Engerland
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This is potentially a good section but....

Fri Dec 03, 2010 12:19 am

...I don't see any new information here in two years. As someone looking to build a Cinemar driven system I would be interest in others systems. Anyone want to start listing the key building blocks of their system or perhaps a hypothetical system if they were starting again tomorrow? Thanks! Your insights would be appreciated.

Engerland
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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Thu Dec 09, 2010 11:49 pm

Engerland wrote:...I don't see any new information here in two years. As someone looking to build a Cinemar driven system I would be interest in others systems. Anyone want to start listing the key building blocks of their system or perhaps a hypothetical system if they were starting again tomorrow? Thanks! Your insights would be appreciated.
Anyone???

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:51 pm

Just so you don't think people are ignoring the question, it is a hard question to answer. If you want to know the minimum system requirements, they are published on the cinemar website/wiki.

Beyond that it depends on what you want to do.

You can use MLServer on a home server machine, but I might suggest you custom build it with a better processor.
You can run it on just about and desktop.

If you plan to hook it in to your A/V equipment, you'll probably want to have it close to that equipment (mine is in my rack).

Are you planning to run clients off the server? What about movies and streaming movies?

I'm not trying to be a pain, I just mean there are a lot of ways people use MLServer that may nothing to do with what you want to use it for so the recomendation wouldn't mean much.

Maybe you would have better luck if you lay out what you plan to do and ask for recommendations. Mention any hurdles you might have in your system for connection to terminals, maybe even wiring that exists today.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:32 pm

Thanks for the guidance. I suppose system configuration can mean different things.

I was interested to know what brands others are using for lighting, security, audio distribution, number of audio zones, touch screens, tv remotes etc. So all in all I am interested to know what hardware others are using around the Cinemar software. I have learned so far on this forum that there are many ways to do this but wondered if there were some common threads across systems.

I am interested in Cinemar but find information and suggestions are lacking (from my perspective) in what components can be put together to build an entry to advanced system. For example, I don't see much guidance and suggestions on Cinemar Online (unless I am missing it) for "if you need a lighting system and 5-zones audio the XXXX lighting system is a good candidate with....etc, etc".

Perhaps I should have posted this question elsewhere though.

Thanks.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Sun Dec 12, 2010 12:38 pm

You can look at the wiki at the supported devices.
You can then narrow it down by looking at the forum to see how that device / software driver is being used by others (success / failures).
Your question cannot be easily answered because there are now so many devices supported that the combinations / permutations are endless.
There is also several ways to connect virtually any serial device (MLComDevice as example) that further drives the options and choices.

What are you trying to achieve as an end goal (multizone audio / video with HDMI? / security? / lighting control?), describe what hardware you have and what you would like to reuse, your want for personal involvement (do it all yourself vs. hire an integration company), your general budget ($500? $50,000?), your home's general circumstance (is it a ranch? 2 story? any basement? do you want a home theater? will the theater be single purpose or also a family room?) and you'll get back suggestions on what to do next.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Mon Dec 13, 2010 10:14 am

Engerland,

I concur with both inputs that have been posted here. There are numerous combinations of multiple products that can achieve pretty much anything your heart desires or the WAF allows. Since I dabble in doing side jobs for folks new to automation and DYIers, I get to make some recommendations to both groups but also get to work on the equipment already in place by the DYIers.

I think if you look others have asked those types of questions but they are posted in the specific ML forum area (i.e. Lighting control where MLLighting is discussed...)... As far as lighting control alone goes (as an example) there are pros and cons with each of the different technologies:

X10 - Older (out dated), interference from today's devices (CFL, LCD TVs...), inexpensive, supported by most every system out there

UPB - More Expensive, Supported by several systems and produced by several manufacturers, More reliable, Linking difficult for some to understand

INSTEON - More Expensive, Proprietary (SmartHome), not supported by all systems (i.e. HAI), Has overcome previous technical issues, more reliable the more devices that are installed in the lighting network, Replacement for X10 and works in a mixed environment (allows for an upgrade path from X10), requires minimum of 2 active dual-band phase couplers which are in the form of plug-in modules (now available as dual-band lamp modules), Does not require configuration software to create Linking

Wired Lighting Control - Most Reliable, Most expensive, difficult to install after house is built (installed during electrical rough-in)

There are several more pros and cons for each of these so you see one could go on and on just on lighting control alone.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:22 pm

DavidL wrote:You can look at the wiki at the supported devices.
You can then narrow it down by looking at the forum to see how that device / software driver is being used by others (success / failures).
Your question cannot be easily answered because there are now so many devices supported that the combinations / permutations are endless.
There is also several ways to connect virtually any serial device (MLComDevice as example) that further drives the options and choices.

What are you trying to achieve as an end goal (multizone audio / video with HDMI? / security? / lighting control?), describe what hardware you have and what you would like to reuse, your want for personal involvement (do it all yourself vs. hire an integration company), your general budget ($500? $50,000?), your home's general circumstance (is it a ranch? 2 story? any basement? do you want a home theater? will the theater be single purpose or also a family room?) and you'll get back suggestions on what to do next.
This is what I need from a system...

