After browsing through some DIY MP3 players I found online, I got an idea: What would it take to put together a whole multimedia center to replace all the devices stacked in the entertainment center? Here's what I want to it do:
1. Audio playback from regular Audio CDs, MP3/Ogg CDs, & stored MP3s & Ogg files.
2. Video playback from DVDs, Video CDs, or TV
3. Rip audio CDs into MP3 or Ogg
4. Rip Video CDs & DVDs to hard drive
5. Record TV shows
6. Network connection via wireless
7. Listen to AM/FM radio
8. Record AM/FM radio
9. Burn Audio CDs, Video CDs, DVD (Later on, after some of this stuff gets cheaper)
After spending a bit of time digging around on Pricewatch, I figured I could put together a nice little rig to do just this for anywhere from $450-$650USD. The specs I came up with for said project are as follows:
-Asus A7M266-M Mini ATX motherboard
-1GHz AMD Duron processor
-512MB PC1600 RAM
-32MB geForce2 MX400 video card
-4-port USB or FireWire card
-Linksys wireless PCI network card
-Customized Gentoo Linux OS (heavily optimized for system specs & performance)
-LCD display for track/movie info
Add in the cost of cables, power supply, switches, fans, and noise reduction materials, and it would end up to cost about as much as the separate devices (DVD player, DVD copier, CD player, AM/FM stereo, VCR). Probably less.
Here's where I could use some help:
1. How can I come up with some sort of remote control? I was thinking along the lines of a small 10-key keyboard with an attached IrDA port, but that seems a bit kludgey and awkward to me.
2. What would be the best GUI setup?
3. What could I do to improve performance?
4. How can I use it to listen to radio stations? How can I use it to record radio shows and the like?
5. When I put in a CD (Audio CD, DVD, MP3 CD, etc.) how can I tell the box to ask the user if they want to play the contents or rip them to the HD?
6. How can I display the ID3 tags on the LCD display?
7. I need a cool name.
EDIT: I've chosen the name "Equinox" for this little box.
Bear in mind, this project is merely for fun. I don't intent to start selling these things (unless a market for them appears
). Just something I can set on the TV (which will probably be resting on cinder blocks & 2x4s) to save space.
Any ideas will be greatly appreciated.