Author Topic: Advice For Newbie.  (Read 1487 times)

FogMonster

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Advice For Newbie.
« on: May 13, 2010, 01:28:38 pm »
Hi,

Firstly - thanks to all dev's and users - LinuxMCE looks pretty damn awesome to me.  I only have it running in a VM for now, I just wanted to sort out any install issues first - but got it running like a dream (of course this doesn't counter any HW issues I come across with the main install, but its a good start).

My main question here is around Blu-Ray support, but I'll give you some thoughts around my install plan first.

 - Core - Will be built on a Dell Optpliex 755 with 4 gig mem, 160gig HDD, and 2 x 10/100/1000 NIC's, just using the on-board Intel GPU as this will not be a media player as well - just the Core.
 - Media - Will move all media (pics, music, films, etc) to a NAS of some sort (TBC) and let LinuxMCE catalogue - feel free to recommend a NAS (rack mount would be best, even self build - please point me in the right direction).
 - Hook it all together through a gig switch (cabling to be rolled out in the next couple of weeks).
 - I have the network layout sorted.  Am Network/Security engineer, and the suggested architecture looks spot on to me.
 - Get an ASUS eee, strip out the HDD, get the PXE boot working, and hook up HDMI to a test TV.

Bang - done, that easy ;-)

Assuming this all works, how do I then sort out my Blu-Ray wants and needs....?  Networks is my thing, not Unix/Linux or other user/server systems....

Is there a compatible BR drive I can stick in the Core and stream out BR HD from there ?  Or can I get the Media Director playing BR from its own drive (assuming I can get one with a BR drive) ?  My thoughts are the latter would be better, as then the processing overhead is taken off the core and placed on the Media Director.  I plan to eventually use the Core for full home automation, so it makes sense to me to take as much load off it as possible.

From what I've googled I understand that Blu-Ray is a bit "up in the air" where Linux and LinucMCE is concerned.

Please advise and comment on any of the above.

Sorry if this post is in the wrong place or/and a bit long winded.

Thanks for your time.

Cheers,
Fog.

FogMonster

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2010, 01:42:58 pm »
OK - I just seen a whole bunch of posts about the Blu-Ray situaiton, sorry.

So looks like its an issue with the availability of the encryption keys for the HD content right ?

Thats so lame - these big companies could make even more money by embracing Open Source instead of fighting it..........!

so.....whats the best way around this ?

Can I get a Blu-Ray player running HDMI into the Core, control it from the Media Director, via the Core,  and then stream it back the Media Director ?

My skillzzz aren't up to hacking around with Linux to get Blu-Ray working, so whats the easiest route to get a workable solution ?

Thanks again,
Fog.

purps

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2010, 01:48:31 pm »
Looks like you've been doing your research, your setup looks good in my opinion. Don't forget to check out the atom mobos for your MD as well.

As far as I know, you can rip bluray (core, MD, wherever - is this right?) and watch the saved file in all its HD glory relatively easily, but I think that playing them straight off the disc is difficult.

And welcome!
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FogMonster

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2010, 02:04:59 pm »
Hey purps,

Nice one, thanks for the response.

Yes, thats perfect - rip the Blu-Ray, stick it on the NAS or wherever, done.

I guess full Blu-Ray support will come in the end, just a matter of time.  BR support on the Media Director would be a bonus IMHO, as that makes it easy for the rest of my family to play the discs - just wish I had the skills some of these dev's have, quite simply astounding..!  :)

Cheers,
Fog.

bongowongo

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2010, 02:16:07 pm »
Get an EEEpc with an ion platform like http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=feOf1lR3z93Xf3OQ.
This one also has a DVD-player, so you can insert DVD's in MD's and let them rip, instead of putting them in your core.
I have a EEEpc 206, but it does not work yet, probably because it has an ATI card.

FogMonster

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010, 02:53:49 pm »
Thanks - yes that looks like a great piece of kit - its on my list now.

OK - so having sorted this whole Blu-Ray / DVD business, I have one more question.  Maybe it should be another thread, someone tell me, but here it is anyway:

So, once all done I'll have the Core streaming to the Media Director connected via HDMI to the test PC.

What is the best way to get the audio coming out of dedicated speakers in the room where the Media Director is ?

Do I hook an amp up to the Media Director in the same room, or is there a more elegant solution ?  I like the idea of having a centralized amp with multiple zones, but how would this work with media streamed to a Media Director ?  Would you run the audio back out the MD to the AMP, and then back to speakers in the room where the MD is ?  = cabling and attenuation nightmare.

Or, can the MD tell the Core to send the audio to a centralized AMP, which is then also told by the Core which zone to send the audio to...?

So just to clarify, the kit would be:
 - Core in comms cab.
 - Amp in comms cab.
 - MD in front room hooked up to TV.
 - Speakers in front room cabled back to Amp (zone 1 for example).

 - MD gets stream and displays on TV.
 - MD tells Core to send audio to Amp.
 - MD tells Core to tell Amp to send audio to Zone 1.

Sorry about this, struggling with this bit conceptually - so feel free to point out that I'm an idiot.  The best way I see this working is to have a small yet decent Amp connected to the MD, and controllable from the Core/MD....then you can have different audio playing in different rooms - rather than one audio source coming from the Core....arhghg HELP.

