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Most cost-effective way audio, video & control over structuring wiring

382 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  K-Wood
I have the following infrastructure in place:
  • Structured wiring to each room (2 cat5/2 coax)
  • PC-based music server with stored WAVs and multi-output soundcard (Delta 410)
  • Wired home network
  • Wireless home network
  • 2 telephone lines
  • OTA HDTV/FM/UHF, etc. antenna
  • DirecTiVo
  • Existing stereo systems in all rooms in which music would be played (some connected to ceiling speakers)

I would like to be able to distribute line-level audio, baseband (or better) video, and system control to each room. I chose not to pre-install keypads in any rooms, btw.

So, my challenge is to find the most cost-effective way of distributing sound, video, and control to each room, given that I'm already using some aspect of the structured wiring system to distribute the LAN, antenna signals, and the phone lines to each room.

Here are the target rooms and what's available for distribution:
  • Kitchen: 2 cat5, 2 coax available
  • Bedroom: 1 coax, 2 cat5 (1 coax is dedicated to the antenna feed)
  • Study: 2 coax (Cat5 is taken up by phone and LAN)

This leaves me with a Duke's mixture of transmission methods for line-level audio, video, and control. There are plenty of available choices, none of which are perfect: line-level via 2 coax runs, line-level via balanced line drivers over cat5 cable (video this way too); modulated video/audio over coax; etc. But I also need to control everything!

Right now, I'm leaning toward using wireless LAN and PPCs and touchscreens for control.

But I still need a method to distribute audio & video and a means to control what sources go where.

Perhaps a matrix switcher with serial control that I can control with my PC and wireless devices? Or PC software to control my audio card?

Any other ideas on how to skin this cat, short of an expensive proprietary system? Suggestions as to software, or to available matrix switches?



[edited for clarity]
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Ken, great post, I am interested in the same. Would really like to see a standalone device support streaming with HD output and IR or other control. Seems like for the time being a PC with VideoLan streaming is one of the better options due mostly to the flexibility available down the road.
I'm glad someone responded! I was beginning to think that I'd scared everyone away with too much detail.

I've read about VideoLan, but don't know much about it. What type of video quality does it have? Can a similar principal be used to stream music to multiple clients?

One problem I have with more conventional distribution methods, such as a VGA distribution box, is the need to run different resolutions at each location. For example, my plasma runs at 848x480, my bedroom monitor (19" Planar LCD) will support almost any 4x3 resolution, and I will likely have a different monitor in the kitchen. So simply distributing the output from my HTPC's video card isn't going to cut it. VideoLan would solve that problem b/c it is a client/server app, I guess.

For now, I'd settle for a RS232 controlled audio matrix switcher, if I could just find one . . .

- Ken
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