Author Topic: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget  (Read 10452 times)

tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« on: January 30, 2010, 05:01:08 pm »
Hi...

Like some of you, Im very new to Linux, and very new to Linux MCE.  Via some very wonderful dinners, as well as some other persuading on my part, i've convinced my wife to allow me to deploy Linux MCE throughout our new home.  The house itself is a work in progress, so I have a lot of options at this point.  But my overall objective is to utilize the full capability of what Linux MCE is capable of doing i.e. security, phone, media sharing, gaming...etc.

I've been watching the forums for a while, and attempting to get a handle on what is capable as well as what I'd like to do with this project.  I have a lot of questions, but, mostly i have a lot of requests for opinions on what i should be doing.  My list of "wishes" for the system im going to install are not that unreasonable (at least in my head they aren't) but I figure all of you that are reading this are the experts.  So i finally took the dive and signed up for the forums to put my ignorance out there.

Some Basics:

The House - 4200 square feet 2-story, 3 car garage, 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, situated on the fairway of public golf course on the otherside of my fence.  It's located in Phoenix, Arizona, so there is a lot of entertaining outside the home.  We have no pool currently but there are plans to do so at the end of this year.

The Occupants - 2 Adults, my wife and myself, 4 kids ranging in age from 16 to 4 with the middle 2 being 13, 12 respectively.
(she is a web developer with the community college district here, and im a property manager)...so we are not completely unfamiliar with technical issues

My budget: 5k max..ahhaha....that is to include all things required and this is over a year in which she will allow me to set this up in the home.

Now, when i say "all things required", what I mean is that i would like to do certain things promised by the system that in a nutshell i've kinda read can be done....

My Objectives:

1. I would like to set up locations in all 5 bedrooms as well as family room, kitchen, office and backyard (more on this later) where i can access all media, as well as watch live tv, access the web, and security features (cameras) and Voice services.  Basically i would like the entire system functional by the end of the year.

2. I do currently have computers in the home, but Im going to be purchasing new equipment or will be building the equipment i need, as well as possibly running cat 5/6 throughout the home.

3. I would like to incorporate my children's game playing into the system...they have most consoles now, (Xbox, PS3, Wii) and this is a big one, and a biq question on if they can centralize these consoles and use them in all zones via the system for game playing?

4. I would like to add a element to the system of voice control if possible of some of the functions of the service (light's on, lights off, tv on, tv off) simplet commands

5. I would like to make a test bed for my wife to test out work related projects (web servers): you name it they do it, regarding web pages at her job...and she should be able to access this info from remote locations

6. I'd like to do this in phases, so....build core, install it, add bedrooms, add family room, kitchen, add backyard...etc.

LET ME BE CLEAR WITH THIS, im really really really open to suggestions, comments, help of any sort ...in other words i guess im asking what all ofyou would do for a reliable system based off the parameters that im attempting to accomplish...

THANKS IN ADVANCE FOR ANY ANSWER OR FOR JUST CARING ENOUGH TO READ!


billytwowilly

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 05:14:32 am »
Hi,

Here's some observations. I'm in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, so maybe I'm way off and things are way cheaper in Arizona, but:

1. You should think about exactly what you want in each room. You could blow 5 grand just on the tvs for the 5 bedrooms, kitchen, office and backyard. For a massive house like that I think a ten grand budget would be more reasonable. If you can't spend that then you need to scale back or change your expectations.

Basically, If you want home automation, you're looking at spending ~45 dollars per switch (z-wave) instead of $5 a switch(if you have multiple switches on a light you only need to replace 1 of them) so you need to count all of the stuff you want  to automate and multiply it by 45 dollars. Then look at all the places you want security cameras and multiply that by whatever they cost ($100 is probably reasonable, I could be way off). Then look at all the places you want tv's and add ~350 for the frontends to run the tv's. On top of that you need a core in the basement which will probably cost approx $1000 for a decent one, and at some point as you get more media you will probably want to throw a NAS on the network as well, which adds more cost. On top of this you will probably want several orbiters (think super fancy universal remotes), which will set you back between 200-600 each, depending on what you go with as the hardware.

If you don't want any home automation and you already own all the tv's you need, then you could probably do this for 5 grand. You would spend approx 3200 on media directors for the 9 locations you mentioned, 1000 on a core and then buy a couple orbiter platforms with whatever is left.

2. I haven't heard of voice control in this product, but I don't have one set up yet (still trying to buy the house), so I could be wrong.

3. run cat6 everywhere you want a tv with linuxmce on it. You'll need it.

4. You can't centralize their consoles and use them everywhere. That's impractical for several technical reasons (how would you change games? What is the range on the wireless game controllers? You might be able to hack something together in linuxmce to pipe the video from the console to the rooms, but that still would leave you unable to change games and control the game).


