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Best Options for a Home Entertainment Network?

Cliff posted more than 11 years ago | from the specing-it-out dept.

Music 425

Vultan asks: "Now that I'm finally a proud homeowner, I'm looking to integrate my video, audio, and computer hardware. Specifically, I'd like to be able to listen to Internet radio throughout the house (or at least through my main stereo unit), and transmit video from my computer to my home theater in a separate room. I've done my share of googling, and I'm drowning in options. Wired vs. wireless, RG6 vs. CAT5e, digital vs. analog, line level vs. speaker level (for audio), etc. What kinds of technology do Slashdot readers use or recommend?"

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Do I ? (-1)

varak_mathews (592911) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908795)

Do I need to subscribe to get a first post now ?

Re:Do I ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908881)

Superb fp! I tip my hat to you, sir!

- Moomin

Ostias (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908796)

First postuando!

Re:Ostias (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908897)

Eres un perdido!

I like milk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908797)

Got milk? FP

Wired vs Wireless (5, Informative)

farnsaw (252018) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908798)

If you can, go wired. It has the bandwidth you need for video and with a switch you can handle several servers and clients simultaneously each with it's own 100Mbit connection where with wireless you share bandwidth.

Re:Wired vs Wireless (2, Interesting)

Potor (658520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908832)

Yeah, I agree, go wireless. My computer is on the bottom floor, the bulk of my stereo in the attic, and wires running (tastefully) all over the place. My wife doesn't like the wires, but the sound is great. I can listen to the computer, plus any other component of my system (and even my gamecube),in any room. Comes in handy for listening to the Blue Jays games. Just get a good amp and speakers.

Re:Wired vs Wireless (2, Interesting)

akadruid (606405) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908896)

Huh so do you mean wired or wireless?
Still, you are mostly right (I think). Wired solves more problems than it creates, in the long run, but some degree of DIY skill is involved to get a subtly neat installation.
I recommend distributing some processing, so that your output systems are not too far from the outputs, e.g. don't run 10 metre cables to your main TV or stereo, instead have a small box hidden away nearby, with a cordless keyboard/mouse, using the TV as a display. This has the advantage of only needing one ethernet cable into the area.

Re:Wired vs Wireless (5, Informative)

Jeff Kelly (309129) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908985)

Still, you are mostly right (I think). Wired solves more problems than it creates, in the long run, but some degree of DIY skill is involved to get a subtly neat installation.

This mostly depends on the size of the installation and the type of cable used. Also in most countries you have to adhere to certain regulations regarding in-house wiring.

In germany for example (where I live) it is not allowed to use unshielded cable for in-house-wiring (you may use unshielded cable for connecting your computer to the RJ45 jack but for everything which runs in the wall or covers distances > 10m you'll have to use shielded cable) and since shielded twisted pair is not trivial to install. (Atr least if you have to adhere to emv guidelines) I personally consider using broadband wireless connections.

I'd certainly prefer wired connections but don't underestimate the complexity involved in in-house-wiring if you have to adhere to emv guidelines and building codes. You also will have to consider the guidelines for deploying shielded cable. (You may only bend shielded cable to a certain degree, you have to pay attention to the transition between in-wall wiring and the wall jacks etc.)

Regards Jeff (been there done that)

Re:Wired vs Wireless (1)

Potor (658520) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908998)

oops, typo. wired. sorry! My wires are mostly hidden, but not in all places.

Re:Wired vs Wireless (4, Interesting)

kauttapiste (633236) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908845)

If you can, go wired..

Yup, that's the way I'd go. But it's good to have some wireless readiness built into the system too. Put a WLAN-card to your desktop and another one to your laptop and you can share your ADSL/whatever connection with your laptop. Also handy if you want to play your videos (that you've copied to your laptop at work from your workmates) from your laptop.
And you can surf while you crap!

Re:Wired vs Wireless (5, Informative)

farnsaw (252018) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908864)

I agree for a general system situation. In fact, I have done both. I run my servers by wire (as they don't move around) and my laptops via wireless. Most people don't move their TV and Stereo system around much once they get it setup, so I would recommend wires for those as well. The two biggest advantages of Wires vs Wireless are bandwidth and privacy. By using both in your house, it would allow you to sit on the porch surfing the net at full speed (even those of you with 3 Mb ADSL) while several people in the house are watching movies on the Televisions and listening to streaming audio around the house. If you do everything wireless, you will see a huge slowdown when someone starts to watch a movie and/or several people start steaming audio from your server.

Portablity vs Multistream (Was:Wired vs Wireless) (0)

C0deJunkie (309293) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908988)

I don't think that bandwidth sharing should be take into account. How may movies are you able to watch at the same time?
Instead i would watch a movie or browse the web while I'm cooking in my kitchen, or having a bath.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908799)

I don't care as long as I get first post.

Why use existing software? (-1, Flamebait)

Psychor (603391) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908802)

Why use existing software when you could have all the fun of writing your own. You can then release it under the GPL, and add to the huge pool of substandard software that already exist. That's the open source way!

Re:Why use existing software? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908836)

because its easier, dont be stupid
funk a gpl, i want to use my system this decade!

Simple solution (3, Insightful)

Napoleon The Pig (228548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908804)

Well one would think you could run just a standard TV out to get the video, and run your soundcard through your stereo amp to get the audio. Most likely your best bet would be to keep it all wired since speed would be limited via wireless. Those are just a few of my thoughts, but what do I know, I'm just a silly college student. Good luck.

Another solution for (4, Informative)

abhisarda (638576) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909000)

If you want to listen to internet radio on your stereo, then what you need is (AudioTron [turtlebeach.com] ) from TurtleBeach.

Here a Tom's Hardware Guide to Music Across Your Home Network [tomshardware.com]

. Here are some reviews of the AudioTron Phataudio [phataudio.org] , DesignTechnica [designtechnica.com] , Cnet [cnet.com] and Whiningdog [whiningdog.net]

DesignTechnica gives it a 9/10.

Congrats on you new home.

Audio: SliMP3 (4, Interesting)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908806)

I bought a SliMP3 myself when I bought my own home, and I really like it. It's basically a dumb terminal powered by a perl daemon running on my file server. It has great sound quality and a good display. I'm not quite finished building everything yet ( my plans include remotely switchable lighting and video to my tv ), but one big advantage of the SliMP3 is that I can hack the daemon code myself -- so I can use the remote of the SliMP3 to control other applications, e.g. a video stream from my computer and the lighting.

