Author Topic: Help me spec my hardware for a new advanced system  (Read 2332 times)


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Help me spec my hardware for a new advanced system
« on: March 18, 2009, 11:21:12 pm »
If this is in the wrong area, I appologise, this seemed the most logical place to ask this.

I just bought a house, and linuxmce looks like the ticket.

Here is my wish list

hole house stereo
a linux PVR that I can play my content anywhere in the house.
slingbox type capability
X10 or similar light control
external video camera security monitoring (ip ptz camera or something like that)
I have a 3TB ReadyNas I could use if needed to store content

So in my current house I installed the in ceiling Sonance speakers everywhere and it is incredible.

So linuxmce looks to fit the ticket and do everything I could ask for.   I am also a developer, so if something is missing atleast i could add it and contribute to the community, so that is perfect.   

So here is the question part of things, the hardware.
While I know people don't want to tout one over another, I don't want to spend hundreds to buy and try hardware and find out I should of bought something else.

I can build the pc, so am not real worried about that.  And I am a linux nut, so that doesn't worry me either.

1.  My first concern is the video card, i want to record HDTV (atleast the clear channel QAM locals) and record standard def for anything else.   I am thinking the card would have to be able to record over the air and digital, either a combo, or seperate cards would be ok I guess.  I am thinking USB could be even nicer, depending on functionallity that would not be a deal breaker.
  I have heard all kinds of nightmares with compatibility etc.  What card do the local experts love ?

2.  Storage, I want to use one system to stream to the entire house, so one linuxmce should cover that.

3.  Interface, the capability to remotely control the system from anywhere in the house, in my current dish system that is a uhf remote

4.  hardware for each tv, i was thinking something like popcorn hour on each tv would be needed ?  and that would also allow each room to stream independant music content ?

5.  an x10 interface or whatever so that i can control lighting

6.  lasty ip cameras or whatever to tie in video security.

7.  Any cool can't live without toys that you love I would probably love also.

Thanks so much to anyone who can help.
I just want to make a model system that would make linuxmce proud !!!

« Last Edit: March 18, 2009, 11:25:14 pm by seaton »


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Re: Help me spec my hardware for a new advanced system
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2009, 12:38:24 am »
Welcome! Firstly, I'll assume you are in the US. Term: core/hybrid - is the central "master" LMCE server that is dual-homed and sits between your Internet connection and the rest of your home network. A "core" specifically is the master server only. A "hybrid" is a core plus a Media Director (MD) on the same unit. You only need one or the other, of course, and most people choose hybrid. Media Director - this is the component that actually plays media in a particular Entertainment Area. You would normally place one of these in each location that you want to be able to control/play media independently. One is included when you install in hybrid mode. The other Media Directors can be very small units and run diskless by PXE booting off the core/hybrid server. Take a look at the ASUS Eee Box B202 for instance.

1. I would strongly recommend the HDHomeRun network tuner. It is pnp out of the box for LMCE, you can place it anywhere on your network and LMCE will find and install it, then you can share out either of its 2 HD tuners to any Media Director on the network.

2. I would suggest keeping your media separate from your LMCE server or MDs, either on a general purpose PC with big drives, or a dedicated NAS. Its more convenient this way for several reasons.

3. There are dozens of remote options, so I won't detail them all here. The Fiire remotes are very good if you can get one and some dongles (they have gone out of business, so you will need to look second hand), and the stand out performer is the WebDT 366 wireless web pad that tkmedia sells. Great units!

4. Depends what you want to achieve... a true LMCE system means an MD in each location, as described above, and that means a simple PC to certain hardware specs. This way all the MDs will be able to interact with each other, control each other, present a common house-wide media/control interface, bounce media back and forth between them in real time, split/duplicate media streams, etc.

5. X10 is pretty old and clunky. It works with LMCE, but given that the technology is over 30 yrs old, not surprisingly it is slow, unreliable, and not very feature rich. It is however, cheap! For the US a better alternative would be Insteon or ZWave, both of which have pretty comprehensive drivers in LMCE, are fast, reliable, bidirectional and have far more features.

6. I believe that most IP Cameras will work because LMCE just hooks into whatever URL they provide their images on (stills). The Motion add on provides the security detection....

For details on network setup (which is critical)
Also read the wiki FAQ


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Re: Help me spec my hardware for a new advanced system
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 11:59:45 pm »
Thanks so much for such a detailed explaination.  That is exactly what I needed to get me jumpstarted.   I would of just bought X10, i will go look at the other options, and check out the HDHomeRun etc.

Thanks so much