Author Topic: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?  (Read 2166 times)

trumpetx

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Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« on: August 27, 2008, 11:15:05 pm »
Motherboard / HD Capture:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=9313926&WishListTitle=LinuxMCE

I have the processor, Harddrives and RAM from my wife's old computer.

TV:
In addition to those, I'm also purchasing a HDTV soon (Xmas & Bday gift from in-laws).  I have a $1200 budget (shipping and/or tax included) for the TV.

I like the idea of LinuxMCE controlling the TV and integrating my components.  So, what TV should I be getting to allow this (some sort of serial connection?)

DVD "upscaling" Player
-About a 100-150$ budget... I can put this one off obviously because my current DVD player works.
What am I after here?  I also want this to communicate to LinuxMCE.

Lightswitches & Home control stuff
-Zwave? What's the easiest/cheapest way to do it?

Remote or Orbiter
I'd LIKE to have my iTouch act as an orbiter.  I can't find anywhere in the wiki that shows how to set up the web orbiter.  I'm assuming this is just a webpage that I haven't found the link to yet.

The Tilt remote is my second option.  Fiire Chief seems awfully expensive.  Second choice is the Gyration remote just because I can get it off of ebay for about $65.  I understand this does not have full support, but it's mostly supported, right?

Nigle

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2008, 02:08:03 am »
Motherboard / HD Capture:
http://secure.newegg.com/WishList/PublicWishDetail.aspx?WishListNumber=9313926&WishListTitle=LinuxMCE

I have the processor, Harddrives and RAM from my wife's old computer.

The Gyration GYR3101US Universal Infrared / RF Remote Control will require some set up to get it to function.  This will not function like fiire remote which it plug and play.

The motherboard and tuner should function perfectly

DVD "upscaling" Player
-About a 100-150$ budget... I can put this one off obviously because my current DVD player works.
What am I after here?  I also want this to communicate to LinuxMCE.

I would just use LinuxMCE as your DVD player, it upscales well and it will be more tightly integrated.

Remote or Orbiter
I'd LIKE to have my iTouch act as an orbiter.  I can't find anywhere in the wiki that shows how to set up the web orbiter.  I'm assuming this is just a webpage that I haven't found the link to yet.

Currently there has been no development to get the ipod touch or iphone to work as an orbiter.

tschak909

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2008, 05:14:41 am »
The page on the Web Orbiter can be found in the wiki. Just search for "Web Orbiter"

As for the remote, the Gyration is not completely supported. The Gyration Go Mouse is fully supported, however....

I use a Nokia N810 as my primary orbiter, with my Cisco 7970's screen as a secondary unit. I also have a Fiire Chief.

-Thom

trumpetx

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2008, 03:52:32 pm »
Is there any reason to shy away from HDHomerun?  I haven't seen many posts saying how wonderful it is whereas on other media center sites I see that.  It seems the most economical way to do a dual tuner setup that I can see -- I just don't want to throw good money away on something that won't work wonderfully.

Also, Zwave?  I don't know anything about it really - I've been reading different sites and it seems that I can replace my wall outlets and light switches for about $35 a pop.  Any suggestions here?

tschak909

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2008, 04:01:04 pm »
I use the HDHomeRun. It is supported by our software out of the box. Just plug it in, and it will immediately start scanning for channels, and do the necessary work to add it to MythTV.

and you are correct about ZWave. Typically for plug-in lamps, plug-in modules are used, and for light fixtures, you can either use light switch replacements, OR use a screw in light socket module which can be used for example with outdoor fixtures, etc.

ZWave also has support for climate control modules, as well as motion sensors.

-Thom

totallymaxed

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 04:46:17 pm »
Also, Zwave?  I don't know anything about it really - I've been reading different sites and it seems that I can replace my wall outlets and light switches for about $35 a pop.  Any suggestions here?

You can find out some info about ZWave here http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Z-Wave

You have a wide range of devices made by companies like ACT, Merten, Seluxit. The communication between devices and LinuxMCE is wireless and the devices can do many different things - fade lights up/down, PIR motion detection, Smoke/gas detection, Thermostats, door/window open & close sensors etc etc

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jondecker76

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2008, 05:39:44 pm »
regarding the home automation - X10 is the cheapest way to go (CM11A interfaces are easy to find on ebay for about $15, light switches and outlets are about $6 each, plugin modules and screw-in lamp modules are about as cheap) Its cheaper by at least a factor of 7, maybe more.

There are come caveats though:
- It is older technology, so it reacts slower (about a 1 second delay)
- It is reportedly less reliable (though in my extensive X10 setup, I would say I have at least 98% reliability). The big thing here is to spend a whopping $19 on a phase coupler/repeater. This eliminates almost all reliability problems
- Less devices supported (max of 256 devices controllable). Though, thats plenty in most cases
- The CM11A interface module does have some harware design flaws. Because of this, I do have to reset the interface from time to time (about every month or so). This just means unplugging it for 15 seonds then plugging it back in. But, this is in a house with over 100 X10 devices that are used all the time.
- Devices can't be polled for their state
- On/Off devices have an audible click sound. Some people hate it, others don't

The good parts:
-Ultra-cheap
-Reliable if installed right
-Enormous selection of switches, outlets, modules, sensors etc
-Protocol is completely documented
-Security sensors and modules available
-has some limited climate control items
-Dimming modules are silent
-Has On/Off switches available that work with Compact Fluorescent lights and ceiling fans
-Have special inductive dimmers for motor control

I can't argue that ZWave and Insteon aren't better - they are better. They are faster to respond, and have some newer features (such as device polling). But when you compare a $6 switch that works fine, to a $50 switch thats just a bit fancier - in my mind X10 is a better deal. Sure, they aren't as nice, but in the end you get the same experience for a lot less money. Hell, if I had money to piss away, I would have bought a pluto system from an authorized dealer instead of building a LMCE system myself.

