Author Topic: Starting new project, need advice  (Read 1957 times)

peterm

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Starting new project, need advice
« on: June 23, 2009, 11:38:06 pm »
Hi guys,

This is my first post over here. I did some reading before, but I would like to check somethings with you before starting my project. I have no experience with LinuxMCE, however I am a long term MythTV user (for over 6 years I think, "the very unstable years" ;-). Did some little dev work on that before, so I know (allbeit a little) some things...

At the moment I am thinking about setting up a LinuxMCE project. I am building a new house and want it somewhat automated and centralized and would like your advice.

The plan:
- We are using EIN/KNX modules for home automation / domotica. As I read LinuxMCE can control KNX modules and be a GUI for that stuff?
- I don't care to much about controlling my home from my tv screen, I'd rather use a touch screen on the wall and a handheld touch screen (I would like the iPhone, but that's for the future I read?). That would be possible with LinuxMCE, I think? However would it be ideal?
- We have a rather fancy living room with lots of glass walls. I would like to hang my TV on the wall and place my MD in another room, so there is nothing on the floor. Would that be possible?
- I would like multiroom audio. At the moment I am using iTunes on a Mac with the iPhone Remote and a airport and an AplleTV. Can all this be integrated? Or would it be better to use a multizone amplifier, and would it be possible to control this from a LinuxMCE Orbiter?
-The main idea about my setup would be a rather minimalistic design. I mean no MD or squeezeboxes throughout the house, but everything nicely stowed away (in a centralised room?).
- Anyone had a setup like this and would like to share experiences?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Peter


ivanp

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2009, 11:53:44 pm »
- I don't care to much about controlling my home from my tv screen, I'd rather use a touch screen on the wall and a handheld touch screen (I would like the iPhone, but that's for the future I read?). That would be possible with LinuxMCE, I think? However would it be ideal?

Have a look at Webdt 366, http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1080865851585336899. When You get it in your hands You cant believe how good that thing is. You can mount it on the wall, carry it in hand(s), leave it on the table. Another good Orbiter is Nokia N810, but WebDT366 is ideal Orbiter.

- We have a rather fancy living room with lots of glass walls. I would like to hang my TV on the wall and place my MD in another room, so there is nothing on the floor. Would that be possible?

Yes, You could have all of the Media Directors stored in "closet room", run CAT 6 cables to Your rooms, have RJ45->HDMI converters on both ends, that way You could have anything You want on Your TV, control it on TV with gyration mouse, or traditional keyboard and mouse, or jsut use mobite Orbiters, like WebDT366, Nokia N810, or any Web Oribter (any mobile phone/computer/PDA/etc capable of surfing the web). See Totallymaxed posts here on forum, he has a company which sells and installs LinuxMCE, he has expirience with centralies MDs and how to connect them.

- I would like multiroom audio. At the moment I am using iTunes on a Mac with the iPhone Remote and a airport and an AplleTV. Can all this be integrated? Or would it be better to use a multizone amplifier, and would it be possible to control this from a LinuxMCE Orbiter?
-The main idea about my setup would be a rather minimalistic design. I mean no MD or squeezeboxes throughout the house, but everything nicely stowed away (in a centralised room?).
- Anyone had a setup like this and would like to share experiences?

There is a discusion here in Developer forums about true multi-room audio. Short anwser would be yes, with some cavetats. Regarding centralised room, have a look at the wiki for more details.

Thanks in advance for your help!

NO problem mate. Welcome to the forum and good luck. People are here to help, just make sure You ask the right questinons and provide details on Your configuraton, so more ppl can help You. For a start, take a look at these wiki articles to see how LinuxMCE works and to get to know LinuxMCE architecture:
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Core
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Media_Director
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Orbiters
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Network_Settings
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Why_dual_network_cards%3F
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User_Manual#Hardware
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/Wiring_Considerations
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 11:55:18 pm by ivanp »

peterm

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2009, 12:20:02 am »
Thanks for the very quick reply!

Anyone has experience with EIB/KNX and LinuxMCE?

colinjones

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #3 on: June 24, 2009, 12:26:12 am »
Just to add a couple of points:

You might find the ZWave stuff better developed at this stage, and perhaps cheaper. Hari and others are always working on it, expanding/improving it.

There are a number of devices you can get that are very small footprint and Vesa mountable, so are ideal for MDs. If you get TVs that have a Vesa mount point/bracket this means you can mount the device as a small box at the back of the TV, invisibly.

