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Author Topic: Home media center & VMware Server?  (Read 8457 times)
rcjordan
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« on: September 16, 2009, 10:32:28 AM »

OK, the media center is working out well, but I've hit a snag. I like using the 46" screen for browsing. The best seating is about 18 feet away from the screen.  The problem is that the normal web page text is too small to read at that distance.

I'm thinking that I'd like to have a laptop beside me and use VMware to manage the 'remote' media server. This would give me a sort of dual-screen setup (one close and readable for navigation) rather than the media center's long-distance keyboard & mouse.  Right?  (I've not actually used VMware Server or Reader freeware myself yet.)

Or does anyone have a different solution? ...other than opera glasses, that is.
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kurdt
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 10:41:30 AM »

I'd like to have a laptop beside me and use VMware to manage the 'remote' media server.
Are you serious? I don't mean any disrespect but think about this a little while. You are trying to build a system where other display is many many feet away from another. I really don't see any point of dragging laptop into your mix. Can't you just manage the mediapc with VNC or RDP like the rest of us (or at least everybody who love being masochists and use mediapcs instead of NMT devices)?

My advice is that if you can't see the font properly, increase the font size of the operating system. That's how I solved the problem when I had mediapc back in the days. But do not drag yet another machine into a place where you want stuff just to work and where you want to relax.
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rcjordan
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 11:04:59 AM »

Let's just say I have an abundance of laptops, so there are a few lying about anyway (with stripped-down Win XP for fast boot & shutdown).  I put in an active USB hub so there's a regular keyboard, mouse, and trackball handy but I still find them to be a PITA.

Say I'm using youtube for viewing tutorials or even a batch of Road Runner cartoons. The bulk of the time is spent watching the larger screen, but when it's time to navigate the laptop nearby would be more convenient.  There was a similar problem working with music playlists hosted on the media center.

I dislike increasing font, though it's an option.

My concern is that VMware is too cumbersome. OTOH, if it's easy to set up the connection defaults then I don't mind adding an EEE pc to the setup.
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nutballs
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 11:18:28 AM »

Not that i condone this behavior... but.

wireless video: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16815290011&cm_re=wireless_video-_-15-290-011-_-Product
Then bolt a monitor to your couch...

 ROFLMAO


ok ok. err. not sure how VMware would help? Im just not seeing it.  really the only solution I can think of like kurdt said, vnc or rdp.
Your basically wanting to clone a display to a wireless monitor.
wireless KVM possibly?
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rcjordan
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 11:44:49 AM »

>basically wanting to clone a display to a wireless monitor

More than just the monitor, I want a wireless keyboard and trackball, too. And all in a convenient package. Asus EEE or -more likely- the old W2 Toughbook subnotebook would seem to provide a good hardware solution.

Which is preferred, VNC or RDP?
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nutballs
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« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 12:34:22 PM »

windows media center = rdp
some linux nerdbox center = vnc

sure you can vnc on windows, but why? It would be another service running.
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kurdt
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« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 12:39:34 PM »

I'm just curious but can you share why you are using media pc instead of networked media tank a.k.a Popcorn Hour or iStar. Only thing I can think of that NMT doesn't have is normal browser features but if your only goal is to watch videos of media server, I can't think any reason why not use NMT.
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rcjordan
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« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 01:29:47 PM »

In a way, networked pc's are the antithesis of my preferred mode of operation, i.e., everything stand-alone, no shared dependencies.  For me, life is simpler that way. I have no prior experience in networks and/or media servers.  So, I've never heard of NMT.

I'm setting up the media center because my wife likes movies, videos, and music. Me, I could give a rat's derriere about any of the entertainment aspects. I'm messing with it because it's fun to dabble with the tech.  Once I get it all working, there's an 80% chance that I'll become disinterested and walk away from the project ...with one big exception; I'll be the one providing the first line of support when my wife can't get something to work.
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isthisthingon
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 01:58:20 PM »

It's hard to understand what you really want rc but I'll offer my    Vm-anything makes no sense to me since what's driving what?  I'm a logmein fan for remote admin stuff but from the couch to the tv isn't that remote Wink

Video card: if you don't already have one get a dual port card (DVI) for the PC driving your TV.  Connect your "remote" monitor to one port (extension DVI cable) and TV to the other then mirror the display.  Even with the best card, DVI and larger text your TV will never be good for reading and hard on your eyes, unless you paid the 6K for a vsloathe special  Nerd

Anyway, this is the config that works for me.  My 22" LCD, mouse and keyboard tucks away nicely with the "breakfast in bed" serving tray they sit on when in use.  This way you can set the resolution on your TV to precisely what looks best.  Setting a low res for more readable text on the 46" would be a shame Smiley  Even when I'm browsing my video library I'll use my 22" since the best viewing res on my TV makes text impossible to read from the couch.

BTW this rules: good surround setup, nice TV and Burnout Paradise.  My girlfriend saw me playing it and I went back to Best Buy the same day to get another copy for her Grin  LAN gaming rocks.
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rcjordan
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2009, 02:28:38 PM »

OK, I got the wrong V's.  What I thought was VMware was actually RealVNC.  http://www.realvnc.com/vnc/


We loaded up the free version the other night in order to have the Airport Extreme ip problem diagnosed/fixed.  Seemed to do exactly what I want ...BUT I haven't seen the controlling side.

>what you really want rc

World domination. But in lieu of that, I want the 46" screen to be a complete and total slave to my laptop *IF* I have the laptop in control mode. Otherwise, the media server reverts to its normal functionality.
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nutballs
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2009, 02:33:27 PM »

if the text is too small you need a bigger TV
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rcjordan
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2009, 02:44:28 PM »

>bigger tv

Nah. I've just used text to illustrate the problems. There are more, mostly nav-related.

For lack of a better term, what I want is the added comfort of "Parallel Viewing".
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2009, 02:54:24 PM »

i can only get you as close as paralax viewing without major surgery.  Grin
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nutballs
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2009, 07:09:23 PM »

what about this: http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/cintiq-12wx.php
its overkill but, would be pretty damn cool.
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isthisthingon
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« Reply #14 on: September 16, 2009, 07:58:20 PM »

Quote
For lack of a better term, what I want is the added comfort of "Parallel Viewing".

Logmein is excellent for remote admin but simple laptop to TV I'd use RDP/VNC.  Never did like PCAnywhere.

But Id consider the wireless monitor route even still since sound, video and other things always give me trouble (games/movies especially).  ctrl+alt+del, alt tab, function key issues, having the laptop go down while the TV is still on, rebooting, video rendering performance hit (games are finicky)  etc., etc.  All of these issues can be managed but it's just a personal taste thing.
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