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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I am a a/v newbie so bare with me if my questions seem amature. I have done some research and was wondering if I could get some feedback & answers to my design.

My goal is to create a whole house A/V system that is run from Vista Media Center (MCE).

From this I would require:

- 2 x LCD touch screens controlling system (i.e. providing MCE interface). Controlled via WI FI enabled serial servers.

- 5 zones: 1 x home cinema on projector with 5.1 surround sound , 4 x two speaker stereo zones. I don't require that the stereo zones be able to play independent sources, but that I can play multiple zones at once.

- I would like to have MCE as the only interface so ideally I dont want to introduce seperate av receivers or PCs into the different zones. This is because they would introduce their own knobs & buttons not controllable from the LCD screens. I looked at Matrix Switches & Distribution Amps with serial conrollers but I cant see how to get the sound from the RCA, HDMI etc output to the speakers without an av reciever.

Any help is much appreciated.


Guy Derriman

25 Posts
I have the same kind of challenge in my mind as yours. Currently my thoughts are:

a) Distributing Audio - From a centralised Server, use USB to transfer audio to your different points (USB Superbooster Wallplate Kit http://www.cablestogo.com/product.as...1521&sku=29342 ). Then to convert USB to audio signals using:

- USB Audio Output such as this ( http://www.audio-magus.com/product_p/ud101.htm )

- Keep it simple with this package - USB Amp + Speaker Combo ( http://www.audio-magus.com/product_p/pac2t20jb3.htm )

Good news - great clean audio signal

Bad news - can vista handle more than 1 soundcard?

Check this review out where this reviewer had to use a mac for this ( http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/kingrex2/u.html )

b) Distributing Video - HDMI Splitters distributing video to the different zones ( http://www.cablestogo.com/product.as...3612&sku=40927 ). Add this with HDMI wall plates and you can run pretty long distances ( http://www.cablestogo.com/product_li...?cat%5Fid=3608 )

c) Controlling MCE - USB route with MCE Remote and Keyboard

d) LCD Touch Screen - biggest problem is to run 2 displays (1 with 1080p and the other most likely a XVGA LCD Touchscreen). I think you will need a secondary video card. Haven't tried this yet. Problem is, will it display the same full display at different resolutions.

Hope this helps!

212 Posts
Just a quick note about those USB wall adapters - they're not really necessary.

I followed this guide for a ~80ft run of USB over shielded Cat5e with Cat5e keystone connectors on each end without a hitch.

In my case, I cut a USB extension cable in half then terminated each end with a rj-45 connector.

Those wall adapters appear to be the exact same thing only in a custom case.

I didn't realize how simple it was until I came across the guide one day. It might be worth considering while you're still in the planning stages and if it works for you as well as it has for me, maybe that extra $119 could come in handy somewhere else.
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