Whole Home Media Center

Venom51

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Whole Home Media Center

#1

Post by Venom51 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 7:37 pm

Hello All,

I am a refugee from the "other" board that was ruined by MS. I have chosen DVBLink, Huappauge HDPVR's, Acer 3700's, DirecTV and Media Center as my solution for distributing Audio and Video through out my home. Here's the network drawing of what I have done. http://diablo.homedns.org/Diablo%20Network.pdf

Edit : Network drawing updated to reflect removal of dead Netgear GSM7224 and small 8 port switch. Replacements are 2 x Dell PC 5324's. Link Aggregation Groups used to tie switches together for a 4 Gig link between the switches. Each server now has a 2 port GigE Link Aggregation Group giving them 2 gigs.

We'll start at the room that houses the server rack and equipment complete with it's own air conditioning to deal with the heat build up from the servers. Before we finished the basement it was all open so heat build up was never an issue. Now that they are confined in a smaller space I had no choice but to add the AC. Operating systems involved are a combination of Windows 2008 server, Windows 7 Home/Professional and Ultimate.

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In it you'll find the servers mentioned in the drawing as well as the KVM, Switches, Router and DTV recievers along the the HDPVR's on top. Also included in the rack is an APC Power Distribution module that is controllable via IP. I put this in as some of the things I read indicated the HDPVR's would occasionally need a power cycle. This let me do it from the living room via the network instead of walking downstairs to pull the power cable. I have never had to use it but it's there. I can also reboot the DTV boxes as well if the need arises.

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All along I read that the HDPVR's would all need to be connected to their own USB controllers. I have had no such issues. All 3 are connected to the same 4 port USB card. All the DTV recievers are connected to the network and channel changes are handled via IP commands sent to the recievers directly from DVBLink.

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This feeds DirecTV/DVD's/Music to the following rooms in the house.

The Living Room. This is where all the DVR action happens and is then automatically moved to the storage server for viewing from any other location in the house.

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The Master Bedroom.

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The gym which contains 3 TV's. One for each portion of the room.

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One located over the downstairs mini kitchen/Bar area.

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And of course on every PC in the house. My 2 gaming rigs like the one below and our notebooks.

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All of these can be controlled via our Android handsets as well as my Xoom tablet using Eventghost. All control is done over the IP network. All DVD's and Music are stored on the Homessb server and are available to any location in the house. We also use the USB ports in our cars along with a 16GB thumb drive in each to carry the entire music collection that is available at home with us in the cars.

Now there are currently some limitations such as being limited to 8 ative clients by DVBLink. Hopefully that will be resolved by the next version. Also we still have to keep the TV remote in the room just to turn the TV's on and off. However there's no DRM on anything and all content can play everywhere.

I monitor the entire setup with Paessler PRTG. It keeps up with traffic stats and emails me if anything out of the ordinary happens on my network.

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I hope this maybe shows a little of what is possible and gives some folks ideas about what they can do.

Sincerely,

Kenny Duval
Last edited by Venom51 on Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:54 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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STC

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#2

Post by STC » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:28 pm

Wow. Superb setup. Welcome to the gang!
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makryger

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#3

Post by makryger » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:29 pm

Whoa, very impressive. So how are you delivering video to your TVs? Just very long HDMI, or do you have extenders around all those TVs? Certainly you must have had all this put together when the house was being built... I can't imagine doing all that cabling before the drywall goes up!

You must be in an area limited to Satellite... because 3 STBs + 3 PVRs + 5 TVs + 6 dedicated PCs is just begging to be replaced by 1 or 2 InfiniTV cards, 1 server, and a bunch of extenders!
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Venom51

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#4

Post by Venom51 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 8:39 pm

makryger wrote:Whoa, very impressive. So how are you delivering video to your TVs? Just very long HDMI, or do you have extenders around all those TVs? Certainly you must have had all this put together when the house was being built... I can't imagine doing all that cabling before the drywall goes up!

You must be in an area limited to Satellite... because 3 STBs + 3 PVRs + 5 TVs + 6 dedicated PCs is just begging to be replaced by 1 or 2 InfiniTV cards, 1 server, and a bunch of extenders!
Every TV has an Acer REVO 3700 attached to it. That gives me a full Media Center experience at each TV. They could all be DVR's if needed. Currently we use the one in the living room for all recording. It's just me and the wife so 3 DTV tuners covers us quite well. I'll never use extenders. The little REVO's can go WIN8 when it comes out along with the PC's in the house. They were only minorly more than an Xbox would have been.

I have been a DTV customers for 10+ years. I have Comcast for cable and could go that route but prefer DTV.

I use DVBLink along with the Network Pack to deliver over IP.

The house was wired for most of the main floor and upstairs. I added all the additional cabling when the we finished the basement. I've fished some runs up into existing wals from the basement and dropped some runs down existing walls form the attic. I have 2 3" PVC pipes that run from the basement to the attic for future expansion purposes if needed. We'll soon be adding an office upstairs for the wife as she will be working from home full time soon and Aetna will want me to isolate here network. So I'll pull some runs up from the basement for them when we undertake that build.

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#5

Post by jamesg » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:09 pm

Really nice setup. It's a great idea using lower power PCs and DVBLink instead of extenders as you've then got the flexibility to use the PC for other stuff like YouTube.

I might have a play with that network monitor on mine. I used Cacti and SNMP a few years ago, but haven't set anything up since.

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TheOsburnFamil

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#6

Post by TheOsburnFamil » Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:36 am

Okay-- so I just had a Waynes World flashback! "We're not worthy! *bow* We suck! *another bow*" LOL That's an impressive setup!
Matt O. ...tivo what? ...dish dvr--uh... huh? ...cable dvr fees--you're kidding, right?

