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Part II: Home Entertainment > Build a Linux-Based Home Theater PC

Chapter 8. Build a Linux-Based Home Theater PC

What You Need
  • A PC with an available PCI slot (a complete list of components is available in Exhibit A)

  • A TV tuner card

  • Fedora Core Installation CDs

  • An Internet connection (note that downloading these components will take a very long time if your connection is provided by a telephone modem)

For a list of specific parts used in this project, refer to Exhibit A at the end of this chapter.

Well, I promised a Linux-based HTPC, built on Fedora, and I'm here to deliver. Be warned, however, that this project is not for the faint of heart. Figure 8-1 hints at the complexity. Of course, that's not to say that a novice couldn't follow the steps and end up with an HTPC that is easy and fun to use. What makes this project complicated is the frequency with which the many components evolve. During the development of this project, nearly all of the individual components were revised just enough to require changes in the procedure outlined here. This project is based on a fantastic open source program called MythTV that has all the features you'd expect from a PVR, as well as games, weather, and more; however, it also has a long list of dependencies.

This project is based largely on the work of Jarod Wilson. Jarod maintains the definitive guide to installing MythTV on Fedora (see http://wilsonet.com/mythtv/fcmyth.php) and has been a valuable ally, always willing to help out. It's very likely that things have changed somewhat by the time you read this, but don't worry—Jarod has you covered.

Fedora was chosen as the platform for several reasons. First, its origin is Red Hat Linux, arguably the most popular Linux distribution in use. Second, for our purposes it's nearly identical to Red Hat Linux with the exception that it's still free and Red Hat isn't. Finally, it supports software installation via RPMs, which, when combined with the Debian Advanced Package Tool (APT), greatly simplifies the process of installing applications including all dependencies.

Figure 8-1. Conceptual diagram illustrating the components of the Linux-based HTPC.

A gentleman named Axel Thimm has simplified the process even further by building packages that are patched or otherwise optimized for building this HTPC. Try this even once without capitalizing on his efforts, and you'll realize he's possibly worthy of sainthood.

If you already have a PC that you intend to use as a starting-point to build your HTPC, be warned that you may encounter difficulties beyond those I've already pointed out. This project assumes you're building your HTPC on the hardware specified in Chapter 7, Build a Windows-Based Home Theater PC.



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