If I were you, let your budget dictate which way to go. In the end, they are all viable options that have the same end result.

tschak909

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2008, 05:44:39 pm »
And also remember, that given the nature of the design of the system, all the interfaces can be mixed and matched.

-Thom

jondecker76

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2008, 05:55:37 pm »
Good point Thom - of course that is where the real power lies.. Having the interface being transparent to the user. You press a button, and it just works regardless of what you choose, even in a mixed system.

trumpetx

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2008, 07:38:47 pm »
That's good info on the X10.  I'm definitely on the "wife budget."  Last year I set up a MythTV setup with her old computer (which crashes too much IMO -- need a new Mobo) and she's about 1/2 converted to the cause.  If I can keep the costs low, $30 here, $30 there. I can sneak stuff into the setup and she'll be none the wiser.

My other question from the first post about the TV - anyone have ideas there?  What should I be looking for? Or is every HDMI TV good to go.

Ohh, noob question.  Because I'm getting receivers for the HD signal, I can get a "HD ready" TV, right?  There's no need for my TV to have a receiver built in - or is there?

trumpetx

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2008, 07:53:56 pm »
Goodness, I definately need some help with X10:

http://www.x10.com/promotions/rca_expansion_home_2.html

Talk about used car ad-style... wowzers.

What I need is something to control 2-3 light switches and 2 plugs and whatever I need to make it work with linux MCE.

skeptic

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2008, 08:46:52 pm »
No suggestions on which TV to buy, but I can give you a few things to look for.  If you can, get one that can be controlled via serial/usb.  If not, at least try to get one with discrete power/input controls.  If I could control my TVs via serial connection instead of going through the learn process for each and every remote control button push (which still isn't working right for volume up/down/mute), I'd have saved a ton of time.

As someone else mentioned, stick with LinuxMCE for your DVD player.  Or, do what I do and rip all your DVDs on another computer, transcode them if you want to save space, then copy that file over.  Ripping on another computer loses automatic coversheet and movie information stuff (you can still look it up via web admin page), but if you transcode you can save a ton of space and get rid of the menus and other crap so you just have the movie.  It also lets you get around some of the more difficult DVDs that LinuxMCE just can't play.  If you really want a separate DVD player, get a Blu-Ray.  At this point an external player is the only way I know of to play every Blu-Ray disc without first ripping the movie on a Windoze box.

Unfortunately I don't have any home automation stuff yet, but I've tried to do my homework.  What surprises me most about threads like this is that nobody ever mentions Insteon is backwards compatible with X10.  What I plan to do is buy an Insteon controller, then buy a mix of x10 and Insteon devices.  High priority devices get Insteon, but still be able to buy things like light switches for non-main rooms for under $10 each. 

I'm holding off on any new TV tuners for now, I have no idea what's going to happen with my cable provider after Feb.  HD Homerun looks pretty good, and is my first choice, but who knows what channels it will be able to get 6 months from now.  Capturing s-video/composite, and hopefully HD component using HD-PVR in the near future, from your providers set-top-box is the only way I know to be able to record all non-basic cable TV channels.

I'm satisfied with my el-cheapo Streamzap remote.  Not plug and play, and a bit of a hassle to setup, but it seems to have all the buttons I'd need and works reliably.  I'm considering buying a Gyration Go Mouse because there is some LinuxMCE functionality that appears to only be available via moving the pointer around.

trumpetx

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2008, 09:16:23 pm »
Actually, I just got done learning about Insteon.  I like your concept of using X10 for low-priority devices and Insteon to control.  It definitely seem like a good bet for the future.  And with a price point == to Zwave, Insteon is my favorite so far (tho, I think my budget will get me on X10 to start).

I too am worried about a HD capture device not working as I want it to in the future.  Hence, my post here.

Thanks everyone for your comments, keep the advice flowing!!!

tschak909

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2008, 10:09:28 pm »
I have to say this...

even with X-10's lower cost, I still would recommend Insteon or Z-Wave. Yes, the modules cost a bit more, but they are infinitely more reliable... and even with X-10 on the endpoints of an Insteon network, you will lose bi-directional communication, so if you flip a switch at the wall, the computer has no way of knowing if things changed...

please take this into serious consideration.

-Thom

skeptic

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Re: Purchasing components, are these "linux MCE friendly"?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2008, 01:00:03 am »
I have to say this...

even with X-10's lower cost, I still would recommend Insteon or Z-Wave. Yes, the modules cost a bit more, but they are infinitely more reliable...
This is why I want to go with an Insteon setup, but use X10 for low priority things.  For example, I probably wouldn't pay $50 or whatever the cost is to put a Z-wave or Insteon switch on a bathroom light, but if I can throw basic control on it for $5 then it becomes worth it.
Quote
and even with X-10 on the endpoints of an Insteon network, you will lose bi-directional communication, so if you flip a switch at the wall, the computer has no way of knowing if things changed...

please take this into serious consideration.

-Thom

Hmmm....  Does LMCE send out distinct on/off commands or does it tell the light to switch?  If a light is off and LMCE sends it the off command and nothing happens (go to bed scenario or something) that's fine, but if I tell LMCE it's time for bed and it actually turns lights that someone turned off at the switch on that's an issue I never considered.