GeeXboX 2.0 – An HTPC Alternative
GeeXboX is an open source Linux package that aims at providing users a complete multimedia experience. Founded in 2002, GeeXboX was a huge hit when its 1.xx version came out, having a big impact on the Home Theatre PC (HTPC) market. But what added to the appeal of the concept was the fact that the installation file was quite small, you could boot it from a CD or even a pen drive. GeeXboX 2.0 not only retains these great features but also adds a few more good ones.
Let’s put things simply: You want to watch TV shows, movies and listen to music on your computer. You need a multimedia player and have to configure TV tuner cards for doing all this. This can be too much of a hassle for many people…GeeXboX 2.0 helps you avoid these hassles.
GeeXboX 1.xx series was quite popular when it was launched. It was liked because it was easy to use, and because it allowed you to access your media through a single platform. The developers have used the same concept for GeeXboX 2.0, but a few other things have changed. While the previous version was based on MPlayer, the newer version is based on Xbox Media Center (XBMC). The earlier version used to support x86 and i386 architectures but with version 2.0 you can also use it on IT OMAP4 and Tegra 2 architectures.
When it comes to media centers, support from video and graphics is a must and GeeXboX does not disappoint. It supports graphic cards by Intel, NVIDIA, ATI, and Matrox. It also supports CRT, LCD, and HDMI output connections. One of the main features of the entire project is the portability. The previous version at about 20 MB was a huge success. While the ISO file for version 2.0 available for download from the site is about 72 MB, that is far from bloated.
New media center and omissions from version 1.xx
Going a step ahead of the previous version was a tough task. It was made even tougher because the media center used with the version was MPlayer. It did not allow the developers to make major changes with the UI so they had to look for other media center projects. They tried Freevo, MPUI, Enna, and even tried making their own media center. In the end they decided to go with XBMC.
Even though GeeXboX 2.0 tries to improve on its predecessor, there have been a few things that have been left out. One important omission is the DVB Digital TV card support. This omission is temporary but the support for V4L TV cards has also been removed and may not be brought back. The feature for generating unique ISO images has also been removed as it is not very useful now. GeeXboX 2.0 for PCs is available as an ISO and as a LIVE USB distribution as well, the latter being more popular. Also, the LIVE USB in the newer version has been enhanced and it allows you to store your databases, lyrics, and other configurations while rebooting.