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How To: Dell Studio Hybrid Home Theater PC/Media Center

About a year ago I purchased a Dell Studio Hybrid (now discontinued) to use as a discreet and silent home theater PC. The hardware in the base model is powerful enough to easily handle 1080p video and maybe even run a virtual machine or two in the background for testing purposes. My first configuration included Windows 7 with Boxee, but this soon proved to be rather unstable and the boot times were horrendous (as in nearly five minutes) with the slow laptop hard drive in the hybrid. After doing some research, I was able to find a much more lightweight approach using Ubuntu 10.04 Server. At the same time I decided to switch from Boxee since development has pretty much stopped after the release of the Boxee Box. The interface was very buggy as well and it would become unstable for no given reason which required frequent application restarts.

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