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Thread: Now Playing 2008

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Dearborn, MI

    Default Now Playing 2008

    Well since I am working on my new skin I figured I might as well start a new showcase. The hardware for my setup has drastically changed this past few months. I am now running an Ocelot with a SECU-16IR for all my infrared needs as well as both the SECU-16 and SECU-16I for my digital input and output functions. I also have an Elk M1EZ8 which will be used for security as well as low level automation functions. All my lighting has been moved over to the Elk which has a PSC05 X10 interface. The Elk is interfaced with a new Girder 5 ELK plugin. I have increased my audio zones to six. I also sold off my Fujitsu 3400 tablets and purchased a 15" ELO Touchscreen and two Nokia 770 tablets. The ELO runs 1024X768 so my first skin will be enlarged to fit the native resolution of the monitor. I will then create a skin to match the 800X480 resolution of the Nokia 770.

    So here are three of the screens I have re-skinned. I chose to finally migrate over to use GAC+ for my album browser which will also include genre, playlists, jump to letter and searching.

    I have added this history behind my project from Cocoontech forum:

    PC's :

    3.0 Ghz P4 W/ 1.5 GB Ram automation/music Server running XP, JRMC 11, Girder 5, Netremote Media Bridge and Elk M1EZ8

    750GB total storage for 800 CD's Ripped with APE lossless audio format.

    Two Nokia 770 touch pads: Running RDP into a server

    Dell Axim X5 running Netremote Pro

    Hardware User Interfaces:

    GUI Interface "Now Playing" for Netremote on the Touchscreens

    Automation Hardware:

    Elk M1EZ8 with Elk-M1XRF2G wireless receiver and PSC05 X10 interface
    Ocelot 16 idependant IR zones
    W800 Receiver
    Various X10 Modules and Switches

    Other Hardware:

    WinXP Pro running SageTV for timeshifting running a 3800+ X2 w/7600GS for HD playback at 1080p
    Buffalo WHR-G54S flashed with DD-WRT
    16 Port 10/100 Hub

    A/V Hardware:

    Sony DA80ES A/V Home Theater Receiver
    5x Technics SA-EX140 200Watt RMS Stereo receivers
    Audio Distributed amp via Xantech.
    M-Audio Delta 410 10 Channel Sound Card
    Xitel PRO HIFI USB Sound Device used for TOS Output and Zone Synchronization
    Xitel HIFI Link USB Sound Device for sixth zone added
    Samsung 56" DLP HDTV
    Polk Monitor 50 Speakers
    Various speakers for the auxilary zones like the BIC in-wall speakers


    Girder 5 w/Elk plugin
    Netremote 2.0 Pro
    Jriver media center V11

    Some Applications:

    6 independent zone touch screen controlled whole house audio system sourced by 800+ CD's and independent tuners
    Announce all caller id and reminders over independent audio distribution system.
    Announce end of washer and dryer cycles
    Popup for caller id with monitor wakeup to all Fujitsu 3400's showing a scrolling caller log
    Light control popup panels for touch screens
    Weather details page for touch screens
    Elk Security Panel control

    ZoneMinder with 4 IR cameras for remote monitoring and motion capture


    Well here a short history as to how my whole house audio has evolved in its design. I originally started with the idea of
    having a single amp and use LPADS in each room. What I came up with was as cheap and offered much more features
    and felt it was the best solution for the money long term.

    The problem with using a single receiver to drive multiple speakers are numerous. First you will have to have
    a way of impedance matching the speakers to your receiver. I seriously looked at devices like the HACS AB8SS
    but those cost quite a bit more money and you still will have to have some way of adjusting the volume in each
    room that you have your speakers in. For that you could use a manual or IR controlled LPAD mounted in the wall.
    Remember that this LPAD has to dissapate the wattage your driving so plan on it getting HOT. In researching LPADS
    I have read of many horror stories of people having them melt down in the walls. I also would be faced with all
    the work of mounting them and running the wires. A decent LPAD can run you $50-$100 each for manual control and
    double that for IR control.

    I had no doubt that the 220 watt RMS receiver I currently had would drive all the speakers so power was not on
    issue. My original setup would share a single 400 disc CD changer over multiple zones so again using a single
    receiver would work quite well. Again what had a big impact on my decision was the cost of the LPADS that I would
    need to purchase.

    After weighing all those ideas (and trust me I was planning on going that route at first) I decided to take a
    different approach. First I live in a home that has wet plaster walls and its a real pain to mount anything in
    the walls so I was not looking forward to LPADS in each room anyways. I also wanted IR control so that I could
    use a touch screen and Homeseer to control it down the road. That meant spending big bucks on the speaker
    switcher/impedience matcher and all the IR controlled LPADS.

