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Thread: xAP, Squeezebox and Idratek

  1. #31
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    In this context I thought I'd mention one of the applications I have in my HA setup that has proved most useful. I use an automatically nightset 'virtual' alarm for downstairs - not actually the Cortex based one as I implemented it before I had Cortex - but similar. I'll be moving this over to Cortex eventually.... it's great that it has such innovative features , it really differentiates itself from the other HA applications.

    This uses xAP display messages to the VFD display on my bedside radio/player , normally showing the temperature/humidity but should the alarm be activated it plays an alarm 'wav' file and displays the offending zone/time. If the alarm is automatically unset by someone moving via a predetermined route from upstairs to downstairs it just shows me the unset time - so I know if someone in the family has awoken, and when. Caller ID/name is displayed for incoming calls and it also warns me of any cars arriving /doorbell so I don't miss the 'toy' deliveries when sleeping in.

    I'm actually using a Roku Radio to do this as again I implemented it before the BoomBox became available but the implementation should be very similar for the BoomBox. A slight architectual difference is that you speak to the Roku players directly whereas for SqueezeBox players you talk to SqueezeCentre which then onwardly talks to the connected players. Thus speed is dependent on how responsive SqueezeCentre is. One other feature I use is the IR control via the Roku to access some aspects of my HA setup - prompted via the display messages on the Roku.

    The announcements made by Cortex can be linked into the xAP OSD display messages - in much the same way that they arrive at say the DFP2 .On the Roku (and slightly less conveniently on SC) you can also play on demand WAV files. So looking ahead this could maybe link into voice 'announcements' assuming the current text to speech file is available within Cortex as a WAV file somewhere (?). SqueezeCentre players can be 'targeted' via xAP to control which messages arrive at which players so again some synergy with the Cortex model.

    K
    Last edited by Kevin; 17th March 2009 at 01:14 PM.

  2. #32
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    Hi Kevin

    Are you using a Ruku Soundbridge, or Soundbridge Radio? I may have missed a previous post or thread, but do the Roku units speak native xAP, or have you modified your unit?

    Your post interested me because I've been looking for a Squeezebox type unit for some time, but if the Roku works like what you are describing then I'll be investigating this unit a little more.

    I appreciate your time in reply.

    Cheers

  3. #33
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    I have both a Soundbridge and a Roku Radio... Neither of these units have xAP inbuilt but I wrote a small (Windows) application that redirects xAP OSD display messages to them. This isn't as sophisticated as the SqueezeCentre application where xAP is provided by a plugin because it doesn't support message priorities and queues, but it does get messages onto the screen. It's a 'works for me' app but would need tidying up for general release

    HomeSeer also has a Roku plugin that can be used to route xAP messages/device control to the Roku's. This is a much more flexible route from xAP to Roku... plus it controls all the music side too.

    One very slight little niggle with the Roku Radio... It emits a barely audible 'click' each time the radio moves from off to displaying a message. Not sure if this is just mine or all units. You wouldn't normally notice this but in a near silent bedroom environment you do. The postmans early am arrival - which triggers the external PIR's causes a series of clicks due to the multiple triggers.

    K
    Last edited by Kevin; 5th April 2009 at 12:44 AM.

  4. #34
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    Interesting. I don't mean to hijack the thread, but what is your impression on the SoundBridge? Is it only the Roku Radio that suffers the click, or does the Soundbridge too?

    I don't mind the thought of developing a xAP/Roku message router - gives me an excuse to sit in front of a computer for a few hours/days :-).

    Cheers

  5. #35
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    If the thread does veer to far OT then we can move it to the xAP forum - but really the discussion here is to get messages from Cortex displayed on either Roku or Logitech players.. both of which can be done...

    I have Roku SoundBridges and also Logitech SqueezeBox devices (as well as Sonos , Request, Imerge and Escient) ... yes I love my music and have traversed a lot of solutions on my path ! Part of the wide selection has also just been to investigate what could be done with xAP on the devices. Strangely I have almost no interest in video however - I only own one DVD.

