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Buffalo LinkTheater High-Definition: A Linux Multimedia Center from End to End - page 2

Introduction

  • April 13, 2006
  • By Dee-Ann and Robert LeBlanc

The LinkTheater High-Definition runs a customized version of Linux. This product's internals are not open source, Buffalo Technology feels that it has too much intellectual property invested in order to do this, but there is a separate (but unsupported) set of software you can download to run on Linux.

For those who want to try this software, select the LinkTheater High-Definition Wireless Media Player option. This action takes you to a page where you can select what you want to download. Select the Plugin Install Document, and the Linux Media Server Software. Be warned, however, that there is no documentation for this software and getting it working is not a simple endeavor--it's also beyond the scope of this article, and is best saved for a later one. We will give you some hints, though. You'll need the latest version of Java and you connect to the server using port 8000.

One thing you'll notice (if you get that far) as major differences between the appliance's interface and the PC software's interface is that the PC version has a much richer GUI. This issue is a factor of the CPUs that are typically used on multimedia appliances today. The LinkTheater High-Definition uses a Sigma 8620L Digital Media Processor. This CPU is only 166MHz and has only 64MB of RAM, due to heat and other restrictions in modern appliances, so most of the codecs are hardware-based, taking advantage of other processors in the unit to do the main work.

Such a modest processor and RAM combination requires careful design of the interface. As such, the unit uses a Web browser to collate information from the devices the unit interacts with and then builds dynamic Web pages for the interface to simplify the work involved. The better the hardware that can be used in appliances, the nicer the interface for all appliances in this class will get.

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