Death to Decmial (-1, Offtopic)

Michael's a Jerk! (668185) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908807)

Hello Everyone, Why don't people use hex in everyday math? Logically it makes more sense. It's far more efficent, requires less concentration to use and is extremely fast. The only reason we use decmial is for legacy reasons. Sure, the majority of people have ten fingers / toes, but basing our entire default number system on that is horribly offending thoses without the prereuqiesit number of digits. That's besides the point though. If we were brought up on hexadecimial instead of decmial, just think how easier life would be! No having to change the default radix on out Zilog assembler. No trouble converting to binary and back. No problems memorising ASCII codes. I for one vote we take the final step and move towards a true standard numbers system. Combine the waring factions of roman and arabic and use hex and the worldwide standard. This would be a big step towards settleting the differences between that idiot bush and italy for instance. Really though, The Roman empire may never have fallen if they had joined the trojans and adopted base 16 as a symbol of peace. Just think of the economic benefits this may have today! I strongly believe that us, readers of technical newsgroups have to intelligence and resourcenessfullness to band together in germany as a bastion of hex, and gradually take over companies that refuse to follow us. I of couse would be leader and you my loyal followers but as hexians we would truly suceed! We would rule with an steel fist!

Re:Death to Decmial (-1, Offtopic)

jocks (56885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908819)

Never, the only true system is the duo-decimal system! Base12 is the only way forward!

Re:Death to Decmial (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908820)

Errr. WTF. Yeah that's definatly the best option for a home multimedia system i've ever heard.

Re:Death to Decmial and date-time system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908840)

I Propose to use startdates.
- No time zones.
- 64 seconds per minute (6bits)
- 64 minutes per hour (6bits)
- 32 hours a day (5bits)
- 32 days a month (5bits)
- 16 months a year (4bits)
- 64 years a century (6bits)

Re:Death to Decmial (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908848)

Why don't people use hex in everyday math? Logically it makes more sense. It's far more efficent, requires less concentration to use and is extremely fast.

Because, as you mentioned, we're born with 10 fingers. That's why we count from 0-9, then 10-19, etc. If we had 16 fingers, we'd naturally count from 0-15 (or 0x0f), then 0x10 to 0x1f, and so on.

If we were brought up on hexadecimial instead of decmial, just think how easier life would be!

Try putting it the other way: What if the engineers made 10 bits inside one byte -- how much easier life would be!

No trouble converting to binary and back.

Who needs to convert? What, is printf("%d", 0x3cf) too hard?

No problems memorising ASCII codes.

Why would the ASCII codes be any easier with hexadecimals? With the "~" at ASCII 126 or 0x7e - both numbers makes just as much sense to me.

Get a life.

The Metric System Own3s J00! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908978)

How long will it be until the US switches to Metric? 5 years? 10? How long will it be until the United States of Corperate America and their idiotic systems of measurement collapse under their own greed and backward thinking? When did Germany convert? 1875? With such a stupendous amount of forward thinking (Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion -vs- the 1990s), the 3rd world mentalaties ruling their country, and the filthy stinking rich despirately seeking every last penny from every last soul on the planet, I'd be surprised if they're not invaded within the next 10 years and raped of every last shred of humanity for their crimes.

-The Moron Martian

WLAN with audio, video and IR (2, Informative)

mobieee (642271) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908809)

My Thomson VS530C works great for transmitting video and audio from my computer to my TV set via WLAN.

Divide and conquer (2, Interesting)

jocks (56885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908810)

I have gone for a different approach. Instead of one, single point of failure, I have several separate devices around the house. The downside is that I cannot listen to internet radio throught my home, but should my computer die my television will work and my wife can listen to whatever she likes on the stereo.

Its also cheaper as I don't have to fork out for "new" technology. If I was you I'd be saving my money for the coming recession....;-)

Re:Divide and conquer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908860)

Coming recession? I'm living in a fucking cardboard box, posting by hijacking pigeons and sending packets by that goddamned April Fool's protocol! I just had to shiv some punk for tryin' ta grab my shoes! What's that? You want some, punk??

She29220dcjqi!@NO CARRIER

Re:Divide and conquer (1)

jocks (56885) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908885)

What?! REAL cardboard? Luxury.

Re:Divide and conquer (2, Insightful)

Skater (41976) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909003)

Or save money for the coming repair bills, such as broken down dishwashers, furnaces, etc. The joys of ownership. :)

--RJ

Re:Divide and conquer (1)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909013)

Its also cheaper as I don't have to fork out for "new" technology. If I was you I'd be saving my money for the coming recession....;-)

There is no recession. The economy is booming. Talk of a recession is perpetrated by liberal anti-war hippies looking for an excuse they can pin on our President. The left-coast geeks are committing suicide by the thousands outside the halls of our unemployment offices in their attempts to loot our national treasury of precious funds. I will take you to a San Francisco homeless shelter where our jobs program have completely eliminated all poverty... IN ONE HOUR!

Go Wireless! (1)

anandcp (617121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908811)

Hack Apple's Airport Extreme and make it your wireless transmitter. Use that to transmit your video & audio throught the house! Do NOT use wires at any cost.
Iam already drowning in wires with my home music-VCD-VCR-computer system.

I say the opposite, wire the sucker. (5, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908890)

Put in the wire. One it'll add value to your home and relatively cheap to install. Two it's secure, you don't have to worry about the neighboors mooching off your bandwidth or poking around in your file servers. Go with the cat 5e since the gigabit switches and hubs are rapidly falling in price. Might as well give yourself a little future proofing for your network.

I run a 240gb raid 0 file server for all the music and movies(126gb MP3's & 40gb movies). I also use it as a game server. The raid array keeps things humming along, but I'll cry if one of the drives dies, since I haven't got enough spare room to back everything up yet. Individual things like tunes and movies are played off of machines in the living room or the various bedrooms. A DSL router provides internet access.

A friend of mine has a similar set up, but went an interesting route for his massive DVD collection. Get yourself a good DVD ripper or just go buy one of the big Sony DVD jukeboxes. They hold something like 100-500 DVD's. This guy has one of the larger models which he controls through a PDA. He just puts them in when he buys them and doesn't usually remove them. He has the title listing on his LAN and found some software that turns his PDA into a programable universal remote. His MP3 collect which for some reason is identical to mine, he controls through a webbrowser. I'm not sure if he just wrote the code(html)or had a piece of software, but reguardless he can control that as well from any machine in the house or his PDA.

