Missing Out On Home Theater Automation

I'm sure we'll have HDMI complaint matrix switchers, if for no other reason than you'd need them in order to support commercial installations like hotels and such, don't you think? You will have to have compliant devices in each zone of course. But if you are doing a distribution system with centralized sources that just means an HDMI/HDCP complaint display in the zone.

The HTPC will survive, but it'll need to be an AACS complaint machine to take advantage of the new HD stuff. But in the time frame we are talking about for HD to really get into the mainstream, and the turnover rate of computers, I really don't see that as much of an issue. HDCP complaint video cards are already commodity items.
Dean Roddey said:
I'm sure we'll have HDMI complaint matrix switchers, if for no other reason than you'd need them in order to support commercial installations like hotels . . .
Are the hotels getting so bad that they need matrix switchers to route complaints? ;)

(sorry, Dean)

The problem with the new tchnologies is not just that the display has to compliant, but it appears that sources and displays have to be linked into matched pairs (especially with CableCARD). Switching to a compliant display won't help you unless it is the one unique display that pairs with your source. Or am I misunderstanding the encryption process?
Any HDMI/HDCP compliant display should be able to display the image from any compliant source. Otherwise you could never buy another display and CE manufacturers couldn't separately sell their displays and sources. Now it may be an issue with a matrix type switcher trying to have more than one downstream display, because there is a conversation that takes place between the two ends.

If that's going to be supported one would assume that the compliant switcher has to be a proxy for the source to the multiple target displays. HDCP does make a distinction between source, target, and intermidiary type devices like switchers and processors, but I'm not sure if that includes allowing for a matrix type device that can 'lie' to downstream displays and pass through to them a single source stream. I can't imagine that there's no place for this in the scheme, since it's so common.
I'm new to this forum and DavidL posted exactly what I'm after - the movie experience. Can you tell me what you used to automate your lights? I'm struggling to find a way to do a couple of simple things.

I'd like to be able to dim my lights to 50% when the trailers start, all the way down when the movie starts, a custom endling clip & lights ramping up.


Hi Greg, welcome to Cocoontech!
Lights can be automated a number of ways. If your house already exists (I assume) and not under construction, then the likely choices are:
UPB (powerline)
Insteon (powerline)
Z-Wave (RF)
X10 (not recommended)

Search on one of these and you will see tons of info on this forum.

There is a controller hardware device specific to each technology that speaks either USB or Serial to the control PC.

On the PC is the software driver that talks to the controller in the language it understands. Also on the PC is the software to control the events ie: Movie starting, Dim the lights.
You can also have certain security panels talk directly to the lighting controller like a ELK M1 or HAI brands. Then, the software talks to the security panel instead.

The rest of the work is in the control software. Good choices include MainLobby, CQC, Homeseer and HAL.

MainLobby's roots are to achieve what you ask, and does it best IMHO.

Hope this gets your research started!
Thanks for the info. I've been holding off to get the ELK but maybe I just need to make the move. I've been spending a ton of dough on HA & HT lately. :)

I own CQC which I am very happy with. I'm basically using it as a dvd & music repository. It controls my projector & audio gear in my theater as well as my whole house audio system. Touch screens throughout the house give me the control I need. I would eventually like to tie in my lighting to CQC to make everything work together.

Although it is not recommend by anyone these days, I've been using X10. Luckily it's working very well for me although seperate from CQC. Coughing up the money for an ELK M1 would more than likely get me closer to where I want to be.

Thanks for the info,

If your already have CQC working and have X10 and are happy with it, then I am sure CQC supports a X10 hardware interface. That is a whole lot cheaper and easier than putting in a new security system. Not that that is a bad idea, just didn't realize on your first post that you weren't completely new to this all.
jeffx said:
Is there a good Cat-5 based KVM extender that would cost less than just connecting to a basic Dell workstation ($250) directly? Anything that I've looked at for distributing the video and mouse control over a distance of about 50 feet to a second touch screen ends up costing more than have a full PC at the 2nd touch screen.
I am going to use a usb video card and usb touchscreen over cat 5 to put a touchscreen in the wall. I haven't tested it yet so I'm not sure how far the usb adapter can be from the pc for reliable operation but should work out pretty nicely.