I do such things as update and build my own computers and I end up with spare parts. Some of these parts work and others do not, but I have them. These parts even inspired my husband to take photographs of the boards, close-ups of the boards that looked similar to cities. He started collecting parts from others for these images. In this we somehow acquired a few old and tired, but mildly functional machines. Of course, I confiscated one that seemed to have failing usb and wifi under Windows XP. I installed Ubuntu and found that everything functions. I added all the media players possible and linked it to my TV. I had not wanted a Roku or other streaming box because I usually just watch Netflix on my Vizio Bluray player. But there were a few sites that I’d like to have access to that do not have apps on the player. My Ubuntu media center gives me access to Crunchyroll which runs fine, but it lags when I try to play Hulu. I can’t always get Hulu to work on a perfectly normal computer with a fast, campus internet connection and so it seems to be a moot point. I simply hook it to my TV with the VGA ports; the image is not too bad despite the low resolution.
My media Ubuntu is not without its flaws – I cannot get it to load such programs as RealPlayer negating some “protected” streaming services. For kicks I also tried to install an old web camera, but the suggested programs did not work with the camera that I had.
I know, I know: why, would I do this, you ask. Why bother? Why care? I have a perfectly functional laptop with HDMI. I have two custom desktop machines that would work better than an old failing machine. I’d like to answer that I did it because I can. Well, that is only partly true, usually I’m working on my laptop when I want to use it to watch something and my desktops live in my office. I could find wireless video transmitters, but there are times that I have video on one machine while my husband is working on the other. At the same time I’m building graphics or something on the laptop. This media center frees up all my working machines to do the work. I like that.