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Author Topic: Home Theater Upgrade  (Read 16223 times)

HA Dave

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #30 on: January 25, 2015, 09:20:30 AM »

Here is the "bathroom TV" (just off the theater) showing the Blue Ray setup screen. It was originally intended to be a little bit of a wow factor that I had setup using X10 (radioshack) video sender/receivers (back then... I also simulcast movies to a "smoking area"). Now the image is down-verted from HDMI to composite video, then converted to channel 3 and delivered to the TV via it's coax cable. 

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dhouston

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #31 on: January 26, 2015, 08:34:59 AM »

At one time... I had my own Web Site but that got too complex (and a little expensive). I had, had pictures of my Home Theater setup there as well as some other projects.
HostMonster usually offers very attractive monthly rates for the first year.
http://www.hostmonster.com/?lo=1

The home theater is impressive. I sold my last house 35 years ago when I became totally disabled so I've never considered anything similar. One of my sons does have a projector but his setup is more mundane.
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HA Dave

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #32 on: January 26, 2015, 10:16:28 AM »

The home theater is impressive. I sold my last house 35 years ago when I became totally disabled so I've never considered anything similar. One of my sons does have a projector but his setup is more mundane.

Thanks The finished basement came with the home. It was a great space for children to play... but our kids are grown. In 2006 we saw a friends home theater and decided to use the extra space for that. If I was building a new Home Theater today.... I don't think I would do it the same way at all.

But the grand kids love the space when they visit. And when it's too cold (like now) or hot outside the wife and I have a place to escape to. It was the theater that got me into X10. Starting the movie... then getting back up to turn off the lights was a hassle and seemed like a distraction. My Internet search for a solution... brought me here.

I tried the "(Sony) TV Sideview" on my iPhone the other day. I am still attempting the "mirroring". I think a (more-or-less) dedicated tablet might work best at that task.... and my old [ice cream sandwich] X10 era D-Pad... might be too old. I like the function where the app sees what is playing on the Blue Ray player and accesses all the movie and cast info.

I think there will always be some collecting of movies... I think. But the wife and I are ready to move into streaming the movies we watch.
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dhouston

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2015, 08:50:31 AM »

After about 10 days experience and some refining of my setup I can give the Lenovo Q190 an unqualified thumbs up as an HTPC.

It's running Windows 8.1 with a Start8 Windows 7 style Start button/menu. It's a fairly powerful PC so should work well for Windows based Home Automation applications. It has 6 USB ports so can connect to peripherals. There are optional add-on DVD R/W or Blu-ray player drives. The fan is inaudible unless you are within a few inches. I doubt I'll ever need the 500GB HDD but others may find it useful. I believe it's eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 10. I'm not certain that it can be downgraded to Windows 7 but it included MS Office so think that means it's a business PC which does allow for downgrading (with a W7 DVD).

I have Firefox running with tabs for Google News, Amazon, Netflix, Crackle, Google Calendar, this forum and local weather, switching seamlessly between them. The user interfaces for Amazon Prime and Netflix are easier to navigate than the Vizio Apps that came with my Smart TV. I did find I needed to be closer to read prompts, etc. so have rearranged the furniture accordingly.

I'm using an MS wireless USB KB/Touchpad. I have disabled the swipes, etc. so the touchpad now only supports moving the mouse cursor and right/left mouse buttons. I'm not sure it works the same way for other interfaces but, for Amazon, the KB spacebar pauses the video and the L/R arrow keys are equivalent to FF & RW. I would like a larger mouse cursor but that's not an option with my setup.

It connects to my network via WiFi and can see a 1TB HDD attached to my router via USB.
 
It would be very handy if the KB incorporated a learning IR remote in order to eliminate the TV remote.

I did not need this as I have Amazon, Netflix & Crackle Vizio Apps but, with new streaming sources popping up daily, it should provide some future proofing. And, it has made the laptop I kept beside my recliner superfluous.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 09:01:48 AM by dhouston »
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HA Dave

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2015, 10:57:14 AM »

............. It would be very handy if the KB incorporated a learning IR remote in order to eliminate the TV remote.

I did not need this as I have Amazon, Netflix & Crackle Vizio Apps but, with new streaming sources popping up daily, it should provide some future proofing. And, it has made the laptop I kept beside my recliner superfluous.

My upstairs TV is dumb (as in not smart) I've been using an IR device with an app on my iphone to control the TV and cable box (although not a perfect solution). I am also running the Roku app on both the iphone and an android tablet. I also use both my tablet (old D pad android) and my phone to view my security cameras.

So many many options! I wonder if the best "future proof" might not be the idea of adding an antenna you posted earlier.

I can see my laptop being replaced with a tablet soon. I wanted to look something up quick the other day and my laptop was off. But my phone lay there on the end stand... so I just asked Siri. It's really all about processor speed. I run the Melloware X10 commander to control my X10 with my iphone (it also requires a server PC). I CAN"T WAIT for X10 or SOME ONE to offer an Internet device that will replace the server PC's OR maybe let me use a tablet (as a server) to control my home.

I can see having a tablet by my chair for surfing, shopping, reading, forums..... and even Facetime calls with the grandkids. I've already switched to laptops as server PC's for the HA control.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 11:05:36 AM by HA Dave »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2015, 11:24:54 AM »

I CAN"T WAIT for X10 or SOME ONE to offer an Internet device that will replace the server PC's OR maybe let me use a tablet (as a server) to control my home.
You might want to look at Home Genie I have it running on an Android mini PC.
If you could install Linux or Windows to your tablet, a tablet as a server is totally possible, however you'd need a x10 interface hooked to it.

