First thing I did once I got broadband

XBMC on Linux hooked up to my LCD TV

Yes at long last I have reasonably stable broadband again. I say reasonable because it seems to discount every few hours, but I'm sure that will go soon. The rest is done at 4am before going to bed

Anyway, I'd had setup a couple of boxes with plain Ubuntu 8.04 on them. They were pretty useless without the internet, even Samba isn't included on the CD. So once I got online I was able to download all those updates and software packages. One of port of call was installing xbox media centre to see how well it ran on a slightly better machine that the xbox. Actually it as quickly discovered I'm going off buying/building a new machine. The CPU usage was always on 100% and the only way I could get it from 9fps to a more healthy 18fps (this is while in the menus still btw) was by installing EnvyNG. Envy basiclly instals the corret video driver. After that I could also watch video at about 20fps. The video I was seeing was slow and I had not attempted the AC3 or High Def ones yet. So my port of call is to go to the largest computer fairs in Europe? to pick up some hopefully 2nd hand computer parts. Should be fun, I'm aiming for something between a AMD 2800 and Quad Core chip. That should cope with the demands of XBMC. I'm also tempted to switch the Nvedia graphics card too as its a 4th generation card and the XBMC team are recommeding a 6th generation. But at this stage, the CPU is the most important thing to get right.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser. Can be found at, and