Several months ago, I started a private project getting a cheap and open source media box up and running. The hardware decision was a Zotac Zbox ID 41 Plus because most of the comments about the box were quite positive and compared with other boxes, the Zbox was quite cheap.

The next, much more interesting thing, was the software decision. The first attempt was based on OpenELEC. OpenELEC is a media distribution, stripped down to the necessary elements and focused on the ION2 box. If you are seeking for something small and fast where interaction with the underlaying operating system is outside the scope, you will be definitely on the right track.

But, this isn’t what I’m seeking for. So my second attempt was the XBMC Live distribution. This one was closer to my needs but still requires a lot of work to get a media box which fit my needs.

So my last attempt till now is the XMBCbuntu Beta3. The sound configuration didn’t work out-of-the-box. I need to customize it:

Settings --> System --> Audio-Hardware
  Output               --> Optical/Coaxial
  Speaker              --> 5.1
  AC3                  --> deselect
  DTS                  --> deselect
  Audio Output         --> Custom --> plug:both
  Digital Audio Output --> Custom --> plug:both

I don’t have a clue why DTS-HD is only working with setting optical/coaxial instead of HDMI what is in the end used for audio transport to the TV, but this is the setting that is in the end working for me.

The other customizations I’ve done are more or less cosmetic changes which I will describe in later postings.