I've been playing with B4J (a cross platform development tool) and creating a server program.
Currently what I have runs on a windows PC and talks to PCC for home control and other tasks.
However others have used the tool and wrote a server for a RasberryPie which controls their Home via X10.
 
« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 11:26:51 AM by Tuicemen »
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HA Dave

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2015, 06:24:10 PM »

.... You might want to look at Home Genie I have it running on an Android mini PC.
If you could install Linux or Windows to your tablet, a tablet as a server is totally possible, however you'd need a x10 interface hooked to it.

That little CM19 firecracker that looks like a PV mouse should work. That is what I use with the melloware (on the mini netbook-like) PC. Someone ought to built the Banana Pi computer boards loaded with software, drivers, and a dongle (and maybe the firecracker). With an HDMI out port... it could be hung behind a TV and the TV could be the monitor when needed.

Maybe somebody could solder them up in Urbana, Illinois... and call them HAL... or start the a company and name it Cyberdyne? Or pair the Pi computer board with a google tablet so the device could be voice controlled.... and maybe made to talk.

I know we're close to some really hi-tech lifestyles/devices. I think we're transforming from the golden age of Home Automation to the golden age of personal technologies. I do more and more stuff with my phone all the time. And I really want to do more.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2015, 06:47:32 PM by HA Dave »
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dhouston

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2015, 09:41:45 AM »

« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 10:16:33 AM by dhouston »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2015, 04:46:11 PM »

The latest slice of Pi (Raspberry Pi 2 B) will support Windows 10.
 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31088908
 http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/02/02/windows_10_raspberry_pi_2_eben_upton_interview/
Looks like Microsoft has a new plan.
With them giving away Windows 10 to anyone running win 7 or 8 in the first year of release and now this!
I do like the look of Windows 10 but it kept my Windows 7 settings as I didn't do a clean install.
So I don't have a true picture of the OS. It does run better then Windows 8 on my HP Thin client.
Neither was/is an embedded OS.
I tested it streaming the other day using Crackle and was impressed.
10 may bring new life into some old laptops and mini PCs I have laying around.
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HA Dave

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2015, 10:10:20 PM »

With them giving away Windows 10 to anyone running win 7 or 8 in the first year of release and now this!
I do like the look of Windows 10 ........ It does run better then Windows 8 on my HP Thin client.
...... I tested it streaming the other day using Crackle and was impressed.
10 may bring new life into some old laptops and mini PCs I have laying around.

Is 10 available now?
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dhouston

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2015, 06:30:17 AM »

Is 10 available now?
It has been available to developers for awhile, now.

Apparently, the Pi version will be somewhat stripped down and bare bones.
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/raspberry-pi-computer-gains-more-horsepower/?ref=technology
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Tuicemen

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #41 on: February 03, 2015, 07:29:37 AM »


Is 10 available now?

It is a Prerelease, as Dave said it is intended for developers, but anyone can get it from Microsoft.
Apparently, the Pi version will be somewhat stripped down and bare bones.
Yes it most likely will be like embedded systems made for Thin clients.

I haven't tested the Voice recognition interface in 10 but reviews look interesting kind of a Siri for Windows.
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dhouston

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #42 on: February 03, 2015, 09:47:59 AM »

The new Pi is faster, with more memory and with 4 USB ports. It's reported to do well when streaming and it should be easy to add WiFi and a wireless KB. Had I known it was coming and Windows 10 was planned for it, I might have waited rather than going ahead with the Lenovo Q190. Speculation is that the Pi version of Win10 will be aimed at IoT support. Hopefully, it will recognize WiFi & KB dongles as readily as earlier Windows versions.

I've read that Microsoft is doing a good job on security for Win10 so it may prove to be the best interface for integration of disparate thingies.
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dhouston

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2015, 08:50:46 AM »

I am having difficulty setting up "mirroring". Mirroring is when the Blue Ray Player also plays the video on a home [WiFi] network.... and can then be viewed on mobile phones and/or tablets. OR... pictures and home video on a phone and/or tablet can be displayed on the Home Theater screen. But iPhones prefer to only use the apple TV (apple play) product/format... and of course our phones are apple. 
I have no need for mirroring so haven't researched it. However, the user manual for my current router (Netgear R6250 Smart WiFi Router) has sections detailing how to set up a WiFi Bridge and a Wireless Distribution System. Both require two (or more?) routers and, again, as I have no need I haven't researched either beyond a cursory stab to satisfy my idle curiosity but these might have application for a setup such as yours or be of interest to others contemplating future enhancements to their setups. One note - 5GHz allows for lots of streaming.

WiFi Bridge...
http://lifehacker.com/368094/wire-your-living-room-over-wi-fi-with-a-bridge

Wireless Distribution System...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Distribution_System
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HA Dave

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Re: Home Theater Upgrade
« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2015, 11:34:35 PM »

.. I have no need for mirroring so haven't researched it.

The need for mirroring may be limited... or even non-existent. But I like the idea of having some of it's uses available.

Like taking some pictures or video during a party and displaying it on the TV.... in almost real time.

Like taking the movie or pay for view (showing on the TV) with you (and not having to pause things) if you have to leave the "party area"

Showing yesterdays home movie or last weeks vacation pictures to friends (who are too polite to walk away) on the big screen.

Putting a Web Site (from a tablet) on a big TV screen instead of cramming together to see the display.

Admittedly... not something needed every day week month... but if the capability is built-in to devices we already own anyway I want to be able to harvest the technology (if I can).
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