The workings of a hackintosh attempt turned windows7 media box

Cory Blog, Hardware

mediaboxOver the past weeks I have been attempting to “build” a hackintosh (OSX installed on a PC) on the box to the left.
In some worlds, this is pretty easy. There are many tutorials out there for specific machines and hardware, but since my machine is not a brand name AND after hours on hours of trying, I finally deemed it currently impossible. And my wife rejoices!

The goal for this box: create a media solution which will access online content and display it on the TV. Since we canceled our cable, we’ve been watching more online movies and shows with the help of hulu desktop, Boxee (www.boxee.tv) and recently trying out XBMC media center and Netflix.

I started off by doubling the memory to 2Gs, then after some “slight” modifications to the frame, added a CD-RW/DVD drive. Then I installed Windows 7 on it and the corresponding media software. Of course I installed Apple’s Airport Utility in order to access my Time Capsule and set it for remote connections. The projected process will entail storing the box under my TV (behind closed doors-because its ugly, well when compared to an Apple computer), keeping it on and connected to my home network, then using CoRD for Mac, remoting in, selecting what I want to watch, then closing the connection and enjoy free viewing of the Office or a new release.

CoRD is a super easy to use remote desktop client for Mac. I used this tutorial for help in adjusting some Windows settings and starting the first connection. The process should be pretty seamless but last night in my sleep I realized that typical RDCs like Window’s own Remote Desktop Connection software (which is also available for Mac) usually close the connection when disconnecting. You can’t stream video when you’re not logged in to the computer, of course. I don’t want to have to keep my Mac open and on while watching a movie. I’ll have to do more testing, which I never mind doing, but if it doesn’t work the way I desire, the other solution is to get a VNC client.

A VNC client (Virtual Network Computing) is a remote connection client as well, but is typically slower. The benefit is that you can authenticate the connection but not have to sign into windows. Thus, the screen viewing window can be closed but Windows will not be logged out. I’ll have to install a VNC Server, like RealVNC Server, on the PC, and then use Chicken of the VNC to view the connection on my Macbook Pro. The only caveat currently is that I don’t have a way to connect it to my TV. And since my TV is a bit out dated, I’m doing to have to find a slick solution. I’m looking at either installing a new video card or forking over the cash for a pc to tv adapter. Both have sucky issues, but it’s still cheaper than buying a new tv, paying for cable every month, or buying a mediabox specifically made to do what I want to do. I’ll keep you posted.