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 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.
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.
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!