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These days, buying a decent plasma is often a lot more expensive than building your own media center. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, a media center is basically a PC that’s focused solely on media playback. Check out our PDF guide on how to set up your own media center, written by Stefan Neagu.

For the past year or so, I’ve been using Windows 7 on my media center. It’s quick, smooth, and the new Windows Media Center makes it an incredible improvement over Vista. It also supports most PCI TV tuners. Lately, I came to realize the stupidity of all it. Television shows haven’t been accounting to much lately, and the Windows 7 price tag isn’t worth it if you’re only using it for music and movies.


Although Boxee Boxee - Cool Media Center for Mac and Ubuntu Boxee - Cool Media Center for Mac and Ubuntu Read More seemed the more obvious choice, it loses the high ground if you lack a decent internet connection. Just when I was about to give up hope, I heard about Enna – an incredible open source Linux media center, developed by the GeeXboX team, and ready for its first public release.

linux media center

Enna can be installed on top of your Linux distro (e.g. Ubuntu) as a standalone app. But if you don’t want to make “the switch”, you can just use the GeeXboX live CD. You can boot Enna straight from the disk, without installing any alternative operating systems. If you want, you can even keep your default Windows installation running underneath.

Movies and Music

Keep in mind that the Enna Linux media center is a very standard app. It packs the very basic features in a most enticing and graphical user interface. If you’re looking for a surplus of widgets and online connectivity, you’re probably looking for Boxee.


That said, if you’re a standard media freak, Enna should sate your initial hunger, especially for a first public release.

linux media center

Enna is great for browsing media files on your hard disk – both video and audio. You can also use Enna to pop an old-fashioned DVD. Sadly, this first release does not yet support audio CDs. This feature is promised to be included in one of the other upcoming releases, together with podcast support and VDB TV tuner functionality.

Photographs and Books

Apart from video and music, you can also use the Enna Linux media center software for photo slideshows. Next time your mother-in-law celebrates another wrinkle, surprise her and the rest of the family with a stunning slideshow. I’m not much of a picture-person myself, but I love to use slideshows to decorate a room, and create a pleasant ambience.


This last feature came as a surprise to me. In the bookstore, you can grab your favorite books and comics from the web, and read them from the couch. Enna currently supports GoComics and OneManga for content synchronisation.


Obviously, you want be able to read Shakespeare on your media center, but you can flick through a few (web)comics when you’re bored. As the names suggest, you can access both western comic panels and Japanese manga. Download Enna Media Center here.

What do you think of Enna? Or do you prefer another media center? Tell us which and why in the comments section below!

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  1. Demo
    January 30, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    How does Enna or any other Linux MCE handle recording of live T.V. Windows MCE does an amazing job of this.

    • Simon Slangen
      January 30, 2010 at 8:49 pm

      There's no TV tuner in Enna as of yet.

  2. meh
    January 27, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I am using XBMC on Ubuntu Karmic Koala 9.10.
    Before I settled to that, I tried Boxee and Moovida and others which I can't remember now on the spot, and none of them worked decently for me. I think that the media center niche is getting too crowded lately. It will be hard to compete with such a stable and well working piece of software such as XBMC (which is compiled for both Linux and Windows platforms). In my opinion - if I can afford that :) - another "new and exciting media center"... is not too exciting...

  3. Jones
    January 27, 2010 at 10:51 am

    The contention in the article is that the obvious choice would be Boxee. The obvious choice would be XBMC, of which Boxee was a fork with social networking added.

    XBMC is a mature, polished product. Any Linux media center software will be measured in relation to it.

  4. allsouls
    January 27, 2010 at 10:17 am

    I haven't used Enna, but XBMC is the open-source base on which Boxee is built. It's incredibly powerful and expandable. Highly recommended.

  5. Robert M
    January 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Looks very promising. The Bookstore inclusion is very curious since if you're connecting you box to a TV you won't be able to read well. Still I'll give it a shot. I tried the latest Boxee beta but couldn't get videos to display at all.

  6. eastmanweb
    January 26, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Can you control the thumbnail that appears when browsing your videos?

    • Simon Slangen
      January 26, 2010 at 11:27 am

      Enna normally tries to retrieve cover/fan-art online (if your video title is clear enough), or generates it from the video. Manually dropping a picture in the same folder might work as well, I didn't try.