For most users, Windows has always been the only operating system that they’ve used on their desktop or laptop, and while Windows has plenty of advantages, in terms of media, there are better options. One of these is Linux, which consists of a wide range of different desktop environments, some of which are extremely well suited to creating a media centre at home. For those that want to use Linux for their home media consumption, these are the best tools to use.
One of the greatest benefits of Linux is that it can be installed on just about any type of hardware, meaning that the user has the ability to find hardware that’s within their price range. A good example is buying an old, second hand laptop for a low price, and then installing a Linux distro that doesn’t have a high system resource consumption and can play all types of media. Even for very old laptops, there are distros that exist that can turn it into the ultimate media centre, perfect for watching movies, playing the online slots Philippines has to offer, or enjoying music.
On top of this, some desktop environments, such as the one offered by KDE, come with a proprietary wireless remote feature, allowing the user to fully control their desktop through their smartphone. This means that not only can the media centre hardware be cheap and easy to source, but it can be done without having to also purchase additional peripherals like a remote or controller.
Plex is a specialised media service that can be installed on most Linux systems, and provides the user with the tools they need to host their own media server. This can also be done on the cheap, where Plex can be installed and customised on any Linux environment that can support GNOME software. Plex is extremely easy to use, open source, and free, and learning how to use it properly gives the media centre instant access to any and all of the media that has been loaded. This works well with any features that the environment might offer, such as wireless remote control.
For those that want a more robust media centre, it’s possible to acquire the hardware necessary to build a home server. With a home server, Plex can be installed and used to provide media streaming in real time to any of the devices that are connected to the home network.
Dedicated Operating Systems
To take it one step further, there are operating systems that exist solely to function as media centres. Some of the best examples of this include OpenELEC and GeeXbox. GeeXbox is a good example of such a system. GeeXbox is based off of Kodi – similar software to Plex – meaning that users that are familiar with Kodi will easily be able to make use of GeeXbox. This OS is extremely small in size, and can be loaded onto a USB and then used as a live session with any hardware. It’s a good choice for older hardware that only needs to function for media.