Author Topic: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.  (Read 1259 times)

trentend

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Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« on: January 31, 2010, 03:44:29 pm »
I'm intending buying these next week:

Core:  Tyan S3115GM2N, Intel 945GC, Intel Atom N330 CPU (dual gigabit ethernet)
Media directors:  Asus AT3N7A-I, Nvidia ION, Atom N330 CPU

The intention is to locate them in an electrical cabinet and cable directly to wall mounted LCD's.  I will have a couple of nokia n800's as orbiters.  Will I be able to control everything about the media directors from these (if I leave the media director on)?  Will I be able to pair them with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse?  Do I need to connect a IR receiver (USB-IRT) to be able to use a remote control with them (they will be in a cabinet and not in direct line of site to the rooms)?

Any helpful suggestion on the best way to handle media director control would be appreciated as this will be my first hands on use of the system.  Also any comments on the motherboards would be appreciated.

Thanks.

jimbodude

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2010, 06:50:42 pm »
My experience:

1) I use a DT360 to control everything.  There is no need to have remotes or keyboards or mice except when you're browsing the web or working in KDE.  There is a bug, which hopefully will be fixed, that does affect this sort of "orbiter-only" setup - basically, the OSD pops up for no reason, and you can't clear it from the Orbiter ( http://svn.linuxmce.org/trac.cgi/ticket/549 ).

2) If you want to control LinuxMCE with an IR remote, then you need a UIRT, and it needs to be able to see whatever remote you're pointing at it.  If you want to control devices with IR, the same holds true.  I have a UIRT on each of my systems - I only use them to control external devices, like A/V switches and cable boxes and such.

I see 2 problems with your setup:
1) It may be hard to control devices like these LCD screens, or receivers and whatnot, since you don't have line-of-sight for IR, and running RS232 in the walls is not so fun and may become outdated.
2) You're going to need a lot of cabling.  This means much higher cost, potential signal loss, and a fairly high chance of that cabling becoming outdated and hard to replace.

You may want to reconsider putting the MDs close to the LCDs, and running simple network cables to them.  There are some computers designed to be mounted directly behind a screen if you're worried about looks.  I believe tkmedia's store has some - check the marketplace.

Lexje

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2010, 07:35:29 pm »
I second Jimbodude;
F.Y.I I'm using an Acer Revo R3600 as an MD.
You can use it in a couple of ways.
- sound & vision via HDMI
- sound via e.g. powered computer surround system (I use Klipsh - They're magnificent and worth every penny)
- I've also added a Terratec Aureon 5.1 USB, this has optical spdif out. (you can either disable internal sound in bios or combine the two - slightly more difficult to configure)
- I've also added a Sweex usb-rs232 adapter, this is recognized as pl2303. I use it to control AV/Receiver and LCD-TV

The Revo is a form factor and can be fitted on the back of most decent LCD TV's, so only network required. (I haven't tested wireless)

I have to admit: It's really awesome to see HD content being played beautifully by those small Atom ION based systems!!

All the best,

Erwin

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2010, 08:53:33 pm »
Be careful with the ATOMS

make sure you are using the ION based ones and not the 945 based ones.
I would get ion for core as well just in case you want to get a more powerful core at one point.
Then you could always use it as a MD.

Be aware that the ATOM will take approx 15 minutes per MD when doing a full regen.


Tim
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totallymaxed

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2010, 01:57:58 am »
I'm intending buying these next week:

Core:  Tyan S3115GM2N, Intel 945GC, Intel Atom N330 CPU (dual gigabit ethernet)
Media directors:  Asus AT3N7A-I, Nvidia ION, Atom N330 CPU

The intention is to locate them in an electrical cabinet and cable directly to wall mounted LCD's.  I will have a couple of nokia n800's as orbiters.  Will I be able to control everything about the media directors from these (if I leave the media director on)?  Will I be able to pair them with a bluetooth keyboard and mouse?  Do I need to connect a IR receiver (USB-IRT) to be able to use a remote control with them (they will be in a cabinet and not in direct line of site to the rooms)?

Any helpful suggestion on the best way to handle media director control would be appreciated as this will be my first hands on use of the system.  Also any comments on the motherboards would be appreciated.

Thanks.

To centrally locate your MD's away from your LCD Panels/TV's you'll need to use HDMI-CAT5 extenders (sometimes called Baluns) and USB-CAT5 extenders too to get any in-room USB devices working local to the LCD panels (IR Transceivers or RS232 ports etc for blasting or RS232 control of the LCD panel). We use this type of configuration all the time when customers do not want any devices in-room other than the LCD panel/TV and/or when they want to distribute centrally located HD sources at full 1080p resolution to any screen in the house (in which case you'd use either an HDMI matrix or a combination of HDMI splitters & RS232 controlled HDMI-Switches to do the HDMI source switching/routing).

All the best


Andrew
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trentend

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2010, 03:02:17 am »
Hi all, thanks for your comments.  There are pieces of information that make some of the advice redundant, I believe.

  Although not located within line of sight, my electrical cabinet is a narrow room running parallel to my hall, connecting the lounge and dining room (about 3m long).  My server cabinet sits within this and my wall mounted LCD screens (LG xxLH3000 series) are both within 5m of the cabinet location.  Each Screen has a 100mm sleaved hole behind it, through which I can route cables.

The intention is to run a HDMI and RS232 cable to each screen from the MD's.  It would be awkward to mount the MD's behind the screens as they are wall mounted.  Given the relatively short length of these cables I'm hoping that I wont have a problem (indeed I currently have scart and component from other sources, and spdf going from the TV to the receiver, which is also in the electrical cabinet). 

Below the TV is an aperture in the wall, acting as a AV equipment cupboard (this aperture opens up into the electrical cabinet).  In the lounge this contains my receiver (Onkyo TX-SR706), centre speaker, and sub woofer.  The cables route up from the rear of the equipment into the heart of the electrical cabinet, and through the hole in the wall to connect to the screens. Normal USB cable lengths will extend into this aperture to make USB connected devices within the line of sight of the user.

Consequently I don't think I will have a problem connecting the equipment, it merely becomes a question of controlling Linuxmce without physical access to the media directors for the respective screens.  If this can be done exclusively by nokia 800's / browser based orbiter then I'm golden.  If not I need to know whether I need to connect a remote control (and locate an IR tansmitter/receiver where the remote can "see" it), or whether I can connect bluetooth mouse/keyboard to the media directors.  I want the "easiest" to use control system for a lay person, so my preference is nokia 800 > remote control > keyboard/mouse.

By keeping the media directors and core in the electrical cabinet I can run them with decent airflow (hence choosing the asus board with active cooling) without noise being an issue.  I chose the tyan dual network board as the core (the only atom board I can find with two NIC's onboard), and assumed the lack of nvidia graphics wont be a problem for a pure core (not a hybrid).  I will be building a custom case housing the three motherboards and three power supplies.  The intention is to put 3 off 1TB drives attatched to the core, with any further requirements for storage met with NAS.  I'm assuming one DVD drive attatched to the core will allow me to setup everything. The core and the media directors will be attatched to a KVM and screen in the electrical cabinet for setup purposes - will this be a problem to then unplug the electrical cabinet monitor after setup and connect to the LCD screens, or will I be able to connect the VGA (to the KVM) and the HDMI (to the LCD HD screen) simultaneously during setup?

I appreciate these seem trivial questions, on the face of it, but my experience is that the devil is in the detail and forewarned is forearmed.

I also have some portable LCD screens (1280x1024) behind which I will mount the acer single atom computers for distributed use around the house.  I've wired multiple CAT6 sockets to each room for this purpose (amongst others).


My experience:

1) I use a DT360 to control everything.  There is no need to have remotes or keyboards or mice except when you're browsing the web or working in KDE.  There is a bug, which hopefully will be fixed, that does affect this sort of "orbiter-only" setup - basically, the OSD pops up for no reason, and you can't clear it from the Orbiter ( http://svn.linuxmce.org/trac.cgi/ticket/549 )....

I presume that I could substitute a Nokia 800 for the DT360 that you have in this role, and I get the full functionality (bugs not withstanding)?

Thank you for all your help.

jimbodude

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2010, 04:46:21 pm »
The only problem I have with the N810 that I use is the size... My fingers are bigger than some of the buttons, which causes undesired results.

