Home Theatre!

Due to a lot of turmoils in my life in the recent past, I had to shift with a friend. Abhinav has been an old friend and college mate, we have hacked on a lot of software and hardware projects together but this one is on of the coolest hack of all time and since we are flatmates now it solved a lot of issues. We also had his brother Abhishek so the hack became more fun.

The whole idea began with the thoughts of making the old laptops which we have to be used as servers, we just thought what can we do to make the best of the machines we have. He has already done few set ups but then we landed up on doing a htpc, it stands for Home Theatre PC or media centre, basically a one stop shop for all the need, movies, tv shows and music. And we came up with a nice arrangement which requires few things, the hardware we have:

  1. Dell Studio 1558
  2. Raspberry Pi 3
  3. And a TV to watch these on 😉

When we started configuring this setup we had a desktop version of Ubuntu 18.04 installed but we figured out that this was slowing down the machine so we switched to Ubuntu Server edition. This was some learning because I have never installed any server version of operating system. I use to wonder always what kind of interface will these versions give. Well without any doubt it just has a command-line utility for every thing, from partition to network connection.

Once the server was installed we just had to turn that server into a machine which can support our needs, basically installed few packages.

We landed up on something called as Atomic Toolkit. A big shoutout for the team to develop this amazing installed which has a ncurses like interface and can run anywhere. Using this toolkit we kind of installed and configured CouchePotato, Emby and Headphones.

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This was more than enough we could automate a lot of things in our life with this kind of set up, from Silicon Valley to Mr. Robot. CouchePotato help us to get the best quality of videos and Emby gives us a nice dashboard to show all the content we have.

I don’t use Headphones much because I love another Music Application but then Headphones being a one stop shop is not wrong too. All this was done on the Dell Studio Machine we had, also we stuck a static IP on it so to know which IP to hit.

Our sever was up, running and configured. Now, we needed a client to listen to this server we kind of have a TV but that TV is not smart enough so we used a Raspberry Pi 3 and attached it to the TV using the HDMI port.

We installed OSMC on the Raspberry Pi and configured it to use Emby and listen to the Emby server once we booted it up it was very straight forward. This made our TV look good and also a little smart and it opened our ways for 1000s of movies, music and podcast. Although I don’t know if setting up this system was more fun or watching those movies will be.

 

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