Last month I finally got sick of cleaning peanut butter off DVD’s. Between me and the 4.5 year old, there probably was a whole jar of the stuff inside the dvd player, and a corresponding amount of skipping. We’d turned to online streaming services like Hulu, which sat on remote servers and were invulnerable to the mess, but they tied up my laptop every time the kid wanted to watch Finding Nemo, or Super Structures. Also, I didn’t enjoy the vibe that was building up, where there was no separation between the machine I use for work and the one I use for vegging out.
It was finally time to realize a scheme I’d been mulling for a while: making a tiny little home theater PC (HTPC) that would allow my household to go diskless. Here’s how I did it and how it’s working — which is great, even if some providers of content and software seem determined to keep users stuck in the past.