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Thread: Multi-Zone Audio + Home Automation + Vista Media Center

  1. #1
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    Question Multi-Zone Audio + Home Automation + Vista Media Center

    It has been a long while since I've been in this scene so forgive me for not reading the last 2 years worth of posts and asking some questions

    Current Setup (to be revamped):

    Homeseer 1.7 (working perfectly) w/ custom ASP pages (http://members.cox.net/ltek/hact.htm)

    Many X10 devices

    XBOX Media Center - for photos, music, videos, games, etc

    Whole House, 6 Zone Audio, single source - only IR controlled


    Goals:

    Replace Homeseer for Home Automation of X10, Insteon, ZWave.
    - must be easy to build a duplicate of look/feel/functionality that my current ASP pages have into a new web interface (or convert the current one) and a GUI (for WinCE/PPC & XP/Vista)

    Possible use of Vista MCE due to nice GUI, ability to replace XBMC for Photos/Video/etc and a SideShow remote allowing total media control from anywhere in the home.


    Questions:

    1) Is there an easy migration path from Homeseer 1.7 to Girder 5? e.g. no or little manual entry?

    2) If using Girder 5 with Netremote will it be a total drag and drop / point n' click interface to build the Windows GUI and/or web interfaces? IOW, does the designer allow me to just pick from a list of my devices and associate an image? Are there slider buttons and animated images available for light dimming, fan states (on/off), etc?

    3) Will NR and/or Girder 5 allow me to use my PC with multi-channel sound cards, or multiple sound card, to as a multi-zone audio distrobution unit? Must use a free app if it requires 3rd party... WMP, Winamp, etc.

    4) Will NR have the ability to embed screens into MCE... I thinking mostly for home automation and multi-zone audio controls?

    I would need all of this in the near future... <6 mo. I'm not going to buy any more products that never deliver features I need or takes 1+ years to do so.

    I also no longer have time to script everthing myself so the above needs to be native in the software or have minimal setup time... e.g. less the 4 hours of time (half a day) to fully setup.


    Thanks for your input!
    Aaron
    ----------
    My Setup:
    XBMC Media Center, Whole-House Audio, Paradigm-Onkyo-Parasound-Velodyne, 65" Mits 1080p DLP, EventGhost, Homeseer

  2. #2
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    3: If you mean just turn on and off sound card ports and control volume, yes. If you mean play music in different zones, then not in any reliable way I'm aware of. You would need JRMC to do that, I think.
    Tor - managing director of the Cinema Inferno home theater and multi-zone sound system with Girder running the show in the back, NetRemote as the GUI and Media Center 17, PowerDVD and ZoomPlayer as playback software
    Hobsyssel mastiffs: http://www.hobsyssel.no

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mastiff View Post
    3: If you mean just turn on and off sound card ports and control volume, yes. If you mean play music in different zones, then not in any reliable way I'm aware of. You would need JRMC to do that, I think.
    If this is the case, then this area of the software has not progressed in over 2 years? Girder should have the ability to start/stop instances of Winamp and assign and control them separately. Winamp can be assigned to specific sound cards... Girder just need to control them. I cannot imagine that Mike, being the skilled coder he is, could not easily impliment this?

    Requiring users to buy JRMC (which I personally never thought was worth the $ over other cheaper, or even free, software), IMO is bad strategy.

    I'm really considering moving to Girder but lack of good multi-zone audio controls is a deal breaker. I can get free software (XLobby) that does it and does much of what NR can do too... please give me some reasons, for my needs, to by Girder & NR! :P
    Aaron
    ----------
    My Setup:
    XBMC Media Center, Whole-House Audio, Paradigm-Onkyo-Parasound-Velodyne, 65" Mits 1080p DLP, EventGhost, Homeseer

  4. #4
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    Aaron

    I am pretty sure we cannot meet all of your requirements listed. There is no way you will transition from HS to G in 4 hours.

    AFAIK, winamp vs jrmc. There is no comparision. JRMC is vastly superior and more powerful. For $29 vs. us investing thousands of dollars in development time to control multiple instances of winamp - its a no brainer. We have very few users using the existing Winamp support in the MediaBridge.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike C View Post
    Aaron

    I am pretty sure we cannot meet all of your requirements listed. There is no way you will transition from HS to G in 4 hours.

