Home control

Adamp81

Standard Member
Hi all

I am after a bit of advice on choosing technologies and products, I have been searching on various forums and sites and seem to be producing more questions than answers so it would seem I am in need of a little guidance.
I am currently in the process of buying a new house that will need completely redecorating so I would like to add an element of home control and AV control.
Please see below for what I want to achieve
I would like multiroom audio in the following zones:
Living room (5.1 audio for movies)
Kitchen Diner
Bedroom 1
Bedroom 2
Bedroom 3
Bathroom

Lighting and Heating control throughout the house
TV control of LCD in the living room, bedroom and bathroom.

All of which would need to be controlled by touchscreens, one in the living room, one in master bedroom and one on the landing.
I would like to store all equipment in a cupboard so rs232 or ir control is a must, the equipment would be as follows:
Xbox360
Dvd player
Sky stb
AV amp (denon 2807 or Yamaha rx-v2600)
PC containing mp3 and dvd collection

I am quite picky as to the user interfaces that I like the look of, something like the HAI media center interface or netstreams UI appeals to me so I would like the displays on the touchscreens to look similar to those. Please can you advise on what products I could use to achieve this setup?

Thanks in advance

Adam
 
I

IVB

Guest
If you're picky, how about pursuing a DIY solution where you get a package that lets you create your own UI and also control the back-end devices via RS232 or IR?

here's my setup, you'll see that my choice is quite different from what 99% of the populace uses. Mine is geared towards the anti-techie, though.
 

Adamp81

Standard Member
Thanks for your reply, I have been looking into DIY solutions and have read quite a bit of information on homeseer, xlobby mainlobby etc. I have also just read your home theatre HA GUI website and some of the documents on chamed quark and it has definitely given me a few ideas.

looking through your website I am trying to acheive something similar to the goals listed in your vision section but not quite as involved.
In your experience would the following work:
A media closet containing HA/HT server with cqc linked to 3 wall mounted touch screens (all can show same image instance at any given time). On the cqc server would be my music and dvd collection so obviously theatre tek and something like zoomplayer and j.river could be used for playing music and films.

The bit which I am struggling to understand is the multiroom audio, what can be used to send the music from the pc to say around 6 rooms? with the option of playing different tracks in different zones.

I would also like to control something like a denon 3806 av amp. I noticed that CQC supports control via rs232 so i could effectively input sky stb, xbox360 and cqc server into the amp and then output video to multiple lcd tv's in different rooms and 5.1audio to living room for movies

Is the UI completely user designed, would it be possible to design any kind of interface I can imagine?

Lastly (and sorry for all the questions) is it possible to control something like lutron dimmers via cqc.

Many thanks

Adam
 
I

IVB

Guest
I've researched ALL those packages, as late as last Sep when I bought CQC. My entirely personal opinion is that the only options folks should seriously consider are xLobby and CQC, perhaps MediaPortal if they like opensource. None of the other packages make much sense, esp if you look at the price/value point.

The bit which I am struggling to understand is the multiroom audio, what can be used to send the music from the pc to say around 6 rooms? with the option of playing different tracks in different zones.
You need an audio switcher, like the Russound CAV66 pre-amp/amp, or I use the Xantech ZPR68 plus several cheap amps. They map input sources to zones. I use an M-Audio Delta 410 to do 2 concurrent CD streams, you could have up to 4 with the 410, up to 10 with the 1010. That said, I don't think anybody would reasonably play 4 different sources concurrently, i think that's fine.

I would also like to control something like a denon 3806 av amp. I noticed that CQC supports control via rs232 so i could effectively input sky stb, xbox360 and cqc server into the amp and then output video to multiple lcd tv's in different rooms and 5.1audio to living room for movies
Yep, i actually control my 3805 with it. You need a driver for 2-way control. One big upside of CQC is that the development tools are freely distributed to all as part of the base package. There's been some s/w developer types buy CQC lately, and they've been pretty prolific in writing drivers for their own stuff if there's not one that exists.

