I'm building a new house and have the ability to choose loads of options including all the media related options. I could go crazy on this one and get a fully automated house if I wanted - control the door locks, climate control, etc. remotely. I'm not going that far.
But, I do want to have some media options and LinuxMCE looks like the best place to start, but I need a bit of guidance on equipment, setup and expectations.
Here's what I would like to achieve and what will be set up in the house:
There will be a data center in the basement where internet, cable, etc. will come in and where I will set up the primary controls, a data server, etc. The house will be Cat5e wired so I'll have Cat5e in the living room, the basement (entertainment/workout area), master bedroom, and upstairs loft. I'm also opting to have speakers installed in the ceiling of the dining room/kitchen/living room (open floor plan) as well as the loft. We currently have a Samsung SmartTV (I forget the model number - a couple year old) that has wifi connectivity as well as a Cat5 jack, and has Roku device embedded in it. We can easily get NetFlix, Amazon, etc. through wifi on this set.
Under ideal circumstances, I would like to accomplish these scenarios:
I would like to be able to select the audio being played in the kitchen/dining room and the loft independently. Ideally this would be selectable from an iPad or an Android phone (I suppose these would be "orbiters") - I could choose the source of the music - files on the server, Pandora, etc. - and the destination kitchen/dining or loft.
It would be great to be able to stream video to the SmartTV from the data server. For movies, etc. it is easy enough to go through the embedded Roku device, but the sound will obviously not be piped into the ceiling mounted speakers. Any way to accomplish that?? Not a priority.
There will also likely be a TV in the basement that can be connected to the network with a Cat5 or through wifi, and I'd like to be able to pick what I watch there from the data server. I do a lot of biking and in the winter I would like to watch my collection of Ironman Triathlon videos which I have ripped to .iso media. I could also rip my biking training videos (Sufferfest), my wife's PX90 videos, etc. These would be selectable from an Android phone or iPad and streamed to choice of TV. Again, pick the source and the destination.
And that covers the main things. The questions I have are:
Do I need a computer at each TV to serve as a Media Director? This would connect to the network through the Cat5 and provide a video out (HDMI most likely) to connect to the TV, correct? Or, can I stream directly to the TV if it has a Cat5 connection?
How about the audio? How do I set up the server room such that I can pick different locations to receive the audio output? Also, how about selecting a source?
And, of course, what other considerations I need to take into account now? I have the full list of options available to me, so I can set it up any way I like.