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Messages - totallymaxed

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61
Users / Re: Entertainment Areas without an MD
« on: August 27, 2014, 10:09:28 am »
This issue came up in another post I had

http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=13430.45

The inability to get media scenarios for entertainment areas that have not been configured with an MD. 

If anyone is interested in helping me get this to work properly I'd be happy to assist in any way I can. 

I have a fresh install of the latest 1404 dvd image with an entertainment area set up that has a TV, receiver, a cable box, and a dvd player.  No scenarios are generated, so it seems the issue still persists in 1404.  This exact setup worked perfectly with a 1204 install when I set it up using an MD, and then after setup removing the MD. 

I can provide any logs, and perform any experiments anyone would like on this setup.  I can also provide remote access to this set up if anyone wants to help me investigate the issue and fix it.

If the room/entertainment area has no MD then no auto-generated scenarios are created. You need to set the zone to manually managed in Web Admin. If you add an MD, then later remove it from the room/entertainment area you are essentially doing the same thing as setting it to manual.

All the best

Andy

62
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 27, 2014, 10:05:02 am »
Andrew,
If I may weigh in. A few main points on MDs and why as a user I continue to use them and would be disappointed to see them relegated to a unsupported system.

Number one for me is Cost. An ip controllable HDMI matrix, HDMI endpoints, multiple set top boxes/STBs = multiplying the cost to every-room and every zone you add. You can add 'smarts' to any display with a relatively low cost MD and a remote.

I enjoy the ability to control any zone/room from and zone/room without having to have a dedicate room controller (ie. iPad) in each room. Call us 'old skool' but we also prefer to flick through with a remote rather than always use an ipad, ipod touch etc.

The philosophy of LinuxMCE/Dianemo is the central home control. Not just single point to point but in addition multipoint and the ability to move that media/user experience between rooms seamlessly. This includes the same UI, the same control process and access to all media in all rooms. As well as lighting, heating etc. controls. In your model, the only UI is on the mobile orbiter.

Telecom, Game player and surveillance cameras are not considered here yet within the thread. Whilst I agree that the most used component of the system is media, it is the integration of all these smart home systems in one point and turning any display device into a controller and viewer that got me so enthused in the system.

In having said this, not all times is there a need to have a UI and consistent user experience. I use media players and upnp in conjunction with squeezeslaves and traditional MD to get a mix throughout the home. I would just hate to see them become unsupported. 

Food for thought.
Cheers
Garath

All good points but I think you have misunderstood some of my comments here and in other threads. So let me try and clarify things;

In Dianemo & Linuxmce we have an incredibly flexible tool. We can organise and structure our installations using many different approaches/strategies. Some of those can include centralised resources like STB's with HD video distributed to each room via IP Controlled HDMI Matrices. Some might prefer no centralised traditional STB's but  instead use Myth or VDR backends running in the Core. Some might prefer STB's in each room - but that is very rare indeed. But all of these approaches and many, many more are possible.

With today's TV's you already have 'smarts' in the TV - just plug a network connection into the TV and it can be controlled from anywhere by any Orbiter. If your TV is slightly too old to have an on-board Network connection then install a Rpi running RaspBMC behind it and you can get all the same capabilities, including CEC control, on your existing TV.

Orbiters provide the ultimate in flexible control. Yes you can rely on on-screen Orbiters for all control but that means you need a TV in each room to access the UI - and what about those rooms where you may not have a TV? With portable devices we can take our Orbiters to any part of the house and control that room, and we can still control any other room while we are there. I addition we can do that without having to have MD's and TV powered up to do so.

With Dianemo or LinuxMCE we have centralised home control - but is does not require multiple MD's + TV's all over the house to achieve it. Every device type that is supported by either system can be integrated,  controlled and accessed without a single MD - they are not required to achieve that at all. But you can have an MD in any room if you want it with an on-screen Orbiter - mix & match without limitation. Orbiters running on portable devices or on PC's can be used without limitation to control any room and any device anywhere in the system. You don't need, and I have never seen, an installation where you need a portable Orbiter dedicated to each room. You take your Orbiter with you or use one that is already in the room.

There are two scenarios where that require an MD;

- Live TV streamed from Myth or VDR in the Core.
- Using the Game emulator

Everything else can be achieved without MD's and without any loss of capability, flexibility or centralised control, while at the same time reducing complexity and energy costs. But in the end of course it's your decision - that's the ultimate in flexibility.

All the best

Andy

63
Marketplace / Announcing - Athena Orbiter & UI Layer Alpha Program
« on: August 27, 2014, 09:19:42 am »
The new Athena Orbiter & UI layer is a complete re-imagining of how the Dianemo UI is engineered, designed & updated. We started with a clean 'sheet' of paper when engineering the Athena UI layer and it is all new code from the ground up. Athena in fact is the internal name for a project that will deliver a number of new technologies for Dianemo that we will be rolling out in the future, the Athena Orbiter & UI layer is just the first.

