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VSphere-based HTPC/Media Centre


woad
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First post here, looking for help/advice

Have been using HP Microservers for a few years, lovely little boxes. Until recently, running one of the older boxes, an N40, with a Radeon 6450 with Openelec as a media-server. Or more precisely, a 'front end'; it pulls media (video, music) from my Synology NAS and plays it over TV/Amp. Kinda like a PopCornHour A300 on steroids. Works a treat. The box is being re-purposed as a firewall, because I bought a Gen8, and upgraded it with a Xeon 1265-L2, and the 6450.

What I would like to do is virtualise the HTPC as a VM - because the Xeon system is overkill for a media centre. My question is, is this possible?

ie

HPGen8 with VSphere 6.5, one or more VMs

VM 1 has 2 GB RAM, 1 dedicated [physical] CPU, and pass-through PCI-e (the 6450)

Presumably this is possible:

  • VM1 will run Openelec, and have access to the 6450 for video acceleration (for mp4/mkv playback and hdmi audio), and display will be passed out to the amp/tv
  • 1 USB port passed to the VM, so I can run a wireless remote control.
  • Possibly a second USB port passed through so I can run a wireless keyboard with trackball

Intend to add other VMs, (perhaps a LInux based mail server, or MS SBS of some flavour), but thats for the future.

I'm new to VSphere/ESXi, so don't know much at all, let alone "what I don't know"...

 

My experiments with VSphere so far result in PCI-pass through to the VM, but the output from the video card is the VSphere boot-up screen 'frozen' when loading a shim, and all interaction with the VM is via a browser... not what I was hoping for. How do I redirect the VM's video output over the video card?

 

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