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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking for a TFT touch-screen (or, preferably, a PanelPC) that can be mounted into a wall, with a screen size of approximately 6" or so. Actually the screen size isn't as important as is the bezel width: it can't be any wider than 9" (23cm). The idea is for the touch-screen to hook up to MC9 to control my existing multi-room audio setup.


Any ideas? I've been looking for one of these for about 2 years now, and I'm getting a littel depressed at my lack of progress. The Crestron TPS-3000L is nice, but it's way too proprietary and I just can't justify the ridiculous price, especially since I would also need to buy a Crestron controller. An even closer contender was the CorAccess Companion 6, but it's 1 inch too wide, and while it's far more standards-based than Crestron, I'm still a little unsure as to how well it would hook up to MC9. I'm a Windows programmer, so I can do a lot, but it seems like there is no-one else doing this with the Companion, so I wonder whether the hardware is up to it.


I've also considered going down the PocketPC route, or just putting laptops around the house, but I really like the idea of an in-wall system much better.


Any and all feedback would be appreciated.
 

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Don't know about touchscreens but if you do go down the pocketpc or tablet route look at www.netremote.org.


Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, there's MusicLobby PPC s well at http://www.cinemaronline.com/musiclobbyppc.html, and I'd happily go either of those routes if I could find a PPC that can be mounted on a wall. If I could find a PPC with a wall-mount, then it would work quite well: it'd be up there on the wall most of the time, but if you wanted to, you could pull it off the wall-mount and use it as a hand-held remote.


Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a single PPC with a wall-mount charger: they all come with desktop charger stands. If anyone knows of a PPC with a wall-mount charger option, please post!
 

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I posted a thread regarding this not too long ago. I would love to find a product like this. Ideally, I would like a higher resolution than what a Pocket PC provides, but this would be an acceptable solution.


I have not been able to find anything of the appropriate size, but I am now watching the displays that are being created for cars as there may be something developed in this arena that can be wall mounted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Right: the 4" PPC display size is really a little bit small: that's another reason why I haven't been too keen to go the PPC route.


I see that many people have gone with a 7" 800x480 touch-screen designed for in-car use, but the cabling that would require is a little bit daunting: 1 x VGA, 1 x power, 1 x USB, and 1 x audio. That's 4 cables, and the power cable can generate both heat and interference.


By comparison, a "PanelPC"-type product like the Companion 6 only needs a power cable: everything else can go digitally via 802.11g, which is a real plus for me, since I live in a turn-of-the-century apartment.


For a VGA device, you'd also need a PC on the other end for each touch-screen. Or maybe you could hook up several touch-screens to one PC? I don't know whether the touch-screen drivers support that sort of operation or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just thought I'd post to say that I've been trying to find out the price of the CorAccess Companion 6 for a while now. Like most of these types of units, it's a closely-guarded secret, but I called up a dealer (ASIHome) just now, and was quoted a price of $US1730. That's nowhere near as expensive as Crestron, but it's still far from cheap: you could buy 5 PPCs for that sort of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for posting about those Xantech touchpads, wjchan - I hadn't seen them before. They look really sleek, although Xantech's website is *very* light on info: there's nothing but a photo and a very brief spec list. Frankly I'm a bit doubtful as to whether they're really up to 2-way control (eg showing track name, artist, etc). There's no install guide up there yet, hopefully that's "coming soon". It requires an RS-232 cable in addition to power, which is much better than a VGA display, but very low-bandwidth. An 802.11g model would really be preferable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That TDVision Tablet PC doesn't fit the bill at all, I'm afraid:


1) Too big

2) No wall-mount option as far as I can see

3) It has a hard drive (noisy).

4) It requires 50W of power, which is going to make it hot, and means it probably has a fan.


If I was going to go for something like that, I'd choose Viewsonic's v110 Smart Display, but it doesn't offer a wall-mount option, either.
 

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If you can control your software using a web interface, you could use a 3Com Audrey. It has an 8" color 640x480 touchscreen. It is a lot more work to get it to integrate, but it only costs $100. I am using one as a touch screen remote for my home theater. I have a web server serving PHP pages to it, which send tcp/ip commands to Girder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Expensive? That thing's a BARGAIN compared to the PanelPCs I've been looking at. It's the 7" screen I was referring to earlier. While it is a very nice screen, it doesn't appear to have a wall-mount option, and like I said earlier, the cabling is problematic: it requires 4 cables (or 3 if you skip audio). If you were building a new house and could find a tidy way of wall-mounting these, it'd be a very interesting option. But for me, it'd be very difficult to get 4 cables to all the places where I want to mount these screens.


That's why I'd rather find a solution that supports 802.11b/g for data communication. If nothing comes up in this thread, I may just end up going with a PPC solution for now. I could probably get an IPAQ charging cradle to act like a wall-mount with a bit of fiddling. At least I can always sell the PPCs later if something better comes out in the future. Considering I've already waited 2 years for the "perfect solution" to this problem and it still hasn't arrived, maybe I should just go for a temporary solution.
 

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Does anyone have experience using one of the Xenarc screens? I would love to be able to tweak my HTPC without using my projector or lugging a CRT to the living room. I am just curious about how well the extended desktop works ...
 

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Have you looked into wall-mounting tablet PCs..? Dan installed Progears throughout his house (as I recall, they go for under $1k) has always had me drooling. Take a peek at it here , looks might clean imo. There's also some info on pads from Siemens in a discussion at the netremote site.


Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow, now that *is* cool! I hadn't even thought about removing the bezel completely and mounting them inside the wall like that. Hmmm. This is a whole new angle. The problem, of course, is getting access to them if they break. Dan solved that issue by mounting them where there is a cupboard behind, but that would only be possible in one of my rooms (the bathroom). In all the other rooms, it wouldn't be possible. Pity, since I agree Dan's in-wall solution is as in-wall as it gets, and it really looks cool!
 

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Dan rocks... ;)


Brian
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
OK now I just spent some time checking out Tablet PCs. I found the Fujitsu ST4000. It good PC Magazine's Editors Choice, is the perfect width (8.8"), and fits the bill in every way really. It doesn't come with a wall-mount kit, but after seeing Dan's wall-mount trick, I could do something along those lines.


The only problem is the price: $2200 - OUCH! That's more expensive than a Companion 6, but for your money you get a fully-functioning Windows XP PC with a 10.4" screen, so this baby would be capable of running the full Windows version of MusicLobby (or any number of other front-end apps). Still, $2200 is an awful lot of money.


For half that, I could get a ViewSonic AirPanel 10.4" smart display. That would require me to setup Windows Server 2003, but that's not a problem. Theoretically, it should give me the same flexibility as a Tablet PC, but the one review I found of it was scathing. Does anyone here have any experience with these things?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Or of course there's the TDVision 8.4" Tablet PC that Jeff Bell pointed out to me earlier in this thread. I hadn't considered running it in portrait mode and building it right into the wall itself. Jeff - do you have any more details about that thing? Like dimensions and price?
 
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