Author Topic: Planning ahead...  (Read 10741 times)

junior1

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Planning ahead...
« on: January 02, 2008, 02:03:31 am »
Hey all,
I am currently having a home built and the Home theater guys are suppose to do the wiring instillation here in the next few weeks.  I am trying to plan ahead and have an idea about what I want to do, but am not really sure how to get there... 

What specifically should I have done to this home, (ie pre-wire)  so that I can take advantage of everything LMCE has to offer?  Initially,   I may not be able to have everything I want up and running on day one (too much money all at once), but Id like to plan ahead properly and atleast have the most advanced wiring done now, while the walls are still uncovered, and put all the components in later. 

I am planning on building myself or having someone else more knowledgeable build me a HTPC that will serve my needs of today and tomorrow.  I saw both videos describing the features of LMCE and honestly, I like it all.  I know I want to have security cameras set up outside as well as some type of self monitored security system on particular doors and windows.  Lighting inside/outside would be nice, but probably last on my list of wants.  Most of all, Id like to get all the wiring done today and be able to have some type of "central server" running LMCE and be able to manage everything, from anywhere in my home.  Id also like to have a "central nas" where all my media is stored for easy access.  Heck, Im not sure if it matters, but the "HDD" could be inside the HTPC as part of the HHD or established in a seperate location in the home. 

Another question is this.  I already have a few of my components (Vizio 50 Plasma, Onkyo 7.1 dual channel HDMI receiver, 5.1 Polk audio speakers)  others I'm guessing I will have to buy later.  From what I understand about LMCE, It really only works well, if you have the exact items that its compatible with, so in planning ahead, is there a list of specific items that I should start looking at, or can I get what I want and then just look to see if there is a patch for what ever component that I bought?  How limited are we when using LMCE? 

Also, I am starting to look at putting together a kick butt HTPC.  If you were going to build your dream HTPC, what would you put in it?  I dont want to spend my money uselessly in areas that dont really require big expenditures.  (ie getting 4G of ram when I really only need 2G, something like that)

I really appreciate any advice and replys that I get, 

Junior
jhill1023@gmail.com

PS  I live in Louisville KY (USA) and was curious what the best medium for LMCE is, DirecTV or Cable?  Im thinking Cable.  I love my DTV but hate the bill for all the DTV boxes (2 Tivo's, 1 HD DVR and 2 regular boxes)  Is it possible for LMCE to distribute a TV signal to every TV in my home using just one DirecTV HD DVR receiver and watch seperate TV channels at the same time in different places in the home?  Would I need to have an extender in ever room that had a TV do this or will the RG6 line work to get the signal out?  I would want to have access to LMCE's DVR tech in each room, but I think I would need the extenders to give me this function.  I can see Cable being able to do this because the basic cable signal is distributed throughout the entire home and to every room, but DirecTV requires a receiver box in every room that you want TV.  Its great TV, but expensive and a pain in the arse...  Any ideas? 

Thanks

1audio

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2008, 05:05:18 am »
1) Run cat 5 or cat 6 everywhere you may want to put anything. Since you can even repurpose Cat 5 (need 2 pair) for HDMI is will do almost anything. What it won't do you need RG6 for, which is connection to cable, sat and broadcast video.

2) The Sat guys and the cable guys have built a moat around their content and you really are only able to get it directly from their box. You can capture SD and move that through the system but HD is a problem. However if you are OK with broadcast HD use a SiliconDust tuner and say goodby to cable charges forever. The HD off of broadcast is significantly better than any other except Bluray or HDDVD and with the writers strike why keep throwing significant $$$ at the cable/sat guys. $1200 to $3600 a year is a lot for content.

3_) Once captured the content is available to any box in the system.


tschak909

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2008, 06:23:11 am »
In a full system, I would highly recommend doing a separate core and media directors setup.

The core can be a moderately spec'ed PC, as long as it has two ethernet NICs (one for external internet, and one for internal LAN), and has a sufficient way to add additional storage. I would recommend getting a multi-port SATA card, or a motherboard with on-board RAID (even though you won't use the bios provided raid, you will want the extra ports), and convert them to eSATA, so that you can attach eSATA RAID cages and attach more storage as you need it and set it up via the web admin.

The Media director, I would recommend using an MSI Media Live (7329) barebone. It has ALL of the video outputs you would ever need, a slot loading DVD drive, and an VFD with transport controls below the display. It has an NVIDIA chipset on the motherboard, and can take various forms of the current line of AMD multi-core processors. I recommend at least 1G of ram in each of the media directors for this purpose.