This video shows the basic Athena Orbiter in action on a live Dianemo system; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQAeGia26A&authuser=0

The Athena Orbiter & UI Layer are still in development and we expect to release them in the latter part of Q4 this year. In preparation for release we are looking for a small number of brave 'Alpha' testers who will be given access to early alpha releases of Athena. Please bare in mind that these releases will be alpha code ie they may well be unstable and break periodically (or frequently!) and we can offer no commitment to direct support for these releases during the alpha testing phase. We are looking to hear from you about your experience with these alpha builds though and your feedback will contribute to shaping the final release version. You must have a Dianemo installation to take part in the Athena alpha program.

If you are interested in participating as part of the Athena alpha program please PM me here on the forum.

Thank you

Andy

Athena Orbiter & UI Background
The Athena UI itself is built using industry standard HTML5. This makes it incredibly easy to customise using standard HTML5 markup and tools. In fact if you are familiar with HTML5 then a text editor is all you need to customise the design or layout of any Orbiter screen. Any graphics App that can output a gif or jpeg file is all you need to adapt or modify any of the graphical assets used in the standard Athena UI pack.

The standard Athena UI files are all located in a directory structure on the NerveCentre and all the HTML5 source files for the Orbiter include plenty of embedded notes on modifying the various sections of each file. No deep knowledge of the underlying system is needed to modify or create a new Athena UI skin either. Creating a new UI skin for Dianemo has never been this easy before, make a change, refresh the screen and its there - no UI Regens are required.

The new Athena Orbiter & UI layer will, we hope,  open up Dianemo UI design and customisation to a much wider audience than ever before. The Athena UI is targeted for release during last quarter of 2014 and will be a free update for all current Dianemo customers.

64
Users / Re: Recommendations for server and station computers
« on: August 25, 2014, 10:39:40 pm »
Thanks very much for all that great information!  I think I have most all the details ironed out consistent with your recommendations.  As for the over-spec on the server, I found this (http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Core_Server_Newbie_Pack) after I had put down the specs in my last message.  In comparison, I can probably drop some $$$ by backing off the specs quite a bit and not lose performance. 

This info was extremely helpful!  Thank you again.  I'll do my best to keep information flowing with respect to how I put it all together and the equipment I use.  Is there a location where someone can add details of a particular setup for others' benefit?  Somewhere in the wiki?


-Kirk

Re adding your config to the wiki; just create a page and add your systems spec there. Glad to be of help.

All the best

Andy

65
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 25, 2014, 06:30:43 pm »
Maybe I am misunderstanding you. I have UTP cables on the different locations. No coax though. and neither do I have extra PVR's / STBs. Those all bring extra complexity, costs, power and possible points of failure usage I supposed.

There are many different configurations that you can implement. You could centralise pretty much everything - Core, STB/PVR's, Suround Amps, Zone Amps etc in which case you could use an HDMI Matrix that supports Cat5/6 Baluns (ie it will send HDMI over Cat5/6) in room to send the HDMI picture at full quality to each room. You would then IP control the Matrix to route particular sources to specific rooms and control the TV over IP too (select input, vol +/-, mute etc etc). Your MD's or Media Players can then be centralised and routed through inputs on the Matrix or be located in room. If you locate them in-room then typically you would locate the controlled Amplifier in room too as it makes routing audio to them much easier.

It seems to me that the only reason to have MD's is if you want to use VDR/Myth and access live TV via them and you want to use LMCE on-screen Orbiter UI. If you only want to access recorded TV then you can use SmartTV's or Media Players to access those recordings via upnp (that works for Myth... not sure if can do that with VDR).
This would only need a single Cat5/6 cable to each room/TV location. If you need additional Cat5/6 connections in the room then use a small switch to enable that.

This doesn't add complexity at all.

All the best

Andy

66
Users / Re: Recommendations for server and station computers
« on: August 24, 2014, 07:36:24 pm »
Just saw this one, Andy.  For some reason I'm not getting notifications on this thread.  Hmmmm...

That is great info, and thank you very much.  I'm narrowing my options down quite a bit and I think I've settled on something like this for my core:

System76 Eland Pedestal.  It ships with Ubuntu 14.04.1 Server LTS, so I'm guessing it'll be AOK for this purpose.

Intel Xeon E3-1220V2 (3.10 GHz 8MB Cache - 4 cores)
16 GB DDR3 1333 MHz ECC
2x2 TB SATA III 7200 RPM in hardware RAID-1
Hot swap drive cage
CD-RW/DVD-RW Dual layer drive


The questions that stand out for this one are: 

Graphics are integrate Intel HD.  Is this enough for a core?  I assume the core doesn't need much graphics support.