Re:I say the opposite, wire the sucker. (1)

EMN13 (11493) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909019)

I had something like that - two servers with 240GB raid arrays (well one with a 240GB Raid 0 and another with 230GB JBOD setup). In many was they backed each other up, so in case one array died I woulnd't lose everything...
Of course, then I had 3 (!!) drives die within three weeks, and it's all all all gone *sniff* :-). One of em was an IBM known not to be real safe (one of those GXP75's) But the real killers were the twin WD1200JB's for the Raid array which died simultaneously due to a cheap crappy annoying power supply (a temporary Power Supply I had in for a month or so until I got a better one).

That was one expensive mistake, both in time (I've reripped most stuff now but still), collection (stuff from "friends"), and $$... oh well...

--Eamon

so close (-1, Redundant)

Facekhan (445017) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908813)

I was so close to the whole first post, too bad I had to search for my password.

Anyways I would say wire up the place with Cat5e or use 80211g if you don't want to cut your walls apart.

Keep it simple (5, Interesting)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908814)

I have an old laptop 1GHz PIII running on my stack of Amp / CD / VCR etc... feeding into both the amp direct and the VCR. It works just fine.

To listen to internet radio or MP3s in my kitchen I open a couple of doors and turn up the volume. Wireless technology at its best.

Re:Keep it simple (5, Funny)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908899)

Man, when someone mentions having an "old" laptop that's twice as fast as your current desktop, you know it's time to upgrade ;-)

Re:Keep it simple (1)

cryosis (125841) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908974)

Amen. But in my case, his "old" gear is 3 times faster than mine. *sob*

Wiring a house for media.. (5, Interesting)

njan (606186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908815)

For a very long time, I debated a similar issue, and what I've found easiest to do is simply to stick a machine next to each 'media outlet' which exists in my house. My television has a displayless (asides from the tv) machine with an svideo output card, and my hifi has an old toshiba laptop plugged into it (120MHz machine). For times when I want really excellent sound, I have a second hifi which tends to get plugged into a soundblaster live - but for the majority of the time, soundblaster sound from the laptop suffices.

This is what I find simplest, since as I have the house networked, adding nodes - or controlling them - is childs play. I can happily even sit on the sofa and remote control the computer via the TV, which will happily play videos off my desktop which have recently been downloaded, for instance. I would guess that Wirelessly networking this would be more convenient, and specifically wiring each device would be a little higher class (ie. sending gold signal wiring to amplifiers &c), but in general I've found the networking approach to be the most flexible (and I've done a fair amount of work as a sound engineer, so I speak from a little experience).

As far as internet radio in every room goes, you might be simpler wiring up lots of speakers - I would guess it depends on your house size. I'd just plug my one of my laptops into the room in question and solve the problem that way, but that's just me. ;)

Cat5e is a wonderful thing. :)

Re:Wiring a house for media.. (2, Insightful)

GreenKiwi (221281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908997)

For times when I want really excellent sound, I have a second hifi which tends to get plugged into a soundblaster live - but for the majority of the time, soundblaster sound from the laptop suffices.

Yeah, and when you want music instead of just "sound" get something like the Digital Audio Labs card (http://www.digitalaudio.com/ [digitalaudio.com] ) or one of M Audios board (http://www.midiman.net/products/consumer/index.ph p [midiman.net] )

What are your preferences? (5, Insightful)

Max Romantschuk (132276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908825)

I've been planning the same for some time. Currently I'm aiming for wireless. The reasons?
  • The speed is OK with the latest generation
  • No wires
  • Moving things around won't become an issue
  • Upgrading won't require new wires

The main issue with wireless is speed... it's not terribly good, but enough to stream DivX (disclaimer, haven't tested, only done the math.) If you're planning to move several gigabytes from machine to machine in a hurry you might want wires instead.

Security is also a weak link with wireless, but that depends on your location as well. Encryption is always extra overhead, which is a bummer.

But personally I'd rather have a slow flexible system than a fast system I can't change because I've installed the RC45 jacks in the wrong places.

Re:What are your preferences? (1)

Kingpin (40003) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908867)


What do you use for streaming on the server side? What requirements do you have for the client? Can you stream to a TV? Or do you remote control the server and hook onto the TV out?

Re:What are your preferences? (5, Informative)

DigitalGlass (513918) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908868)

i tried streaming an 800MB divx file from my wired desktop into my wireless laptop, and it lagged alot and dropped alot of frames.

Re:What are your preferences? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908906)

Mod parent up. This is precisely the reason wireless is -always- going to have problems with streaming and any other sort of guaranteed QoS-demanding situation.

Re:What are your preferences? (2, Funny)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908991)

wireless is -always- going to have problems with streaming and any other sort of guaranteed QoS-demanding situation.

For sufficiently small values of always.

Re:What are your preferences? (4, Informative)

hbackert (45117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908986)

My experience reflects this too. While theoretically and actually practically (when doing large file transfers) the speed is enough, you get dropped frames as the data does not flow as a steady flow. Even a modest 1.5MBit/s divx is far from perfect when watching it being transfered from a (fast) file server to a (fast) computer. It's ok for short clips, but watching a movie is out of question. I prefer to copy the movie to disk and then watch it. Yet, I can move about 600kByte/s data on the 11MBit/s wireless LAN.

Re:What are your preferences? (1)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908869)

I haven't done the maths, but I do use it to watch DIVX movies all the time - and that on 11Mb. So anything faster will be fine.

Cat5 (5, Informative)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908828)

Run CAT5 all over the place... in addition to Ethernet, CAT5 has an impedance of ~ 100 ohms which makes it perfect for both balanced analog audio signals and digital AES/EBU if you want to do that. You want to go balanced if you're doing long cable runs otherwise you could pick up hum.

Re:Cat5 (5, Insightful)

SL33Z3 (104748) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908910)

With all the talk about wireless, this post would almost seem archaic to some. However, I wanted to pointed out that this is probably your best option if you can do it. it requires quite a bit of work in breaking up drywall in spots to run your cable, then patching it up. However it works well. CAT5 doesn't fall prey radio interference. With my wireless network, I've had some interferenece when using my 2.4 Ghz telephones. CAT5 doesnt' have this problem. I might also recommend if you make this investment in CAT5 , go plenum. It will keep intereference down from power cords and light fixtures that would impede plain ole CAT5. It costs more, but definitely worth it. I have a 2500 SF house I'm building and a single box of 1000FT wired EVERY room in my home, sometimes two or three runs to each room. I ran each cable from a spot in the garage (for God's sake, don't run them next to your power box). I then built a patch panel into the wall bought a media cabinet from Blackbox.com (expensive, so look at others such as "Leviton" or their newly aquired company "OnQ" ). You can place your modem, router etc in there.