It sounds like you're already sold on the layout, and can get over the cabling issues.  Try a setup with just the N800 and see how you like it... If it doesn't cut it, you can add a UIRT easily.  Remember that there is nothing keeping you from having the N800 and the UIRT at the same time...  Keyboard/mouse is only useful for web browsing and working at the KDE desktop - otherwise, they just collect dust and take up space.  Again, it's easy to add these devices at a later time.

totallymaxed

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Re: Atom core, media directors, and remote control.
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2010, 06:18:36 pm »
Hi all, thanks for your comments.  There are pieces of information that make some of the advice redundant, I believe.

  Although not located within line of sight, my electrical cabinet is a narrow room running parallel to my hall, connecting the lounge and dining room (about 3m long).  My server cabinet sits within this and my wall mounted LCD screens (LG xxLH3000 series) are both within 5m of the cabinet location.  Each Screen has a 100mm sleaved hole behind it, through which I can route cables.

The intention is to run a HDMI and RS232 cable to each screen from the MD's.  It would be awkward to mount the MD's behind the screens as they are wall mounted.  Given the relatively short length of these cables I'm hoping that I wont have a problem (indeed I currently have scart and component from other sources, and spdf going from the TV to the receiver, which is also in the electrical cabinet). 

Below the TV is an aperture in the wall, acting as a AV equipment cupboard (this aperture opens up into the electrical cabinet).  In the lounge this contains my receiver (Onkyo TX-SR706), centre speaker, and sub woofer.  The cables route up from the rear of the equipment into the heart of the electrical cabinet, and through the hole in the wall to connect to the screens. Normal USB cable lengths will extend into this aperture to make USB connected devices within the line of sight of the user.

Consequently I don't think I will have a problem connecting the equipment, it merely becomes a question of controlling Linuxmce without physical access to the media directors for the respective screens.  If this can be done exclusively by nokia 800's / browser based orbiter then I'm golden.  If not I need to know whether I need to connect a remote control (and locate an IR tansmitter/receiver where the remote can "see" it), or whether I can connect bluetooth mouse/keyboard to the media directors.  I want the "easiest" to use control system for a lay person, so my preference is nokia 800 > remote control > keyboard/mouse.

By keeping the media directors and core in the electrical cabinet I can run them with decent airflow (hence choosing the asus board with active cooling) without noise being an issue.  I chose the tyan dual network board as the core (the only atom board I can find with two NIC's onboard), and assumed the lack of nvidia graphics wont be a problem for a pure core (not a hybrid).  I will be building a custom case housing the three motherboards and three power supplies.  The intention is to put 3 off 1TB drives attatched to the core, with any further requirements for storage met with NAS.  I'm assuming one DVD drive attatched to the core will allow me to setup everything. The core and the media directors will be attatched to a KVM and screen in the electrical cabinet for setup purposes - will this be a problem to then unplug the electrical cabinet monitor after setup and connect to the LCD screens, or will I be able to connect the VGA (to the KVM) and the HDMI (to the LCD HD screen) simultaneously during setup?

I appreciate these seem trivial questions, on the face of it, but my experience is that the devil is in the detail and forewarned is forearmed.

I also have some portable LCD screens (1280x1024) behind which I will mount the acer single atom computers for distributed use around the house.  I've wired multiple CAT6 sockets to each room for this purpose (amongst others).


My experience:

1) I use a DT360 to control everything.  There is no need to have remotes or keyboards or mice except when you're browsing the web or working in KDE.  There is a bug, which hopefully will be fixed, that does affect this sort of "orbiter-only" setup - basically, the OSD pops up for no reason, and you can't clear it from the Orbiter ( http://svn.linuxmce.org/trac.cgi/ticket/549 )....

I presume that I could substitute a Nokia 800 for the DT360 that you have in this role, and I get the full functionality (bugs not withstanding)?

Thank you for all your help.

Well if your centrally located hardware is only 5'ish meters away from the TV's then a long HDMI should be fine... so that removes the need for CAT5 extenders etc. If you plan on using the N800/N810 as your touch Orbiter then you should again have no real problems at all there (apart from screen size as others have mentioned!).

All the best


Andrew
Andy Herron,
Convergent Home Technologies Ltd
United Kingdom

Read My Blog; http://ellipticalcurve.com

Contact me for Smart Home consulting advice here;
@herron on Twitter, totallymaxed+consulting@gmail.com via email or PM me here.

Get a Dianemo S License: http://forum.linuxmce.org/index.php?topic=8880.0
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