Thanks,
Fog.

purps

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2010, 02:55:02 pm »
For my lounge MD I'm using an atom ion 330 (so nVidia) [~£100], a 1U power supply (both mobo and PSU have quiet fans) [~£15, ebay], 2 gigs of RAM (512MB dedicated to GPU) [~£40] and a slot loading DVD drive [~£35]. Bit of a mess of wires at the moment, but very pleased with it. My intention this weekend is to get it all mounted onto a bit of MDF that can be mounted to the back of the TV. Will put the DVD drive at the top pointing up, so that when you eject a disc, it will appear to rise out of the top of the TV in the centre :) Bit like a mac I guess, but on the top instead on on the side.

Not sure how this compares with the eee efforts and revos, would be interested to know! Of course you get a posh case with those (although you could just buy a miniITX case, there is a relatively recent thread elsewhere regarding cases).
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purps

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2010, 03:03:13 pm »
Quote
So, once all done I'll have the Core streaming to the Media Director connected via HDMI to the test PC.

Each display has its own MD, and the MDs are all connected (via a switch) to the core. The core can also have its own display (in which case it is perhaps more accurately called a hybrid) or not. Is this what you mean?

Quote
What is the best way to get the audio coming out of dedicated speakers in the room where the Media Director is ?

Providing you have a remote or orbiter (be it onscreen on an MD, or a mobile phone, whatever) then you can control what happens where, from any room/location. Again, have I understood the question correctly here?


Is your core and MD in the same room? Is the amp for use with the MD or the core i.e. which one you have most interaction with from day to day?
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FogMonster

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2010, 03:46:21 pm »
The Core will be tucked away in a comms cab in a closet, and all interaction will be via the MD.

What I'm struggling with is the whole audio amp thing.  I.E. if I am streaming to a MD in the front room then:
 - Should I hook an amp up to MD in the front room ?  I.E. to get 5.1 sound in the room.
 - Can / how does LMCE then control the Amp ?
 - Can / how does LMCE then control the TV ?

Or have I completely got this wrong ?

Thanks for your time.

purps

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2010, 04:04:26 pm »
Unless there is some clever way of doing this that I am unaware of (perfectly possible!), then I would say that your amp and speakers need to be hooked up to the MD in question.

For controlling the TV, this can be done via USB or serial port if your TV supports this - don't be fooled into thinking that if your TV has a USB or serial port that this will work, because usually they are for service only. Alternatively, and I'm thinking of going down this route myself, use the USB-UIRT (search forum/wiki) - it is an IR reciever/transmitter, and will allow you to control IR devices from the PC. Apparently you can also get little "nipples" for them that connect to the USB-UIRT and go over the IR "eye" on the TV/amp whatever, and makes the IR transmission more reliable. It looked bloody expensive though I thought for what it was - 35 odd quid for the USB-UIRT and 15 quid for ONE lead!!

Anyway, if I do end up coughing up for one, I shall use it to control the TV and hopefully the VCR (my girlfriend is stuck in the stone age) if this is possible, but I will need to be asking a few questions about this myself.
1004 RC :: looking good :: upgraded 01/04/2013
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FogMonster

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2010, 04:07:50 pm »
Spot on - thanks.

Cheers,
Fog.

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2010, 05:06:47 pm »
The Core will be tucked away in a comms cab in a closet, and all interaction will be via the MD.

What I'm struggling with is the whole audio amp thing.  I.E. if I am streaming to a MD in the front room then:
 - Should I hook an amp up to MD in the front room ?  I.E. to get 5.1 sound in the room.
Re above
Yes a local Amp is one way & possibly the best and simplest if you have the MD local to the display and dont mind having the hardware in the room. Use SPDIF out from the MD to the Amp. The other way is to centralise your Amp and send the SPDIF over a longish optical cable or more likely convert it to a signal that can be sent over CAT5E or Coax back to the centralised Amp.  Alternatively centralise MD's/Core/Amp's and use CAT5E adapters for HDMI/USB etc to get the video/sound/control back out to the display (search the forum for other threads where I describe who my company installs systems that are centralised or partly centralised)
Quote
- Can / how does LinuxMCE then control the Amp ?
Re Above
Either use IR blasting from the MD or if the Amp supports RS232 control used that if possible.
Quote
- Can / how does LinuxMCE then control the TV ?
Re Above
Same as for Amp's ...either IR or RS232.
Quote

Or have I completely got this wrong ?

Thanks for your time.

All the best


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FogMonster

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Re: Advice For Newbie.
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2010, 05:55:04 pm »
Hi - Excellent, so going with the centralised approach, I'd have the MD's, AMP, and Core in the comms cab, and then:

 - Hook the AMP up to the Core via USB or Serial.
 - Run enough Cat6 to the TV to:
         a) send the HDMI A/V to the TV.
         b) Send the USB/serial control singlas to the TV.

Would I then connect the TV's USB/serial port, via the Cat6, to the Core to MD for that room ?  I assume the MD ?

Also, if I added Sky into the mix, how do I get that out to the TV ?  I would assume this must be via a multizone amp with HDMI capability, and that the TV must have more that one HDMI in (meaning one more cable)....right ?

Thanks,
Fog.