Of course, this all only takes care of your networking needs in the home. Check out avsforum.com to get help with everything from running cable, to selecting the right equipment for you.

Re:Cat5 (4, Informative)

delong (125205) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908966)

if you make this investment in CAT5 , go plenum.

Not to mention adhering to cabling standards and building codes...

"Plenum" cable is just that, cable designed for installation in the building "plenum" - the space between the ceiling and floor. It's teflon coated so when your pad goes up in flames, it doesn't produce poisonous gas and kill you before you can get out. It's mandated by cabling standards and by law in many places.

Derek

Re:Cat5 (4, Informative)

djweis (4792) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909002)

Plenum cable is needed if the space between the ceiling and floor is an air return for that floor. Your house does not have an air return plenum ceiling.

To the parent poster, you must have wired differently than me. I wired my 2000 square foot house and put in just under 1 mile of cable with 2 outlets of 2xRG6 and 2xCat5 in each bedroom, three in the family room, and one in the kitchen and one in the dining room. There was another thousand feet of audio cable in the ceilings.

Re:Cat5 (1)

Graspee_Leemoor (302316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909016)

" It's teflon coated so when your pad goes up in flames, it doesn't produce poisonous gas and kill you before you can get out"

Yeah, but loads of other stuff will quite happily fill in for your cable to produce toxic fumes while burning.

graspee

chimneys flues (3, Funny)

Martin Spamer (244245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909005)


My home is an old-style brick house with chimneys, since it's modernised with gas powered heating, i dont use the flues. Since there is a unused fire place in the middle of every room in the house and the flues make great cable ducts, fairly short, wide and easy to use.

My switch is in a cuboard in the loft with easy access to the converged flues.

Also opened out the fireplaces make great recess for equipment.

Re:Cat5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908918)

You want to go balanced if you're doing long cable runs otherwise you could pick up hum.
Right, and then you'd forget all about wanting to have a cool home entertainment system.

2.4 ghz tv sender (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908833)

I use a 2.4gz tv sender hooked up between my pc's sound/video cards and the tv in the kitchen. To let me watch videos from the computer in the kitchen and to play mp3's with visualisations. Works pretty well except for when the microwave goes on, but then it is only a few metres. However i've had the thing work well at 100.

My approach (1)

rf0 (159958) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908837)

My approach was that I used a fanless Via MB from Mini-ITX [mini-itx.com] which has Tv-OUT. Using that + NFS + Wireless gave me a nice player. However I will admit I haven't got round to installing a remote control..

It make a nice talking point though

Rus

Something else to think about... (5, Informative)

Sean Johnson (66456) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908839)

If you are concerned about security, you might consider that even if you have WEP enabled with wireless, CAT5 will always be more resilient to eavsdropping on your network streams; simply because it hard to hack into CAT5 physically. Also, as another poster postulated, you have a dedicated 100mb throughput for each device or computer hooked into the LAN. With wireless, it's shared. CAT5 rocks for bandwidth! I can stream straight .VOB (DVD) files from my host computer to the living room computer and it plays just as if it were from a set-top, stand-alone DVD player; no skips or nothing. So you could have video playing over the LAN for one device in one room, and have plenty of bandwidth to spare for a couple of other devices in other rooms. Ultimately I guess it's how you plan to use it that determines the best implementation to use.

Re:Something else to think about... (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909018)

simply because it hard to hack into CAT5 physically.

Heh, I thought so too.

Then, I moved into my townhome here.

There are 6 townhouses per block, each with 4 bedrooms. There's a company that has a contract to provide ethernet to the townhomes (college town). So, 6x4=24. There's a 12 port switch at each end townhome, 4 wires going into the first townhouse, and 8 going through the attic wall to the next one. Of those 8, the next townhouse gets 4, and the remaining 4 go to the townhouse in the middle, the 3rd one in.

I have DSL, but it's been oh-so-tempting, since I know my neighbors-toward-the-middle have ethernet, to crawl up into the attic crawl space, cut the cable, put jacks onto both ends of the cut, and install a hub, and end up with free ethernet access.

The reason I don't is because at the beginning of the year, they have a "free trial period" for ethernet. When I plugged into it during the free trial, it was about 22 seconds before there was a virus sitting on one of my windows network neighborhood shares. Plus, they block a *lot* of outbound ports.

But, still. Cat5 hacking at it's best.

~Wx

use davedina project (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908842)

I can't stress enough how i h@te the name of their program. I never can remember it when most needed and I always have to search irc logs for it.

besides that I've seen a demo on FOSDEM in Belgium and it is all you want : tv, dvd, mp3, mpeg/avi/..., photo gallery, ... the works. Even server capacities, XML tv program retreivel, ...

it is modular and you can choose form programs you want to play your mediums with.

The dvd player has fully support for the remote control (what it also supports :-)) VERY nice.

it also has server thingies. You can connect clients to it to setup in several other rooms.

When my house is more ready I'll use it!

http://davedina.apestaart.org/content/

is tha site!

AV amp (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908854)

i use an av amp, my computer feeds into that (video out, with the audio in and out fed through the amp tape loop) and everything else connects into the amp also, so i can watch divx's on TV through the surround setup, record them to video, whatever... with a video in, you could also record from any source digitally with great ease, just using the vcr video in/out.

Re:AV amp (1)

The_dev0 (520916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908909)

The AC bastard is on to something. This is EXACTLY how I have my setup, with a box on it's side stacked behind all the other shit out of sight, plugged into the amp, alway switched on, connected to one of the AV channels on my amp(like your nintendo). Wireless keyboard and mouse (no other shit needed on the already full coffee table),with CAT5 running through the wall upstairs to the ... well, office, technically. but it works a treat, lots of storage upstairs, no hassle downstairs. If push comes to shove I can lean behind the cabinet and reset the box.

Don't understand the point of IT based HE system (5, Interesting)

mark2003 (632879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908856)

I'm always a bit sceptical about these ideas and maybe I'm a luddite in this respect. I've always gone for speakers, amps etc. that will give the best sound quality, why I would then want to use an source, such as MP3, that would sound the same on a £50 stereo is beyond me.

