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Thread: Newbie Advice Please (PVR and Visonic)

  1. #1
    Automated Home Jr Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Cool Newbie Advice Please (PVR and Visonic)

    Hi all,

    Well looks like I've finally found the forum I was looking for!! Right, I'm about to embark on my HA adventure in our new house in the UK. I'm pretty sure I know what I want and *roughly* how I'm going to do it but have a couple of quick questions.

    The system is going to be based around either misterhouse or hal2000 software, and run the usual x10 devices, plus interface with my Visonic Powermax alarm and several cameras. On top of that I would like some kind of multi-room PVR / media player for our two main TV's (living and bedroom). All will be run of a (preferebly windows) pc upstairs with dual tuners.

    OK the questions:

    1) Is anyone aware of any PVR software that will interface nicely with either misterhouse or hal? I want to be able to stream videos from the pc to the tvs and have PVR functionality on both TVs. Hal/MH will do audio, but not video or PVR it seems. Otherwise I guess I can have a separate media centre system or something, but would be nice to integrate it.

    2) I know that I can buy a module which receives the signals from the Visonic sensors, and that I can then get these into hal, but does anyone know if I can interface with the panel itself? How can MH/HAL tell when the alarm is going off or armed/disarmed? The visonic PGM output doesnt seem to be able to do what I need.

    3) Is there an alternative to X10 which is as cheap, more reliable, and just as flexible? (sorry)

    4) Anyone got any comments on the misterhouse vs hal shoot-out?

    5) Anyone know of either a multi-channel capture card that comes with bundled software that will broadcast a web-page showing 4 or 8 cameras at a time, or a piece of software that will allow me to do this with any capture card with the right drivers?

    Thanks in advance for any help, which will be much appreciated,


  2. #2
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Near Alicante Spain


    Answers to some of your questions.
    2. It is possible to set up the Powermax to send an X10 command when the alarm is triggered but its a real pain to do this via the LCD screen on the panel. I suggest you purcahse the RS232 interface and the visonic PC software. Unfortunately at the moment I know of no interface to any Home automation software. Many have tried and there have been various discussions on the Homeseer forum and the like. Another way would be to use the bell output to trigger a 12v relay.

    3. Not really but you may want to look at PLCbus .

    5. I think you would be better off using a stand alone DVR for security cameras, these record onto a hard drive, and quite often have a network connection. And some have built in email servers. One of my suppliers even does one with a WiFi link, so ideal if you can't get an ethernet cable to your DVR. Also using a stand alone system means no PC related problems such as crashes and the like. Also stick to wired cameras. Wireless ones tend to give more problems.

    Let me know if you need more advice.

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