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GeeXboX Free Media Center (HTPC) Software for Old PCs and Macs

We have earlier raved about the capabilities of XBMC, clearly it well suited for Media Center purposes and it’s sleek interface, configurability and support for low end systems sets it apart. However, if you have a really old system (older than 5 years), then it is possible that XBMCs graphic accelerated interface won’t be supported.

I happen to have a system like that, a P4 driven Alienware gaming laptop  with some old ATI graphics card which is no longer supported by most recent distributions. Even Ubuntu 9.10 can’t give correct screen resolution for it. To add to the trouble is the fact that its hard drive is counting its days. I have been trying to recycle this laptop for Media Center use, because the LCD screen is of great quality and so are in built speakers. For systems like these GeeXboX is God sent.

It comes in a feather light .iso packaging (~20MB), and a no non-sense interface, and can directly boot from it or be installed on a USB drive or a hard drive. It even supports IR remotes and the best part UPnP protocol. So your Windows 7 shares (via Home Group network streaming) can be directly accessed and played, and if you need better UPnP support, you can always for TVersity Media server. I was able to play movies on this laptop via ethernet connection, by directly browsing for media stored on my Windows machine.

A peek at GeeXboX website reveals that they have a sleeker XBMC style theme/interface cooking up, which is called Enna. At present Enna being in in its infancy, doesn’t support UPnP and hence was not of much practical interest to me, but I would be keeping an eye on its development.

Just download the live .iso and burn it and fire it up to give a new lease of life to your old dieing PC or even a PowerPC Mac.

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