Home Automation

Jesse Stay jesse at thestays.org
Tue Feb 20 16:53:54 MST 2007

I know I'm going to get bashed for this, but one of the best Media
servers I've ever used is Vista Media Center (through Vista Ultimate).
 They're about to release a Home Server that will do the same and
serve as centralized storage.

If you have an Xbox 360 or soon they will be releasing Media Center
Extenders for Vista, all you need is a network connection to where
each of your TVs will be and you can stream all your TV through your
home network.  I currently watch all my TV over my home network.

It serves as a PVR, as all shows can be scheduled to record on the
main Media Center machine, paused, fast-forwarded, etc.  They have
some other really cool features such as a sports section that will
tell you all the games currently playing, let you watch them, and view
all the current scores at the same time.  There are also many online
services they provide as well, such as one that lets you download
movies for a monthly fee and also watch them on any Media Center
Extender-based TV.  You also have access to all your music, photos,
home videos (or downloaded videos), etc.

If you go the Xbox route, you also have gaming, Xbox Live Video
Marketplace (where you can buy and rent videos online), and they've
announced this year they'll be releasing IPTV through the Xbox.  It
really is a great all-in-one solution that I think really truly pushes
the Home Network to a level it hasn't been before.  You can even get
plugins for Media Center that will interface with consoles around your
home that control the lights, security system, etc, all through a
network connection that connects to the Media Center machine.

I know there's MythTV, and if you really don't want to pay anything,
you can get some of the above features with MythTV, but you will not
get all of them, and especially in not as easy of a setup.  With Vista
Media Center it's mostly plug and play and things "just work".  I am
really impressed with M$ on this one.

Before I get lynched, I want to stay I still run Linux as a web server
and for other features Linux is just better at.  I'm even typing this
e-mail on Linux.  But there's not much in Linux (or Apple even) that
can compare with the Media Center features of Vista (without a whole
lot of tweaking - and even then, you don't have the gaming!).


PS - Oh, and I second the conduit - it's Heavenly when you need to
upgrade down the road!

On 2/20/07, Andrew Jorgensen <andrew.jorgensen at gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2/20/07, Dave Smith <dave at thesmithfam.org> wrote:
> > By the way, the conduit is stiff, but flexible. That way there are no 90
> > degree turns, and you can sometimes even push wire through it all the
> > way from the rooms to the basement. This is one reason you want the
> > central box in the basement, so gravity can help you push cables through.
> >
> > I have used a electricians fishing tape to pull cable through with no
> > problems at all.
> An electrician friend of mine says this type of conduit is called
> smurf tube and is much less expensive than PVC pipes.
> /*
> PLUG: http://plug.org, #utah on irc.freenode.net
> Unsubscribe: http://plug.org/mailman/options/plug
> Don't fear the penguin.
> */


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