I very much like the hardware raid setup - is this compatible with LinuxMCE?

No audio included, but there are extra bays for expansion.  I'll probably pick up an audio card or two, if they are needed.

As far as structure, I plan to have the core in a utility room in the basement.  I'll have Cat5e access there as well as all the house speakers will terminate there.  I assume I can either connect the speakers to audio cards in the core or to amplifiers controlled by the core.  (Those amplifiers would be in the utility room also.)  I'll have 2 rooms with 2 speakers each in the ceilings, and all those wires terminate in the utility room. 

For the media directors, I anticipate 2 rooms, maybe 3, and those will have small footprint computers in place next to the TVs.  I'm thinking something like this for the media directors:  https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-pocket-wee-gnu-linux-desktop  They have Intel 1080p HD video and audio support.

That's my current plan for hardware.  As always, any feedback is greatly appreciated.

-Kirk

Hi Kirk,

Looking over your post here are some quick replies;

- we typically never configure Dianemo NC's (our term for a Core) as MD's so we don't worry about what graphics as such. In the days when we used standalone MD's we'd install enough for the number of rooms in the install.

- your chosen Core hardware should be fine as far as I can see - but I'd test it with a liveCD first to be sure. But I would also say that the Core hardware is way over spec'd for even the biggest house installation. Most of the time your Core will just be sitting there burning electricity. We would usually spec a Core with a mid-range i5 or possibly an i7 (but that would be only for bigger installations than your proposing). So test the hardware first for sure and then decide.

- audio cards can be added if you have enough slots and can be virtualised to so a single 7.1 card can drive 4x stereo zones for example.

- centralising everything is a good approach. If you plan to centralise the Amplifiers then you'll want to use low loss high quality speaker cables to each set of speakers in each room (CAT5/6 is no good for speakers except in emergencies or over very short distances). If the MD's are located in-room then you might want to locate the amplifiers with the MD's to simplify cabling/connections between them (run plenty of cat5/6 back to the rack to cover unexpected situations ). Soundcards always need an amplifier - they can't drive speakers directly.

- I'd recommend locating your media storage in a separate NAS (this could be raided of course easily) rather than in the Core itself. Hardware RAID will use proprietary drivers etc but as long as you can configure the RAID array using the provided utilities then your Core should be able to use it.

- those MD's use and i3 and look very nice. However they may not be ideal because they use Intel integrated graphics. You should check that suitable hardware accelerated graphics drivers are available and test the real video performance with some HD video streams before committing to them. Ironically those MD's are somewhat similar to some of our small Dianemo NC's that we would use in 2-3 bed apartments.

Let me know if any of the above is unclear!

All the best

Andy

67
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 24, 2014, 03:36:28 pm »
As said before. I only have UTP cable to the different locations. If you replace the MD by PVR/STB and cables then you increasing complexity and costs instead of decreasing it imho. Even though then the MD might fail I have more trust in something open then the closed smarttv, PVR/STB. Especially if it is possible to have _one_ cheap but fully working solution so all use the same. I still feel the core needs to have all connections directly feed into it and there need to be light players/controllers that can actually be controlled (like also softwarewise) whatever that might be ;-).

In these situations just place a small 4-port switch in the room behind your TV etc and the connect your devices to the switch. A switch is super reliable, low cost and very low energy. We'be used this config in 100's of professional installations and it has proven to work well and be incredibly reliable.

All the best

Andy

68
I am running 12.04, and the lights I have assigned to Outdoor rooms are automatically turning on/off at sunset/sunrise just as this post indicates.

Is the only solution still to remove any lights I don't want this behavior for from Outside rooms?

I don't even see an advanced section in my timed events.

Advanced->Configuration->Events seems to take me to an Advanced Events section but I do not see any existing events in there...

Has the ability to even see these automatically generated scenarios been removed?

What if suggest is to create a room called 'Garden' (or whatever you choose) using a room type other than 'outside area'. Now your outside lights will not get the dawn/dusk auto generated scenario. You could add you own manually created dawn/dusk scenario there though that works as you would like.

All the best

Andy

69
Users / Re: Raspberry Pi as UPnP player under Dianemo
« on: August 23, 2014, 04:18:25 pm »
Hi,

I'm back to this problem. I intend to replace my MD with RPi and rasbmc image.

I've followed instructions on Wiki page closely, but I must be doing something wrong. I've added upnp plugin and upnp device...