    What I came up with ended up costing much less and really being much less work. I decided to purchase a
    Technics 200 watt stereo receivers for each additional room that I wanted to put a 'zone' in. So keeping
    my home theater system as the main 'zone' I purchased 4 extra receivers. Each receiver is IR controllable
    from Girder 5 and can be powered off separately. Each zone then has its own volume, power, mute, bass & treble
    controls. Since the wiring came down to running speaker wires from the 4 aux zones to each of the rooms it was
    much easier as I had no LPADS to buy or install. Each room has its own 200 watts RMS so there is no chance of
    a melt down. Once I chose the Technics SA-EX140 200Watt RMS Stereo receivers I looked on Ebay and bought 4 at
    an average cost of $50 each. Thats less than the 4 manual LPADS I would have had to buy. All four receivers are
    close to my HS server and are totally out of site. No need to have them visible when you can control them remotely
    with IR control.

    Now with 5 seperate receivers it opened up a few options. Each zone had its own tuner so that was a bonus. When
    I first did this I shared a 400 Disc CD changer for all 5 zones. I have since went to a hard drive solution that
    enabled me to really endulge by having 5 distinct zones. Using the M-Audio 410 PCI Sound Cards that has 10 channels
    I am able to have a 5 zone setup with audiophile specifications. I use the built in sound card for my TTS voices
    and everything works well together. All the receivers are controlled via my 'Now Playing' GUI interface done
    using Netremote/JRMC/Girder 5/Slink-e. Some people have asked about the Slink-e and why I used it. First I
    already had it to control my CD changer and second it has 8 independant IR zones. The IR zones need to be
    indepenant due to the fact that I am using the same receiver for 4 of the 'zones'. One way around this would
    be to use different model receivers for each zone or use an Ocelot with the IR module to get the indendant
    IR zones.

    Every day I sit down at my PC in the den and use my Now Playing GUI front end I have access to over 750+ CD's,
    internet radio stations, and 10 preset FM local stations. My wife can play what she likes in the living room,
    bedroom or kitchen and I play what I like. With 1300 Watts RMS available I have no worries about heat or clipping
    the amplifiers and destroying the speakers. I also have to say it all sounds quite nice.

    I now have dropped Homeseer and went with Girder 5 as the home automation solution. I find it more stable and integrated better with Netremote. I also have added an Elk to my setup and use the Elk plugin for Girder 5. I also migrated to an Ocelot for IR control. Last I added a sixth zone.

    With this design I implemented a hardware based syncing option that lets you play the same CD in more than one zone but still
    allows you to play a different one in another zone.

    Check this thread detailing how to play Winamp streams through JRMC
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    Last edited by jwilson56; April 22nd, 2009 at 11:10 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Dearborn, MI


    A slightly updated Mainscreen
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2001


    How do the Nokia's perform running RCP to your remote pc would you recommend it?

    Can you explain in detail your 770 and remote pc running NR setup as I want to try this approach

    Thanks In advance

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Dearborn, MI


    I feel that the RDP with the Nokia 770 performs quite well. As I have just got them my experience is limited and I really want to do a skin designed for a smaller screen I still feel they will work out great. For instance I could easily control the sliders for the equalizer as well as the lighting panel.

    As for getting it working I just configured the Nokia for my network and then using its web browser googled for "RDP Nokia: and downloaded and installed the RDP application then set it up to connect to my MCE box. I decided to use the WinXP Pro hack (MCE is essentially WinXP Pro) to allow 3 concurrent connections and use it as its on 24/7 anyways. There is a rather long procedure to get the Nokia to auto boot into the RDP session and can also be found by google'n for it. I will PM you the link. I have not done this as of yet and instead use the GUI version of RDP for the Nokia which means I have to click on some icons.

    But yes I would recommend it as one who has owned a Fujitsu 510 and 3400 pen tablets. This is much more responsive then those. Of coarse it requires a WinXp Pro PC to be used as a host but that is the how it works.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2001


    Great thanks so how do you get it to serve up the 800x480 screen is that just set on the host to that resolution to display on the nokia at that res or can I still run another user and desktop for the local machine at a higher want to use my gaming machine which has a 24 inch monitor on it running 1920x1200 and run one or two of these sessions at 800x480 as well is that possible?

    Thanks rick
    Last edited by rickd; March 12th, 2008 at 12:21 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Dearborn, MI


    Each RDP session will be at the clients resolution. My MCE machine is running the main at 1080p for my DLP HDTV and the two others will be 800X480 when the Nokia's are logged in. So I am going to make a 800X480 skin. Right now I used NRD and told it to resize Now Playing 2007 to 800X480. It actually worked pretty well for everything but the animated gif files.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2001


    ok great so they showup as virtual monitors not real monitors

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