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shefla 10-25-2012 12:18 PM

Linux on TV

I am searching for the best linux distribution matching my needs.
This linux will be installed on a box with a LCD TV as a screen (no other monitor). The goal is to have a multimedia box. The main user will be my girlfriend who just want it to work in a simple way.

It should be:
- as simple as possible for a day to day use (I am not speaking of upgrading or installing new hardware)
- not too hard to install new softwares
- able to play music (mp3, ogg, flac, ...)
- able to play videos (all common formats)
- able to play a DVD
- able to automount USB storage devices
- able to browse website (flash support).

Currently, I installed Ubuntu for her. What is annoying is there are too much updates and I don't really like Unity. By the way I am not fond of Gnome 3.

I thought about Debian stable (I used it for 3 years). It is perfect except for some out of date packages. Iceweasel is in version 3.5 in stable and 10 in testing (or with backport) whereas the last version is 16. I am not searching something bleeding edge but debian is too old.

I am currently using Archlinux (since a while now) but it seems not too easy if something goes wrong after an update for her.

Geexbox seems nice but I didn't find a way to browse websites.

So in 4 words I want a distribution for a beginner which is:
- stable
- simple
- for multimedia
- not out of date (not too much at least)

Thanks in advance for your advices

nickmh 10-25-2012 01:05 PM

I'd recomend xUbuntu, Mint xfce in that order. I'm blinkered in that these 2 distros I have spent the most time with. I have tried others but keep coming back to xUbuntu.

I have installed xUbuntu and Ubuntu with the cinnamon for my kids with no problems. The bgiest issues seems to be interfacing iPods and Phones. There are fixes for these issues. They aren't distro issues either. Theyy're user knowledge issues.

I disabbled automatic updates (it can be annoying) or set it for once a week, I do it occassionally for them through ssh.

JaseP 10-25-2012 01:19 PM

I am currently reconfiguring my multimedia network machines to use Kubuntu 12.04.1 64bit, with Myth TV, and Samba shares to the server's external media drives, plus a few other things (OpenRemote & FreePBX, etc). I'd recommend Kubuntu (with or without MythTV).

For ease of use, consider using Cairo-dock,... moving the panel to the top of the screen and auto-hiding it, setting up easy to use icons in Cairo-dock, locking the configs for the desktop (otherwise count on fixing it, if your girlfriend is anything like my wife).

Also, I'd recommend;
* dumping the native video/audio players for VLC,
* installing the necessary codecs for media,
* making VLC default to full screen,
* tweak it's onscreen UI,
* setting VLC to auto-close on finishing playback,
* set it to suspend the screen saver, and
* setting the screen saver to cause the machine to suspend to RAM after a reasonable period...

Plus, you want to limit Nepomuk and Stringi to limit IO. For a nice multimedia remote, consider a Rii Compact keyboard with programmable IR remote.


shefla 10-26-2012 03:54 AM


Thanks to both of you for your answers.
I will think again about Ubuntu derivatives.
Apple compatibility is not a problem for us.

I'll probably build my own solution:
- a distro I know well
- no automatic updates
- install all needed stuff

Regarding the hardware, we already get a bluetooth keyboard + mouse which is perfect for us.

I will just study that a little bit more to find the best interface:
openbox + a dock
I will also have a look to XBMC and MythTV.

Thanks again

shefla 10-30-2012 08:35 AM


Just to let you know the chosen solution.
I'll go for a debian stable with a gnome 2 interface.
I will probably use vlc, gnome-mplayer, firefox (back ported) and maybe rythmnbox or exaile.


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