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Old 05-02-2010, 02:37 PM   #1
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The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

I wanted to share this with ya, because i think some of ya may be interested in this.

I've had various types of media centres for a while, pretty much all of them i've been dissapointed with to a degree. My xbox with XBMC coming closest to what i wanted.

Finally - few months ago what i wanted became a reality .

The Acer Revo (A Nettop):

http://www.ebuyer.com/product/167153

With an ION GPU, 270 Atom CPU and 1GB of RAM for 149.99 inc delivery..

What is incredible though, is it can run not only 720p without any problems.. But also 1080p.. Which i find astonishing. Nvidia ION really is impressive.

(Nice video here showing 1080p performance)

It's as easy as buying it.. Whack XBMC Live on it (You boot from a USB Stick, installs a light version of linux and XBMC).. Then away to you, boots up and goes straight into XBMC.

Of course you have to do a couple of tweaks to get perfect performance, change shared memory with CPU in BIOS.. Add a couple of lines to a file to get the right hsync, vsync and modelines for your TV etc.. But thats about it.

I have a modified version of Aeon skin for it on mine, Hitcher mod. Which you can get more details here, it's incredibley snappy and very good looking .

http://www.xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=58081

I bought a Microsoft MCE Remote for it for 10 second hand.. You can easily add another 1GB of RAM if you wanna put Windows 7 on it as a dual boot, that way you get better performance in windows.. I'm running 1GB on mine atm and it's perfect on XBMC, i do have an extra 1GB coming though so Windows 7 is snappy.

I can't just believe the performance to price point.. 149.99.. I'm godsmacked and so far chuffed to bits with my new media centre .

This looks jaw-dropping on my 50" Samsung 1080p Plasma at 1920x1080:





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Old 05-02-2010, 02:53 PM   #2
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Also if any of ya decide to buy one like i did - feel free to PM me if u need any help making the quicks. I'll point u in direction of step by step guides.

The only complicated bit can be finding and adding your TV modelines, as u have to do it by using linux terminal commands.. But it's not THAT hard. Thats ya 10 minutes or so.
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:35 PM   #3
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Is all the media stored locally on the box, or can it access network shares?
I ask, as I've got my media box which has a good few TB of storage in it (and is loud on account of all the drives/fans) in one room, and then I like a thin client type device under the telly which is silent to do all the actual playing of media with.
Currently using a Samsung BR player for this, but getting a bit irritated with some of it's foibles
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:43 PM   #4
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

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Originally Posted by olobley View Post
Is all the media stored locally on the box, or can it access network shares?
I ask, as I've got my media box which has a good few TB of storage in it (and is loud on account of all the drives/fans) in one room, and then I like a thin client type device under the telly which is silent to do all the actual playing of media with.
Currently using a Samsung BR player for this, but getting a bit irritated with some of it's foibles
Yerp.. shares over network, External USB HDD etc etc..

I personally have the Acer Revo in the lounge under my TV, hooked upto my network. With my movies / TV series on an 1TB External HDD and internal HDD on my PC in my office.

It's as simple as adding a source, then u set that source (folder).. Then you set that folder as either containing movies / tv series or music etc.. It then adds all that to the library and automatically downloads all the fan art from the internet for you, providing you have named everything correctly.. ie: "Tha M4trix.avi" must be named "The Matrix.avi"
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:31 PM   #5
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Sweet...I'm just replacing a stack of machines at work (Optiplex 755's) which have a 'reasonable' ATi graphics chipset in them...was figuring they'd make for a reasonable media box. Can it handle Blu-ray titles (assuming you had a BR drive in the machine)?
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:17 PM   #6
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

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Originally Posted by olobley View Post
Sweet...I'm just replacing a stack of machines at work (Optiplex 755's) which have a 'reasonable' ATi graphics chipset in them...was figuring they'd make for a reasonable media box. Can it handle Blu-ray titles (assuming you had a BR drive in the machine)?
You planning on building ya own media box with the arti cards and putting XBMC on it?

No idea on compability of other stuff i'm afraid.

If you mean you want to buy an Acer Revo and play bluray disc, ye you can connect up an external bluray drive.. If you use the ION optimized XBMC that someone made on the forum (I use it), it adds the bits for bluray drive compat. Handles perfectly i'm lead to believe, i would say with bluray discs tho to add an exta 1GB of RAM.. Altho thats only 16, so hardly a bank breaker .

If you want till 10th of Feb tho, ebuyer doing the R3610 for 199.99. Which has 2GB of RAM already.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:24 PM   #7
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

I've just started messing about with XBMC (again... for about the tenth time) and really getting along with it now, so much so I aim to repurpose an old laptop for usage with it. Havn't tested the old laptop with 720p stuff, so I've no idea how well it will decode, but XBMC is win.