    AFAIK, winamp vs jrmc. There is no comparision. JRMC is vastly superior and more powerful. For $29 vs. us investing thousands of dollars in development time to control multiple instances of winamp - its a no brainer. We have very few users using the existing Winamp support in the MediaBridge.
    I'm not disputing that JRMC may be more powerful... but I don't need the "power"... I just want to play music. I tried JRMC in the past when I was using NR 1.x and it was never stable and was a memory hog too. Maybe that has changed, not sure.

    The main reason I prefer WMP or Winamp is that they are the wides used Windows media players and are "open" for development so there are tons of free plug-ins / add-ons. JRMC has no where close to the same following or add-ons.

    When you say it will not be possible to convert to Girder in 4 hours I ask why not? Even if I manually enter devices and setup events to duplicate what I have now that will take 1 hour I'd assume (what it would take to do it in Homeseer). Will Girder 5 be easy to use for HA? I read the beta announcement and it leads me to believe that? What about integration with NR? Is adding devices to the GUI simple as drag n' drop or more like 3-5 steps per device as it was in the past?

    I'm trying to get an idea of what direction I need to go. I really liked NR when I was using it previously and if it integrated seemlessly with Girder and I can get the multi-zone audio control I want... I'm in!
    Aaron
    ----------
    My Setup:
    XBMC Media Center, Whole-House Audio, Paradigm-Onkyo-Parasound-Velodyne, 65" Mits 1080p DLP, EventGhost, Homeseer

  6. #6
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    I have been using JRMC > 3 years and its great. Version 12 is out and better than ever.

    G5 and NR2 will vastly improve creation of CCF's and Web pages. G5 auto builds webpages for many different device types. NR2 does the same. NRD will support the new Promixis Device Manager with drag and drop functionality (eta Q2).

  7. #7
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    cool... so it looks like I wait until Girder 5 is released and try it.

    Any thoughts/plans on interop with Vista MCE?
    Aaron
    ----------
    My Setup:
    XBMC Media Center, Whole-House Audio, Paradigm-Onkyo-Parasound-Velodyne, 65" Mits 1080p DLP, EventGhost, Homeseer

  8. #8
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    Aaron, I didn't say it wasn't possible. I said it wasn't possible to do it reliably. I don't know what you recon is a memory hog, but on my HTPC, which has been running for at least a week since the last time I did anything, JRMC's taking 10 000 kb of memory with a library of more than 85 000 tracks. On the server, which has less zones but the same library, it takes only 2400. I wouldn't call either of those bad. And believe me I have tried the "cascade of WinAmps" myself. Of course the integration with NR kills Win Amp stone dead, but what was worse for me was that when you reboot the computer the instances sometimes jumped from one sound card to another, and that was totally unacceptable. I demand 100 &#37; reliability, not 99, and I get that with my combination of NR, Girder and MC.
    Tor - managing director of the Cinema Inferno home theater and multi-zone sound system with Girder running the show in the back, NetRemote as the GUI and Media Center 17, PowerDVD and ZoomPlayer as playback software
    Hobsyssel mastiffs: http://www.hobsyssel.no

  9. #9
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    Hi,

    I've also tried multiple instances of Winamp, but JRMC is far more reliable for my 6 zone setup. Not only that, the JRMC plugin for Meedio makes it far easier to control too

  10. #10
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    I'm not against using JRMC... I'm just trying to come up with the most cost efficient an open/flexible way to do this.

    Flexibility...
    I'm talking about being able to access the same back-end via multiple systems/ways. For instance, I want to be able to have a nice GUI remote interface using any current browser (ff/ie) or Vista Sidebar Gadgets. A more open/flexible system allows this.

    Cost Efficiency...
    The more 3rd party apps I throw on top of NR/Girder the more the cost rises and starts to push me towards more fully integrated systems.

    This is the problem with Homeseer 2.x and why I will not buy it. The plug-ins cost too much (they used to be very low $ or free) and this makes the overall system price outrageous. Though, I still think it is the best HA software out there, I do not use all the "power" so I do not need all the cost!

    Systems like CQC are fully integrated, are a one-time cost, and they keep adding great features to it. I'm looking at NR/Girder becasue I'm hoping it is less $, more flexible, and will have tons of great, free, plug-ins.

    I'm past the multi-zone issue, I have no problem using JRMC if NR/Girder will work for me... I will see once Girder 5 gold code releases.

    But... I'm still interested to know if there is any Vista MCE integration planned. If it is, that could seal the deal if it leveraged MCE and SideShow technology!!!
    Aaron
    ----------
    My Setup:
    XBMC Media Center, Whole-House Audio, Paradigm-Onkyo-Parasound-Velodyne, 65" Mits 1080p DLP, EventGhost, Homeseer

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