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Total Media Distribution

sonnysonny Junior MemberPosts: 208
Most of my jobs still include dedicated source equipment on a per room basis (even though some of it is centrally located). However, I have a job coming up where the client has agreed to a full media distribution system. I thought a philosophical discussion would be nice, as well as some ideas from some of you that have implemented systems in this fashion.

Considerations....

Head end - I envision a pool of sat receivers, couple of DVD players, hopefully a MAX or some other DVD server, maybe basic cable for backup. Could also have video cameras. All coming in to an matrix switcher. Design issues include how to handle different input types, i.e. component from the SAT receivers, composite from video cameras.

Distribution - Probably CAT5/6 at this point, maybe fiber in the future. Would be nice to have a rack mount, hub-style unit vs. the on-wall transceiver type a la ADA, Extron. I would think a proper pre-wire would still be an RG6 w/ probably 2 Cat5's to the display.

I haven't seen pricing on the Endeleo stuff yet, but this would basically solve both of these, but are price levels ok for a typical residential budget.

Display - Seems pretty straightforward at this point, Cat5 receiver with component/audio out. Would probably also pre-wire for local input...local DVD player, Game system, etc.

Room Control/User Interface - An MVP 8400 in each room would be nice, but my typical client's wouldn't budget that for 8-10 rooms. The new remotes are nice, however, it appears the R3 & R4 don't have local IR for direct TV control. Another nice feature would be the capability to display an interactive menu on the TV for controlling sources. Any ideas on this?

Finally, realiability of controlling sat receivers via IR remains a big issue. Hopefully the new DirecTV pro receiver will be much more reliable. I haven't played with the USB port on the H20, but that may be a solution as well.

It may be a couple of years/decades away, but a simple distribution network for both audio/video that doesn't need to be converted outside the destination equipment would be lovely. Just plug in an RJ45 and be done with it. Maybe 1394 will get there

Comments

  • NMarkRobertsNMarkRoberts Junior Member Posts: 455
    Interactive menu on TV
    sonny wrote:
    Another nice feature would be the capability to display an interactive menu on the TV for controlling sources.

    Now that's a very cool idea. Like using the menu on DVD media.

    Use G3 web control and convert the VGA output from the PC to whatever the TV can handle - for display only. (Might have to make it 800x600 for clarity.)

    Implement menu/up/down/left/right/OK in code, with pushes coming from the handheld. Make sure it behaves just like a DVD menu.

    Design the button layout in TPD3 but implement it in the code, with a button table including position, size, colours, icons and "meaning". On boot write all the button characteristics to the browser tp. Now you know for sure where the buttons are so your code can decide which one to go to when a nav button is pressed.
  • yuriyuri Junior Member Posts: 861
    keep the TV/DVD control local. Why would you want to have everything centralized?
    Think of the problems you might encounter when people switch their remotes? The remote from the dining room will not work in the kitchen, and vice versa.
    And if you keep everything centralized, you are still going to have to have a TV receiver for every room, since everyone wants to watch something different at the same time...

    I'm not really into the Endeleo but if its anything like a Mediastar, that could be a solution. You would still have problems like how to power on the local tv? Via RS232? How are you going to manage volume? Local TV or ceiling speakers? If using local tv, how are you going to control it? RS232? IR?
    How are your going to recover from crashes? If the frame crashes, are suddenly dies, you can't control anything :)

    In my opinion total home control isn't really necesarry, at least not using one system.
    I would like to control my lights using AMX, but i would also want to control it "by hand"
    And another thing, i dont like touchpanels for controling stuff like DVD's or TV. I have to have a remote in my hand, because i want to control something "eyes closed" so usage of the R series remote is a must. (Although i havent used them, they look pretty nifty)
  • sonnysonny Junior Member Posts: 208
    And if you keep everything centralized, you are still going to have to have a TV receiver for every room, since everyone wants to watch something different at the same time...

    not really, I have a client that has 23 satellite receivers in a house where 4 people live full time. Having a pool of 8 receivers, for example, would be much easier to manage. In addition, many of these are plasma's or LCD's hanging on walls, so having little mini-equipment areas in closets or pantries is required, which complicates wiring and system troubleshooting, not to mention the problems with IR or RF control of hidden equipment.

    As far as the local control goes, having local IR control of the TV power and volume is a must. If the room is equipped with in-ceiling speakers, an option to link them to whatever the source is currently active on the TV is a must.

    As far as system failures go...a provision probably needs to be made for losing the switcher or central controller.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    sonny wrote:
    not really, I have a client that has 23 satellite receivers in a house where 4 people live full time. Having a pool of 8 receivers, for example, would be much easier to manage. In addition, many of these are plasma's or LCD's hanging on walls, so having little mini-equipment areas in closets or pantries is required, which complicates wiring and system troubleshooting, not to mention the problems with IR or RF control of hidden equipment.

    As far as the local control goes, having local IR control of the TV power and volume is a must. If the room is equipped with in-ceiling speakers, an option to link them to whatever the source is currently active on the TV is a must.

    As far as system failures go...a provision probably needs to be made for losing the switcher or central controller.
    I've had to deal with a similar situation, but for different reasons. My customer has both DirectTV and Dish Network ... but the original house wiring wouldn't accommodate more than the original DirectTV feeds to local receivers. There are only 4-5 locations where the Dish Network needs to be available, but he has a full subscription to the Asian/Indian stations, of which there are twelve. Our solution was to install 12 receivers in a rack and modulate each one on the CATV band (he has no cable, just the satellites). The local VCR's tune them, and when selected, I send a command to the NetLinx box at the distribution to make sure the selected receiver is on the correct channel. There are also local controls to override the channel for the odd pay-per-view selection, and necessary menu operations.

    I probably could have gotten away with less receivers, but in this application, there was a very real chance of conflicts over a single box, so I took the safe way out and dedicated one per channel. The distribution goes through the house (it's actually using the DirectTV distribution with diplexors), and there are AMX panels all over, so I have full control of them from anywhere.

    This is definitely a situation where I may have considered the Endeleo, if it had been known to us when we did the work. The customer also has a dual MMS900 MAX system.

    But we most deliberately made local systems as local as possible outside of the necessary shared sources. Each TV location has its own DirectTV receiver (with DVR of some sort), DVD player, and VCR. All of the local systems also have their own NetLinx master, which talk to a central one for shared devices. The idea was that in case of any network or equipment failure, it wouldn't take down the entire system. With the advent of boxes like the NI-9000 and 7000, it becomes even easier to justify a decentralized system like that. A "smart home" isn't so smart if just one box breaking down makes the customer unable to operate anything. I hate panic service calls, and will do anything in my power to avoid them ever being necessary.
  • sonnysonny Junior Member Posts: 208
    thanks Dave...I've got a system I inherited that was very poorly designed with several single points of failure, and it is a pain (although I have clients with 15 tvs in there house, and they'll still call on Saturday night when the one Sat receiver they want to watch hangs up) This one also modulates sat receivers with the ability to change the channel on the receiver your watching, but modulation is not a solution for all tvs in an upscale environment, IMO.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    I consider modulation a last-ditch solution, myself. But sometimes it's the only one you have. It never would have worked in the job I cited if he had cable or an antenna - way too many channels to step on; the filtering would have been a nightmare.
  • alexanboalexanbo Junior Member Posts: 282
    One compelling reason we've been using to sell centralized solutions is for the DVR functionality. If you have multiple display locations in the house with local Sat Receivers/DVR boxes then the client has to remember where he recorded something. When we centralize the sources, we can assign each person their own DVR and then the client can access it on any display.
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