Likewise with internet radio, fine for voice, but when it comes to music I would rather listen to an FM radio station with decent sound quality.

Likewise using Cat 5 cables or, even worse, WiFi, for linking parts of the sound system seems pointless. Most speaker, cable and amp manufacturers spend a fortune on R&D to develop their products to produce the best quality sound by reducing interference etc. Using cheap (compared to HiFi) R5 cabling or WiFi would negate any of these benefits.

Re:Don't understand the point of IT based HE syste (1)

paulmew (609565) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908884)

An IT based HE system would be pretty handy for me. Problem is, local UK BBC radio station (line of site to my house, way too much power, dire content) completely knocks out anything of any interest on the radio (specifically BBC Radio 4, which is pretty much all I listen to on the radio). So, to listen to Radio 4 in the house with any degree of quality I need to be in the same room as my PC. Also, there are a number of other BBC radio stations (Radio 7 for example) which are now only available on satalite, DAB or Internet, so it would be pretty useful to be able to listen to those anywhere in the house (without just turning the volume up really loud and annoying everyone)

Re:Don't understand the point of IT based HE syste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908888)

Some of the radio stations I listen to off the net are unique in their programming. I can never find what I want to listen to on the FM dial. Either there are too many crappy commercials or just top 40 wank.

Re:Don't understand the point of IT based HE syste (5, Informative)

njan (606186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908903)

Whether or not MP3 reduces the sound quality of any given source (which obviously it does), you can tell the difference between a production quality set of technics speakers and the 5watt multimedia speakers that shipped with an mmx-era tiny: in just the same way that a decent car will still handle well on a poor quality road, decent hardware will make the most of whatever sound you feed it.

With a few exceptions - notably headphones - this isn't the case. There are certain lines of sennheiser headphones, for instance, which sound dreadful when fed a 64kbps mp3 of classical music; however, even on a 160kbps mp3 feed, my pair of Sennheiser HD500s sound positively wonderful, especially when the music has as few channels as possible. This difference in headphones is mostly due to the fact that headphones aren't designed to playback recordings made for speakers - which your body naturally perceives accoustically due to the multiple, far-distanced soundsources and diffuse reflections off environment and shoulders. Even the most expensive headphones still find it extremely hard to compensate for this; the best solution is to use a binaural recording, made generally by a set of microphones embedded in a plastic or polystyrene fake head, such that playback sounds as realistic as possible.

In short, hardware DOES make a difference - even to a 128kbit mp3 feed. But what would sound bad on good hardware at that bitrate would sound bad on any set of speakers - and if you're really after audiophile sound quality, you won't be feeding a set of expensive speakers with a low-rate mp3 file.

Remember also that most recordings are now made digitally - it's extremely easy to get hold of even mp3 recordings of extremely high quality (256kbit mp3 files are practically indistinguishable from cds to the lay person's ear; with ogg vorbis, the compression artefacts drop vastly in occurance and this applies to an even greater degree)....

Re:Don't understand the point of IT based HE syste (1)

mark2003 (632879) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908936)

I agree - a poor quality source will always sound better on a set of B&W Nautilus speakers than on PC speakers.

However, why waste a lot of money on decent speakers to play poor quality source through them? I think MP3 players are great (I've got a iPod that I use all the time) but I still play CDs through the CD player at home where portability is not an issue and sound quality is - I only have to carry a CD across the lounge...

Interesting to hear about the quality of 256kbit mp3 files, however until ARCAM or NAD or any of the decent HiFi manufacturers make an audiophile's mp3 player I still don't think it will match CD.

Re:Don't understand the point of IT based HE syste (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908924)

Likewise using Cat 5 cables or, even worse, WiFi, for linking parts of the sound system seems pointless. Most speaker, cable and amp manufacturers spend a fortune on R&D to develop their products to produce the best quality sound by reducing interference etc

hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Oh I'll bet you $500.00 you cant hear the difference between cat 5 wiring and $60.00 a foot no-oxygen monster cable.

only the uneducated rich believe any of the crap that the manufacturers and audiophile magazines spew forth.

if I cannot detect it on an ossiciliscope, something that is 1000 times more sensitive and accurate than your ears... you certianly cant.

Re:Don't understand the point of IT based HE syste (1)

hplasm (576983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908996)

Amen!

My system (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908857)

It isn't perfect, but here's a quick list:

Audio/Video:
- Kenwood THX Receiver ($400)
- Infinity 5.1 Surround Speakers (no they aren't dipole)
- Toshiba 3109 DVD player (older)
- Toshiba 50H81 16:9 HDTV-ready
- Digital cable with 5.1 dolby
- Mistubishi SVHS VCR with SVideo in/out

Conversion Computer (upstairs):
- Athlon 2000+, 512MB Ram, 4x80GB drives (manually mirrored with rsync weekly)
- ATI Wonder TV
- 100baseT network
- Mitsubishi SVHS VCR for Playback/Recording
- RH9.0 Linux
- MEncoder, vobcopy, mplayer, Freevo and custom scripts for conversion from analog and DVD to DivX 5.0x
Here's where to get the software: http://www.mplayerhq.hu/homepage/design6/news.html
http://www.divx.com/
http://lpn.rnbhq.org/
htt p://freevo.sourceforge.net/

- mod_mp3 for streaming audio files
- Apache web server for Streaming video inside the house

Playback Computer (near TV):
- Compaq Armada E500 (900MHz, 256MB Ram, composite video out, stereo audio out)
- DLink 802.11a PCMCIA adapter (in turbo mode I see 72Mbps)
- VLC is used to stream the video from the server upstairs

Plug the laptop into the AUX input for the Receiver and use the Toshiba's aspect ratio and zoom controls to fill the screen completely.

Works best with DVD conversions. I've converted some favorite VCR tapes too and lots of home videos from 20-30 years ago. There's nothing like being able to have family over and laugh at them as kids going down a slide and landing on their butts at the bottom or seeing Mom in kat-eye glasses.
Also works great with WinAMP for MP3 and other audio format playback. If WinAMP's video would stream, I wouldn't need VLC

It isn't a perfect setup. It needs a remote control, a cleaner look downstairs, but for watching a full length movie, it is great - no more switching DVDs or hunting for the DVD . They are all safely away in a closet.

