Media Box

I'm looking for a (small) computer that could be used as a media box with Elisa. My requirements, pretty standard for this kind of computer, include:

  • S-Video output (or possibility to have a converter to S-Video). HDMI too would be good.
  • CPU fast enough to decode HD videos.
  • As quiet as possible.
  • 5.1 sound card.
  • And, obviously, working fine with Linux.

So if anyone has good advice to share, comments are more than welcome. Thanks :)


1. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 01:08 par Peter Robinson

I would recommend checking out the Dell Studio Hybrid. I think it has most of what you would want for a media box

2. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 04:12 par elisafan

why don't you build your own? you can use a mATX motherboard and case and slap 2GB ram , C2D@2GHz+ and a 320gb 2.5" HDD.

3. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 04:40 par nona

What elisafan said:

This tiny motherboard should pretty much have everything you need:

If you want to hack around you could go for this:

4. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 08:41 par Johannes

Maybe have a look at this:

I think it has quite good Audio und Video support, drawback is that you will have to use the binary nvidia driver though.

5. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 10:49 par Sven

elisa is quite resource-hungry, I am afraid. I am using a fanless system in my living room for a while already. The VIA C3 CPU at 600 MHz has been powerful enough to handle any audio and video I threw at it so far. But even with a powerful graphics card added to this system, elisa is still far from usable.

6. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 11:08 par urfe

Why not a mATX board with AMD 780/790 chipset and a 2.5 GHz Athlon X2 4850e AMD CPU (45 Watt)? It's the best solution for a meida box - you get full 1080p support.

7. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 11:15 par Anders

I'm using a mac mini which has the Core 2 Duo Mobile CPU, I'm guessing it's about as quiet as you can get within that performance range without going to extremes. It is not cheap though and it has Intel graphics (not sure how much video card affects video playback). The problem is, even after upgrading my mini to Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz I can't play 720p (mkv h264) content in Elisa. Totem plays it much better and mplayer handles it fine. If you look around you will hear wildly different claims of what hardware you need, I'm guessing this is because poeple have different views of what is acceptable plus there is a difference between the software decoder you use. On my system Elisa plays 720p mostly fine but drops frames during panning scenes. If your'e aiming for full HD at 1080p then you'll probably need the best cpu you can get.

When/if the ffmpeg decoder for h264 gets better this might change. The best decoder currently is the proprietary coreavc that I think can be used from mplayer with some hackery but not in gstreamer yet.

8. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 13:54 par Boke

<french> Une PS3 pourrait surement faire l'affaire pour ce que tu cherches. 400€, linux installable, le processeur est bien suffisant... Ses principaux problèmes seraient sa taille et sa consommation je pense... Environ 150W. Et le fait que je ne sais pas si Elisa peut tourner dessus... Par contre, c'est sympa de jouer avec un CELL :-) </french>

Ever thought of a PS3?

Tt's probably the best deal you could find in a matter of price/hardware.

9. Le jeudi, octobre 16 2008, 20:23 par fursund

Did you consider this one, I think you can get it somewhere with all the hardware installed

10. Le jeudi, octobre 23 2008, 21:19 par x1um1n

I don't know when these will be available in the UK, but I came across this on, should make a kickass media box: