Wednesday 17 December 2014

A Few Upgrades

A few updates to MediaServer8 this weekend. I replaced my 250GB cache drive with a Crucial Crucial 240GB M500 SATA 6Gb/s 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive. My unRAID cache houses mainly Xen VMs and these have become noticeably faster to boot and peppier overall. On some internal transfers from unRAID to the drive, I see speeds of 150 Mb/s which is a big improvement on the spinner previously doing cache duties.

I also added an extra DVB S2 dual tuner to the system meaning I now have 6x tuners (4x DVD S2, 2x DVB-T) which is more than enough to service current live TV and PVR requirements.

6x Tuners in ArgusTV running in Windows 7 VM on MediaServer 8

Also, my X10 CM15A USB interface arrived so I can now control various lights and appliances around the house from a VM. My Christmas project is to set up a web server and application  to allow lighting and whole house audio control from tablet and laptop clients.

Monday 8 December 2014

HTPC as PreProcessor

I’ve been living with my old school (analog) Pioneer VSX-D2011 receiver for well over 10 years now. It’s 7x100W channels have served me well in my HT but it’s very old in terms of format support, connectivity etc.

This hasn’t bothered me too much as I’ve always had a HTPC to look after playback etc. but it’s always been a stop-gap solution as I think about a receiver upgrade or something else.

Now, I’m hankering after a speaker upgrade and whatever I go for will likely need more power than a 7-channel receiver can provide, so I’m thinking separates. That being the case, I need to purchase a stand-alone AV processor or seriously look at using the HTPC as processor.

I decided to look at the HTPC as it would require the least up-front investment and I can determine if it all works with current equipment b before investing in speakers & amps.