I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Chris

emachala

  • Veteran
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 03:16:34 pm »
Agree with Bill .. Also if your looking to only have plasmas of TV, Projectors, in an area and that's it for hardware... I ran an addition cat 6e  to each Tv... so that I could Send HDMI over Cat 5e 6e,  6e better  works superb for me, if you looking for a central hardware area room for gear... its the way  to go... works with all Av equipment also and Av hdmi switching receivers  ... Ive test almost ever model made .. and ive come to swear by  the "Atlona AT-HD-V40SRS"  You can even get one with a IR reapeter built in...

Mounting Md's behind or around TV's was not an option for me... And if you ever done wire installation you know pro-grade HDMI is a boat load over 30foot.... So HDMI over CAt6e was for me... I'm also sending everything over cat to devices behind tv locations... cat5 to get blue tooth and serial..., gc100's in areas,, etc... I put 2 cat6e and 2 cat5e behind each tv location to cover my bases for upgrades  all back to cat5e and cate63 patch panels



Are you looking to just send 5000$ on Linuxmce hardware... or whole home solution with hardware, receivers, speakers tv's?

5k might get you wired and prepped to setup with a core, freenas, couple MD's, webdt366's and all the trimming to get them going... then it would be replaceing zwave decora's and outlets as you go... get the Wayne dalton thermo's now...

Are you stiill running central cat through house? i would i really really would...

Cause, again like billypoints out with tv's you could blow 5k on speakers...

I have a layered network throughout my place with cat5e and 6e  just moved in last week.. still in setup... but got 2 65's playing 1080 flawlessly... over cat6e and my network gets response from 6e so much faster than 5e...  ... so im happy...




-emac

-----------------------------
http://wiki.linuxmce.org/index.php/User:Emachala

tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2010, 04:00:28 pm »
You guy's are great, i appreicate your comments...truly due to the fact that my original intention was to utilizea wireless N dual band router for connection to the Media directors....I had considered Cat 6e, but due to hassle, in running the wires, figured i'd be able to escape this by utilizing wireless.  And to help paint the picture a bit better on my budget, this is without TV purchase or audio equipment(at this point at least) but strictly core, media directors, camera's, z-wave modules.  Also, after writing this, i realized i left one thing out, which is signal provider.  We currently have Cox for internet and TV, but we plan to go to Direct TV for TV and since we have the ability to utilize DOCSIS 3.0 we are able to get 20 to 24 megs of bandwith for internet speed at the house?  Im going shopping for Cat 6e today to see how this would fit, as that seems to be consensus on the best connection method.  As far as the orbiters, i've decided that the Web DT's kinda fit, at least 2 of them, and for my kids, im trying to find some type of lower end orbiter that would be simple enough for them to use...in fact, one of my questions is, is there anyway to "administrate" the orbiters; simplify them, so that they dont have as much functionality?  Now...my plan for the backyard.....your goign to love this....Basically, im going to have a custom BBQ Bar, where a 55 inch plasma will be housed out of a rising stand that can be rotated on this stand 360 degrees.  The enclosure is going to be custom as well, to protect it from the elements....Im using a less expensive TV due to my wife, saying im crazy, and it's one we've had for a while, so it's kind of already paid for itself.  And to this one, i knew it would have to be cat 5/6....

phenigma

  • wants to work for LinuxMCE
  • **
  • Posts: 945
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2010, 04:07:09 am »
Your MDs must be wired.  Wireless MDs are not supported for many reasons so you willl need at least one cat5e to each MD location.  Your orbiters can all be wireless without problems.

J.

billytwowilly

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 06:49:43 am »
emachala: can you elaborate a bit on the cat6 setup? I wasn't aware you could do that. It sounds pretty useful. So you don't have mediadirectors anywhere, you just have cat6 to the tv? Do you need media directors in a room somewhere in the house then? Can you use one beefy computer as a media director for lots of tvs using this method?

tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 02:27:46 pm »
Okay, that makes since on the wiring...(im sold!)...the last few days I started pricing what it's going to take to run Cat 6e to each location and not as bad as i thought if i do the wiring myself.  Basically, since it's a pretty simple design on the house upstairs/downstairs the overall challenge to wiring is distance to router which seems a easy fix via a gigabit switch. 

Orbiters
I plan on buying two orbiter pads (WebDT 366) one for my wife and I and one for the downstairs family room.  And on the subject of Orbiters again, still looking to see if there is going to be one that even my 4 year old might be able to operate, so any suggestions there would help.