It's only real downfall is the lack of TV input support, but that's no biggie really. That skin looks ace tho, and will be giving that a try later.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:00 PM   #8
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Is there an HCL for XBMC anywhere?
I really liked the look of the screenshots you posted, and it'll be a lot less effort than the Samsung thing we have, especially if it can play BR/DVD's natively
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:39 PM   #9
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

If you're talking hardware compatibility, best of checking their site/forums;

http://xbmc.org/

or more specifically, here;

http://xbmc.org/wiki/?title=Supported_hardware
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Old 05-02-2010, 11:49 PM   #10
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

SPRITE!!!111!!!

I bought one of these a few weeks ago, it's been fine and dandy, but it won't play nice with the TV we have in the lounge, it's pretty old school by todays standards, it's a 42" Panasonic Plasma, it doesn't have EDID I don't believe, so XBMC doesn't give a right good set of options with regards to what the TV is capable of (resolution/refresh rate).

So it plays everything OK, but it's never too smooth, does having the TV modeline setup properly sort this out?
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:08 AM   #11
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Just clicked thru to the link to ebuyer - seems it's dropped a tenner since you posted the thread
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Old 06-02-2010, 12:40 AM   #12
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyM View Post
SPRITE!!!111!!!

I bought one of these a few weeks ago, it's been fine and dandy, but it won't play nice with the TV we have in the lounge, it's pretty old school by todays standards, it's a 42" Panasonic Plasma, it doesn't have EDID I don't believe, so XBMC doesn't give a right good set of options with regards to what the TV is capable of (resolution/refresh rate).

So it plays everything OK, but it's never too smooth, does having the TV modeline setup properly sort this out?
DANNY!!!!!!

Could be the modelines... Can ya TV do 1080p?

You adding stuff to the xorg.conf ye?

Here is my xorg.conf - now one thing to note.. The modelines, often... Are pretty standard for majority of TVs, it is however the hsync and vsync settings that are more set to the TV.

You're welcome to use my xorg.conf - make sure you find out the hsync and vsync though, you'll be able to see this in the xlog you make. And set that.. Except for that, copy mine exactly. Lots of additional things in there, not just the modelines.

Also remember to set auto refresh match and sync playback to display within your XBMC settings.. Also have you set the memory of the iGPU in the BIOS ye?

If you've done all that.. You should be ready to go.. My TV isn't a toshiba, but like you i used someone elses one and set the hsync and vsync.. Worked then

Oh also use the ION customized version of XBMC, it's what i use..

http://xbmc.org/forum/showthread.php?t=66388

Code:
# nvidia-settings: X configuration file generated by nvidia-settings
# nvidia-settings:  version 1.0  (buildd@palmer)  Sun Feb  1 20:21:04 UTC 2009

# nvidia-xconfig: X configuration file generated by nvidia-xconfig
# nvidia-xconfig:  version 1.0  (buildmeister@builder63)  Fri Aug 14 17:54:58 PDT 2009

Section "ServerLayout"
    Identifier     "Layout0"
    Screen      0  "Screen0" 0 0
    InputDevice    "Keyboard0" "CoreKeyboard"
    InputDevice    "Mouse0" "CorePointer"
EndSection

Section "Files"
EndSection

Section "ServerFlags"
    Option         "Xinerama" "0"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"

    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Mouse0"
    Driver         "mouse"
    Option         "Protocol" "auto"
    Option         "Device" "/dev/psaux"
    Option         "Emulate3Buttons" "no"
    Option         "ZAxisMapping" "4 5"
EndSection

Section "InputDevice"

    # generated from default
    Identifier     "Keyboard0"
    Driver         "kbd"
EndSection

Section "Monitor"
    Identifier     "Monitor0"
    VendorName     "Unknown"
    ModelName      "TSB TOSHIBA-TV"
    HorizSync       26.0 - 76.0
    VertRefresh     23.0 - 61.0
    Option         "DPMS"
    ModeLine "1920x1080@60p" 148.50 1920 2008 2052 2200 1080 1084 1089 1125 +hsync +vsync
    ModeLine "1920x1080@60i" 74.18 1920 2008 2052 2200 1080 1084 1094 1124 +hsync +vsync Interlace
    ModeLine "1920x1080@23.976" 74.175 1920 2558 2602 2750 1080 1084 1089 1125 +hsync +vsync
    ModeLine "1920x1080@24p" 74.16 1920 2558 2620 2750 1080 1084 1089 1125 +hsync +vsync
    ModeLine "1920x1080@25p" 74.25 1920 2448 2492 2640 1080 1084 1089 1125 +hsync +vsync
EndSection

Section "Device"
    Identifier     "Device0"
    Driver         "nvidia"
    VendorName     "NVIDIA Corporation"
    BoardName      "ION"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
    Identifier     "Screen0"
    Device         "Device0"
    Monitor        "Monitor0"
    DefaultDepth    24
    Option         "NoLogo" "True"
    Option         "TwinView" "0"
    Option "DynamicTwinView" "false"
    Option "TripleBuffer" "false"
    Option "FlatPanelProperties" "Scaling = Native"
    SubSection     "Display"
        Depth       24
	Modes "1920x1080@60p" "1920x1080@24p" "1920x1080@25p" "1920x1080@60i" "1920x1080@23.976"
    EndSubSection
EndSection

Section "Extensions"
    Option         "Composite" "Disable"
EndSection
Quote:
Originally Posted by djdawsonuk View Post
Just clicked thru to the link to ebuyer - seems it's dropped a tenner since you posted the thread
lol, dang.. Sods law huh.. But 140, what a stonking bargain.
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Old 06-02-2010, 01:30 AM   #13
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Nice one sprite!

