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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,


I started checking out Ubuntu since the start of the year. I'm now going to build a HTPC to get to know Linux a lot more and have some fun. I recently bought:


Q8400

Gigabyte GA-E7AUM-DS2H

And 2x2GB DDR2


I have a WD500AAKS as a spare drive and may get something newer/bigger. But I would like have the computer in my basement, in a workout area near my exercise bike. There I can connect an old monitor to it's VGA output and also run a 45' HDMI, SPDIF, and USB cable(s) to the TV on the main floor. My goal is to use it while I do cardio and also to act as the home media center on the main floor.


Does anyone have suggestions on what input devices I should look at to use on the main floor? I was thinking of trying XBMC and wasn't sure if a MCE remote would be enough. I wouldn't mind trying to play some games so I might use a joystick and keyboard the odd time but for every day use can you get by with the MCE/harmony remotes?


Obviously the long cable runs are a disadvantage but the basement is cold and it doesn't matter what the case looks like or sounds like since it will be out of view.


Great forum btw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah I was reading on here that some are okay with lengths that long. I was looking at BlueJean and some other sites for prices and ideas.


Hmmm. I could split the difference and use a longer VGA cable.
 

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It would probably be cheaper (and certainly a lot less trouble) just to put a frontend box by the TV. Then you could either run one lan cable or even go wireless. Besides, what are you planning on doing for a remote, dvd player, etc. when watching TV upstairs? To be honest, what you are trying to do just doesn't make much sense to me.
 

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I don't think it's such a bad idea. This 50' hdmi cable looks pretty good: http://www.amazon.com/GOLD-PREMIUM-H...405152&sr=8-11


You can easily get away with a MCE remote in XBMC. Actually, since you're planning on playing games, you can even use a game controller to run XBMC and skip buying a remote altogether. I have this one: http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Cordl...9405686&sr=8-4 It goes through batteries pretty fast, so buy some rechargeables if you get one.


The USB will be a little trickier since the max distance is 15 feet. 2 or 3 of these would work, though: http://www.amazon.com/Tripp-Lite-U02...p_ob_e_title_1
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well I just looked on monoprice and see that VGA cables are very inexpensive and seem to work well for others. So I will either put the computer behind the tv on the main floor and run a VGA cable to the other monitor in the basement or put the computer in the basement part way between both.


Hey wnewell, the idea was that I could get a regular tower case in the basement and it doesn't matter what it sounds like/looks like. Then just run XBMC with a remote or something similar on the main floor. And when I'm in the basement I could use a mouse/keyboard. The basement is usually cooler so that was also a plus for having it down there.


Hey mythmaster, the tv is a Sharp Aquos 37" 64U, so no I don't think it can handle that stuff. I see monoprice has similar USB extensions for $8 for 15'.
 

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How are you going to run any PC apps on the main floor when the PC is in the basement? And if you mean you're going to have a PC hooked to your TV, then all you need between it and the server in the basement is a network connection. Wired or wireless. What I would picture you wanting is the server in the basement with all the tuners and such in it and then a bare frontend machine hooked to the Tv that gets all it video, etc. from the server over the lan. The frontend PC doesn't even need a hard disk in it. It can network boot off the server or boot off an $8 flash drive like I do with the one hooked to my main TV. Of course you'll want a remote for it, or a wireless KB/mouse (or both).
 

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@edgespace:


Oh, ok. I assumed that you were running audio through HDMI, too, since you didn't mention it. Also, make sure that those USB extensions are boosted (they have to be to go > 15 ft). If so, that's an incredible price.



@wnewell:


He's not going to be in the basement and the tv room at the same time. So, there's no problem with running the app on the basement computer and having the video output and USB receivers (for the remote, etc.) upstairs. I don't understand how you think that building/buying a frontend would be cheaper and easier than that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by mythmaster /forum/post/16945767



@wnewell:


He's not going to be in the basement and the tv room at the same time. So, there's no problem with running the app on the basement computer and having the video output and USB receivers (for the remote, etc.) upstairs. I don't understand how you think that building/buying a frontend would be cheaper and easier than that.

Yeah that's what I was getting at. Chances are I won't need them both running at the same time doing different shows etc. So adding additional hardware like a front end is more than what I feel I'd need. Physical access to ports etc would be easier with a front end but I don't want to spend more money and power on another system when one computer can do both jobs.


Yes, those USB extensions I found are meant to boost the signal. From the reviews on their site it looks like you can connect 4 of them together end to end. Monoprice USB extension


I also have an iPhone so I see there is an app I can run to remote control XBMC. Now I just have to decide on a case and chipset heatsink/cooler then order up the cables.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by edgespace /forum/post/16944996


]run a VGA cable to the other monitor in the basement

Do not do that.


Even if you can find a long enough VGA cable, the picture will end up looking like garbage. VGA is analog and the video quality will degrade with every foot of cable.


HDMI is digital, so it will either look perfect or it won't work at all.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by candre23 /forum/post/16952520


Do not do that.


Even if you can find a long enough VGA cable, the picture will end up looking like garbage. VGA is analog and the video quality will degrade with every foot of cable.


HDMI is digital, so it will either look perfect or it won't work at all.

I second that, you can get high quality VGA cables that won't decrease picture quality noticeably even over 30ft or so but they cost 100$+, so you wouldn't be saving much with those.


It's either HDMI/DVI or the PC needs to be close to the screen.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wnewell /forum/post/0


You can build a frontend box for under $200 easy. In the end, I don't think you'll be happy with what you are thinking of doing and you may even spend more that way.

I agree with that too, or just get a Popcorn Hour A100 or A110.
 
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