Build Your Own Cheap media Player

    Here is a good way of stickin it to the man. You hear me Mr gates, I got your number.

    1st of forget what you have been told about media centres & windows and blah.....

    Media centres are ok if you liking forking out money for the sake of it. Any thing with windows is going to crash - from pcs, to mobile phones. Not Only that, you can get rid of your DVD player soon enough as well.

    Here is a way of saving about 800 quid (i'm basing this on paying for a tiny media pc, with hot specs).

    Before i start, you will need a PC to convert your media (bit of a bitch as the whole point is to get rid of the PC, but i'm sure everyone has one in there office).
    What you need is - Sumvision Hdd Media Player/Caddie. This can be picked up for 40 qiud from maplins or ebuyer. Well you don't have to get that exact model, that is the cheapest & reliable model i have found for that price. Also it's fanless so no annoying noise.

    320Gb HD from Ebuyer Choose a samsung spinpoint, or seagate. Will cost about 50 - 60 quid. Make sure you read reviews, they will tell you if there silent - the main thing. You don't have to get 320, you can get smaller. But trust me, once you get a handle of digitizing your dvd's, you will soon fill it up.

    Next - wait for delivery. Open boxes.

    Next take out the hardrive, look at the bottom end. and grab the little jumper with a pair of tweezers, set it to master.

    stick the HDD into the media player (connects with an IDE cable just like a PC).

    Before you add to the PC with a USB cable, install the software that comes with the media player (there will be one that is called format 32. That enables you t format the HDD (which shoud be NTFS) into FAT32 (all media drives from IPODs to Creative zens to sky Plus are Fat32).

    Now Your ready to use it as either a seperate harddrive or a drag & drop media player.

    Ok nearly there - you need 2 peices of software for converting DVDs. Type the following in to google - FABDvd decrypter & DrDivx.

    the first software extracts the DVD, the second compresses it.

    Grab your dvd's and stick on your PC then onto the media player. I managed to convert Lord of the Rings trilogy & Matrix trilogy by leaving them over night to compress (obviously it takes this long if you want insane quality - buts its quicker on normal quality). Any way - you will love it. I promise you. Especially when you see how small & pretty it is. Not only that - it comes with component & VGA cables.

    I have the complete 17 seasons of simpsons and god knows what else. Its a lazy man's wet dream. No more ugly pc beneath my giant TV, no more getting off my butt to change DVD's.

    So for 90 quid and a little bit of know how & time.'



    or buy and old xbox for £50 and softmod it.

    Thanks for the post Ayaz - not sure I'll do this but an interesting read...

    Left you some rep for the effort :thumbsup:


    or buy and old xbox for £50 and softmod it.

    Yep, works extremely well and very simple.

    My solution, which was also built mega cheap is an old Dell Latitude C400 which is a 12 inch P3 laptop. This one was rather broken, the screen didn't work nor did the battery/charging mechanism - she booted fine though and the external vga also worked fine. Using Dell's handy service manuals I opened it up and took the screen off entirely as it wasn't needed. The computer didn't mind, happily outputting to an HDTV. The laptop itself is about the size of a cordless keyboard/trackpad, there's little more to it which is ideal for dumping behind the TV out of the way.

    Next up was to get some connectivity, I cabled it directly into the router then popped a USB 750GB hard drive for storage. An ATI Remote Wonder allows it to be used from the comfort of the chair for media viewing and it runs VNC/remote desktop for anything more detailed which even allows mobile phones to control it. The Microsoft gaming receiver allows for emulators to be played using wireless 360 controllers for a tidy solution.

    Software wise it can of course run pretty much any video or audio but it can also use 4OD and Youtube videos. It works as a file server for the external hard drive through Windows shares as well as running a web and ftp server. It also runs a mail server to pull in data through Yahoo allowing the mobiles to get mail without having to go through the tedious process of the web system.

    With its mobile P3 it runs silent and without a screen or optical drive the power consumption is very low - it does have a plugin DVD player if needed.

    Got my eye on a D410, I missed out on one without ram, hard drive, battery and a broken screen which would have been ideal - the Pentium-m is more power efficient and more powerful.

    This amused me:

    Any thing with windows is going to crash - from pcs, to mobile phones. … Any thing with windows is going to crash - from pcs, to mobile phones. Not Only that, you can get rid of your DVD player soon enough as well.

    Complete and utter nonsense, you're a bit out of date - despite this little P3 laptop running a large selection of application and hardware, plus running 24/7 it hasn't crashed once, nor would I expect it to.

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