LinuxMCE Forums

General => Users => Topic started by: Zxarr on March 17, 2008, 04:12:57 pm

Title: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: Zxarr on March 17, 2008, 04:12:57 pm
I am attempting to LinuxMCE my home (on paper), and at the moment I am looking for some hardware.  The basic Linux boxes and set top boxes I have, along with storage, etc.  What I am looking for at the moment are:

1.  Web pads.  ANyone know of a cheap web pad to use for a remote?
2.  Panel PC's.  I want to mount a few "panel PC's" in strategic rooms, to monitor web cams, talk to people at the front door, etc, etc.  I've seen some about, mostly industrial.  Anyone have any sources on consumer Panel PC's with speaker / mic (for intercom).

Also, I don't remember seeing this in the video, but can you have a 'front door buzzer' that when pressed, brings up a PiP display and/or changes certain PC's (like the Panel PC's) to a front door cam / intercom automatically?

Also, does ANYone know of a capture card with either co-ax or optical audio input?  Will the Hauppauge PVR-HD have an input?  I am planning 4 Starchoice receivers, with component input once that capture card arrives...

Thanks all.
Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: JimmyGosling on March 17, 2008, 06:28:37 pm
I'm going to focus on the webpad/panel portion of the question, but even so I think that can be a little bit of a complex question.  It comes down to some specifics on what you want, there really is set list of hardware to choose from for this.

that being said, I'm personally taking a look at nokia's n800 and n810 tablets as a possible solution to the web pad.  I think the size of that screen would work for me, it may or may not for you.  For the panel you may consider a regular lcd and a small pc.  It depends on your space and budget, but it will also require you to do a lot of initial research to make sure that the device you're looking at is going to work.  (imho, that's the worst part)
Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: bulek on March 17, 2008, 07:09:42 pm

I'd also vote for Nokias N810 or N800. They are cheap too, but a bit small - but I also have some cheap touchscreens and they are not nearly as good despite being bigger size...

Also with Nokia you can do a lot of other interresting stuff (like having softphone, mythtv client, surf the internet, etc...)

I'm also thinking on convenient way how to "build" them on wall, but currently no solution...



Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: royw on March 17, 2008, 07:53:26 pm
After using the N800 as my primary orbiter for a few months I'll add a few comments.

As others have said, it is small.  A good size for a remote, difficult to read for old eyes.  I'd really like to find a webpad of the same resolution, but half again the display size.

The battery doesn't last long (about 10 hours) when used as an orbiter (I basically leave it plugged in when I'm not watching a movie).

The orbiter software does not multi-task.  If you switch to any other app, the orbiter crashes. 

So while the potential is there for a fantastic orbiter/video phone/surfer/etc, the implementation is not quite there yet.  As a dedicated orbiter, it is fantastic if you can read the small display.

Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: nite_man on March 17, 2008, 08:51:52 pm
Sahara Slate PC i412T Touch-iT Tablet PC - ( looks nice to be a big Orbiter (it's $1775.00) or eo UMPC v7110 512/40 - ( ($899.00). Also Gigabyte U60 Ultra-Mobile PC - ( ($829.95) can be used.
Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: Zxarr on March 18, 2008, 04:43:42 am
Thanks for the replys!  I was only planning to use the webpad as an orbiter, not a phone, or anything like that.  At least not that.  I know I'll have to build this in stages...

Stage 1 is to build the LinuxMCE 'server', with my Starchoice STB attached, along with a computer attached to my TV and get a remote (probably the one from Fiire).  I already use MythTV, so I have a computer attached to my TV, with a capture card and IR blaster.

Adding all the fun extras, phones, webpads, security cameras and lighting should be fun.  I've had some dealings with X-10 already, just not in a computer setting.  I'm trying to figure out costs, because I have to convince the wife.  Hahahah.  She already can't live without Myth. :D

These are the Panel PC's I found.  I'm not in the UK, but I may find these somewhere in Canada or the US.  Install in into a wall and you have a complete PC with a touch screen.  I'd love to have one on each level of the house, let you control the whole home, answer the door intercom, with one of these in the bedroom wall. :D  Also nice if you have a theater room as you could monitor security cameras for the other floors.

Yes, I dream of walking into my house, tapping in my security PIN and having the lights and other appliances turn on when I get home.  LOL!

Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: JimmyGosling on March 18, 2008, 04:11:48 pm
I've been doing the same for my house.  I've spent a pretty modest amount I think at under $1k (us) for the core and a md.  I didn't have anything to start with however and it looks like you do. 

I'm running insteon right now instead of x-10 (it can work backwards with x-10 devices though that's still under development by ddamron).  I would recommend if you're adding anything new in that regard to spend the extra cash and go insteon.

I have a fiire remote as well.  It's good, but it's a premium price imo.  My next remote will probably be a cheaper gyro instead. 

Going in stages is nice and sneaky.  it's like requirements creep.  You sell them on a low cost job and then sneak in these little gotchas (and there WILL be gotchas).  lol, so you've got the right idea :)

Thanks guys for your views on the nokias.  I'm glad to have some real world use to balance the "sales pitch" on them.
Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: Zxarr on March 18, 2008, 04:27:31 pm
I can't wait to get started on this. :)  New projects like this get me all jumpy.  My family suffers though...  Same thing happened with MythTV...  After a week of patching up holes and bugs, it's all working.  We're hoping to move to Waterloo, Ontario soon, and that will mark the start of my LinuxMCE project.

Thanks for the answers with the webpads, I'll let you know how I fare when I get that far in. :)
Title: Re: Designing LinuxMCE home
Post by: diamondcobra on March 21, 2008, 06:17:14 pm

I'm also thinking on convenient way how to "build" them on wall, but currently no solution...

I used two 'mirror clips' ( and with my n800 'stand' extended, it slips into them on the wall.  It's ugly, but the price was right.  I dont charge it there, so I needed something I could slip it in and out of, and out of reach of my toddler.  The back part of the stand is actually angled a little so when you put it in, it is tilted up, which may be good in your environment, but for me it creates a glare and I cant see the screen well, unless there is a way to rotate the screen 180 and stick it in upside down, which would be awesome.