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XBMC + Acer Aspire Revo = Awesomeness

Written by JamieBennett on December 20th, 2009 at 10:49 pm in Ubuntu,Uncategorized

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Its not often that I get suckered into buying something based solely on the advocacy of a few people on a mailing list but when a said few people, on different lists, all recommended the XBMC + Acer Aspire Revo combination almost simultaneously, I went to investigate.

Now I’m a big media fiend, just ask my wife. We now don’t have a garage because I went and converted it into a home cinema room (8 foot screen, HD projector, 500+ films archived, DVD+Blueray+HD-DVD sources …). I hack on the Entertainer Media Center project (although its a little stale at the moment, effort really appreciated) and I’m a former user of XBMC on the first generation XBOX’s from Microsoft and now uPNP of the XBOX 360. So when someone says to me they have a £150 tiny and silent PC, running Linux and decoding HD material, I got a little credit card jumpy.

A couple of days later the Revo arrived. I was a little in two minds on whether this was a good purchase or not. I count at least 23 computers in my house so another was probably not a good idea but none-the-less, I justified it as a replacement for the excellent but slow Viglen MPC-L which, coupled with many USB disks, was a great file server. The first thing I did was install Ubuntu Karmic Koala. Out of the box it worked great (no surprise there ;)). Install the Nvidia drivers, tweak the screen resolution for my plasma TV, install XBMC and away we go. One tweak every media concerned individual must do on this device is to disable compiz. For some reason, on full screen playback, compiz causes video tearing. It took me a little while to figure this out and I don’t mind admitting that I was initially disappointed to see video playback on this machine (when compiz was enabled) but my god did things change.

I enabled my old Windows Media Center remote, added all my video sources to XBMC, tweaked the interface a little and now, all I can say is WOW. The Revo+XBMC combo ranks up there with the best of my purchases. The interface is wonderful; the little things like showing you the actual time a video you are watching is going to end, the UI which puts every set-top-box maker to shame and the shear extensibility of the thing is immense. I won’t even mention that this is running Ubuntu, doing my work-related backups, downloading (legal) torrents, running scripts, mail, and a whole host of other services, and drawing a trickle of power.

If your considering replacing a uPNP enabled XBOX (which I did) or PS3, getting rid of your aging server or just wanting a great media experience, I whole-heartedly recommend this combination.

11 Responses to 'XBMC + Acer Aspire Revo = Awesomeness'

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  1. I am currently working on convincing my wife to let me do this set-up post holidays… thanks for another ringing endorsement. I am tech-savvy — is there a lot of frustration involved with initial setup (setting up software on PC, adding on to xbmc, ripping my music/video to a shared drive, etc)?


    21 Dec 09 at 1:30 pm

  2. I am seriously considering doing this to but I have a question I hope you can help me with.

    I have the small version xbox 360 remote control , will this work? (with the ubuntu xbmc setup) and will i need some time of receiver and will it work with the REVO connected to the back of the TV (VESA)

    This is all i need to know before i purchase it, Thanks!


    22 Dec 09 at 2:54 pm

  3. Kaz
    Setting up the system ia a doddle. Install Ubuntu, add the XBMC PPA and the rest such as setting up your media folders e.t.c. is done simply through the UI.Couldn’t be easier.

    Not sure about your specific remote control, the larger XBOX360 control works, just do a quick google for the specifics. I personally use a Windows Media Center remote with USB IR reciver which can be had for around £10.

    Jamie Bennett

    24 Dec 09 at 4:42 pm

  4. Thanks!!!

    I would assume that the smaller version of the large one should work, but if not i will probably ebay the large one and get a usb ir or get the one you mentioned.

    I currently am still running xbox1 with xmbc still works great and is the cheapest media center ever, but is not becoming dated because of all this h.264 nonsense and mkv. so alot of my anime cant play on it.


    5 Jan 10 at 9:09 pm

  5. Hi
    I have done similar but have not quite found out what to choose for the DVD archiving? i would be grateful if you could share some information about the DVD archiving? what package you have used to archive DVD? Are DVD menus available? what format did you end up streaming MP4, MPEG2 or other?


    17 Feb 10 at 2:52 pm

  6. Got the same setup myself, loving it, I’ve been tweaking it for the last 2 weeks – Just added Weather-fan-art that changes depending on what the weather is like outside – crazy, you cant buy this level of quality.

    Previously I’ve used DVD Decrypter to rip DVDs to ISO images, XBMC handles these fine, menus and all. I’m just trying MakeMKV to rip the rest of my DVD collection to my NasLiteM2 server in the loft. So far it’s very straigt forward and is keeping the menus etc. Once completed I’m streaming the ISOs or MKVs from an SMB share over a wired 100 Mb connection – no probs, not tried ripping a Blueray disk yet but it’s meant to work…

    Google MKVMaker or DVD Decrypter and give them a try….


    25 Feb 10 at 11:35 pm

  7. [...] XBMC + Acer Aspire Revo = Awesomeness [...]

  8. WHICH revo did you get?


    6 Mar 10 at 9:02 pm

  9. Just the base R3600, does a grand job.


    8 Mar 10 at 9:01 am

  10. Thanks for the tip on turning off compiz – before then the vertical tearing was a real disappointment. No it’s flawless. Thanks!

    Dan Fish

    1 May 10 at 8:30 am

  11. Compiz can be enabled with xbmc you just need to go to compiz settings in General > General Options and enable option Unredirect Fillscreen Windows


    6 Jun 10 at 5:05 pm

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