As you probably know, I recently made the switch from beach front housing in North Otago to semi-urban living in North Scotland. As I initially have to rent a place and space comes at a premium in the UK, I have a little space problem. I am the first to agree that my kind of spatial problems are not the usual ones, but then not everbody has a category in their blog called ‘Nerdinessa excellenta bombastica’. Here’s the problem: In my transitional rental accomodation there is a TV, an ancient chinese stereo and nil else for electronic entertainment. With other words, I had to find a way to play my games, listen to music, listen to Radio New Zealand and have wireless internet and somehow tie it all together. A quick and relatively simple solution was found by borrowing an old, 7 year old PC from my new workplace that was thoroughly cleaned and deep-formatted. I fortunately did not abandon my 400 GB sata HD full of music and movies in NZ and quickly found a cheap USB enclosure for it, so suddenly the underpowered little Duron (by now upgraded to 1 GB) had plenty of HD space to play with. By now a PlayStation3 had materialized, hooked up to my favourite set of Logitech 5.1 speakers. Now the question was how to tie it all together and turn the PS3 into a media centre. The easiest solution, embarassingly, turned out Windows Media Player 11 (Itunes still doesn’t share it’s contents with the PS3).
Now, before you all start yelling and swearing, please let me finish: I have been running Linux machines for ever now, but nevertheless, even Avahi, MythTV and other userland programs did not match the ease of WMP11’s ease of uPNP sharing. It was literally as easy as importing my 11000 media files from that HD, telling WMP who to share it with, setting up a new , automated playlist and choosing it over the PS3. Same goes for Xvid movies. I have Nullriver’s Media link running on my Macbook, providing extra Media fodder to the PS3 when needed, but I have to say that WMP 11 was the easiest to use.
So, together with my beloved Morrowind, Settlers 3 and Media streaming (all my Aly Cook records…), that 20 buck PC has turned into the center of my home entertainment.
I never thought I’d say that, but: