TheaterTek 2.3.2 & IP Control

IVB

Senior Member
TheaterTek is $20 off today, plus the new version has IP control. There's just a little snipped in the TheaterTek feature list about this, want to make sure folks clue in to how cool this is for those of us who want to do whole-house a/v distribution.


Changes new in 2.3.2 :
- Full two-way IP control of TheaterTek has been added. This is available on the General tab of the Configuration dialog and allows automation software to control TheaterTek. Developers interested in supporting this capability should contact support. CQC should be supporting this in their next release shortly.

What this means is that CQC no longer has to "fake" user input a la Girder/etc in order to control it, but rather, will have bidirectional communication and can even be from another PC. I have 2 PCs that can playback DVDs, hence I can now set them up as true 'sources' rather than dedicating one to a zone. I'll be able to see if one is in use or not, if not the user can feel confident that they can use that DVD player. If it's in use, then they'll use the 2nd DVD player. CQC will handle the switching. I still need to figure out how I'll handle HD distro vs SD distro.

Perhaps hard to understand, imagine painting the below screen with DVD info. If you were about to play something and you saw that it was still in use, then you'd go use the next available player.

As soon as SageTV has a CQC driver, you'll be able to use CQC and eBayed hardware to create a pretty inexpensive whole-house distribution system for ALL your a/v needs. No more building an HTPC per room, just one per concurrent video source...

Cool stuff...


VladStudio_Sources.jpg
 
This sounds like it is great news! I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit about the "whole-house distribution system for ALL your a/v needs" comment. Are you referring to HD as well or merely on SD?

What would be required to distribute say: DVD movies (from a hdd), HD Satellite (from a directv or dish receiver), Audio to your tv/pc locations? You mentioned having an inexpensive solution for this (with some ebay shopping required). I am just hoping to get a better understanding of how each software package (cqc, theatertek,etc) fits in.

EDIT: Also wondering what this new theatertek feature allows that you could not do before (in terms of distribution/control) with cqc.
 
More info needed here as well. I went to the TheaterTek site but from what I gather it just allows you to use your PC's DVD player? DVD players are cheap. There has to be more to than this.
 
in simple terms

you hook your PC up to a TV
you use TT to playback stored DVD movies, from your Hard Drive to the TV
 
I only have a few mins here at a time [trying to balance between letting my 2yr old/4yold girls work out their disagreements by themselves, and preventing the spilling of blood]. I'll keep this short, ask questions.

Let's describe this in terms of user impact: You want to watch a DVD. You know your kids are watching a DVD. Furthermore, a PC can only render 1 video stream at a time. Right now, you cannot tell which machine is being used to serve up your kids DVD. You either need an HTPC client in each room to render the video, which if you have multiple TVs is a colossal waste, or figure out which machine they're using for playback and use another one, or give each person their own private HTPC client to use in whichever room they want, also a waste.

At this point, i'll use CQC-specific examples, as I know how that works. I'm sure ML will do something similar, but I'm not educated enough to speak to that.

Now, what you do is to setup 2 HTPCs, put them in your closet. Put TT on each. In CQC, you'll setup 2 different "drivers", one pointing at each one.

In the screen above, you'll now want to have 2 DVD lines with all the info , just like I got 2 CD lines. What I also didn't mention is that pressing the "CD player #1" or #2 button takes you to the below screen.
VladStudio_Source1_Music.jpg

So now, in the first screen above with the source overview, you can see which DVD player is in use. Pick the other one, press the button, go the the 2nd screen I just showed above.

Then, pick the DVD you want and away you go.
 
ph0n33z said:
aww yes, but what if you have 3 tvs you need hooked up? It gets a little more complicated then.
I'm going to answer this in a different post, so as not to confuse the answers. Also, my current screen layout isn't going to work for much longer, the flow isn't straightforward. Hopefully though you start to see what's possible, and maybe you can help me layout the screens & flow in an easier to use fashion. I'll share the templates with all, so anyone using CQC can simply use mine if they want to do the same.

To distribute the DVD sources to multiple TVs, it's no different than what i'm doing for audio. I currently have 2 options for deciding what source to play in a room. Screenshots are below. I'm still determining what the right approach is to make it usable for my particular family - we're very abnormal [or perhaps very normal for non-techie folks], so the mass market flow does NOT work for us.

Option 1: Use a grid view to select the source. Pushing the button against your zone will bring up the source control screen for that zone.

VladStudio_ZoneControl.jpg


Option 2: Use a floorplan view to select the source. I think i'm going to add a field element above each room if it's in use, indicating what source it's currently playing. Dean's adding some conditional stuff to the interface viewer, so I might need to wait for that to have the level of intelligence required to make the front end simple.

As of this moment, you can always look at the left wrapper to see what source a zone is set to. If the speakers are on, you know that the source is in use [and not just a residual tuning].

VladStudio_Floorplanview.jpg


Hopefully that makes sense - I had to stop 3 times to be a referee, so my train of thought was definitely interrupted.
 
Sorry, one thing I didn't mention is that pressing a source button in a given zone in either of those screens will set all your video/audio switching equipment, and turn on any receivers that need be, in order to route the signal to that room.

Sounds complex, but for my kitchen TV it's basically the following actions:

1) Set Xantech.Z2SourceInput=3 [the HTPC with the SD-TheaterTek instance]
2) Set Xantech.Z2Power=true

It's SDTV & analog. If I was patching the HDTV/component, i'd probably have it hooked up via digital for surround. hence, i"d also have:
3) Set Denon3805.Power=true
4) Set Denon3805.MainSourceInput=2 [the one hooked up to the digital input from that HTPC]

Again, I know that was too short, ask questions as needed.
 
Check out the screenshot in the first post - V2.3.2 of TheaterTek being controlled by V1.6.20 of CQC (public beta came out today).

Centralized view of what is currently playing on each source. I have another screen where I can see all zones, I didn't put the source per zone there as before 30 minutes ago all I could see was CD/XM. I think I'll have to add this in there.

Oooooh, pretty....
 
"I'm sure ML will do something similar, but I'm not educated enough to speak to that."

Yes, the MainLobby Theatertek IP plugin is now in beta. Works great!

Here is a quick sample scene that also has a live video feed in it.
 

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very cool, all customers should be quite happy with the proliferaton of choices and features available to them lately!

Now if we could just get HD DVR on a PC, so we can get a single repository for all video, exposed via a common UI. Can you or Dean call up Gates or the D* CEO about that?
 
Ok, theatertek is seriously rocking the house for me here. On this post on the theatertek forums, andrew said that with the new autokiller, TT doesn't even have to be up&minimized in order to be controlled!


TheaterTek said:
IVB said:
I'd like TT to be in the system tray when minimized rather than in the task bar.

With the advent of IP control, I've got it on a few PCs throughout the house that I use as video sources if they're not in use as PCs, and am going to patch to all rooms via video switchers. However right now I need to tell my wife to never shut down TT on the office PC as that's what we use for composite-level DVD rendering.

She sometimes forgets though, which means when if I get an error when starting the movie via CQC/Cover Art, I need to walk over to the machine, start up TT, then walk back and reselect movie.
There's a new version of AutoKiller, the system tray app, that supports IP control to allow you to launch TT and quit.

Andrew
 
IVB, your welcome ;) Cinemar asked if Andrew could add that :) I am glad that he is.
On a lead from a Cinemar forum user, I am also researching a neat free app:pSExec that supposedly allows you to launch an app remotely with nothing running on the other side. I have been playing with it for a few minutes without huge success, but at least now it's logging on to the remote PC.
http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/PsExec.html
 
DavidL said:
On a lead from a Cinemar forum user, I am also researching a neat free app:pSExec that supposedly allows you to launch an app remotely with nothing running on the other side. I have been playing with it for a few minutes without huge success, but at least now it's logging on to the remote PC.
http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/PsExec.html
Sorry, not clue-ing in to something: wouldn't you want something, ie MLServer, running on the theatertek rendering computer?
 
The control interface is IP based, so the driver doesn't have to be on the same machine where TT is playing. So you really just need something to start it up. For us, we already have the app control server which can provide that functionality for remote apps.
 
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