    Years back I had speed problems with SqueezeCentre where it would stall for several seconds when responding but later builds of the software and the change in underlying database seems to have resolved these. At that time however the SoundBridges provided an alternative and so I bought one.

    I like(d) the SoundBridges because they are totally embedded and physically were nicer than the SqueezeBoxes , also at the time only they supported Rhapsody. I have the M-2000 versions (no longer available) which were much larger and more suitable for message displays. IIRC some smaller units now only display text, and some text and graphics.

    All in all as a consumer product I think the SoundBridges/Radio are more appropriate than SqueezeBoxes as they need no server , but the SqueezeBoxes are more open of course if you're of the disposition to develop an add in. I just bought two BoomBoxes as at the promo 105 price delivered they were amazing value.

    I'm not sure about the clicking on the SoundBridges. It's a very minor - almost inaudible thing anyway on the SBRadio and only noticeable when the device is off at the time. I think it's the fact that the radio has to turn on briefly and the VFD loading on the power supply causes the click. On my SoundBridges the amplifier isn't active at the time so you wouldn't hear this - and also I use a digital audio link.

    I'm afraid though the real love of my music life is now Sonos.. its just one of those 'does what it says on the tin' products and my music habits are veering towards on demand streaming (Napster/Rhapsody/Pandora/Spotify). Although I have Sonos xAP integrated (by a rather circuitous route) there are no OSD display messages on Sonos however..

    I'm a great fan of these embedded solutions - reducing any PC dependencies - and creating islands of functionality using best of breed/affordability solutions with no dependencies eg heating, lighting, music, security. BUT only as long as these islands can be interconnected into my automation setup :-) That's what attracts me to IDRATEK - the fallback Reflex operation plus Cortex which is one of the most visionary pieces of HA software I've come across. It focus on these same functional areas rather than just device control.

    K

    PS Developing a more functional xAP OSD message system for Roku would be nice - I find the priority/timed/queued display features of the SqueezeCentre plugin are most useful.. Cortex can generate (or receive) almost any xAP message so you could include this extra information quite easily.
    Last edited by Kevin; 5th April 2009 at 12:27 PM.

  6. #36
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin View Post
    I think it's the fact that the radio has to turn on briefly and the VFD loading on the power supply causes the click.
    I should also mention that based on posts in the Roku forums many people seem to have experienced power supply failures in Roku Radios, and some have moaned about lack of UK repairs / bad warranty service.

    It also seems there is little work being done on firmware on the units now - last update was a beta nearly a year ago... Since Pinnacle's acquisition it seemed to move from advancing product to static. Napster and Rhapsody still work via Windows Media Connect to handle DRM (ie require a PC) and so you can't play 'on demand' music which is something I use all the time now . You can of course loan/download anything for free with Napster and play it though. The SqueezeCentre products remain far more current..

    K
    Last edited by Kevin; 5th April 2009 at 04:07 PM.

  7. #37
    Automated Home Ninja Andrew Millne's Avatar
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    Sorry to go slightly off topic but do the Squeezebox classic, boom, duet etc. support synchronised music playback?

  8. #38
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Millne View Post
    Sorry to go slightly off topic but do the Squeezebox classic, boom, duet etc. support synchronised music playback?
    Simple and quick answer is yes. If run from Squeezecenter you can run devices seperately or all synchronised together

  9. #39
    Moderator Kevin's Avatar
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    I also wanted to clarify that although you can display messages on the SB's from Cortex (via xAP) it is not a substitue to the IDRATEK DFP's LCD screen capabilities which Cortex manages directly and in a far more interactive way.

    K

  10. #40
    Automated Home Legend Paul_B's Avatar
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    Agreed Kevin, plus you must have Squeezecenter on and running to send messages to any Squeezebox device as the units are pretty dum on their own.

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