Is the UI completely user designed, would it be possible to design any kind of interface I can imagine?
Yes, actually that's the huge upside. My templates are freely downloadable, so you can start with those as a base and modify, or just use them to learn.

It gives you 100% complete and total control over the screen, matter of fact most folks start with a blank template and add whatever widget you want in whichever location you want with whatever image you want and font and etc etc etc.

Lastly (and sorry for all the questions) is it possible to control something like lutron dimmers via cqc.
sure, actually it's got a driver for Lutron Homeworks and Lutron RadioRA.
 

Adamp81

Standard Member
Once again thanks for the advice you have been a great help so far.
I think I am leaning slightly towards the cqc route, are there any recommended touch screens? I would like a maximum of 3 screens all connected to the same pc running cqc, is that possible and via what method, would it be some sort of video splitter? to be honest I have never really looked into how touchscreens work or are connected. I have looked at the redradio screens but I don't think I want a 12" screen, something around 6-8" viewable screen would be nice.

I have been reading a few threads on the cqc forum trying to get my head around multiroom audio with russound, jriver, zoomplayer etc. I think realistically I would only ever have a maximum of 3 concurrent audio streams from the hdd at any one time so I think the maudio 410 would be suitable for my needs connected to something like the cam6.6. Then I could use the AV amp for the xbox 360, sky stb video and audio.
What do you have connected to your denon 3805?

One last question, is the inteface nice and fast. It is definitely feature packed but it needs to be quick moving through screens and running events/actions etc.
 
I

IVB

Guest
I've got a cheap Fujitsu 3400 tablet PC with a 10" screen that I wallmounted. Check this thread for a ton of pics. Aesthetically mediocre, but certainly cheap.

For performance, it's pretty zippy. it's all based on what you're controlling. CQC itself is dang fast, but I noticed my 3805 has a lightning fast RS232 response time. I now use a ZPR68 for the whole-house stuff, that serial response absolutely blows.

I have the following input sources. They used to be connected to the 3805 when I only had 3 zones, but now that I expanded to 6, eventually will have 10, I outgrew it. I now use the 3805 as the dedicated HTPC/plasma zone device.
Sources:
1) CD Stream 1 [from M-Audio Delta 410]
2) CD Stream 2 [from M-Audio Delta 410]
3) XM [from Polk XRt12, controlled via RS232]

My 3805 also has
4) DVD/TV via s/pdif off mobo. i mapped the DVD input on the 3805 to digital coax 1.

BTW, CQC has a free 30 day download. I also have some free downloadable skins, so you could probably get it up & running inside of a weekend [probably less], then see for yourself whether it works for you or not. xLobby & MP are free, so checking them all out isn't such a bad idea. No automation via those packages though, strictly one-way IR control, so you couldn't put the status on the screen [ie red button if it's off, green button if it's on]
 

Adamp81

Standard Member
I will definitely make use of the free trial and your downloadable skins. Think I need to do a bit more research on the touch screens for now and then start collecting all the hardware together.
Also I think I will have to go the same route with the amp and just have sky, xbox and dvd connected all sending to main living room with 5.1 speakers, then leave either a russound or some other item to do the rest of the audio along with the pc.
Do you need any of the plugins to control things like jriver, zoomplayer, or the russound equipment or is it just the core software?
 
I

IVB

Guest
Just to make sure we're aligned on the words, the "drivers" for jriver, zp, russound, are all free and part of the core product.
There's something like 5 "modules" available for purchase, which are the DotNetViewer (for PDAs), the app control module (to control software apps that have no driver), webserver, events server (for HA), XML server (for PDAs).

The one thing i've found invaluable is the app control module. Ask over on the CQC forums, but i don't think it's required for JRMC/ZP/russound. However, esp for DVDs, you may find it a very very useful module, as it can add the ability to start & high-level control random apps on remote machines.
 

Adamp81

Standard Member
Yes it was the modules I was referring to, sure I will find out when I download the trail version anyway.
Thanks for all your help, I think you have answered all my questions, just a case of finding the hardware I want now.

Regards

Adam
 

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