc

You can find the rest here at the MythTv blog.  They have exhausted this setup so there is no reason to copy and paste it here.  This is not fun, but you probably wont have this version of this case and my references here are out of date.  nevertheless I am working with it and intend to provide a full review, at least to prepare for the day that I had it working and screwed up the OS somehow.  I will update on this later.

I am using a now aging Asus P8H67-M PRO with the Intel ICH6 chipset motherboard.  They are still selling a REV 3 version with newer specs that holds up to 32GB of memory.  This board is nice because it is one of the few solid options out there that has 2 PCIe ports on an ATX Micro form factor.  My processor is an Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-2500K CPU @ 3.30GHz, which is a quad core and still costs about $280 if you want one.  Here is my lshw output for reference:


I will update this file as I add things, but it is useful for identifying what I am working with when you compare it to your own.

I am using an Nvidia PCIe HDMI video card with the proprietary Linux drivers for hardware acceleration installed, hooked up to a 60″ Vizio 3D Smart TV as a monitor.  It’s a pretty nice monitor. 🙂


BIOS Upgrade:  Pending

RAM Upgrade:  Pending

Leave a Reply