The TV downstairs is HD Ready, so 720p, it does do 1080i.

I'll have to have a look around when I get some time next week, working this weekend.

Thanks for the info, I'll probably do a reinstall from one of the XBMCFreak LIVE ISO's too.
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Old 06-02-2010, 02:19 AM   #14
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyM View Post
Nice one sprite!

The TV downstairs is HD Ready, so 720p, it does do 1080i.

I'll have to have a look around when I get some time next week, working this weekend.

Thanks for the info, I'll probably do a reinstall from one of the XBMCFreak LIVE ISO's too.
Bare in mind, my mode lines are for a TV which can do 1080p..

So you'll need to find generic 720p modelines im afraid.. Altho those should be there already, u wont need to add them.. But do all the rest of the stuff, should sort ya problem out.
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Old 17-02-2010, 07:33 AM   #15
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Got to say, I'm most impressed with this running on top of windows.
Had a pop with the Live CD, but it didn't like the ATi (2400Pro incase anyone cares) inside the Dell SFF box (Optiplex GX620) I've borrowed from work.
Got the Aeon skin up and running, and am just waiting for it to finish cataloging the media server.
Had a quick play about with the system, and was mildly disappointed it can't leverage hardware based decoding natively (although a quick search on the wiki turned up this pearl) Herself is so impressed with it that I'm half tempted to pick up one of those Revo thingies (as I'm guessing it's a fair deal smaller than the Optiplex)

Let me know if you're going to the LAN so I can arrange a case of beer for you
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Old 17-02-2010, 09:20 AM   #16
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Been playing with XBMC on the softmodded xbox I've bought off Sprite the other week and it is indeed rather win.

The awesome is slightly diluted for me though as I've gone back to the default Project Mayhem III skin as most others work best on a widescreen telly and the text is just too small to read clearly on the comparatively small, old-ass 4:3 tv we have downstairs.
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Old 17-02-2010, 12:05 PM   #17
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Olly, if you're looking for something with an optical drive - ASRock do an ION based nettop which is available with a BD drive although it is a touch bigger and more expensive.
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Old 17-02-2010, 12:09 PM   #18
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Quote:
Originally Posted by olobley View Post
Got to say, I'm most impressed with this running on top of windows.
Had a pop with the Live CD, but it didn't like the ATi (2400Pro incase anyone cares) inside the Dell SFF box (Optiplex GX620) I've borrowed from work.
Got the Aeon skin up and running, and am just waiting for it to finish cataloging the media server.
Had a quick play about with the system, and was mildly disappointed it can't leverage hardware based decoding natively (although a quick search on the wiki turned up this pearl) Herself is so impressed with it that I'm half tempted to pick up one of those Revo thingies (as I'm guessing it's a fair deal smaller than the Optiplex)

Let me know if you're going to the LAN so I can arrange a case of beer for you
Yeah my wife loves it, easy access to all her Tudors and Sex in the City shows

I'd definitely go for a Revo, if nothing more for size / power efficiency and pure 1080p compatibility with XBMC Live.

XBMC Windows is good - but XBMC Live is rock solid as it's linux based.

If you do decide to get a Revo, just add me on MSN: andrewdalmeny@hotmail.com

Can step you through all the little tweaks you do for XBMC Live to get it running perfect

Pic below gives you an idea of it's size in relation to my SkyHD box / Xbox 360 Elite.

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Old 17-02-2010, 01:34 PM   #19
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

Nice one dude ive been looking into a good media setup for a while now
ill have a look in to this , really need to make some use of my 50" plasma
instead of just using my ps3 on it

PS dude id move ur dvd collection away from the rads man!!
sure way to fuk them from too much heat

cheers oddie
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Old 17-02-2010, 01:37 PM   #20
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Re: The Best Media Centre - Ever (Only 149.99 - I'm chuffed)

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Originally Posted by Oddie View Post
Nice one dude ive been looking into a good media setup for a while now
ill have a look in to this , really need to make some use of my 50" plasma
instead of just using my ps3 on it

PS dude id move ur dvd collection away from the rads man!!
sure way to fuk them from too much heat

cheers oddie
Yeah it's cracking on my 1080p 50".

I've since sold my DVD collection and moved the bluray player downstairs, gone completely bluray now. With a new rack for them .

Here is a video i made, shows off the Acer Revo on my TV and shows 720p and 1080p. Also gives you an idea how the GUI works on the skin i use. You can view it in 720p, as i recorded it with my HD Camera.

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