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Media Centre Ready?

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Media Centre Ready?
« on: October 16, 2015, 01:24:39 PM »
 

jsward69

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A few years ago I bought myself a little Intel Atom PC (A Zotac Z-Box) to sit next to my TV and act as both a central file server and for playing various media on the telly.  I really wanted it to be Linux powered and I put Linux Lite on it.  I had a terrible struggle trying to get the audio out through the HDMI and on top of that, hardly any media streamed across the internet worked.  I persevered for a few months but eventually threw in the towel and put Windows on it, which, for all its flaws, just worked.

Being a good netizen, I kept my machine updated.  With Windows 8 it started to feel the strain and when I offered it up as the sacrificial lamb for my first Windows 10 upgrade, well...the upgrade went fine and I actually quite like Windows 10 (what little I managed to experience of it)...but it was a step too far for the little machine and it was rendered useless.

So I've come back to have yet another stab at Linux.  I liked Linux Lite before so I tried it again.  So far I've just used Live mode from the USB, but it does seem to have come along.  It only took a couple of minutes to get the HDMI audio sorted, and not a command line in sight (not that this bothers me).

What's more, most of the internet video works.

But not all of it. Notably, Netflix still doesn't "just work".  A few catch-up TV services work, but a few don't.  The internet is my only source of TV (I don't have a digital receiver and my signal's rubbish anyway) so it's rather important that all of this works for me.  This day and age, I don't think that's asking too much.

So I'm here to ask you all: is this feasible yet? Can I genuinely use Linux as a Media Centre PC without having to resort to hacks and kludges (like WINE)?  Or will I have to see if I can find an old XP CD that'll install?

Actually, even if it comes down to hacks and kludges, I'd be interested to know if I can get LL into a usable state.

Cheers,
Jez.
 

Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 02:04:23 PM »
 

rokytnji

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Quote
So I'm here to ask you all: is this feasible yet? Can I genuinely use Linux as a Media Centre PC without having to resort to hacks and kludges (like WINE)?  Or will I have to see if I can find an old XP CD that'll install?

Give me that Zotac Box and I'd have it humming on XMBC, MPS, MIRO, Sayonara,  , etc.............
Hooked up like this

Windows, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Those are just for who ever is not me.
This weekends outdoor movie was   at my place.
LL 3.6,2.8
Dell XT2 > Touchscreen Laptop
Dell 755 > Desktop
Acer 150 > Desktop
I am who I am. Your approval is not needed.
 

Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2015, 02:05:29 PM »
 

torreydale

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Have you looked into installing Kodi?  It's part of Lite Software.  Menu->System->Lite Software.
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Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2015, 02:11:47 PM »
 

jsward69

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Give me that Zotac Box and I'd have it humming on XMBC, MPS, MIRO, Sayonara,  , etc.............
Boasts are fun, but help is better. ;)
I did have a fiddle with XBMC but CBF to configure it beyond it playing the media I already have.

PS: Ha ha, is Kung Fury out now? The trailer was excellent.

Have you looked into installing Kodi?  It's part of Lite Software.  Menu->System->Lite Software.
Thanks, I'll give it a shot.

Cheers, guys. It's Friday night...gotta scoot.
 

Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2015, 04:43:52 PM »
 

rokytnji

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Give me that Zotac Box and I'd have it humming on XMBC, MPS, MIRO, Sayonara,  , etc.............
Boasts are fun, but help is better. ;)

XMBC already covered By Kido
Miro is in your package manager
https://www.linuxliteos.com/forums/suggestions-and-feedback/linux-lite-2-8-suggestion-thread/msg17921/#msg17921
http://sayonara-player.com/index.php


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Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2015, 06:26:14 AM »
 

jsward69

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I've been super busy both in and out of work lately so I've only just got around to revisiting this.

Firstly, thanks again for all the suggestions.

