Finally got my media center server and video distribution network setup and working great so I figured I would post and configuration update here.
My goal in putting this system togehter was several-fold. First, I wanted to Migrate my existing DVD collection (1000+ DVDs) over to an electronic format that could easily be distributed throughout the home. The second was the desire to have a PVR capable of both HDTV and SDTV that would allow me to share the recorded programs through the house as opposed to my DirecTV Tivo which each had their own recording programs and could not share them between rooms.
In addition, I was already in need of a multi-core server that would run multiple Virtualized Servers and act as a backup for the remaining systems in my home network (I also do some mission critical Web/Mail hosting and file archiving for Small businesses on the side). I decided to integrate this server into the home media network and act as my storage box.
Without Further Ado, here is my configuration (I can get some pics of the setup if anyone is interested).Server RoomMedia Center Server
DVD Archive Server/Backup Server
- Antec Sonata II Case
- MSI 945P Neo3-F Motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor
- 1GB Corsair RAM
- Lite-On 16X DVD Multi-format Drive
- 1x 80GB Western Digital SATA HDD
- 3x 500GB Western Digital SATA II drives
- 1x Hauppague PVR-500 Tuner (DirecTV Standard Definition)
- 3x Vboxx Communications Cat's Eye 150 HDTV tuners (OTA HDTV)
- 2x VBoxx Communications USB-A-3560 USB HDTV Tuners (OTA HDTV)
- NVidia GeForce 7600GT Video Card
TheaterHTPC DVD Player (Will retire with Transcode 360 works right)
- Coolermaster Stacker 810 Full Size Tower Case
- Asus P5B-VM G965 Motherboard
- Intel Core Duo QX6700 Quad Core Processor
- 4 GB Crucial Technology Ballistix RAM
- 8x Western Digital Caviar SE16 WD5000KS 500GB SATA II Drives (Storage)
- 1x 80GB Western Digital SATA Drive (OS Load)
- HighPoint RocketRAID 2320 8 Channel PCI Express to SATA II RAID Controller
- Antec Fusion HTPC Case
- Intel DG965OT VIIV Motherboard
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor
- 2GB Crucial Ballistix RAM
- Asus EAX1600XT SILENT/TVD Radeon X1600XT PCI Express 256MB DDR3 Video Card
- 1x 80GB Western Digital SATA drive
- Lite-On 16x Multi-Format DVD Writer
General Server/Network Configuration
- Theater HD-DVD/Media Center Extender: XBox 360 with HD-DVD Drive
- Master Bedroom Media Center Extender: XBox 360
- Guest Bedroom Media Center Extender: XBox 360
- Exercise Room Media Center Extender: Linksys V1 Extender (No Digital TV)
The Server room is exhaust vented and cooled to a constant 70 Degrees Farenheit. All machines are connected to an Ultra 1500VA (900WATT) Battery backup system, allowing for about 1 hour of runtime in a power outage.
The home network is based on a Comcast 8MB down/768Kbps Up Internet connection with a Verizon DSL live backup connection. All rooms in the home are wired for Networking and connected to one of two 8-Port D-Link Gigabit switches. I also have wireless 802.11G access via a LinkSys Access point for my Notebook computers and several tablet/wireless monitors.
Each of the XBox 360s and the Theater HTPC are connected to the wired network.Media Center Configuration
My Media Center Server is running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. I had about 1.5TB of local storage for Television programs. I am also running the MyMovies add-on to distribute my DVDs to the XBox 360 Media Center Extenders. Transcode 360 is broken at the moment, so this is not working, but should be fixed soon.
The server is connected to a UHF antenna to pick up OTA HDTV as well as two DirecTV receivers that handle all other programming.
The HTPC in the Theater was my old DVD Server and is still being used to play movies via MyMovies on the TV or projector. I will no longer use this box once Transcode 360 is properly distributing movies.Home Automation
My home is wired for X10 (about 85% of the lights, appliances, etc.) and controlled via a slew of wireless remotes (several in each room) and a Tablet in the kitchen and a Wireless PC that both connect to a webserver provided by my home automation software, HomeSeer2. I have a bunch of keypads throughout the home that run scenes like Movie Time (Dims or turns off all lighting) Downstairs Off (shuts everything down for night time), etc. I have also automated the lighting in my Crown Moulding, below my bathroom cabines and above my kitchen cabinets. Most of this lighting is dimmed to a level that does not take away from the movie (Crown Moulding lights are off) but still allows people to get to the bathroom or kitchen (for snacks) without turning on lights in the theater. My outdoor lighting is also setup to come on at sunset and go off at sunrise.
Well, that is about it. I am pretty happy with everything. I am still working out some kinks with a few parts, such as reliability of the USB HDTV tuners and some of the X10 signals but I am overall very happy with the setup.
Sorry this was so long but I'm like a proud Daddy and, now that it is almost done, I had to tell someone about it.