There are lots of other choices for the Linux software, but for one reason or another, they wouldn't work on my system. Mostly due to dependencies. RPM sucks!

Could I be first?

Re:My system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908863)

Forgot to mention that a DLink 802.11a/b access point is used to support the wireless networking. Only 2 systems are wireless and the other 3 are wired.

Re:My system (1)

theedge318 (622114) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908977)

Ok ... you have a setup very similar to mine. However I found a flaw (unfortunately in the very first piece of equipment) the Kenwood THX reciever (the model i have is the VR-6070). As far as audio quality goes, it is wonderful. In fact everything is perfect. But I CANNOT get any other Remote Controls to work with it. I have tried 4 different learning remotes, with no luck.

Is there any way you have found to control the Reciever either via, Learning remote, or maybe even better yet, via a PC based remote control.

I have seen a few circuit diagrams for Serial based IR transmitter/recievers, but none of them explain/provide code on how to drive the IR devices that they have built.

I am looking for any links that might help with this problem, and I don't care about the OS ... If I could only solve it with Windows, I would actually break down and buy a license for my media machine.

Re:My system (1)

theedge318 (622114) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908983)

Oh yeah, one other important note. The VR-6070 also has an alternate RF input, but I am sure no way I could get that to work.

Also, what are those plugs labeled "IR" on the back of my Reciever/Cable Box/etc ... is there a way to plug those into my computer directly? or use that as a way to control the kenwood

Thanks

Sacrafice some quality, but gain flexibility.. (3, Interesting)

ItsIllak (95786) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908862)

The core parts of this are:

1) A computer with an infrared/RF input device.
2) An A/V tuner + amp + display device in each location as required
3) Loadsa co-ax cable.
4) a bank of modulators/demodulators.

Now, get each input device, (computer, sat box, cd player etc) to modulate itself onto a different channel of a single co-ax that does a loop around the house (or star network, depending on layout). They can do this from any point on the wire and broadcast it back onto it without problems.

Connect up each of the A/V decoders/demodulators/displays etc, complete with a "magic eye" that can modulate the remote signal back down the same wire, back to each device that has a decoder/re-diffuser.

The advantage is that you've got a single bit of wire going everywhere that has everything on it.

The disadvantage is that the quality can be lacking, but that's ALL down to the modulator/demodulator pairs you use.

You can then even talk to your computer via IR/RF now, which means that this can be extended into an X10 system to control lights (or anything else really).

Another advantage is that you can watch anything in any room similtaniously.

how legal do you wish to be? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908865)

I had the same dilema.

What I do is quite simple.

The internet come into the office room (my wife and I share 7 different PCs + one for the children.) Apart from a KVM for my cluster each PC has VNC installed so that I can, for example, switch off the childs PC remotely - which saves a screaming match at bathtime. There is a WIFI access point which means we can use laptops throughout the house and part of the garden (this does include the hammock).

My designated "media" PC has a 2.4Gig AV transmitter which are fairly common is consumer electronic places now. I have multiple recievers around the house - 1 for bedroom TV/Stereo, one for dining room stereo, one for TV room TV/stereo etc. The only place I miss this is the shower.

The TV room system also has a transmitter (on a different channel) so the cable can be watched on any of the other TVs in the house (all watch the same thing at the same time). To switch from watching cable to listening to the stuff from the computer is a simple matter of flicking a switch on the reciever.

The only thing to watch is that you set up the channels on the wifi and tv transmitters so that you don't get interference from each other.

It could be better but it works a treat here. And importantly my wife can still work out how to switch things on and off ("1 TV, 1 cable box, 1 VCR, 1 DVD player, 1 Stereo - just to watch TV! You have got to be kidding."). The trick is to leave everything on and just switch screens off.

Home Wiring. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908878)

How you wire it really has to do with how much you like tearing up walls. If you can stomach the rewire then your best bed is Cat5 everywhere you migh ever want a device. Video, Speakers (audio), Control, LCD screens, HVAC, LAN, all of it can be run over cat5 now with baluns or converters. All the major home automation systems use Cat5 (Panja/AMX, Stargate, etc). I would also recommend running some coax to save the trouble of balancing a load of cat5 for video, but thats just me. I recently did a system with 8 cat5's per jack, one to two jacks per room, plus stereo built in speakers and electronic volume controls in each room. That was new construction though, so much easier. (I put this stuff in for a living) Also of course cat5 can be used for phone (up to 4 lines per cable). Ideal solution, run cat 5 to a jack plate in each room, assume 1 ethernet, 1 svideo, 1 composite video, 1 stereo sound (or optical Toslink using a toslink to cat5 balun) Run Cat5 to each wall plate that you might wish to control (i wouldnt worry about light switches, X10 when properly installed works well for those and uses powerlines for control) I would run at least 1 mabey 2 to anyplace you want a touchpanel in the future, and one to each volume control location (Or multipad location). This stuff can get really complex but at least the wire is cheap. Remember that cat5 can do gigE now and if you instal 350mhz cat5e/6 you can probably do 10ge in the future. This is more then enough to stream even HDTV.

AVSForum (5, Informative)

SL33Z3 (104748) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908891)

One of the best sites around for this sort of information is http://www.avsforum.com/

Do your research in their FAQs and then post any questions you have to the board. The site is ass-ugly, but it's great information!

Ground Loops (5, Insightful)

ViXX0r (188100) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908892)

One thing I can't stress enough is to be wary of ground loops when connecting any number of audio/video components together. If there's more than one path to ground throughout your entire connection of equipment it's extremely likely you will hear a 60Hz (50Hz in europe) hum in the background of all your music. I just managed to track down and stop mine the other day.

Connecting a computer and a home stereo receiver is probably the most common cause of this effect.

Fortunately, you can get ground loop isolators pretty cheap for line-level, and cable tv applications... of course, if you choose wireless this is a moot point.

How about a low-power FM transmitter? (3, Informative)

Woodmeister (7487) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908893)

If you're looking to distribute audio from your PC to any other stereo in your home, may I suggest a low-power stereo FM transmitter from Ramsey Electronics, JDR, etc. If you're not completely worried about HiFi quality (which I assume you may not be, especially if you have scads of 128kbps MP3's) you get the benefits of wireless without needing any special hardware on the receiving end. All you need is an FM radio! This can be especially useful for those BBQ parties on the deck or when you are working in the yard. Just grab a portable boom-box and you're ready to go.

what I do. (1)

munter (619803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908895)

I guess it's more a question of what's practical rather than what's technical (yeah I know..this is /.)

