Introduction & text overview of my setup

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Vivek_IVB, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi folks. My name is Vivek and I just found the site last night.

    I thought I'd signup as there seems to be quite a large following here, I'll give you an overview of my setup and you can give me any suggestions you feel would improve my setup. I can't post links to my online screenshots as this is my first post, but I can come update this post when I've done that. If you want to see those screenshots, they're at my personal website at www.myhometheaterpc.com. I'd have created a blog, but I wanted to teach myself CSS too [​IMG]

    I'm controlling a variety of HA & HT stuff for my 3 zone system[H/T, LivRm, Patio]. I started down this path a few years ago for just HT, then realized it was going to be dang cheap for me to extend some HA fxnlty.

    I'm controlling a variety of HA & HT stuff for my 3 zone system[H/T, LivRm, Patio]. I started down this path a few years ago for just HT, but I've recently realized it was going to be dang cheap for me to extend some HA fxnlty. Frankly, everything I've ever done has been in the most inexpensive route that I thought was responsible. This doesn't mean I've focused solely on price, rather that I haven't "thrown" $$ away on silly solutions. You'll see the prices on the site - you'll see that my stuff is really rather cheap. I bet I could rebuild the whole thing now for much less than indicated there.

    I've currently got:
    - 2.5 TB in space for DVDs, TV, CDs. This is all controlled via the HA/HTPC.
    - I'm also controlling XM, FM, and soon irrigation & heat. Obviously there's no space/recording rqmts there.
    - I created an integrated front-end myself as I realized that all integrated front-ends suck as they try and build for the mass market, which means they please no one. I used an integrated front-end/back-end package (CQC), to create my own screens with the buttons for both the s/w control as well as device control [my denon receiver, etc], so I got something that I think works well. Sounds hard but each screen only took me 1 hour to create (and endless hours to tweak as I kept changing my mind)
    - I'm focusing on usability & using real art as the backdrop so it's aesethically pleasing and approachable by non-techies as well. Admittedly this is the part I'm most concerned about as I want to make sure the "form" supports rather than hinders the "functionality".

    I've got screens for:
    - Main Menu
    - FamRm H/T Music Controller
    - LivRm Music Controller (can set to same as F/R or different source)
    - TV Main Menu
    - Recorded TV Shows
    - DVD Selection
    - Weather
    - XM Radio
    - House Furnace Control (will be live by 1/31)
    - House Irrigation Control (will be live by 2/15)

    You'll notice nothing for lighting or drapes, that's intentional. I hear the next-gen of zWave PC controllers is due out in March, so I'm going to wait for that to do anything there.

    I'm using CQC, SageTV, JRMC, ZoomPlayer, and TheaterTek to accomplish the current state. As soon as the CQC-Sage driver is out, I'm going to rip out the TV screens and replace them with custom-written screens. That'll leave custom-written screens as the 99% solution, only dropping into native Sage for admin-type fxnlty (i.e., setup video sources). But as you can see, I can make that match the look+feel of everything else, so the user won't notice unless they look at the (lack of a) left-nav.
    I can also use my Siemens Cingular PDA Cellphone to control the music in any of the 3 zones. PDA screenshots are at the end. I've purchased a 10" Fujitsu 3400, but haven't yet wallmounted so I'll spare you those pics [for now]

    Well, that's it for now. Thanks for reading.

    12/27 11pm PST EDIT: Added IMG tags for my pictures. Thanks, Parker.
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    Here's the PDA setup:

    The startup screen: It's a little too busy, but there's nothing I can cut out as it's all needed.

    [​IMG]

    And if you want to know the songs, press that button:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Vivek:

    Welcome to the Home Theater Forum. You have a very nice setup.

    I have increased your post count to 15 so you can post links if you want.

    Parker
     
  3. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for the kind words and the ability to add links.

    I've added in those IMG tags, so now you can see the images directly from this thread.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Vivek,

    That is amazing! Never seen anything like
    it before.
     
  5. Harold Wazzu

    Harold Wazzu Supporting Actor

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    Wow! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Next step might be voice recognition? [​IMG]
     
  6. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    nah, next step is getting ower to smarthome.com and start worknig on a home control system. Maybe look into some serving applications to control the home theater from the office. [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Think bigger - much bigger...

    My wife just shakes her head when I tell her that in
     
  8. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    I would fear a power outage [​IMG]
     
  9. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh ye of little faith [​IMG]

    The route i'm pursuing is that the HA PC doesn't have direct control as I'd be prone to power failures [which here in CA isn't as uncommon as you'd think]. Rather, the HA system controls devices which are themselves standalone operable [i.e., Aprilaire thermostat, Elk panel, etc].

    I'll have no less protection than anyone else, i'll just have an integrated and intuitive reprogramming layer.

    Cuz seriously I can't STAND my Carrier thermostat - it's just so hard to use. The time is still on Daylight Savings Time b/c I have no idea how to reprogram it.
     
  10. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    I use HomeSeer for my basic HA control package. The great thing about it is all the plug-ins that are available for it for various HA hardware and software functionality. Works with X10 and all the various extensions to it like Insteon and the Smarthome stuff, works with Z-Wave, Ocelot, RFID tags, MainLobby, MediaPlayer, Slink-e, HAI Omni, WAP, xAP, Girder, and lots more.

    Power outages aren't an issue because if the power is out and the server goes down, there's nothing to control anyway. [​IMG]

    Right now, it's just controlling light functions throughout the house. I have bigger plans to include multimedia additions and the thermostat, but in terms of HA, I don't want to stay in this house more than another 3-5 years (it's a bit small for my tastes), so I don't want to invest too heavily in HA technology that will be difficult to relocate when it comes time to move.
     
  11. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Looks neat - congrats!

    But, who's going to keep someone from recording or getting the necessary info to, say, open the garage or the front door?

    Mike
     
  12. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm. No idea. When I'm creating the future vision, I prefer to be conveniently unencumbered by the facts [​IMG]

    Seriously, that's a great point I hadn't thought about. I'm sure I'll come up with something. I'll look at this in 6+ months when I'm ready, and I'm sure there'll be many more products on the market. Plus, as the folks over at CQC (my HA/HT package )are well aware of this vision, I'll see if they have any bright ideas about security.
     
  13. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    The garage door issue is one place where the RFID tags would come in handy as a very specific proximity detector (since each tag has a unique ID), whether you have one in a car, on a keychain or some other place.

    With multiple RFID scanners in the home, you can sense where the RFID tag is located and whether it is in motion (if you get the motion sensing kind).

    iAutomate has this stuff, but their software currently only works with Homeseer or Cestron. Perhaps if there is a request, they might write plugins to support other applications.
     
  14. Vivek_IVB

    Vivek_IVB Stunt Coordinator

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    Hmmm. If I put in the RFID infastructure, then I could also get each of my girls an RFID bracelet, and then I could tell where they were; I even have the perfect piece of art for it:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. Michael Travis

    Michael Travis Auditioning

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    thats just to funny, I have three kids so I know what you mean, lol. Very nice setup you have.
     

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