I think maybe the title of my thread is misleading.  I don't really want a media centre in the sense that that is all it does, so I want a dedicated interface to access all my stuff.  I'm quite happy to have a "lounge PC" because, although I have plenty of other ways of doing it, I may also want to browse the web or whatever. However, because of my inability to get broadcast TV through my aerial, there are a couple of things that are fairly important for it to be able to do.

1. Receive live UK Freeview TV
2. Watch UK TV Channels' "catch-up" or "on demand" archives
3. Watch Netflix (this is the major portion of my viewing)
4. Access my own collection of videos and music

Thanks to PS3, Smart phones, Chromecast and other internet connected devices I can do just about all of this already.  But I can't quite do it all on one device - at least, not without occasionally having one of the other devices also switched on.  It just makes sense to me that I should do it all on a PC, and I'm afraid with Windows, it's always been very, very easy.

Last night I blew away my Windows 10 installation and installed LL properly.  I did this because I'd installed Kodi on my Live session and had a breakthrough.  When installing the NetfliXMBC add-on forced me to install the Chrome browser, I revisited all the services I had previously tried with Firefox in Chrome.

I must say, that Kodi + NetfliXMBC is a dreadfully ham-fisted and awkward way of browsing Netflix, but thanks to this revelation that Netflix works in Chrome I can forget about Kodi.  I'm happy to use web browsers, file managers and standalone media players (VLC has been all I've needed for years) to launch my entertainment.

I'm a lot happier now, but still frustrated.  Despite the fact that all the TV "on demand" services seem to use  Flash Player for their streaming content, even in Chrome some work and some don't.  I would conclude that this is down to their implementation and there's nothing I can do about it, if it weren't for the fact that they all work fine in Firefox and Chrome on my Windows laptop  - so it still must be a Linux "problem".

Interestingly (or maybe not) with the exception of Netflix, which works in Chrome but not in Firefox, all the others show the same behaviour (no errors, just doesn't play).

Work:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer
https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/
https://tvplayer.com/watch/
http://www.tvcatchup.com/

Don't:
http://www.channel4.com/now
http://www.channel5.com/demand5
http://uktvplay.uktv.co.uk/

If anyone knows of anything I could do to get these last few stragglers working I'd be happy to hear it.
 

Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2015, 12:40:12 AM »
 

N4RPS

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Hello!

Windows Media Center is why I keep a Windows 7 PC around. Kodi/XBMC is OK, but for the most part, TV card support in Linux leaves a lot to be desired.

I use Kaffeine with my two USB TV dongles, but it can't pause live TV like WMC does. The TV card in my PC won't work with Linux, PERIOD. I also struggle and fail at setting up Linux TV back ends, and I can never get the SQL server going properly for Mythbuntu or OpenELEC, either.

A solution to TV card support on Linux that's easy to install and set up would certainly be a treasure! If I ever DO 'figure it out', I'll be happy to post a 'how-to' here...

73 DE N4RPS
Rob


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Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2015, 06:28:38 AM »
 

jsward69

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Hi Rob.  Thanks for stopping by.  While hardware issues are frustrating they are at least slightly understandable.  What beggars my belief is that I have got different websites, all streaming media apparently through Flash Player, and some work while others don't.  I've spent a few more hours tinkering and still got nowhere.  I may just resort to trying Chrome via WINE.

Unfortunately it's precisely these sort of unfathomable issues that makes Linux, even after all these years with all its undeniable improvements, unsuitable for the casual user, if they expect everything they come across on the internet to work.  It drives me up the wall because everything that it does do, it's doing really well.
 

Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2015, 08:56:27 AM »
 

torreydale

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You don't need Wine to install Chrome.  It can be done using Lite Software (Menu, System, Lite Software).
Want to thank me?  Click my [Thank] link.
 

Re: Media Centre Ready?
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2015, 10:05:52 AM »
 

jsward69

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You don't need Wine to install Chrome.  It can be done using Lite Software (Menu, System, Lite Software).
I know that and I have it installed, but it doesn't work for many media streaming sites (see my post from 24 Oct), so I was going to try the Windows version under WINE.
 

 

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