Best audio+video whole-house system to integrate with iTunes & Tivo? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-04-2010, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi - I'm building a new house and trying to figure out what kind of system to put in. I'm a relative newbie but have been educating myself on these forums.

This will be a professionally-done project. But, one thing I am learning is that any given dealer generally knows only one kind of system, so it's difficult to get advice from a dealer on which system to choose - they just sell you their own and explain why its deficiencies are things you don't want . So any advice from this community would be much appreciated.

The house is 3000sf and will have ~10 audio zones, ~3 TV screens, and 1 home-theater.

I would like the system to integrate really well with iTunes and Tivo. The first proposal that I got from a professional basically was to convert/copy all my content over to a different "high-end" media server, but I'm not too excited about that, primarily because of UI. For my own personal taste, iTunes is my preferred library manager, AppleTV is my preferred library browser, and Tivo is my preferred broadcast-TV browser. I haven't tried everything, so there might be equally well-designed stuff out there, but UIs I have tried that I personally don't care for include boxee, comcast/uverse DVRs, Windows Media Center.

All our music is in iTunes and we are heavy iPod users. The ability to pull different music in different zones from the iTunes library is a must.

I've got 100-odd DVDs already ripped into iTunes .mp4 format using Handbrake. I'm ok with using a different format for new content - either a jukebox or an ISO server - which would certainly give better picture quality, but on the other hand I expect to be buying a lot less content in future and renting/streaming more, so handling a huge bluray library (for example) is not high on the priority list.

Netflix on-demand and Hulu are likely to be our main streaming sources. These I expect I can access either from the Tivo in the basement rack, or locally on each screen with their new built-in Internet "tuners".

What I am thinking about to do this is Control4 + Extra Vegetables.
The Control4 would also be used for lighting and security.

Based on what I've read here, we would wire each TV location with 4xCAT + 2xCOAX. Initially one Tivo, one AppleTV, and one disc player in the basement, distributed over the CAT cable via matrix switch controlled by the Control4; but with the ability to put local sources out at the TVs locations in future if that becomes more interesting for any reason.

A few questions for the community:

1. Are there any big negatives to the C4+EV approach? Or to other things I've described?

2. What other solutions should I be considering for iTunes + Tivo integration?

3. I've read that Control4 is wireless, so I suspect it must compete with 802.11 for spectrum. Has anyone tested to see whether and how-much 802.11 throughput is impacted when Control4 is running?

4. Can the Extra Vegetables integration do different music in different zones off of one AppleTV, or do I need one ATV per simultaneously used zone? What about video?

5. What am I not asking that I should be asking?
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-04-2010, 04:10 PM
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ottosmo,

I will let others address the C4 questions. I will answer re: Crestron, since you asked about it in the other thread:

1. Tivo is a no-brainer with any system. It's just a device to control.

2. Full iTunes integration is easy and Crestron has two products that address it, one a dock that you put your ipod in and out of at will. Another a "server' which you actually permanently put an ipod inside of, and it constantly and automatically syncs with your iTunes library.

3. Apple TV is also full integratable.

Quote:
The ability to pull different music in different zones from the iTunes library is a must.

If you mean that you want to be able to listen to different songs in different areas at the same time, that is a function of your music server. One way to accommodate that would be to have two (Crestron) iservers that sync off of iTunes. Alternatively, you could use a multi-zone music server from a company like Request that has the capability to sync with iTunes.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-04-2010, 04:59 PM
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Look at Savant AV, their systems are based on Apple computers and run iTunes natively.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-05-2010, 10:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Good suggestions, thanks! Anyone know a good Savant integrator in the San Francisco Bay Area?
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-06-2010, 06:09 PM
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Your best as far as finding a Savant Dealer is to go to their website and then click on find a dealer, you'll enter your info and then they'll hook you up with a local CI.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-06-2010, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks - I know I can do that to find an integrator - was looking for a recommendation of a good integrator.

Whatever system the manufacturer uses to allocate sales leads is not necessarily the same one that serves my interest as a buyer .
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