What I do is run line level cables from my debian boxen to the mixer/amp in the other room, which feeds speakers back in the room where my computer is and also the main room. I've got a cable tv/broadband box in the room that the amp is in, and my TV in the room that the computer is in which is fed by 2.4 Ghz wireless.

Wireless is good because it means I can change my mind.

It's ugly, It's a hack. But it works.(tm)

My advice? do what is practical. I used cable because I could, I used wireless because I couldn't be bothered running cable to the TV (and that it would be f-ugly). I used Line level because hey my ears ain't gonna really hear the difference. The only thing that I had to do was make a little magic box that eliminated earth diffrential hum. Aside from that...it works good for me!

As for cabling, what distances? Cat5's good for a hundred metres..

I chose where and how I wanted to live. Then I decided how I was going to use technology to help me do that. That's the order that things should be.Work out where the stereo should go, where the boxen should go, where you wanna chill etc. then work out how to connect stuff together.

If you do things in that order then you should be able to stop drowning in the googleness of your technophilia..

Forgot one thing... (5, Funny)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908902)

Married or single? That could be a determining factor. 9 out of 10 wives will prefer wireless...

simple solution... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908914)

#1 run cat 5 everywhere.. it's easy to do.
#2 buy a turtle beach audiotron. in fact get 2 they are the ONLY choice that is worth a damn.

#3, wire the house for room speakers, and get a whole house audio distribution/amp system. FAST is a really good brand and expensive, otherweise buy good quality 2 way ceiling speakers and a volume control for each room for the low end/low cost.

you can spend from $1500.00 to $95,000.00 on this "project" it depends on what you want and how much bleeding from your wallet you can handle.

wireless is ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908919)

well i don't know about you guys, but i think that 802.11b is more than enough. i mean, you need 6 mbits/s to broadcast a DVD with videolan, so why more speed?

Wired is the way to go. (2, Interesting)

4string (638202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908937)

Wired is the way to go, I have both 100Mbit Cat 5 and wireless and have experimented with both. I built a PC for the TV and use a wireless KB with a joystick style mouse you operate with your thumb.
My favorite thing is to slideshow pictures when we have friends over. I have a Gforce 4 MX card and it does the job since 640X480 is the best resolution for my 32" JVC. Also streaming mp3's with the visual plugins works well.
I tried 802.11b and the streaming was less than perfect, I say bite the bullet and pull some wires!

dont step in the ideology (1)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908944)

No matter what anybody here says, putting together a home-brewed media center may be rewarding personally, but in the long run is a pain in the ass. You may do well with a MS XP Media Center PC, or something like a Digeo Media Center.

That said, wired is a lot easier and cheaper than wireless, and more reliable.

The most important things to have are Surround sound (5.1, 6.1, or 7.1) and a TV with oodles of inputs. A Philips stremium is good for internet radio.

Why one solution???? (1)

SerpentMage (13390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908947)

Seriously, why a one solution fits all. The best approach I find is consider the task.

In my office I have my own TV. Sounds cheap, but it works nonetheless.

Most likely you will want to create a theater room. Use that money that you were cheap with in the office to buy a big projection screen with a decent stereo sound system. NOTHING beats watching Fight Club with surrond sound on a 8 x 8 screen.

Sure there might not be a connected TV system, or stereo, but there are multiple people in my family who each want to watch and hear their own thing.

I find investing money into bridging the computer to TV / DVD system is useless. Fun but useless. Invest in a good high frequency TV, etc, etc....

xbox (1)

yeager74 (604610) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908950)

There's only one thing to do. Buy a M$ Xbox and a modchip Run Xbox Media Player Cost? Around $200 I bought two.. Microsoft will not earn money on me. Dan

Re:xbox (1)

doofusclam (528746) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909014)

That's exactly what I did. It's nice because the xbox goes directly to the router meaning I don't need the pc turned on. The latest CVS builds have goom visualisations too, it's a nice easy thing to use when people come round for a party and you haven't sorted out the music.

You can also browse photos on the network or built in hard drive while listening to tunes btw.

Integrated mobile audio, video and computing (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908963)

In my day we called these things .... ... laptops.

Wire early (1)

slim (1652) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908968)

Just in case anyone reading is in this situation:

I bought a new build house, and the first time I saw it, they hadn't yet fixed the stud plasterboard to the interior walls.

I should have taken that opportunity to flood the place with Cat 5, but I didn't.

Next time, eh...

Re:Wire early (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5908994)

Before the plasterboard went into my house, i drilled down holes for the cat 5 and left strings so i could just drop it straight down. Worked a charm, and saved money =)

Conduit (5, Interesting)

maroberts (15852) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908981)

If you decide to go wired, run conduit instead of wires everywhere, that way, if you decide to change your solution in later years you don't have to rip the walls up and replaster, just run new/more wires or fiber-optic cable down the conduit. {I'd like to take the credit for this idea, but I saw it in a previous Slashdot article as I was Etherneting my house)

KISS (2, Interesting)

zloppy303 (411053) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908982)

Is say Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS).
Internet Radio(with the same music in each room): put a stereo amplifier in each room, and interconnect them via the "tape" i/o. No need to stream anything and you can choose the volume for each room individually.

Video: Put a thin client (x-terminal) in your Home Theatre, 2 reasons: Low Noise and Low Noise ;) Only problem: sound also gets to the other rooms(interconnected amplifiers) so you might want to use a separate soundcard with videoplayback.(for true 5.1 sound you might want to do that anyway)

No visible wiring, no CRT (4, Interesting)

aug24 (38229) | more than 11 years ago | (#5908993)

Your spouse will hate wires if you have one. Work out where your cable runs should be and make sure they are invisible. Or go wireless.

Projectors are now at a sensible price, starting at about 900gbp for an Epson EMP-30. I use one of these and it's fine. My girlfriend and I love the way the TV and everything disappear when not in use, meaning the house centres naturally around the fireplace as if it were 1940 again!

Projectors also work really well with a KVM switch. Put the monitor output into the 'Computer' input and the sound into a hi-fi, add a wireless keyboard and you are laughing, whether you have ten PCs or two.

If you are expecting lots of different audio channels: PC, TV(etc), CD, not to mention the old favourites like radio, then get a separate pre-amp with /lots/ of channels and a good amp. I didn't do this and I now find myself swapping cables, which is irritating. I will be buying a good pre-amp soon!

