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Full Version: Another newbie to CQC trying to plan my setup...any help is appreciated
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Hi all - I have been a habitual lurker in several boards for like 2 years now as I went through the home planning/ building process. I am a DIYer that seems to like to get in over my head with this stuff. I have all the wiring and general home automation in place and now need to bring it all together into a complete system with A/V and fully flexible controls.

At this point, I think I am completely paralyzed into inaction by over-researching every conceivale option out there and have made zero progress on this stuff since the house was built a year ago. A lot of my hangup has been around finding a system that gives me the right capabilities with the right interface for a price that I can afford (I am admittedly very cheap). Plus everything seems to be dependent on every other component so I want to get it all figured out before dropping the cash. I'm looking for some help/advice on hardware choices for the integration.

WHAT I HAVE
Wiring (all home run to basement panel area):
[INDENT]2RG6/2Cat5e to at least 2 locations in each room (about half even have 2 fiber optic runs as well since the incremental was $40 for 250 feet in the bundle)
single cat5e runs to a future audio controller location in all bedrooms/dining/etc.
12/4 speaker wire to where in-ceiling speakers will go (these run through the future controller locations in case i went with a controller with local amps)
family room has speaker wiring for 6.1 in ceiling with 5.1 speakers installed (connected locally to a receiver but I could home run these as well)
single cat5e runs to 3 omni controllers
[/INDENT]
Hardware:
[INDENT]HAI OmniProII
UPB switches and controllers throughout house
HAI thermostats
Omnitouch and a couple standard HAI controllers
Tivos are networked to my main pcfor music and photo playback on the TVs[/INDENT]
Software:
[INDENT]Current programming is all done through HAI software for lighting, temp, alarm, general automation stuff.
I just recently bought CQC before the upcoming price increase (hoping I didn't jump the gun) because I think I'm convinced this is the type of solution that I've been looking for all along in terms of interface/control[/INDENT]


WHAT I WANT TO DO (this is already getting to be a long post - so I'll try to put some structure to this by splitting it up)
Part A - Distribute A/V sources to several zones

I currently have a tivo and receiver in the family room with the usual amount of wires. I'm planning on getting a plasma to mount above fireplace (thinking 50" commercial panny). so i want to get rid of ALL boxes in the family room. Would like to move the Tivo and receiver in the master bedroom to the basement as well and just have the wall mounted LCD. These rooms should be able to get any video source as well as music. Other rooms will strictly be getting music at this point

This means I need to get an HD signal and digital sound distributed to at least the family room (also the basement living area whenever I get around to putting up drywall). Remainder of distribution is SD video and stereo sound. IR distribution obviously needs to go along with the package.

When I went with the OmniPro, I was convinced that the CAV6.6 was the right solution for me based on number of zones/ sources, integration with OmniPro and the ability to have subzones. BUT, the controller options aren't quite what I am looking for in terms of controlling OmniPro and CAV (Omnitouch is limited in this area and the Rossound touchscreen is very expensive and won't do the HA stuff). The SMS is also obscenely expensive, but the iBridge does look awesome. My other biggest concern is that all signals distributed by the CAV are analog.

What are my options here? Russound is coming out with the VM1 which does HD component distribution (and upconversions for analog sources) with distribution over cat5 to component plates to tak advantage of my structured wiring. So now I am thinking of going with the CAM instead of the CAV and using the VM1 for the video side but this approach isn't cheap and may be overkill for the 1 current HD room requirement. Plus it doesn't address my need to distribute digital audio to this zone. I see that the AutoPatch products seem mighty popular here but I don't fully understand how they are used (or why) in addition to a CAV. So my thought is to just use my Sony ES receiver for the HD stuff but not sure how I tie that in with the CAV so i can switch sources to play music in the family room if the speakers are connected to the receiver, not the CAV.

Music will be distributed from either an iBridge (if I do go with russound) or someday from CQC with the neat features that I've read about for 2.0. I have pretty much decided against a local HTPC because I don't want a box in the room and I'll be using a Tivo for DVR capabilities. Plus my wife really likes the current situation where the Tivo is able to display our pics on the tv as well as play music from the server. Does CQC have the photo viewing capability or will I still use the Tivo for that feature?

Part B - Controllers/ interface
Since I am on this forum, I've obviously decided to go with CQC to drive my controllers. The key is that I want to control everything (A/V, HA, temp, etc.) from a single interface. And I want to do this as cheaply as possible. I am completely new to the arena of UMPC, thin clients, etc. and trying to learn as I go. What I do know is that a wall mount larger than 5-7" is simply not an option based on aesthetics. I like the idea of a 10" AirPanel for the family room that I saw on another thread - and my wife would love it if it was basically a digital frame when not in use on its dock. But it seems from the other thread that there are potentially some limited capabilities because it is .Net. Options for wireless displays seem limited as UMPCs seem to be the way to go now but they are pricey and maybe overkill. Any suggestions for something that looks great, could act as a digital frame through the screen saver, and offers full functionality with CQC?

For the other rooms, I was eyeing the RAD-I/O product by Touchtronix, although I would likely want to wait for the release of the 320x240 double gang version that their website says is coming out soon. That seems to be the perfect size screen for these rooms and I have full spousal approval on it. Not sure I like the idea of running an extra machine just to drive these displays and I haven't really seen any posts here reviewing how well they work for controlling different zones. Any thoughts on the RAD-I/O approach?

And finally, I am leaning toward a PocketPC for additional control for deck zones and maybe even as a secondary family room remote. Need to have a "regular" universal remote for day-to-day TV only viewing - especially with kids (and a wife that doesn't want to deal with a touchscreen or pocketpc just to watch TV). Built-in IR distribution is another reason why a CAV/CAM seems like a good choice. Is there a way to bring up the interface on the tv (I guess as another source to distribute) and navigate with a universal remote through IR?


That pretty much summarizes the situation. There are some specific questions embedded in there but I would appreciate feedback/ opinions on any and all areas of the plan.

Thanks in advance!
Derrick
welcome, certainly sounds like some decent pre-wire. Would have been a bit simpler had you 3RG6 as you could have distributed component via something like an Autopatch 4YDM for $400, but you'll live.

Which/what zones do you have for what? Are you looking to distribute the TIVO? CQC doesn't have that yet, but hopefully the SageTV integration gets tighter come post-V2.0 and life gets easier.

As you just have 1 zone right now for HD, you could research a non-distributed, single point solution like dedicated a CAT5 to carrying it via baluns. For the SD zones, you could use a CAV to distribute it.

Well, i'm off to bed now, totally exhausted, i'm sure the others will jump in soon enough.
I'm a software guy so I can't help with some of the hardware stuff. One option on the display would be to just get a standard 15" touch screen, given off of the CQC server in the closet, and wall mount it and have a nice frame made for it, and then use a UMPC or some other smaller device for hand-held access. That way you get a big screen for the fixed touch screen, and the hand-held doesn't need to pull that load.

This makes use of the server in the closet to get an extra touch screen. Just put a keyboard/mouse and small monitor in the closet on a cheap KVM switch so that you can switch to the local control when you need to do local maintenance.