I have been testing alternatives for my low-budget HTPC (Home Theater PC) using my Samsung N150 laptop with JoliOS v1.2 with my TV, combined with Lenovo Multimedia Remote with Keyboard N5902 it proved to be very comfortable. For the final configuration, I decided to go for ZOTAC ZBOX Nano AD10 Plus.
The hardware is pretty impressive, AMD E-350 CPU/GPU provides a lot of beef, benchmarks look good. JoliOS v1.2 was quickly dropped because it is getting rapidly too old, being based on Ubuntu 10.10 and it is lacking hardware support for some chips in the new hardware (I tried it, of course). Linux Mint 12 with LXDE desktop was my next try. I do not regret, what a great Linux distribution that is !
Because I am a professional using Linux every day to resolve quite complex problems, I cannot avoid setting myself some ambitious goals by making some functional requirements (this project-talk is totally useless and over-killing, probably – if you just want to watch the bl%$$#@ TV – but hopefully somebody over there will profit of the outcome).
I decided to divide my modest household in two areas, the Living Room Zone and the .. Other Zone. The humble Nano-Box needs to stream my multimedia in the living room while somebody else is playing an Internet game based game in the other zone. Therefore the Nano-Box needs to be an WiFi access point and Content/List based filtering gateway ! Wow, isn’t that ambitious for a small box like this !? Not a problem for Linux.
The below picture (click to see the description, then click again to see the full size picture) illustrates the full system configuration.