Control Computer through TV and play through surround sound

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by LukeM, Nov 2, 2004.

  1. LukeM

    LukeM Auditioning

    Oct 31, 2004
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    I am new to this forum, so please let me know if I should post this elsewhere. Hopefully you guys can help me out.

    I just moved into a house that I had prewired with 2 cat 5e and 2 coaxials to every room. The homerun is in a bedroom closet.

    I have my tv in the family room and my computer in the dining room, several walls from the family room tv. The family room is prewired for 4 wall speaker and a sub, but I have not purchased a receiver or speaker system yet. The tv has composite, component, s-video, computer monitor capabilities.

    My main objective is to be able to turn to one of my video outputs on the TV and be able to view the computer desktop. I plan to get an extension cord for my infrared port so that it can be pulled through the walls and dropped down in the family room. Ultimately, I would like to be able to view the computer on the tv, select songs/movies with the infrared remote and play the sound on the surround sound and video on the tv.

    I would like to do all of this without losing the ability to switch back over to my computers surround sound system. (It has its own altec lansing speaker system). The computer is an "8000" series....I think 8600, but not sure. I bought it a couple years ago.

    If you guys have some suggestions, please let me know. I am very excited about understanding all of the different methods. Again, please tell me if I am posting in the wrong forum.

    Thanks again!

  2. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

    Jul 2, 2001
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    So, you want to use your computer as a "jukebox" that you can control from your TV location. Interesting.

    It is possible (heck, anything is possible). Do you have surround sound capability in your computer, i.e. 5.1 soundcard? If not, you will be limited to stereo.

    The first problem will be getting the computer RGB video to the TV. I ran a cable (about 50' through the walls) between my main computer and my video scaler in the theater equipment rack but I almost never use it. I just didn't find the need to surf the net on a 9' screen. There may be a wireless or infrared link available - involving a box at both ends to convert.

    You'll also need to get the audio to the receiver. You could use the two coaxials you have prewired (you'd be limited to stereo sound), but you probably need them for CATV or satellite. You can run line level audio over CAT5e but this is risky for long runs in walls due to noise pickup. Again, there may be some sort of infrared or RF transciever setup to do this, but I'm not aware of one.

    Finally, you'll need to get mouse control to the TV area. It sounds like you have already addressed this with the infrafed link. It would be nice to be able to control this with your universal remote (who wants a mouse in their theater) but I don't know if any can "learn" infrared mouse codes... I've never researched this.

    This is all a royal pain, though. My suggestion would be to put another computer in the theater (heck, you can get a nice machine these days for a few hundred bucks) and network it with the main computer in the dining room. Home network gear is also very cheap these days, especially the wired variety, which you can do since you have prewired CAT5. You'll get complete control, simplify the wiring, eliminate potential noise and interference problems, the ability to extend this capability to other parts of the house (wireless LAN), more storage for music and eventually movies (will also be stored on hard drive), and you could use it as your DVD (HTPC).

    Another suggestion would be to get a real home music distribution system from Crestron, Niles, Rotel, etc. but you're talking a few grand for a system with sexy keypads and speakers in many rooms.
  3. EricJD

    EricJD Auditioning

    Feb 13, 2004
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    You could also look at a small set top box that streams video/audio from the computer. I use the Hauppauge MediaMVP to view MPG2 file and listen to MP3s that are located on my PC. These devices are ~$100. D-Link sells a wireless version.

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