Homeseer / Hardware Recommendation


New Member
Hello all:

I was hoping that I could ask the forum for some recommendations / assistance. I currently have a Media Center 2005 PC, and was looking at doing some home automation with it. Basically I would like to control a few things.

1) Heating / Cooling of the house ( currently have a digital style controller that controls the furnace) and would like to be able to program heating times, temperatures, ect.

2) Control lighting in the home. I might create about 5 lighting "zones" and would like to be able to have these lights come on / off at specific times, and also be able to control dimming, ect.

3) I would like to continue using Media Center for my MP3 jukebox, but would like to create audio zones in the home, and possibly have the audio come on / off at certain times throughout the day in different zones.

4) Control one to two webcams ( linksys or axis most likely ) and be able to display the output to a TV that is hooked up to Media Center

5) It would be really nice to also control the exterior lighting of the house, if that is posible.

Ok that being said, I did a little digging and found Homeseer. Looks like a good product, but will it do what I need it to do? I understand that I would probably have to buy new outlets, ect ( I am totally lost here ) so if anyone could make some recommendations as to what style / type outlets work with Homeseer it would be awesome, also, are wireless outlets available yet? (Zigbee)? that would be a lot easier than running a whole bunch of cable in an already built house. But If I have to run cable, so be it.

Thanks very much again to all who reply. Your help and guidance is appreciated.

Hi Shep, welcome to CocoonTech!

There are 3 known solutions when it comes to home automation and MCE.

* Homeseer
* LifeWare Media Center Edition

I believe LifeWare will be the closest match, as it will support home automation devices, webcams and much more. However, it is a brand new product, and I am not sure if it is available right now, but I am in touch with the manufacture, and hopefully will have more information soon.

HAI is a very nice solution too, and I am pretty sure you can interface your HAI thermostats, check out the screenshots on their site ( ).

As for Homeseer, it is probably the most flexible home automation backend you can buy, but their MCE plugin is brand new, and I am not sure if it supports webcams and thermostats. There is a 30day unlimited trial version of both Homeseer and the MCE plugin, so you can try it without committing yourself.

Now, as for the hardware itself, you probably want X10 or Z-wave. As far as I know, there is no ZigBee hardware out yet (eventho a thermostat has been showcased already), Z-wave is RF based, and is supported by both Homeseer and LifeWare, but not by HAI if I am not mistaken. There is no Z-wave thermostat out yet, but supposedly one is in the works and should be available soon. X-10 has been around for a long time, supported by pretty much every home automation software package out there, but it isn't 100% reliable.

There is so much more to say but I guess the first thing we have to start figuring out is how serious you are about home automation, what kind of budget you are working with, so we can guide in you the right direction.