I thought I’d just write a brief entry about what I’ve been up to over the past week or so. Having been finally remunerated for my job, I decided that my flat would benefit from a DVD player. However, rather than just go out and buy a DVD player, I decided to make my own. Why?

  • I thought that it would be fun
  • I want a multi-region player, but moreover, I want one that can cope with PAL and NTSC input and output. Few players can do scanline conversion (especially PAL->NTSC)
  • I want to play other video formats too (e.g. DivX for those -ahem- ’backups’)
  • I want a music jukebox
  • I thought it would be fun
  • It keeps me occupied and out of mischief

Three things made this possible: the VIA Eden boards (7” square, onboard processor, video, sound, network, TV output, low power requirement and cheap), the Freevo project, and Knoppix (a single-CD Debian-based Linux distribution with decent automated hardware detection).

I picked up the parts cheap in Denden Town (Osaka’s electronics district) over three hardcore bargain-hunting sessions. So far, I have it all assembled in a tiny case (discounted because it was the last one in the shop!) next to my TV, the OS installed, and I have got Freevo working and managed to play some music. The next stage is to download the kernel source (using apt-get) and recompile it with framebuffer support so that I can boot off the (30 quid, 40GB) hard disk and be able to use the DVD drive. Oh, and install mplayer so that it can play them!