The Media Directors
There seems to be a very big choice in Media Directors out there.  Since this is going to be a new purchase as well, and from what i've been able to discern from your answers with this question and the forums, I've decided on about three prospective choices


1. Acer - http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883103228 acer aspire revo 1600

2. Shuttle - http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4846705&SRCCODE=GOOGLEBASE&cm_mmc_o=VRqCjC7BBTkwCjCECjCE

Shuttle X27D X Mini Series Barebone PC

3. MSI Wind Nettop - 120 - 1 GB RAM - 1.6 GHz - 160 GB HDD

http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=small+form+factor+pc&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=8627188364498619159&ei=1iZoS9iGIZD-NZPRvYYG&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCIQ8wIwBA#ps-sellers

or the one, budget depending, i saw at the LinuxMCE store that's being offered.  The only thing holding me back on this was cost as i was trying to keep my cost per directore at about 200 dollars U.S.

Any other suggestions would be great?  What do all of you think of my choices? Has anyone had any experience with any of these units?

CORE

This component, does confuse me the most, as again i want something that stable, something robust that can handle at least two signal feeds, and something that's not going to be obsolete...my budget is basically about 1000 dollars for it.  Any suggestions on a off the shelf Core, or would i be better just building what i needed?

epsolon77

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 03:03:58 pm »
I may out of line here, but I noticed two things in your selections.  Only the first supports HDMI, the second has a DVI plug which can be converted to HDMI.  The thrid only has SVGA.  Also are all the TV's in your house HD? 

tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2010, 06:27:36 pm »
The HDMI issue is exactly why i tried (hahah) to put my selections in order of usability, as i saw them....i guess my question on the MD's was based off of cost...first...and yes, all TV's can show a minimum of 720p even in the kids rooms right now.  We are buying only one other TV in the near future....and we've decided to splurge on something 60 inches or better ...and although not as popular, we are pretty much thinking plasma....

Now, ....sound....boy do i have questions....

What main receiver(s) should i be looking to get? As i want to have at least "full" system of some type in the master bedroom and the main family room?

epsolon77

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2010, 07:34:57 pm »
This is where your choices start getting furry.  If you want true surround sound out of these PC's you really need something that is at least 4.1 capable, and better yet with an optical output on it.  Depending on your computer selection almost any surround sound system will work.  The only requirement is that your receiver have an input that will correspond with an output from your computer.  If your computer has a coaxial S/PDIF jack then your receiver should have one too.  A standard headphone jack on any computer can be converted into 2 RCA audio ports.  Some motherboards allow up to 10 channels out in this manner on their motherboard.  Of your selections the First is only capable of stero as far as I can tell.  The second looks like it can do 6 channel, and the last is probably the best at possibly 8 channels.  The MSI (last option) also does not remap the ports using a driver, which will make it more likely to work in a linux environment without the availability of a separate driver option.   I am looking into pricing a Media Director with the whole package, but it is proving time consuming.  I will post when I come up with something to be reviewed by the masses.

epsolon77

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2010, 08:38:35 pm »
Forgot to mention the jacks and their order of preference. 

Currently the best audio option would be toslink or optical.  This uses fiber optics to transmit up to 7.2 channels of surround sound.  It may be capable of more, the last time I checked (which was several years ago) the output limit on most recordings was 7.2.
Coaxial would be the second best, tied with some broken out RCA jacks.  Coaxial uses the same S/PDIF transmission type as toslink or optical.  However, since it is an electronic based system it has more noise built into it.  Same channel capabilities, just more lossy.
Obviously the more channels the better, but most surround sound systems do not accept more than 2 channels in the standard RCA input.  However most computer based surround sound systems only accept either 1/8" stero jacks or RCA.  I would use Toslink or optical where possible.

tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2010, 08:43:47 pm »
thank you for all of that information....you have no idea how this helps.....

to me, it's sounding like my first choice is the box im looking for..for a few different reasons....


tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2010, 08:45:36 pm »
are there any recommendations for sound processing OUTSIDE of the core?  for instance, like a main audio receiver?

epsolon77

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 15
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2010, 09:16:56 pm »
When you say sound processing, are you looking for a way to get the surround sound into place after the Media director has handed off the 2 channel audio?  If that is the case, you will really only ever get true stero out of the system.  The audio is only as good as the weakest link in the chain.  If you are looking for recomendations on individual recievers, I'm too far out of the market to give good product knoladge there.

However I offer a second option for your media director.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813121353  for motherboard
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116265  for proc
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820161030  for memroy, though you only really need one stick
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811154084  for case, though there are many many choices here.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16827136162  and Blueray player to polish it off.

The total here is 365.32 per unit, but you get a fully 1080p video on HDMI or DVI, the toslink cable, and a blueray player.  replace the blue ray with a standard DVD and you save about 70 bucks. 

tridum

  • Regular Poster
  • **
  • Posts: 32
    • View Profile
Re: Brand New Home...Brand New Installation 5k (US) Budget
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2010, 09:46:46 pm »
that is one heck of a rig, and now if i could talke my wife into a little more budget money....now lets talk about tuner cards, to accept Dish/Direct TV and cable connection....