After playing with LinuxMCE for a while (and Pluto before that) I think I might be ready to take the plunge. I'm hoping to start construction on a new house in a few months and I'd like some opionions on what I should include. Currently I'm mostly using Misterhouse and Mythtv with a few custom scripts to pull some stuff in from Asterisk. I use X10 for lighting control and a 3Com Audrey as a touchscreen interface. If I decide to go the LinuxMCE route what should I be shopping for and what is the best way to set it up? My goals are:
1. Distributed PVR system -> Mythtv! We've used it for 2 years and we love it. Any good suggestions for lightweight frontends? At the moment we have a 3 full pc's for frontends.
2. Automated Lighting/Appliances -> Insteon?, ZWave? X10?
3. Phone system -> What makes sense here? IP phones acting as orbiters? Traditional Analog?
4. Distributed Audio -> I've no Idea here but my wife says we should do something. Controlled from Orbiters? Seperate from Media Centers?
5. HVAC -> Probably AprilAire Thermostats.
6. Security -> DSC System with serial interface?
7. Orbiters -> I'd like a few dedicated locations with orbiters mounted to the wall. Anybody seen reasonably priced hardware for this?
8. Locks -> I'd love some automated door locks with proximity sensors that work like the new cars do. Get close to the door and it opens. Perhaps bluetooth could be used like this.
Thanks for any advice, thoughts, rants or whatever. I'd just like to see what people are thinking. I have some budget to do this during construction so I'd like to get at least most of it done right.
1. Why does it matter? just set up as media directors.
2. All three of those options are good. Insteon support is forthcoming.. PeteK will announce when we are able to successfully get it folded into sqlCVS and ready to go.
3. You have a lot of options here. I currently use a Cisco 7970 as my main phone, it works well..has full support for the orbiter panel..overall very nice. Look at the choices for Phone periphreals inside the Web Admin, those phones work well.. Other SIP phones also work well, if you add them as a generic SIP phone.
4. Slimboxes work excellent here. Just plug in, go.. use any of the orbiter choices to control them.
5. Those will work well.. Honestly, you can also just use temperature sensors and relays, and forego the whole thermostat control as well.
6. Again, you don't really NEED the security panel....they make sense if you WANT the dedicated panel and control..and the DSC works really well.. But again, you can string a series of motion, and binary sensors (door, window, etc.), and pair them with IP cameras to provide both security and surveillance completely controlled from the system.
7. well.. I would recommend probably a Nokia N800 as a house controller.. or any of the Windows CE/Mobile PDAs..the orbiter software on the latter work really well... If you have access to any web-accessible appliance, you can also use the Web Orbiters effectively. The Nokia 770, while very inxpensive, tends to be unstable due to wifi issues.
8. I am still researching this.. will let you all know as to what I come up with....
the overall descisions you make, really come down to:
* Do you want the climate, and security systems to be autonomous in and of themselves? if so, get dedicated systems and connect them to LinuxMCE... If not, get simple sensors, and relays a la GC100... the latter is cheaper and much more unified...but the system will cease to work when the system is down. It is worth noting that the most stable parts of the system ARE the lighting, climate, and security parts... It's the TV and Media parts that need work.
I am currently investigating stringing a series of 1-wire sensors across the house to get temperature data that I can use to trigger climate events to a GC100 connected HVAC... if it works well, it will be very cost effective for a new installation.