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Thread: My budget multi-room setup, need some advice.

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  1. #1
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    Default My budget multi-room setup, need some advice.

    Hi all,

    Not sure if i posted this in the right forum, mods please move it if it isn't.

    Currently looking at trying to fix up my current multi-room BUDGET video distribution system to make it a bit more user friendly.

    My goal is to have a system whereby I can watch my videoís that I have downloaded (legally of course) and TIVO shows in any room in the house and have full control over all the units. Currently I can do that, well sort of, I can watch anything the person is watching in the lounge from the kitchen or master bedroom, but audio levels arenít that good and I donít have any IR control. Also I want the ablity to watch something different to my wife in another room if need be.

    My other issue is finding the right setup for me, as I am not after fantastic video quality or audio quality (all remote tvs are mono-crtís and I have NO componet/s-video/HDMI souces !!) I have looked at a couple of cheap matrix switches either 4x2 (4 in-2 out) or the 4x4ís which I think I might get, itís just working out the best means too push that signal too the rest of the house !!

    Iím I better off buying a couple of UHF, stereo modulators and just tuning the TVís in at the other end, or would it be best to keep buying the RCA-Video over RJ-45 units ? what are there limits on distributing signials are they one to one normally or can they do one to many ?

    I also thought, why not put a XBOX in each room and do it that way, but the problem then is if you are watching something in the lounge and you want to goto the kitchen and make something to eat and continue watching what you just paused.

    (Below is a list of my current setup.)


    List of rooms, (Note : all rooms have THREE RJ45 points and TWO F-Type QUAD Core RG6 points in each of them)

    Lounge (Theatre... one day)
    * Large CRT TV
    * Amplifier used as the switch for the Tivo and XBMC
    * Digital STB
    * Tivo, hacked of course
    * Xbox hacked as well and running XBMC, accesses all my video and audio on my file server in the attic

    Master Bedroom
    * Small LCD TV (actually just a PC LCD with a RCA to RGB converter on it)

    Bedroom 1
    * Small CRT TV

    Bedroom 2
    * Small CRT TV

    Kitchen
    * Small CRT TV

    Wiring cupboard
    * Full patch panel
    * ADSL Modem and wireless router
    * Phone patch panel
    * RJ45 video sender patch panel

    Attic
    * File Server


    Currently running a couple of those RCA to RJ-45 converters at the moment. It carries the signal (from either the XBMC or TIVO from my Lounge to the patch panel in the wiring cupboard, from there it splits off into two locations, the master bedroom and the kitchen. I am reasonable happy with these things at the moment, but since I donít have any high quality TVs (HD ones) at the moment the quality isnít really a issue. The only problem I have noticed is the audio level isnít anything fantastic on the remote tvs in the bedrooms.

    Future plans in order of priority
    1. IR control in ALL rooms, looking at a simple XANTECH system at this stage, as I know it works with TIVO, and running the IR siginal over the spare RJ-45 points in each room.
    2. Would like a matrix switch, either a 4x2 or a 4x4 would be better, but this build is on a very low budget at this stage $$ and still thinking that I will distribute the video over Cat5, as doing it over a modulator could become expensive. At this stage I have 3x RCA to RJ45 units.
    3. Maybe buy another XBOX, as the XBMC interface is fantastic !!
    4. Moving away from the TIVO and finally get around to setting up my computers with multiple turner cards, but still havenít worked out a good front end unit that I can play all the media on. Maybe use the XBOX, not sure on this yet, need to do a bit more research.
    5. Would like to put some speakers for audio in the kitchen and also the balcony, which are right next to each other.
    6. Audio in the bathroom this is where those Xantech keypads would be handy.
    7. Also like the idea of some lighting/HVAC/security controls etcÖ but this isnít a big priority at this stage.
    8. Have seen a couple of people staying to develop iPod touch interfaces too control there home systems, now this would be cool.


    Does anyone have any ideas on what I can do to make this a little bit easier to use ???? I know there is a lot of information

    Thanks
    Matt.

    PS. I have posted this on a couple of other HA sites, sorry just trying too get a few good ideas from other members on budgets.

  2. #2

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    Welcome discosrule

    We live in a 4 x XBMC household and I think thats the answer to most if not all of your questions. Buy one for each room and you don't even need IR distribution.

    You can also stream your TiVo recordings to the Xbox's too.

    M.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Otto-Mate View Post
    Welcome discosrule

    We live in a 4 x XBMC household and I think thats the answer to most if not all of your questions. Buy one for each room and you don't even need IR distribution.

    You can also stream your TiVo recordings to the Xbox's too.

    M.
    Thx.

    Have been thinking that, but just wanted the ablity to watch the same thing at the same time in a couple of rooms. I guess I could modulate the source in the lounge and then have a XBMC in each room too got to love the XBMC best thing since silced bread

  4. #4
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    Default

    When you say watch the same thing at the same time do you need it synchronised?
    Thats the key question really. If you don't need it perfectly synchronised then XBMC could handle it, i.e. two of you watching the same film from the server at the same time.

    If you do need it sync'd i.e. so you can walk through the house not missing any of the film then yes you need to be looking at splitting sources things like that.

    Perfectly possible, how complex it is depends if you're happy with say just the Lounge video being watchable everywhere or if you want to be able to start a fil m somewhere else and have it on everywhere else!

  5. #5
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by noel-pilot View Post
    When you say watch the same thing at the same time do you need it synchronised?
    Thats the key question really. If you don't need it perfectly synchronised then XBMC could handle it, i.e. two of you watching the same film from the server at the same time.

    If you do need it sync'd i.e. so you can walk through the house not missing any of the film then yes you need to be looking at splitting sources things like that.

    Perfectly possible, how complex it is depends if you're happy with say just the Lounge video being watchable everywhere or if you want to be able to start a fil m somewhere else and have it on everywhere else!

    Would like it sunched, but also the option of watching something else as well !!

  6. #6
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    Default

    ok, you need to pursue two different approaches then.

    Firstly you need in each room a means of viewing different things i.e. selecting them from the server.

    xbox running xbmc would be a very good cheap way of doing this.

    Secondly you need to distribute the video.

    If you just want to be able to watch whats on in the lounge in every room then you must split the lounge feed (the one ending up at the tv) and distribute that all around the house. Depending on quality required you could just modulate this or you could use Kat5 senders/receivers (kat5.tv)

    If you want to be able to watch whats playing in ANY room on ANY tv then thats a fair bit more complicated and you start needing to get into matrix switchers and things. others on this site far more experienced than I.

    From what i understand though you'd need to get the video feeds from every source in every room into the switcher. So thats the point at which you'd have say an xbox for each room all in one central location and just run the video output for that room along with audio cables to that room.

    Of course with a nice xantech or keene distribute IR system to allow control.

    Hope that helps a bit
    Noel

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