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Thread: Media Centre to TV Connections

  1. #1
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    Default Media Centre to TV Connections

    Hi All,

    I've just moved into a new house and am looking to locate my current MCE machine which I'll use as a media server under the stairs along with a rackmount switch ...

    Trouble is for me, I'm really not sure how to connect between my MCE based Media Server under the stairs and my 32" TFT in the lounge.

    I've run a single CAT5 from the TV point up into the loft from where I'll be able to distribute it back to under the stairs and soon enough I'll have a standard co-ax cable from the TV point to the loft and a connection from a sky box to the TV point.

    Can anyone recommend (a) a way to connect my MCE machine to my TFT and (b) a way to connect my Sky box which will be installed in the lounge back to the MCE machine ... ?

    Any advice much appreciated ...

    Cliff

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    What type of connection are you looking to get from the MCE to the TFT?? I assume it will be DVI which you can do over CAT5, there are various baluns available however you will need to also consider IR control and audio.
    The sky signal can be fed via RF back into a mixer/Amp in the loft and then fed down to the MCE which can then tune in the RF channel along with everything else.

    Hope this helps.

    Tom

  3. #3
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    I'm currently using a VGA connection but fully plan on switching to DVI. Can you recommend where to look for DVI over Cat5e?

    All I seem to find is the Kat5 stuff which I'm not sure about ... is there anything else out there?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffwright View Post
    I'm currently using a VGA connection but fully plan on switching to DVI. Can you recommend where to look for DVI over Cat5e?

    All I seem to find is the Kat5 stuff which I'm not sure about ... is there anything else out there?
    Yeah there is! I will take a look for you when I'm at work tmmrw!

  5. #5
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    Ta muchly .. any advice appreciated ..

    Cliff

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    Default Connectivity

    Hi,
    Some info for you.

    1) MCE to TV.

    Money-no-object: Run a 2nd SHIELDED CAT5 cable as well and then get something the GEFFEN DVI-CAT5 distribution system or equivalent (expect to pay 500+) , you will also need IR repeaters for the MCE IR Remote back to the MCE box as well. I think the GEFFEN only does video not audio. Bank on needing at least 2 CAT5's for DVI

    Cheaper: KAT5 Modules, about 150, supports S-Video or Composite, with Audio AND IR Repeater function - works over 1 CAT5 (I use this works very well, though highly dependent on a good S-Video or COMPOSITE feed from your PC - if it looks crap plugged directly in to the panel, the KAT-5 will clearly transmit the crap too - the unit doesnt really noticably degrade the picture, but it cant make crap pictures better.

    Best: Wait a while and get a V2 Media Centre Extender, current news on the street is that we might we waiting a while for these, as MS is still working on them to some extent, and no OEM has announced ship-dates, though the KISS DP1600 (?) when it materialises will do this.

    HTH
    mart.

  7. #7
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    Thanks martynah - Some useful stuff ...

    You say you use the KAT5 stuff and it's very good right? ... could be an option ..

    What's the difference between the KISS DP1600 and the currently available KISS DP600 @ 250? .. I've been looking at this for a couple of days, daring myself to buy one for our bedroom rather than lounge. I want a pure MCE frontage in the lounge .... Any thoughts on the DP600?

    Cheers

    C

  8. #8
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    Hi - sorry ran out of time yesterday.

    Alledgedly, the DP1600 will have a s/w update that enables Media Center Extender v2 functionality using the Pika extender capable chipset in the device, This is supposed to mean that shortly we'll all be able to buy 'silent' Vista capable media center extenders based on this technology that are on a par with the Xbox360's extender functionality, KISS are the only ones who have leaked/announced this capability.

    (Remember that the current v1 extenders from Linksys and HP are now largely obsolete, and do not work with Vista, only MCE2005 = and are NTSC/US spec only)

    The latest info on thegreenbutton.com from microsoft reading between the lines is that they've not actually finalised the software side of the PIKA extenders and therefore we'll all be waiting until much later this year before KISS launch the software update for the DP1600 that enables this I would have thought.

    (unless I've missed something, this is the current status)

    Back to your questions:

    Sky Digibox to MCE.

    As you might be aware you feed the SKY output via s-video or composite and RCA Audio to MCE via an analog tuner card, usually a Hauppage PVR series (I think) - do a search for someone who has SKY working with MCE, and then use the IR Blaster functionality of the MCE remote control reciever to change channels on the sky box.

    Once you've got this working, it all works quite well, I have a friend who uses this and its all okay - though remember, one digibox, one channel at a time and to do twin tuners you'll need 2 digiboxes and 2 tuner cards (which I assume works)

    In terms of where to site stuff, I would seriously consider re-running your SKY co-ax feed to under the stairs via the loft etc to get the sky box in the closet with your PC, this means that the cabling for the remote blasters and video/audio feed is easy and short, and also you are exempt from the issue of someone using the sky remote to accidentally change channels on the sky box when your MCE thinks it's in control of it!.

    If you really must have it under the TV, then you'll need to:

    To get s-video/composite and stereo audio back to the PC (ANOTHER KAT-5 unit could do this, but that would be ANOTHER 160), it would also carry the IR back to the unit from the media centre blasters

    A far cheaper option is to re-run the sky RF feed to the closet if you can do it, as it's just good quality co-ax.

    You could also fall-back to using the sky remote without MCE with a bit of re-patching under the stairs as well to 'short out' the media center if it goes pop.

    Ask yourself perhaps if you might want to get SKY+ and use MCE for Photos as music - this might get you more for your money, especially if you pay enough sky subscription to get free sky+ anyway.

    Mart.

  9. #9
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    RE the DP600/1600,

    They both appear to use the Sigma EM8622 chipset, which was developed to handle the v2 extender functionality:

    http://forums.animesuki.com/showthre...=26498&page=24

    Therefore 'in theory' there 'could' be a firmware update from Linksys/KISS to make them into v2 extenders, personally, I'm waiting for it to materialise and be reviewed before I reach into my pocket - I also think that IF they do this they are likely to charge for it perhaps?, who knows?

    At that point my KAT-5 units will appear on e-bay 8-)

    The KAT-5 works quite well, the quality is pretty close to what goes in, it's all down to your cabling, if you run your CAT-5 cables alongside mains wiring in the ceiling etc then you'll suffer. I have about 25M between the garage and the lounge on a horrid route and it's pretty good.

    You have to take into account that flat panels show signal loss much more than CRT TV's, the KAT-5 unit's output on a CRT TV is even better, my Panasonic 26in LCD tells a slightly different story close up, but thats why we're all waiting for extenders that can work in HD.

    Does anyone know if these units will play the MS-DVR files from MCE 'as is'? , if they do it might be an excuse to get one anyway even without them being full extenders???

    Mart.

  10. #10
    Automated Home Legend TimH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cliffwright View Post
    Trouble is for me, I'm really not sure how to connect between my MCE based Media Server under the stairs and my 32" TFT in the lounge.
    You can use an Xbox 360 as a media centre extender. The MCE / Xbox 360 FAQ is here:
    http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/m...er/mcefaq.mspx

    The Xbox 360 is capable of HD output etc. What inputs do you have available on your screen? HDMI? Component?

    HTH,

    Tim.

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