-Thom

posde

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2008, 08:02:12 am »
As noted previously, run CAT5/6 everywhere. Everywhere is, each place where you need a light, each place where you have any kind of electrical outlet, each window and door. Run 2-4 CAT5 cables to every place where you think you already know you need 1. If feasible run an HDMI cable from your central wiring closet to the your intended TV place.

Did I mention to make sure to run enough cables :)

Yes, cables do cost money, but in the end of the day, putting the cables in now, will save you a lot and will later on greatly enhance the SWMBO / WAF factor.

rgds
Oliver

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2008, 11:08:46 am »
As mentioned, enough Cat6 cables, or Cat5E (the E is important).
Make sure they put in enough conduits so that you can pull additional cables later.
Also if you plan a home theater make sure they pull conduits for a 7.1 surround, even though you do not have it now, crawling inside walls is not very easy (unless your an inch tall).
Also have all the cables for phone and ethernet terminate at one spot/cabinet, a few years ago they would just pull one cable and hook all the phones up in parallel, this will not work particularly well for a good computer network. (I am struggling with such an installation, and pulling the four cables necessary to get the same coverage trough the existing conduit is not possible).

ddamron

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2008, 12:34:19 pm »
Since you have no walls up yet, I would recommend running some good quality conduit.. then you can alway fish cable through later..
I like 2" PVC pipe, like the vacuflo pipe or drain pipes..You could use real conduit, but that's a bit expensive.. run that to all your possible speaker locations, to your TV, to your wiring closet, etc.
find a common location to terminate all PVC runs (preferrably in the wiring closet) and LABEL THEM!!
All your electrical plugs / light switches, run standard 1" conduit and terminate at the same place.

It's a lot of work, but well worth the effort..especially when you replace your TV, and need the new $&@^$ connection.. big 2" pipe, you can easily run a new line.

Just my 2 cents..

Dan
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junior1

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2008, 05:47:14 pm »
Taking lots of notes...  Keep em coming if you get any more ideas. 

I appreciate everyones comments and suggestions. 

Thom,
I got your response about the "Tearing" on the "Walmart Computer" thread, I was getting nervous reading the "Pros" comments and I appreciate your advise on that as well. 

Junior... 

Domodude

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2008, 09:26:52 pm »
Hi all,

Going by many of the previous posts, I guess it's a good thing to install more wires than you think you'll ever need. This works great in a new house or during major renovations, but what's the best way to wire an older house? For example, I live in a 100+ years old house where the previous owners pulled a gazillion phone wires to everywhere, but of course no CAT5/6.
Is it feasible to have only 1 wire to each room, and then use ethernet switches (possible daisy chained)?

Cheers,

Mark

rrambo

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2008, 09:56:01 pm »
Hi all,

Going by many of the previous posts, I guess it's a good thing to install more wires than you think you'll ever need. This works great in a new house or during major renovations, but what's the best way to wire an older house? For example, I live in a 100+ years old house where the previous owners pulled a gazillion phone wires to everywhere, but of course no CAT5/6.
Is it feasible to have only 1 wire to each room, and then use ethernet switches (possible daisy chained)?

Cheers,

Mark


I live in an older house as well....  luckily there is a crawl space, but I haven't gotten around to running cat6 everywhere..  so in the meantime I'm using powerline network adaptors...  you never hear too much about it, but I tried it and I've gotta say it works really well...  basically, you have one small box that you plug into your switch and then plug into an AC outlet..  then, anywhere you have an AC outlet, you can plug in additional powerline devices and you've got an ethernet port...  if I remember correctly, mine supports up to 16 devices...  the rated speed is 85Mbps....  (not quite 100Mbps but much better than wireless).  I bought the SlingBox brand, the actual model is the Slinglink turbo...  bought them from BestBuy for around 75.00/pair...

marrandy

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2008, 05:04:25 am »
bestbuy.com

Sling Media - SlingLink Turbo PowerLine A/V Ethernet Adapter Kit
Model: SL150-100 | SKU: 8385847 Our Price: $79.99

From our expanded online assortment; not available in all Best Buy stores

But they will deliver to your local store, for free so you can pickup

kg6ejp

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2008, 05:38:04 pm »
Hi all,

Going by many of the previous posts, I guess it's a good thing to install more wires than you think you'll ever need. This works great in a new house or during major renovations, but what's the best way to wire an older house? For example, I live in a 100+ years old house where the previous owners pulled a gazillion phone wires to everywhere, but of course no CAT5/6.
Is it feasible to have only 1 wire to each room, and then use ethernet switches (possible daisy chained)?