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StumpyBloke

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#7

Post by StumpyBloke » Wed Jun 15, 2011 9:35 pm

Bee...yootiful setup!!!!
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#8

Post by Jay » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:50 am

TheOsburnFamil wrote:Okay-- so I just had a Waynes World flashback! "We're not worthy! *bow* We suck! *another bow*" LOL That's an impressive setup!
Couldn't have said it better myself. If I win the lottery, I may look you up to hook me up. ;)

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#9

Post by NizZ8 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 8:06 pm

Sweet setup man!

Venom51

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#10

Post by Venom51 » Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:33 pm

Post edited to reflect changes in network connectivity.

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#11

Post by barnabas1969 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 5:35 pm

OK, I've just gotta say it... "Nice Rack!!!"

I understand why you live in "Cumming".

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#12

Post by newfiend » Thu Aug 18, 2011 10:55 pm

Holy poopoo...very nice!.. Well done, makes me feel like poor folk though.. LOL

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Venom51

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#13

Post by Venom51 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:49 am

Ebay is my friend. The 2 switches I just bought were 24 port GIG-E loaded with 4 fiber GBIC's each and I got them for 365 for the pair. That's less that 200 a switch for devices that were a little over $1200 bucks when they were current models.

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#14

Post by tony_park » Fri Aug 19, 2011 2:16 pm

Wow - what a setup, must have a nice big house!!!

How many servers! My wife thought I was mad going for 1... and thats about the size of an A4 book!

Looks good though, but would hate to have to sort out any issues :o

Venom51

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#15

Post by Venom51 » Fri Aug 19, 2011 3:22 pm

tony_park wrote:Wow - what a setup, must have a nice big house!!!

How many servers! My wife thought I was mad going for 1... and thats about the size of an A4 book!

Looks good though, but would hate to have to sort out any issues :o
That's why you document and keep a current network diagram. It's really not that complex. 5 servers, 13 devices, 1 Class C subnet. Simple stuff. The ACL's in the Cisco are a little tough to manage if you are not familiar with IOS but the performance out weighs the level of difficulty.

The part you don't see documented is the second subnet that carries the point to point VPN for the wife's home office back to corporate. I can't document that at all as not to violate their corporate security policies.

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#16

Post by Crash2009 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:10 pm

Excellent write-up and beautiful system. Thanks for sharing it with us. I joined up here to learn more about streaming media around the house. Your article has been an eye opener for me. I learned the most from the network diagram. I am presently researching ideas for my own network. I installed PRTG last night and am in the discovery stage of learning how to use the program. It is nice to see that PRTG agree's that my Ceton Infini4 is running ok. I noticed that you prefer to use the REVO 3700 rather than an extender. I thought an extender was necesary to play protected content. If my thoughts are correct, how do you overcome that?

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#17

Post by barnabas1969 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 1:39 pm

Venom has no protected recordings. He uses the Hauppauge HD-PVR to record from his satellite receivers, so he is making use of the "analog hole" (Google it). If you have a CableCARD tuner, you can only view copy-protected recordings on the PC where it was recorded, or with Media Center extenders like the XBox360, HP X280N, Linksys DMA-2100 or 2200, and the soon-to-be-released Ceton Echo.

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#18

Post by Crash2009 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:01 am

barnabas1969 wrote:Venom has no protected recordings. He uses the Hauppauge HD-PVR to record from his satellite receivers, so he is making use of the "analog hole" (Google it). If you have a CableCARD tuner, you can only view copy-protected recordings on the PC where it was recorded, or with Media Center extenders like the XBox360, HP X280N, Linksys DMA-2100 or 2200, and the soon-to-be-released Ceton Echo.
Let me see if I am getting this right. Venom is recording an analog signal and converting it to digital with some of that hardware he has there? And since he is the author of the digital content there is NO DRM added to the content. This type of setup eliminates the need for extenders.

This analog hole thing you mentioned. I read that this "hole" is being closed up by 2014. Does this closure apply to satellite dish as well as cable?

Venom51

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#19

Post by Venom51 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 12:15 am

Crash2009 wrote:
barnabas1969 wrote:Venom has no protected recordings. He uses the Hauppauge HD-PVR to record from his satellite receivers, so he is making use of the "analog hole" (Google it). If you have a CableCARD tuner, you can only view copy-protected recordings on the PC where it was recorded, or with Media Center extenders like the XBox360, HP X280N, Linksys DMA-2100 or 2200, and the soon-to-be-released Ceton Echo.
Let me see if I am getting this right. Venom is recording an analog signal and converting it to digital with some of that hardware he has there? And since he is the author of the digital content there is NO DRM added to the content. This type of setup eliminates the need for extenders.

This analog hole thing you mentioned. I read that this "hole" is being closed up by 2014. Does this closure apply to satellite dish as well as cable?
Just as with all things good for consumers, Hollywood will do their best to kill it. They hate you and they don't want you being able to record their medicore content. As soon as they do close the hole someone will be along to show them that their DRM or encryption mechnaism is weak and they will circumevent it. Then Hollywood will bark about it and come up with something else they think will "protect" their content from "Pirates" which has to this date not done so in anyway. THe only people it protects their content from are the people who would willingly use it in a personal use manner.

When and if they do close my 720p analog hole I'll be forced to join the other side of the battle and circumvent their poop.

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#20

Post by duncane » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:53 am

if they do close my 720p analog hole
Must... resist... childish... jokes. Fingers.. cramping up. :silent:

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