Justin.

Hehe. I know Im gonna get bashed for this.... (5, Interesting)

Toodles (60042) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909001)

For the connections in the house, go with a wired setup whenever possible, and make sure you have conduit to run whatever the cable du jour will be in the future. One or two access points plugged in outta sight wouldn't hurt either.

Now for the fun part, actually USING that bandwidth. I hate M$ to, but the best way to play whatever you need at any location is with a modded Xbox and Xbox Media Player Website [xboxmediaplayer.de] . This spliffy piece of software can play just about any media format you can think of, from VOB, DivX, Mp3, Ogg, and many many more obscure formats. It can play them from the harddrive, dvd drive, or over the network with SMB (Windows) shares, Shoutcast for your internet radio, and tons of other options. Divx plays just fine over a 10mbit connection, so switched 100mbit aught to be a dream. Here [techtv.com] is a review of XBMP on TechTV with videos of it in action. Picture slideshows, playlists, this piece of software just keeps getting better and better. Fully controllable with a standard controller or the DVD remote you can purchase separately. (I recommend the Logitech RF wireless controller if you can justify the extra money. Solid contruction, flawless performance.) Its all about the wireless, baby.

Even better, no expensive modchip or chip installation required. Some people [slashdot.org] figured out how to run code without a chip, and some others figured out how to flash a BIOS on the Xbox with this technique. No chips, just shorting two easy points on the motherboard. Check on the #xbins channel of Efnet for information; look for the 007 agent under fire package with raincoat. You'll need a friend with a modded Xbox to get the savegame on a memory card, but once done, Xbox is a cinch to crack.

As a perk, you could even get a few room-to-room Halo/Unreal/RTCW/Doom 3 games going on.

Audiotron is my choice (4, Informative)

whirlycott (54326) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909004)

I bought an Audiotron recently and hooked it up via a Linksys wireless bridge to my network. All of my mp3 files reside on my linux server and are accessed via samba. I use iTunes on my Powerbook to rip my CD collection and manage the mp3 files.

I've had it probably for a month and it's been great. The unit is stable and the wireless network is great. I don't notice any performance problems with the wireless, despite what others are saying about it.

Originally, I wanted to hardware the unit thinking that it would be a problem, but running cable is such a hassle in my house and I figured I would just try out the wireless option. Since it works, I'm happy. Music never skips or pauses or whatever.

I've saved a huge amount of space in the living room where all the CDs used to be and have also really reduced the visual clutter.

I also looked at the slimp3 player that someone else mentioned, but decided I wanted something "appliance-like" that wouldn't have me digging through perl server code in the middle of a party when I want to be listening to music. The other reason is that the Audiotron supports streaming Windows Media which I use to listen to a radio station in France and this was a must-have for me.

Fyi, if you go with the Audiotron, you should check out my Whirlycott Audiotron TOC Generator [whirlycott.com] which builds table of contents files for the Audiotron to read. This makes scanning your MP3 collection a task that takes just a few seconds (I have around 5000 files) versus 10 minutes.

I don't need no steenkin' computers... (2, Interesting)

jamis (16403) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909006)

In my home entertainment system, at least...

The home entertainment system consists of:

Sony TV
Pioneer 5.1 Digital Reciever
Cambridge Soundworks speakers (MC300's, Surround IV's, etc)
Toshiba DVD player
Sony CD Player
ReplayTV
TurtleBeach AudioTron (MP3/Internet Radio)
Nintendo GameCube

The last three items are wired to the Router/Gateway/Wireless Access Point/Cable Modem. Upstairs are all the computers (3, not including free roaming laptop) hooked up to a 10/100 switch and a wireless bridge to communicate with the downstairs. The server is upstairs and serves the MP3's to the AudioTron.

Works for me.

Cat5 and an XBox (1)

NerdENerd (660369) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909010)

I have Cat5 running all over the house. Great for having a central DivX and MP3 server that you can watch from anywhere in the house. I have been struggling with a PC and TV out for a few years, but Windows is not ready for the longe room just yet. Since I put a modded Xbox under my TV, I have never looked back. Xbox Media Player is the best lounge room machine for playing DVD, MP3, net streaming radio without spending alot of money. Of course you can play games on it as well.

I went thru this a few years ago (3, Informative)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 11 years ago | (#5909015)

www.amphony.com
www.dalco.com
www.adventaudio.co m

Looked for some way to get cable signal to my computer without putting a hole in the wall. And how to get computer signals downstairs to the TV.

Not gonna be able to move the cable TV signal wirelessly. The line level signals are possible though.

Run CAT5 or CAT5e, either will do fine. Forget wireless for the computers. I have that network too, and its bandwidth is certainly more than enough to watch streaming programs, but it sucks when you want to move around said files in whole. Plus lots of things can degrade the signal. Suffice it to say wireless does not like to go vertical, it does, but it looses a lot of power.

Now that you have run the proper flavor of CAT5 (www.dalco.com), you are going to need a computer right next to your stereo. As for running audio video signals this is the preferred order of formats

1. digital
2. high voltage
3. lower voltage

This means that running speaker wire is your last resort, run line level if u can, and of course digital is WAAAAY better. The higher the voltage, the less your signal will degrade on long runs, this is why the voltage the power companies send out is SO high for the long runs, but stepped down when it comes into your house.

I ended up giving up the computer audio thru the stereo because of my house setup, maybe next time though. Currently I use Advent's wireless speakers. They work on 800MHz and dont interfere with my 802.11 network. Plus I have headphones for them as well. But they do pick up quite a bit of the occasional statis. Works best for stationary speakers, the headphones I have when I cut the grass do not work nearly as well. But they work. Also check out the products of www.amphony.com. Note though that this is the same frequency as 802.11 wireless network and the 2.4 GHz phones as well. You wont really *hear* any interference I don't think because they are digital I believe, but you will just get smaller bandwidth when the phone / speakers are running. In my Advent's 800MHz speaks, I occasionally hear the neighbors on the telephone because they are not digital. Thisis basically a wireless way of sending a line level signal thru the house. I also have a receiver I can put on my stereo if I want to send signals to the stereo from the computer. Though anyone in their right minds would prefer the SPDIF, and it will not go across the wireless I assume, havent tried.

"Now that I'm finally a proud homeowner..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5909023)

... who should have cared about one thing:

LARGE diameter ductwork
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