Please help


New Member
I know very little about MCE other than how to install it. I basically have a bunch of bits that I bought to play with and I would like to have MCE control them all.

I have:
Russound CAV6.6
Neothings 6x2
Audio authority component in - two cat5 signals out
Globalcache 100-18 + ir learner
Viewsonic projector
32" viewsonic LCD
42" viewsonic LCD
DaLite electorl screen

I have two MCE PC's and a motion xp tablet.

Sorry for being vague, but I basically want to automate watching tv etc from the push of a button in MCE but i dont know anything about rs232 or IR... any ideas/help is appreciated <_<
With the equipment you have, you have no MCE choice today. MainLobby supports allof the equipment you have noted with possible exception of the audio authority (what model / what type of device?).
You can launch MainLobby from within MCE with some code we can provide.

EDIT: Lifeware supports Russound, but be prepared to shell out major bucks for that system.
I would not say no choice, although clearly something like MainLobby (or some other package for integration such as CQC) can be configured to maximize the use of that type of equipment, whereas MCE is not in the same league.

That being said I'll take a stab at what it might look like, in case you are hooked on the interface and setup (as if you spend the additional effort/cost on integrating this further you will have more options from your setup in addition to being able to tailor it further not to mention control it fully).

1. You have three screens, which I assume would be in three rooms. There are two options here:
a. A MCE machine in each room - This is more expensive as each MCE machine is a computer. However, this is not required. See the next option, although you have 2 MCE machines already so this might be easier in your case. It also might give you larger storage options.
b. A main MCE machine and extenders in the other rooms using XBox or XBox 360's. I believe I am about to get one of the xbox 360's to test as an extender as I need an extender and I am trying to verify the concept as it would be ideal in a situation I was asked to help out with, which would utilize these extenders.

2. You have zoned multi-room music. A few options here:
a. Hook the output from the main MCE machine to the CAV6.6. This would let your various zones listen to the output of the main machine (if I remember the options for the CAV6.6 correctly).
b. Better: if you can hook the output from each of the mce machines/extender to the CAV6.6 as zone inputs (again taking liberty on incomplete knowledge of the CAV6.6) that might be a decent setup. There could also be some holes in this as well.

Note that something other than MCE such as MainLobby or the like could be a little more tightly integrated. This essentially just pipes an output (or more than one) into the CAV6.6 (and assumes you have existing control of the system). A more integrated solution could control the system more fully and offer more options.

3. The Audio Authority component in/cat 5 out, if that is the component video distribution setup theyhave, you might be able to use an ATI based card (I have not tried this) which has a component output dongle, which could feed into that system and be piped to the other screens. I've used VGA/DVI for my outputs but I would presume that component would look pretty good, although I have not tried this approach (but I considered it).

This might imply that you are sharing the system between rooms (which would mean they are all watching the same feed if only one is being distributed). Some form of IR distribution or equivalent would be required in this case (to control the system, select shows, etc).

Now you could also (depending on viewing considerations) put one MCE machine in the two primary viewing locations and then 'copy' the secondary one to the third screen (if both will not likely be used at the same time), again noting IR control issues at least.

Gyration 100' keyboard/mice combo's might be a good addition in this situation if you plan on using the keyboard/mouse.

The above items try to cover what you are trying to do, and are fairly straightforward (especially if you drop component video distribution). It might be a good starting point to start to form opinions on what you 'really' want later.

You could then take the next step and go after the tighter integration that these other packages provide (with a little more complexity and setup to get it started). There are some very nice things you can, so you should take a look at what is available.

EDIT: Another option is to keep the MCE for primary viewing but use the integration packages to tailor the multi-room audio specifically. This might use touch screens or the like to select music that goes into the CAV6.6 and allows you to control that system.

You might want to think about and comment on your reasons for using MCE (don't get me wrong, I like it myself, but I am also working on how to get to the next level myself). Is it you really are hooked on the interface, or it is what you are familiar with? Or perhaps even, just the fact that you have two of thes machines already and want to deploy them...
Thank you very much for the replies, it is hugely appreciated. I guess the components I have are just gathered for playing with really. The setup doesnt need to be very clever I guess; I just want to be able to show everything on ANY screen, not all at once.

I have a comcast hdtv cable box, so I guess I would need to go around MCE for that, but I wanted to be able to send IR or RS232 codes to the cable box to change channel, TV to change input etc but from an MCE button <_<
I have HD cable as well, what I do is feed that box to the MCE box (which is on a VGA input). Then if I want to watch something live in HD (rare, as most things I watch are DVD's or recorded, although I will catch 24 live) I switch to the DVI input on the TV.

This way MCE can control the channels using IR, which works fine for me (I have Cablevision, with a Scientific Atlanta HD box).

One other piece: I use a Harmony 880 remote. This lets me deal with the different components other than MCE, while also allowing me to navigate MCE when on that 'activity'. For the cases where using the MCE goes beyond the remote, I have the Gyration 100' MCE keyboard/3d mouse combo, although those are rarely used.

When I am 'watching' MCE, it is hooked into the stereo system so it works well with music. Since the reciever hooks into a 4 room audio setup, if it is set to the MCE input, that is what will be played through the other rooms as well. Of course you have a better multi-room setup, so have more options there.
I guess i really want to know if you can create a button on mce, have that button do some clever macro type commands, pull the projector screen down, turn on the projector, select the input etc etc... can MCE do that? or would you need something in the back end?
You have a few options:

1. Can your remote control do this? If so, you are set. This is what I use the harmony 880 (for now at least to do).
2. Are you a windows developer? If so, you can create your own plugin, but unless this brings you as much enjoyment as the theater itself I would not recommend it.
3. There is an mcontrol plugin that helps control household devices through MCE. I have not looked at it in detail though so cannot comment on it's capabilities. I will suspect that there are those here who have though.

Your other option is of course to go down the more integrated path which would give you full control. Check out the screen examples for MainLobby and the screens from CQC, they are quite impressive. There is a bit more setup, but I suspect you will agree the results are quite nice.

I'm angling down that path myself, just haven't caught up to it and finished my other HA work in preparation yet.