Security/HA - Multipart question

Farley

New Member
I am in the process of finishing my custom home which I prewired myself with Cat6e/Security wire/fire alarm wire/CMR(HDTV complaint)/Speaker, the whole nine yards thruout the entire house.

I am in a quandry on what I should use for the hardware side of things for security/home automation. I have been looking at HAI. What starts getting me confused is that I want to find a software solution also that is easy to use and has a nice GUI, e.g. MainLobby.

Background on what I really would like to accomplish:

1. Security system
2. Home automation (lights, security anything/everything controlled by main cpu and touch screen panels)
3. Whole house Audio
4. Whole house time-shifting TV (Sage TV?) (secondary TV's should use something like MVP or some small appliance, not a full fledged PC)
5. Whole house media - Divx, Xvid, MP3, all music/video formats!

What touch panels for inwall and/or tabletop to use?

The main dilema is I would like to do this with a minimal amount of different pieces of software, e.g. the ability to have MainLobby(or some peice of software) control all functions that I stated above.

I have researched, read and my brain feels like mush, there are so many different ways to do this and I cannot decide on 1 particular way.

This may not be the proper thread and I apoligize if it is not.
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Hi Farley, welcome to CocoonTech!

HAI has a great plugin for MCE (Which would take care of your PVR needs), combine that with MainLobby and you probably have one of the better solutions. I am not sure if MainLobby supports HAI, but if you interface it through Homeseer, you should be able to get it all working.
 

Farley

New Member
The only problem with MCE I beleive it only can use 2 tuners? I may be incorrect, I have not looked at it recently.

I want to have a main PVR server with 4-7 feeds coming into it. One central PVR station!
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
2 analog + 1 HD tuner for now (hopefully this will change in the next update tho). I am not sure how you are going to interface any of the other PVR software packages tho.
 

DavidL

Senior Member
MainLobby has optional TVLobby that is Flash based (looks great). It is a program Guide (which works very nice), not a PVR application. You can change channels on your Tivo, for example, but can't easily schedule a Tivo or a TV card to record a show in the future. You could tell it to record "this" show now, but not scheduled. I use TVLobby instead of the DirecTivo's onscreen guide.

Integration with a PVR application (or Cinemar building their own) is a void that Cinemar should fill. Just a matter of time.

Homeseer also has a TV guide function (HSTV scripts) that is webpage based and free. It might support scheduled recordings. I can't remember...
 

Farley

New Member
Have you all looked at the Meedio prodcut line?

Meedio HouseBot, TV and Essentials, this may be what I have been looking.

Any comments?

Thanks.
 

dwayne

Active Member
Farley,

RedRadio is about to relelase a single-gang, PC based LCD touch screen for home automation. The techology we have developed simply takes a fraction of a PC screen and re-renders it in real time on small LCD displays. Our first product will render (8) 160x240 screens from one 640x480 desktop display. The host computer cannot display anything else, but could be used for other non-display functions.

We wanted to create something that was flexible enough to display just about any control you could think of, and easy to program via simple desktop user interface software. You choose your tool of choice. It could be Visual Basic, HTML, or anything else. You can render displays for security, lighting, HVAC, irrigation, macros, video camera images, pretty much anything.

We will most likely NOT be making the software itself, since there are so many products that could be controlled through the LCD's, and so many back end automation systems, it would be impossible to provide everything. So instead we are posting sample source code on our forums to encourage others to develop their own software.

Your post caught my attention because we have posted (on our support forum) a Visual Basic sample user interface, as well as our own developed HAI OmniLT serial interface OCX (with source).

Pricing will be announced shortly.

www.redradio.com

Attached is an example of what the screens will look like.
 

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electron

Administrator
Staff member
Farley, I have looked at Meedio before (back in the days when it was free), as well as the HA software, which used to be just HouseBot before they bought it. I think if you want to build a stable PVR, I would suggest sticking with either MCE, SageTV or BeyondTV, as my experience back then with Meedio (myHTPC) and the TV plugin wasn't that great. I am sure things have changed, but all the other PVR products have been around for much longer and are pretty stable (this is just my opinion).

Dwayne, those LCD's look incredible!
 

BraveSirRobbin

Moderator
Dwayne:

So I take it that you can change the display also on these smaller units? For instance, can you have a directory screen with buttons to go to separate screens like lighting, security, etc...?

Also, I take it that you have to run a dedicated PC for these displays. So why can't I just use my Homeseer server for this purpose? Is it because I can not have a "local" monitor display? If that is so do you have to remote desktop into the display server (just wondering why I have to have a dedicated machine for this purpose, unless I'm not understanding something). For instance Homeseer has on OCX so I can get and send device information to and from it, but I'm NOT going to spend the time and develop a custom software application AND have a dedicated PC just to send information to a tiny display!

I'm also trying to figure out how I would get my current software setup to work with these displays (such as Main Lobby). It sounds to me like you have to be a pretty good programmer and make your custom displays based on an OCX say in Visual Basic or some higher language? I would like to just design my Main Lobby scenes down to this useable area instead. Is this possible?

Thanks for your time,

BSR
 

dwayne

Active Member
BraveSirRobbin,

You can display anything on the LCD's. Any levels of menus, any buttons, directories, sliders, album covers, video images.....we even had starwars playing on one.

As for the hardware, we have our own PCI video card that, instead of having one or two DB15 monitor ports, it has 8 ports that each display 1/8th of a VGA image. The cables between the video card and the LCD's are just CAT5. Essentially the 8 LCD's display whatever is on the desktop, in real time. It is certainly feasible to have one PC that is running your homeseer application, as long as that PC is using its desktop image for the user interface for the LCD's.

We are primarliy looking for others to develop the user interface software. Hopefully there is someone out there that could make a Homeseer interface. I dont think you have to be an expert programmer to make a user interface. For example, if you create a HTML page with 8 framesets, each of which is 160x240, and you run the browser in kiosk mode (that is no menus, borders etc), then you have 8 small HTML windows that you can use for HTML access, flash, or anything else. I am not completely familiar with MainLobby, but will look into it and report back.

Let me also mention that the whole idea here was economies of scale. Using a PC to drive multiple LCD's instead of the firmware and associated electronics for a typical stand-alone LCD. For the cost of one or two Vantage or Xantech LCD touch screens, you could have 8 of ours, including the PC. Plus, since its desktop software and not embedded software, you can develop and test on any desktop/laptop and easily deploy to the host PC.
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
That's a really cool way of driving multiple LCD's. What would be even cooler is if the PCI card could be considered a 'second' video card, so you could run the interface on the second desktop (since most windows operating systems allow you to do this), so you can still run your main applications on the first display, and the interface on the second one.

Sounds like interfacing these things will be the easiest part.

Should we move these last few posts to a seperate thread dedicated to this product, since these posts aren't really answering Farley's questions anymore (I think)?
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
After speaking with Dwayne about this product, I have to admit I am very excited. I am going to start a dedicated thread for this, so we can talk more about it in there, and not disturb any other threads, but I definitely recommend you guys watch this product as it looks very promising.
 
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