Situation is like this:
- if I start media from within XBMC then I can pause it from Orbiter (if in correct room)
- but if I start media from Orbiter it won't start on RPi (nothing happens)

What I didn't clearly seen is that option of choosing upnp or samba mode when first going into Video or Audio browser. Also I don't know how to do this "... you would use either UPnP mode (set this in Web Admin)...".

There is something still missing here - please can you help me ? Media config is written above - is it right to setup upnp player device for both Audio and Video commands ?

Also another question: from inside XBMC - will it find media from Dianemo as upnp server or should I access media via samba server ?

Thanks in advance,
regards,
Bulek.

To set upnp mode from web admin;

Wizards->Basic Info->Installation->'enable upnp media browsing'

Make sure there is no MM in the room your RPi is in.

Yes Rpi can be set for video/audio commands if no controlled amplifier is in use in the room.

Andy


70
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 23, 2014, 04:04:16 pm »
I think the most important one is to be able to control the PVR to play tv and record etc since that would be something not possible with only the TV with upnp

Oh we do that too. We support IP control of SmartTV's and PVR/STB's, we also support CEC control over IP of TV's too. None of that requires any MD's at all.

All the best

Andy

71
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 23, 2014, 11:05:59 am »
Sounds good. Maybe the QOrbiter or HTML orbiter can be add as a plugin. You mean that you cannot control XMBC from another orbiter? That seems like important to be able to use TV or did you solve that differently?

What is then still missing if those 2 points are added? Maybe rs-232 and usb uirt control support? I suppose squeezeslite is already supported?

As with most media players you can control Raspbmc using upnp control but that does not give you access to all of the XBMC UI. With upnp I can send go to a room with a Raspbmc device and stream some video content to it from my Orbiter, and I can control the playback of that content too - play, pause etc.

Yes both SqueezeLite (supports Spotify Premium) and Squeezeslave is supported and full virtualisation of sound cards too so that you can virtualise a 7.1 card in 4x virtual stereo cards etc.

All the best

Andy

72
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 23, 2014, 02:34:23 am »
I was just thinking.... I have no experience with any of the following items but maybe its possible and a good way to tackle the issues from both sides:

* use xbmc as the upnp device/player
* xbmc has the ability of playing liveTV via a PVR backend (mythtv)
* use a xmbc plugin to control linuxmce on screen
* be able to use remotes that come with the / are compatible with xbmc to control xbmc & linuxmce via the plugin
* be able to control xbmc via remote orbiters.

Seems to me the best of both worlds and because since you can 'just' use xmbc you don't have to support the hardware yourself while still being able to use the features discussed above.

We already support Raspbmc in fact - the only thing on your list we don't have is an XBMC plugin to control Dianemo or the control from an Orbiter. But everything else is there. After all once you add Raspbmc to Rpi you have one of the best full featured & open media players you can buy.

All the best

Andy

73
Users / Re: Why Do Media Directors Exist?
« on: August 22, 2014, 05:06:29 pm »
I think a R-Pi MD would be the best of both worlds. A LMCE-controlled XBMC R-Pi would also be interesting. I can't say I've had many issues with the MDs themselves. Is what your suggesting more reliable simply because it's not running its OS via the cable? Because a media player is still a standalone piece of hardware that can potentially fail.

Cheers,
Matt.

Of course anything can fail due to hardware failures or software issues. But I actually cannot think of the last time we had either problem with a media player - or a SmartTV for that matter. MD's do often fail due to software issues and partially due to their far greater complexity (there's a lot going on under the hood in an MD!) and the somewhat 'creaky' software architecture they are built on (there's a lot in their that no one really understands). The MD is really a big gas guzzling Cadillac of a media player that for most of the time adds no real advantage and lots of disadvantages. Back in the day when MD's were first created there was no alternative - Pluto had to roll their own 'media player'. But now there are alternate approaches that offer many advantages - as long as you don't want to watch live TV via VDR's front-end ot the Myth equivalent.

PXE booting is not in itself unreliable but if your systems needs to go down then with PXE booted MD's they have to go down too - media players don't.

All the best

Andy

74
Marketplace / Update - New HTML5 Orbiter & UI Preview **New Images**
« on: August 22, 2014, 04:53:26 pm »
This image and the ones that follow show updated screen captures from our new HTML5 Orbiter. Updated graphics and layouts and both landscape & portrait orientations of the same screen to show how the Orbiter dynamically adapts the layout based on orientation.

Did you spot the bug in this screen and the previous one...?

75
Marketplace / Update - New HTML5 Orbiter & UI Preview **New Images**
« on: August 22, 2014, 04:51:52 pm »
This image and the ones that follow show updated screen captures from our new HTML5 Orbiter. Updated graphics and layouts and both landscape & portrait orientations of the same screen to show how the Orbiter dynamically adapts the layout based on orientation.

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