Nov 1, 2008

convert your pc to hometheatre pc

GeeXboX is a free embedded Linux distribution which aims at turning your computer into a so called HTPC (Home Theater PC) or Media Center. Being a standalone LiveCD-based distribution, it's a ready to boot operating system than works on any Pentium-class x86 computer or PowerPC Macintosh, implying no software requirement. You can even use it on a diskless computer, the whole system being loaded in RAM. Despite his tiny ISO image size, the distribution comes with a complete and automatic hardware detection, not requiring any driver to be added. It supports playback of nearly any kind of audio/video and image files and all known codecs and containers are shipped in, allowing playing them through various physical supports, either being CD, DVD, HDD, LAN or Internet. GeeXboX also comes with a complete toolchain that allows developers adding easily extra packages and features but that might also be used to give birth to many dedicated embedded Linux systems.

screen shots
booting sequence


Hardware Needs

GeeXboX is an operating system but you still need something to boot on ;-) You're lucky, GeeXboX is based on MPlayer, which can be considered as one of the less cpu-dependent movie players, thanks to the use of FFMpeg for decoding movies.So, here's what can be considered as a minimal config :* x86 Pentium-Class CPU or above (P2-400 should be quite enough, Core2Duo is recommended for HDTV) or Macintosh NewWorld G3 (G4 highly recommended) * a VESA 2.0 compliant graphics card (for x86 PC only).* an ALSA compatible sound card.* at least 64 MB of RAM (128 MB or more are recommended for HDTV)* CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive* Motherboard which supports booting on CD-ROM (should be ok for everyone ;-)* Keyboard, Joystick or Remote Controller, using a Lirc-compatible IR (InfraRed) receiver (check to build yours), e.g. Miro PcTV's one or ATI Remote Wonder.

GeeXboX OSD Menu

Software Requirements
This is useful only if you consider compiling / customizing your own GeeXboX. First of all, GeeXboX has to be compiled under GNU/Linux. Also, you may need some packages such as :

* gcc : The GNU Compiler Collection, used to build the whole project. Please avoid using Gcc 2.96 (available on old Redhat and Mandrake distributions) which is not really MPlayer-compliant.

* make : GNU Make is a program that determines which pieces of a large program need to be recompiled and issues the commands to recompile them, when necessary.

* patch : this package is needed to patch some official programs sources to customize them to be GeeXboX compliant or simply to add some features.

* wget : Wget is a network utility to retrieve files from the Web using http and ftp, the two most widely-used Internet protocols.

* nasm : This is an x86 assembler which will flat-form binary files, a.out, COFF and ELF Unix object files, and Microsoft 16-bit DOS and Win32 object files. It is used to compile the uClibc of the GeeXboX.

* mkisofs : Creates ISO-9660 CD-ROM filesystem images.

* mkzftree : this program is available from the zisofs-tools package and let you create compressed iso images.

* cdrecord : A command line CD writing tool cdrecord allows you to create CDs.

You also need to have at least 7 GB of free disk space in order to build the GeeXboX properly.