The WebDT is highly recommended, plus other devices are coming onto the market which could potentially serve this purpose even better. These bring the Orbiter interface onto a portable/mounted device so you do not require the TV Onscreen Orbiter if you so wish. Either way, with HA integrated with LMCE, it can automate many functions for you in conjunction with its other functions, like turning lights out when the house goes to Sleep or Secure modes, dimming lights and lowering blinds when you play media in a room, etc.

Multiroom audio is very achievable, the caveat that ivanp refers to is really just sync'ing the audio between zones. With standard MDs, it is difficult to get a perfect sync, so moving from one zone to another can be noticable if there is much overlap. If that is an issue for you, you can easily setup a multizone amp or multiple amps in a central location and connect several Squeezeboxes to them, then run the cabling to the rooms. The Squeezeboxes maintain a very good sync and LMCE can control them pretty well. Better yet, have the amps actually in the rooms to improve sound quality.

And yes, you can always use matrix devices to switch digital video/audio to different rooms, and control those maxtrix devices through LMCE, the pipe everything over CAT5/6. Personally, though, I think having small, invisible Vesa mount devices behind TVs is the better solution.

totallymaxed

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2009, 12:38:00 am »
Hi guys,

This is my first post over here. I did some reading before, but I would like to check somethings with you before starting my project. I have no experience with LinuxMCE, however I am a long term MythTV user (for over 6 years I think, "the very unstable years" ;-). Did some little dev work on that before, so I know (allbeit a little) some things...

At the moment I am thinking about setting up a LinuxMCE project. I am building a new house and want it somewhat automated and centralized and would like your advice.

The plan:
- We are using EIN/KNX modules for home automation / domotica. As I read LinuxMCE can control KNX modules and be a GUI for that stuff?
Well EIB/KNX is supported but its not there in LinuxMCE-0710 out of the box. We have done a number of installations using EIB/KNX and it works well...also you can mix n match ZWave/ENocean/EIB/KNX in a single system and utilise the best parts of each where appropriate.
Quote
- I don't care to much about controlling my home from my tv screen, I'd rather use a touch screen on the wall and a handheld touch screen (I would like the iPhone, but that's for the future I read?). That would be possible with LinuxMCE, I think? However would it be ideal?
The use of on screen UI's or Orbiters or the use of separate touchscreen Orbiters (hand held or in-wall) is really down to personal preference and cost...you can intermix the two approaches very easily.
Quote
- We have a rather fancy living room with lots of glass walls. I would like to hang my TV on the wall and place my MD in another room, so there is nothing on the floor. Would that be possible?
Yes the above approach is very possible. We often install system where all MD's are located centrally in a Rack and we then use CAT5 adapters to deliver HDMI video/control signals to the remote TV's.
Quote
- I would like multiroom audio. At the moment I am using iTunes on a Mac with the iPhone Remote and a airport and an AplleTV. Can all this be integrated? Or would it be better to use a multizone amplifier, and would it be possible to control this from a LinuxMCE Orbiter?
Yes the above could be integrated fairly easily. But you might find it more flexible to use a Multi-zone amplifier and Squeezeboxes all controlled by LinuxMCE (in this case you can also integrate with iTunes still)
Quote
-The main idea about my setup would be a rather minimalistic design. I mean no MD or squeezeboxes throughout the house, but everything nicely stowed away (in a centralised room?).
- Anyone had a setup like this and would like to share experiences?
Most of our customer installations follow the same overall approach as you describe above...very minimalist...with most of the hardware located centrally...just the displays and speaker systems located in the required zones or rooms.
Quote


Thanks in advance for your help!

Peter

Welcome to LinuxMCE and ask more questions if needed.

All the best

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

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wierdbeard65

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2009, 12:39:04 am »
Personally, though, I think having small, invisible Vesa mount devices behind TVs is the better solution.

