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Thread: Systems Overviews

  1. #1
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default Systems Overviews

    Hi,

    Having just purchased a new house - or rather an old house - I'm looking to add some networking, AV distribution and lighting control.

    I'll start with some basic system requirements and see if someone can point me at suitable products for me to go away and investigate. I'll identify likely candidates with what I understand about them and would appreciate alternatives where people can suggest. Pros and cons would also be excellent.

    My definition of suitable - means I can fit them. I'm a competent DIYer whose confident routing cables, configuring electronic devices and connecting things up.

    The big difficulty I have is understanding what in practise can be done with the different products - and which ones are available in the UK.

    I require:
    1. A way of streaming music and video around the house from a media server. Something like twonky perhaps.

    2. Some devices to receive the media and display it/play it. I currently have a DSM320 - but it can't do my number one requirement and stream synchronously into multiple rooms. How do I do that?

    3. A way of connecting multiple TVs upto the terrestial aerial. Options here seem confusing to me.... i can run coax cable round the house and use an amplifier... or I can use something like KAT5 and convert the signals to IP traffic - but does that mean I can watch different channels in every room? Coz that's what I want to do.

    4. I'd like to have a number of rooms with the ability to have scene lighting, including the bathroom. I'm not sure I need to link the rooms - unless its a fairly cheap additional option. I'm very wary of X10 - sounds dubious to me using existing wiring and I don't like the idea of having to fault find any crosstalk issues.

    I'll be wiring the house with a CAT5 network point in everyroom, probably with two cables as the advice everwhere seems to be put more in than you need. In general I'm happy wiring stuff up, I have a wireless network for my laptop but I reckon we are a fair way away from 1Gbs wireless speeds, and streaming high quality video to multiple sources sounds like it'll quickly into the wireless bandwidth - especially as its shared.

    One other idea I've had... my new PC arrives on Friday. That's a windows media centre one, which I plan to use as a Video Recorder.... dumping the output to the media server in the future allowing me to subsequent watch the recordings. Kinda of two phase approach.

    Any hints and advice are much appreciate,

    reqards

    Ian

  2. #2

    Default Re: Systems Overviews

    Quote Originally Posted by iturner1
    3. A way of connecting multiple TVs upto the terrestial aerial. Options here seem confusing to me.... i can run coax cable round the house and use an amplifier... or I can use something like KAT5 and convert the signals to IP traffic - but does that mean I can watch different channels in every room? Coz that's what I want to do.
    Hi Ian,

    If you want to distribute the Terrestrial aerial to several TV's you need a UHF distribution amplifier and good quality coax to each room. I would recommend using CT100 or similar satellite grade coax.

    The UHF band covers 470-860Mhz which far exceeds the bandwidth of CAT5 cable.

    KAT5 is NOT an IP streaming system, it does not use ethernet and cannot be connected to a hub or router. KAT5 takes unbalanced audio and video signals from your AV equipment and converts them into high quality balanced signals for distribution over the physical medium of CAT5 cable using all 4 pairs. KAT5 also forwards the SCART switching signals and relays IR signals back to the source equipment. The resultant picture is exactly the same as would be obtained if the source and display were located close to each other and connected directly by an AV cable.

    Hope that helps

    Regards

    Keith
    KAT5.tv - affordable high quality AV Distribution
    http://www.kat5.tv

  3. #3
    Automated Home Sr Member danward79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Systems Overviews

    For streaming, I use NetRemote for my streaming stuff.

    For music, it uses J River Media Center on the server. this has the ability todo several zones of audio, whcih can all be sync'd. The output of your sound cards (zones) could connect to something like the kat5 system or you can pump it straight into amps and also route speaker cable, to each room.

    For control you can use a pda or touchscreen, I have two pda's and a progear. There are loads of cool, very nice interfaces.

    For video. I also have a 1.75Tb Raid 5 array which stores all my DVD's eith as ISO's (images) or in the case of series (e.g. CSI) as AVI's or as ifo files, these show on the pda / progear as cover art images with all the info from dvd profiler. You "click" / select a dvd with the option of reading about it etc, playing it etc.

    I then select which one I want to play and presto it appears on a telly / screen near me, via a htpc. again you could output from the server onto a kat5 tv device I guess, and route video and audio to a tv/screen, in any room.

    I also use NetRemote for displaying my weather, lighting, webcams and anything else I can think of. One chap controls his train set with it via webcams! Some of this stuff also requires girder.

    check out www.promixis..com

    I am a bit biased, as I have been developing my system for two years or so. I am a bit hooked. Infact I just moved flat and am in the process (still) of rewiring.
    Cheers

    Dan

  4. #4
    Automated Home Lurker
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    Default

    Thanks for the pointers.....

    I now see what KAT5 is used for, I guess that's not what I'm looking for.

    The other option for J Media Centre sounds okay for music - I had a quick look at the site. It looks like you use multiple sound card one for each zone and use software to send different (or the same music to each zone).

    However, I'd like to be able to do video and I think the media server / DSM320 type client is probably the type of system I'm after to satisfy that. Unfortunately I think there are issues with ripping DVDs, as I'm beginning to realise now my new PC arrived yesterday.

    First impressions of the HP media center aren't great. In fact windows media center is crap.... i hate software that assumes all users are idiots and instead of giving you options and errors just tries to do everything for you.

    The PC has a Personal Video Recorder card - however, I suspect I need to get my UHF distribution amplifer and wiring plugged in as it refuses to auto tune in - and the damn thing seems to have no instructions and no manual tuning options!

    I've also realised that despite having a DVD writer it doesn#t have software for DVD ripping - which I was hoping to do - generating content that I can stream to me DSM320.

    thanks for the help so far,

    Ian

  5. #5
    Automated Home Sr Member danward79's Avatar
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    Default Re: Systems Overviews

    Hi,

    The other option for J Media Centre sounds okay for music - I had a quick look at the site. It looks like you use multiple sound card one for each zone and use software to send different (or the same music to each zone).
    Yeah that is right. However you would use NetRemote as a frontend. That way you could handle video seamlessly.

    First impressions of the HP media center aren't great. In fact windows media center is crap.... i hate software that assumes all users are idiots and instead of giving you options and errors just tries to do everything for you.
    I use SageTV. This does everything and more that MC can do.

    For DVD Ripping / burning I use the late ( :evil: ) DVD Decrypter.
    Cheers

    Dan

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