Cheers,

Mark


I just ran twelve (12) CAT6 cables from my garage to the attic for my home network.  It was a pain in the @$$ but the cables are there.  I am currently only going to use eight (8) but only wanted to be in that crawl space for as little of time as needed.  I will add a switch in the garage and let it manage all the network issues. 
Work in progress

Matthew

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2008, 07:55:06 pm »
Make sure they put in enough conduits so that you can pull additional cables later.
(...)
Also have all the cables for phone and ethernet terminate at one spot/cabinet

Running conduit throughout your home into a central junction is by far the best way to "future proof" your home. Whatever cabling you need to upgrade to later can be just blown down the tubes (and the old stuff just pulled back through) comparatively quickly and cheaply. Conduits for AV outputs like speakers/monitors are important to remember. And when in doubt, add the extra conduits, because the incremental cost of an unused conduit is small compared to either the overhead of having the job done at all, or to the cost of adding more later.

ddamron

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2008, 05:54:24 am »
Pull Strings in the conduit also help :)

When you pull a cable through, don't forget to also pull another pull string...

Dan
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blackoper

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2008, 09:01:33 am »
Hey there fellow Louisville, KY native. What part of the county is your home being built in? I live over off of Taylorsville and Bardstown rd near bowman field airport
I'm pretty familiar with most of the current home automation tech and wouldn't mind giving you some input. PM me and we'll work out some kind of communication. It's always easier to have someone see the home/plans and then give you ideas

In case you are wondering,
I should be getting the majority of the automation stuff in my home working in the next few months. Insteon lighting, touch screen controls, 1-wire temperature sensors in each room, HVAC, security and a few ip cameras. I'm already a longtime mythtv user. I keep a profile here: http://mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/User:Blackoper The biggest hassle with home automation for me is wiring everything up in a pre-existing house (and plaster walls to make it even harder). It's definitely a good idea to prewire your house up if you know this is something you want to do.

As to the cable/satellite question. If you want multiple tv's with linuxmce or really any computer pvr, cable is the way to go for now. Unlimited tuners can be added with cable whereas with satellite you are limited to your number of available tuner boxes. With insight cable, however, there is the hidden cost of the freaking hd box if you want to record your non-free content. Last time I checked they are charging $17 a month for these puppies. I plan on giving insight a call in the next week or two to see about getting on some kind of promotion for some of the tv content I have. I currently only use the motorolla 6200 box for getting channels above 100.

HTPC - depending on how many clients you have, a quad core system could be for you. I've been thinking about the low power version of the Q6600 from intel, but for right now the e2140 dual core is working fine for me. 2GB of some cheap hp ram I got on a deal for $7 per gig after rebate. I also have massive amounts of storage for high def video mostly. Current storage space is around the 5.5TB range on my fedora 8 server. For me, the majority of my htpc money went to buying hard drives.
I'd definitely recommend using a hdhomerun for your OTA or qam HD capture device to bypass the hassle of keeping firmware up-to-date and also to free up pci slots in the server.

cost of a good htpc:
Good mobo - $70 to 100
ram - dirt cheap for 2 gb lets say $20 after rebate
Intel processor or amd - Dual core - Intel 2180 (very low power and highly overclockable to 3.5ghz), AMD low power dual core 2350 or something like it - around $85 to 100 - Quad core - Intel Q6600 gstepping for low power or amd phenom. Both around $200 to $250 - I'm not sure a quad core will really make a big difference as opposed to overclocking a cheap intel e2180.
power supply - good active switching power supply $50 to 100 - greater than 500watts
Case - LARGE server case for throwing in a lot of storage $100 to 150
Capture cards - hdhomerun - $160, analog - hauppauge pvr-150s - $30 to 60 each depending on used or new
Remote - Fiire $150
Hard drives - 750GB sata drives $140 to 150, 1tb drives - $200+ - for the myth recording I'm having good results with 2x 750GB drives in raid 0. For Everything else I prefer raid 5 arrays of whatever. Currently have 300gbx5 and 500GBx5 raid arrays. Overall storage for backend/server ~5tb
« Last Edit: January 06, 2008, 09:20:13 am by blackoper »

ddamron

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Re: Planning ahead...
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2008, 10:06:36 am »
Blackoper,

I disagree with the Cable/Satellite theory..
I am running 2 dual LNB dishes into a 9x8 diseqc multiswitch..
The tuner cards (dvb-s) are cheap, and if your considering the cost of the multiswitch, it pays for itself in the first year easily.
I can have up to 8 outputs (4 satellites on each output) with this configuration, although I currently only have 4.

Also, a 4x3 diseqc multiswitch will do the job for 2 satellites, and 3 outputs.. and it's only about $25.00

HD is possible with DVB-S (legalities are a different question)

Dan
The only intuitive interface is the nipple.  After that it's all learned.
My other computer is your windows box.
I'm out of my mind.  Back in 5 minutes.
Q:  What's Red and smells like blue paint?

A:  Red Paint.