I'm 100% with you on that one! Shame there isn't a greater range of cases available. Personally, I'd like one that itself has a set of VESA mounts. That way, the case could sit between that TV and the wall bracket  ;D
Paul
If you have the time to help, please see where I have got to at: http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Wierdbeard65

ivanp

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #6 on: June 24, 2009, 12:41:41 am »
And yes, you can always use matrix devices to switch digital video/audio to different rooms, and control those maxtrix devices through LinuxMCE, the pipe everything over CAT5/6. Personally, though, I think having small, invisible Vesa mount devices behind TVs is the better solution.
I share Your opinion colin, ITX chasis are coimg out like mushrooms, and they are VESA mountable. Putting one MD per TV, and one Squezebox per room in which You want audio is the best way to go, for me. PRices are dropping every day, and in the near future we could have MDs for around 200$ (Ion platforms, Atom platforms....)

totallymaxed

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2009, 12:47:31 am »
And yes, you can always use matrix devices to switch digital video/audio to different rooms, and control those maxtrix devices through LinuxMCE, the pipe everything over CAT5/6. Personally, though, I think having small, invisible Vesa mount devices behind TVs is the better solution.
I share Your opinion colin, ITX chasis are coimg out like mushrooms, and they are VESA mountable. Putting one MD per TV, and one Squezebox per room in which You want audio is the best way to go, for me. PRices are dropping every day, and in the near future we could have MDs for around 200$ (Ion platforms, Atom platforms....)

Well we have installation taking both approaches...but I would say about 80% of people who are starting with a new property go for centralised hardware...in many ways its more practical especially if your screens are not that accessible... and also if you want a truly minimalistic installation.

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dianemo-Home-Automation/226019387454465

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ivanp

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2009, 12:51:49 am »
Well we have installation taking both approaches...but I would say about 80% of people who are starting with a new property go for centralised hardware...in many ways its more practical especially if your screens are not that accessible... and also if you want a truly minimalistic installation.

I agree, minimalistic instalation is what ppl want (i guess they have wives nagging them about it ;D ;D ;D LOL, just kidding). But one big disadvantage, for me, with centralised hardware is not being able to pop-up USB/Firewire stick/drive...Or do YOu also take that into considoration and provide USB panels for that in the walls?

totallymaxed

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2009, 01:02:51 am »
Well we have installation taking both approaches...but I would say about 80% of people who are starting with a new property go for centralised hardware...in many ways its more practical especially if your screens are not that accessible... and also if you want a truly minimalistic installation.

I agree, minimalistic instalation is what ppl want (i guess they have wives nagging them about it ;D ;D ;D LOL, just kidding). But one big disadvantage, for me, with centralised hardware is not being able to pop-up USB/Firewire stick/drive...Or do YOu also take that into considoration and provide USB panels for that in the walls?

Yes we often locate a small USB HUB behind/near the screen or somewhere else in the room if we're using IR or Wireless

Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd

My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Get RaspSqueeze-CEC or Raspbmc-CEC Wifi enabled for Dianemo/LinuxMCE: http://wp.me/P4KgIc-5P

For Smart Home consulting advice;
@herron on Twitter, inquiries@ellipticalcurve.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.msg100221#msg100221
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ivanp

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2009, 01:06:49 am »
Yes we often locate a small USB HUB behind/near the screen or somewhere else in the room if we're using IR or Wireless
Whats the longest USB cable You have used?Isnt 15m maximum?

colinjones

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2009, 02:17:13 am »
You can daisy chain USB hubs together.... max is 5m (16ft) for a single cable, but you can chain upto 5 (I think) together to get length, but a much better way of doing it is using USB-to-Cat5 convertors. I think Totallymaxed also runs HDMI over Cat5e/6, so I'd imagine you could piggy back on that with a small switch, or just run a separate Cat5 for it. Then you have upto 100m.

tschak909

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2009, 04:21:50 am »
It is worth noting one of the concepts i wish to work on for after the 0810 release, is the idea of USB over IP tunnelling, to provide support for connecting USB devices to portable devices running an orbiter and have them attach to the media director in the room.

I have done initial proof of concept work here, so I know it can be done, but I wish to actually take this down to the kernel, to make it more transparent.

-Thom

colinjones

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2009, 04:38:56 am »
Thom, can you clarify?

Do you mean something like a WebDT running orbiter -> USB-to-IP-Tunnel-virtual-device->WebDT's Wifi card->AP->MD via Ethernet->MD's USB port-> [example device?]


tschak909

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Re: Starting new project, need advice
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2009, 04:47:17 am »
yikes, jeebus, don't make it so bloody complicated!

it's very simple.

Have two computers:

The first being a media director,
The second being for example, an orbiter tablet.

the USB to IP tunnel will reflect everything going across the USB port on the orbiter, and send it over TCP to the media director, which takes the data and feeds it into a virtual USB hub.

This would give the appearance of a USB hub on the end of a _REALLY_ long cable, and thus anything plugged into the orbiter, would show up as a device attached to the media director.

Thus things like mass storage devices could be connected and accessible by the house.

-Thom