Posted on October 6, 2005
The last two things to go into the case were the USB WiFi connection and the keyboard/mouse. The latter proved to be the biggest problem because I wanted to keep the look as consistent as possible. I didn't want to get a huge wireless keyboard/mouse combo. In the end I went for a BTC 9116IR keyboard with integrated joystick mouse. As its name suggests it has an infrared receiver. This proved a problem because there was nowhere else on the front of the computer where I could mount the sensor without out it disrupting the look. Furthermore, when I tried it out for the first time the receiver just didn't work due to the interference from the LCD screen. The answer in the end was to re solder the sensor and mount it in a ferrite ring to shield it. I discovered that it could be placed behind the speaker grille without interfering with reception. This involved removing and then remounting the speakers behind the sensor.
The completed system runs Windows XP (I would have liked to have run Linux, but I really need ActiveSync). As you can see it still works as a television (with a working remote control!), but it also plays MPEG video I record on my DVR (you can see Dr. Who), streams internet radio with a passable bass (Shoutcast and WinAmp) and it surfs the net fairly well given the limited resolution. It even runs Google Earth even though not all of the controls make it onto the screen!
Actually, the rather low resolution has proven to be the greatest limiting factor. XP runs happily only a minimum of 800x600 pixels: at VGA resolution Direct X doesn't seem to work properly and most of my software DVD decoders like WinDVD do not support such a low resolution. Although I originally planned to have a DVD player installed into the computer, this was just not possible given the constraints of space, to the inability to play back DVDs is perhaps academic anyway.
From start to finish the project took about 9 months, 8 months of which were the dead TV sitting on my shelf at home before I got around to putting it together (I call it "planning"). Overall, I'm really pleased with the outcome and am already researching my next mini-ITX project!