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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi my name is Nick and I’m really struggling with the planning of a home audio/video distribution retrofit for our new apartment. I have attached a preliminary diagram of what I’m trying to do. You can also see a larger version here: http://www.vimse.com/av_setup_1.jpg


I’m new to this and the drawing might seem childish for some of you gurus, but I think it will help me explain what it is I’m trying to accomplish 


I have spent the last week continuously reading this forum and other specific front end system forums like Meedio and Xlobby. I think I have read almost all newer threads and I’m starting to understand some of the basics, but the bigger picture is still quite fuzzy to me.


I’ll try to explain in words what I need to do:


I would like a central content server that holds all content, DVD’s, Divx Xvid and all pictures and an iTunes library. I’m not yet sure about the tuners and recording TV

Possibilities in this new place because we might only have a normal antenna and no digital TV but this is something we would like to add later. So the central content server should be able to support this future expanding.


The apartment is covering two floors and they’ll both have several zones and I would like to control everything from fixed and portable touch screen clients located in the different rooms.

So if the used frontend is Xlobby, the menu should be shown on all of those devices and awaiting user input. Then it should be possible to browse the content and direct it to the zone selected.

I do not expect the touch screens to be used as video monitors but they should of course show the information about the selected content while it’s being shown on one of the plasmas or the PJ.. or if it’s audio then it should show the cover art and so on.

I’m also planning on creating some home automation so it’s possible to control all lighting from the panels. And these controls should always be at hand so it’s easy to turn on/off all lighting and maybe activate a scene e.g. (entertaining guest or romantic evening with a tap on the screen)


I understand that I might be requiring much from the frontend software and after reading up on the different forums, it feels like multi zoning isn’t really the big priority for these companies and it doesn’t make any sense to me, since I feel it’s one of the main areas the software developers should attend to, and I hope I have overlooked some features somewhere ;-)


I hope some of you friendly HTPC and AV specialists will give me a hand trying to figure out how this can be done and with which products. The cost is not an issue but the simplicity is, I have limited cabling possibilities since this new apartment is somewhat restricted so the less wires the better. Another thing, I would prefer not to have a client PC in every zone since it would make the system less straightforward e.g. then I would need to have them running at all times to support instant action right? I just checked my CPU usage when I play a Xvid movie and it only takes up 5-8% so shouldn’t it be possible for the HTPC to decode Lion king and forward it to zone 2 and Xmen to zone 1 and send of some audio to zone 3 and 4? And still have enough processing power for maintaining a healthy status? I understand that this would require several audio/video outs and I’m not sure if that’s possible but just one of the ideas I hope you’ll shed some light on. :)


This was quite a big post but I hope someone will read it 


Thank you for a great and interesting forum!


- Nick
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I forgot to add the picture sorry.

Another thing I forgot is that it's unlikely that there'll be more than 2 different content sources playing at once. so it would be 2 different zones playing movies or audio or images.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Should I have posted this under another forum? It seems strange that I haven't received any feedback here? :confused:
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickUk
Should I have posted this under another forum? It seems strange that I haven't received any feedback here? :confused:
No, you're not asking in the wrong place, and I think there has been discussions of this type in the past. If you haven't yet, do take some time to work through the old posts here on forum and the archives - though I can't tell you how much material is there. (Haven't looked.)


I *have* accumulated some experience with multizone audio on my HTPC, running two sound cards under XP (no front end) and foobar - and it can be a real headache.


Getting each sound card to (a) work, (b) not conflict with the other card and (c) send its signal to the right place has been something of a nightmare. After something of a rodeo just getting the second card to work (I actually came to the conclusion that I had a hardware defect), I once managed to get the machine set up so that separate intallations of foobar would play to different zones and hold their own settings. Then something went wrong, and now I'm back to manaully changing preferences evertime I start the goshdarn program.


Another route would be to use separate programs for each sound card - but that has some drawbacks too.


Assuming you get it all running, I would definitely recommend using non-PC contrls for volume - partly because of sound quality issues, partly to avoid conflicts.


Just to say ... HTPC multizoning is a great way of learning patience and a philosophical approach to life's many frustrations ... Just don't expect it to actually work.


Not that I've given up yet ...


Mike
 

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I hate answering with such a short post, but I don't know enough about it to write much more.


Check out CQC. It seems to have the capability to do everything you want, all be it at a price.


Wad
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by wad06
I hate answering with such a short post, but I don't know enough about it to write much more.


Check out CQC. It seems to have the capability to do everything you want, all be it at a price.


Wad
I appreciate all comments :) thank you
 

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Use J Rivers MediaCenter11 on a central server. Put all your media on drives accesible to MC11. Configure MC11 to output diff zones to diff pairs of soundcard outputs. Use a soundcard with multichannels (just about all). Put an integrated amp on the soundcard output pairs. Can be a cheapy garage sale variety (non multichannel theater amp will do). Set the amp volume to max that you would want for each zone. The PC volume is what controls the volume between 0 and your set point (set on the receiver).


You can use RDP from other PCs to control MC11 which would be running on XPPRo. This is the low budget way to control from other pcs.


Best way is to buy MainLobby / MusicLobby addon and have a great UI on each PC or TabletPC that is networked to the MC11 server.
 
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