Remember not so long ago how I was raving about Linux Mint’s wonderfulness as a media centre PC? That’s come back to bite me in the ass. A recent power cut had rendered my media PC in a comatose state. First it wouldn’t boot and then after a (very long winded) OS repair it would boot without a working network stack.
My Linux knowledge is a bit limited in that I can get around it and tinker under the hood but as far as terminal illness is concerned I’m no saviour.
I was entertaining the idea of putting Windows 8 on it as the underlying OS but surely there had to be another way. After all, I didn’t need a fully-featured OS as the machine is essentially used as an appliance.
Luckily there is a solution, and a bloody good one at that: OpenELEC.
In a nutshell, this product has been designed from the ground up to provide you with an ultra-slick XBMC experience on modest hardware. My ION-based machine with a regular mechanical HDD actually boots as quickly as my PS3. Its incredible. There are plugins available that allow you to use the usual download managers if you like that sort of thing (who doesn’t). The OS is built to allow auto-updating so there’s no need to get your hands dirty. Updates include xbmc and OS updates so it really does function like a well put together appliance.
Now everything has been configured just how I like it in double quick time, I’ve got just a few to-dos:
• Auto backup XBMC library and download manager configs
• Configure Pseudo TV (I’m told that its awesome)
• Look to replace the Hitachi Deathstar HDD that my Acer Revo came with
If you’re looking to turn a machine into an XBMC box with minimum fuss then OpenELEC should be high up on your list. Trust me, I’ve tried them all.