Newbie ?'s


New Member

After reading and reading and reading on this awesome forum I have come to realize two FAQS.

FAQ #1 The world of HA and HTPC's will become a longtime hobby for me.
FAQ #2 I couldn't be more confused about HA and HTPC's. LOL

Short Term Goal

Park myself in the recliner while holding a touchscreen remote in one hand and a beer within reach of the other hand ready to kick back and watch a movie, I then subject myself to the hard labor of pressing the touchscreen remote once and the magic happens, the living room lights become dim, the curtains close, the HDTV with a Surround sound system fires up, and Days of Thunder begins to play. I will then probably fall asleep half way through the movie but who really cares, I want the technology. LOL

Long Term Goals

The choice of useing a touchscreen remote or a pc with voice recognition to control/monitor all HA components inside/outside the house. I will spare you the long boring details of all my HA desires as I am sure that I am not the only guy who wants it all.

I read an artical somewhere about a man with a Geanie that controlled his Fully Automated Home. WOW!

Where do I start?

I seem to be leaning towards Insteon Technology as it seems to be the latest and greatest for a home that is already constructed.

If anyone can give me some advice and/or links to assist in my learning adventure, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.
Two problems with Insteon.

First, as of now it is still vaporware. It's supposed to arrive any minute now, but if you know electronics manufacturing, you know that you shouldn't count on a delivery date until the product is on the shelf in the store.

Second, I expect that there will be some initial teething problems with Insteon. Every new technology has a few (or more) bugs to work out when it first arrives. A good example is the problems Z-wave and UPB have encountered. If you are an early adaptor, you will have to deal with these problems, and could even get zapped.

I'm not saying to avoid Insteon, just to be aware of the pitfalls of being an early adaptor. I would suggest that you start small (ie the HT room), and by the time you are ready to expand (to the rest of the house), hopefully things will have shaken themselves out.

PS Welcome to Cocoontech!
You will find that voice recognition control is fun, but not practical. Mike placement and type is critical, and ambiant noise is a problem. If you work at home and use a headset for phone, then you might be able to reuse the headset for quality VR, but that's rare situation.

Buy Homeseer software (includes VR). 2.0 release is coming out very soon, but you don't have to wait for it to get going.

Insteon looks very neat, wish it was out now.
Welcome to Techaholic!

I merged the 2 topics you posted as they were identical, and will only confuse other visitors, hope you don't mind.

I couldn't agree more with the above mentioned advice, and having tried VR myself, I actually gave up on it since I just couldn't get it to work right. The technology just isn't ready yet (mostly the MS speech recognition engine isn't accurate enough yet), but I used an Acoustic Magic microphone, so maybe a wireless headset (i.e. bluetooth) would work better, but not sure if you can buy them for a PC.

The other problem is that if you are watching a movie, you usually have it pretty loud. Try telling your computer something to do while Tom Cruise is revving his engine, I think you might be surprised about what your computer is going to do next :p

Have you had a chance yet to look at the Insteon Guide? Unless you like to be an early adopter, I too would wait with investing in this technology for the reasons jlehnert mentioned.

Thanks a bunch for your thoughts. The New Technology bug has been one of my major concerns and you have just reitterated this for me. I am going to read the Insteon Guide (along with more research) that electron has linked below before diving in head first and blind folded.


Voice recognition is a cool concept and I am well aware of the potential loss of control and after the experiences i had with my first wife, the last thing I need is a Geanie that reminds me of her. LOL !

After reading Andy Jacksons tutorials I believe I have a good understanding of stargate and he sure seems to be well educated in the HA environment. I will research Homeseer also. Thanks for the input!


Thanks for the warm welcome! As for mergeing the 2 topics, I am glad you did and I also appologize to all for that, I am on a week wireless connection at this time and wasn't sure if the first post made it. To my surprise, after submitting a second time, two post popped up. OOPS!

I believe I will start with some simple x-10 in the HT Room with the lights and maybe even the drapes. I will venture into the HA A/V world soon after. My experience tells me that a hardwired system is always the most reliable way to go. Now if only I would have learned of this technology a couple months ago I could have pre-wired my new home which will be completed in just a couple of weaks. UUUGGGHHHH! I can feel the insulation eating at me already.

I am currently in Cincinnati, Ohio and would very much like to find Andy Jackson's electronic store, maybe i could pic his brain a bit before I head to PA on Thursday. If anyone nows the name and/or location of his store, I would appreciate it greatly.

To all!

And thanks again for the assistance.