The All-Thing

All stick and no carrot, since ought-three.

`Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong. All human progress, even in morals, has been the work of men who have doubted the current moral values, not of men who have whooped them up and tried to enforce them. The truly civilized man is always skeptical and tolerant, in this field as in all others. His culture is based on ``I am not too sure''.' -- H. L. Mencken.


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Tue, 13 Jan 2004

Linux Media Jukebox/PVR

Now that I am regularly seeing hard drives at 50 cents/gig, I have finally been spurred to taking on a project I've been devoting some thought to recently: building a Linux-based digital media jukebox/PVR.

People have been building homebrew TiVO-style devices using Linux for a while now, using software like Freevo. The idea here is basically the same, except that I want to have a LOT of storage space and I will probably use it for playing music more than they do, and recording TV less.

Now TiVO sells for $350 for the box plus $300 for a lifetime subscription. I'm willing to bet that, even using off-the-shelf components, I can build something way better than TiVO for that price.

I want to be able to:

  • Control the thing via TV and remote control.
  • Record TV like TiVO. (At the very least, be able to set up scheduled recording of shows.)
  • Play DVDs and CDs, obviously, but also be able to dump their contents to disk and play back at any time.
  • Burn DVDs or CDs of any hard drive contents.
  • Have a continuous stream of music playing all the time.
  • Connect the thing to a LAN and have it serve files.
  • Never worry about disk space. (That means 400 GB at the least.)
  • Place the thing next to my stereo components without wincing at its appearance.

And I want to spend at most $650. I think I can do this, though it's going to require a lot of Freevo hax0ring.

(The other inspiration for this is a recent offer, from a friend, of a 120GB music collection that he and six musician friends created by pooling their collective collections. Sweet.)

Here we go.

Posted at 19:22 | /computing | 2 comments | permalink


A banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining and wants it back the minute it begins to rain. -- Mark Twain