Security: Need to use an existing Honeywell Vista panel and contacts
Audio: Need 3-4 zones. No existing equipment to use. Need to stream MP3 and a stream from a tuner w/satellite. Do not want independent keypads around the home for the audio (all HA must be accessible through remotes and touchscreens). No existing equipment to use
Lighting: No existing equipment to use but need ~ 12 lights controlled. Settled on INSTEON right now
Streaming Movies: To three rooms. Have one Netgear Digital Entertainer already
TV control Would like a universal remotes that can control three TVs, their respective cable boxes and audio zones. No theater room but a family room.
Touchscreens: No more than three needed and would prefer these not to be wall mounted
T-stat: No existing equipment to use
Remote Access: Need to be able to connect to my home remotely and also have e-mails, txt upon certain events

Budget: $8000
Installation: Will be DIY

Suggestions welcome!

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:27 pm

Security: Need to use an existing Honeywell Vista panel and contacts

I don't think Mainlobby supports the Vista panel today. Homeseer does and Homeseer integrates with MLServer. But, for the cost and your time, you could probably upgrade to an ELK M1Gold panel.

Audio: Need 3-4 zones. No existing equipment to use. Need to stream MP3 and a stream from a tuner w/satellite. Do not want independent keypads around the home for the audio (all HA must be accessible through remotes and touchscreens). No existing equipment to use

Use MLSatellite with a compatible XM / Sirius tuner hardware. Use MusicLobby for MP3s.

Lighting: No existing equipment to use but need ~ 12 lights controlled. Settled on INSTEON right now

Do not use MLLighting. Use MLInsteonPLM plugin. Even better is an ISY hardware adapter and Bob's ISY plugin.

Streaming Movies: To three rooms. Have one Netgear Digital Entertainer already

Don't think the Netgear has a plugin. Highly recommended is SageTV and their HD300 extenders with Tallus's MLSageTV plugin. There is also a TASageTV Android app and TiSageTV iPhone / iPad app for SageTV.

TV control Would like a universal remotes that can control three TVs, their respective cable boxes and audio zones. No theater room but a family room.

Use an iTouch / iPad as your universal remote control device integrated with MLServer.

Touchscreens: No more than three needed and would prefer these not to be wall mounted
Use iTouch/ iPhone / iPads.

T-stat: No existing equipment to use
If you had an ELK M1, you could use RCS / HAI thermostats.
You could use MLRCS plugin too.

Remote Access: Need to be able to connect to my home remotely and also have e-mails, txt upon certain events
MLServer supports this. Search for DaveP on forum re: MLServer email script examples.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:46 pm

I think the first question to ask yourself is "do I want a component system with ML/MLS integrating everything or a core system with ML/MLS as a front end?".

A core system is a firmware embedded automation platform like HAI or ELK. It handles just about everything: security, surveillance, lighting, HVAC, energy management and even multi-zone music if you want their flavor of it. They are extremely reliable and usually run flawlessly for many years. Even if the computer running ML/MLS fails, the automation platform keeps on chugging. Adding ML/MLS as a front end gives you the option of an impressive graphics GUI, much better music and movie presentation. In this format you can use in-wall touchpanels, countertop touchpanels, iPhones, iPads, desktop computers, etc. I run my system this way using all of the interface options I mentioned. I am a devoted HAI fan but the Cinemar ELK plugin is much better than their HAI plugin.

Once you've selected a core platform, then see which options they offer for lighting, HVAC, etc. They have all been tested to work with that platform so even though it may not be plug-n-play it can be pretty close.This will dramatically narrow down the multitude of options and save you plenty of time and money and a basement full of stuff you never got to work quite right.

A component system is where you have ML/MLS run various pieces of diverse equipment for all of the functions I mentioned above. Setup is more intensive and reliability is significantly less. If you go this route then go to Cinemar's plugin page and see all the brands of equipment they have a plugin for. Most have trial periods.

As for the host PC, just about anything will work for MLS as long as its windows and a minimu of 1.8 GHz. Same for a single client although I have not liked the performance of running ML on anything less than 2.4 GHz. If you opt for iPhone/iPad deployment, they simply interact with the MLS machine, no further hardware required.

If I were to do it again I'd get 2 i5's, one for MLS and one for unraid file storage with my existing iPhones and iPads. Connect it to an HAI or ELK panel. I still like the Xantech MRAudio for music distribution and I would probably break down and buy the Sony 400 disc BDP to avoid all the DRM crap. HDMI extensions have reached the point where a nice HDMI matrix would handle the entire house without issues.

1 MLS PC
1 Storage PC with HDD's
1 HAI or ELK
1 Audio Matrix
1 HDMI Matrix
1 DVR (surveillance)
- Light switches to meet your needs
- Speakers to meet your needs
- Surveillance cameras to meet your needs
- iPhones and/or iPads
- Place the 2 PC's, the Audio Matrix, the Video Matrix, the DVR and a nice UPS in one of those small OMNI or Middle Atlantic pre-configured racks and your done!

Rick

PS. This is only my opinion. There are probably 1000 other opinions on this forum. :D

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:13 am

I have some suggestions, but have a few questions.

Are your audio zones and video zones the same locations? If not what do you plan to use to listen to video sources (local amp, tv speakers?)

Do you plan to have cable boxes at all locations?

Can you run cat5/6 to the Video locations?

What type of video connections do you plan to use HDMI or Component?

How many different movie streams do you believe you will serve at once?



As for some recommendations to make right now.

If you are using Insteon, get the Universal Devices ISY and get Bob's plugin.
Use the Insteon Thermostats, they work very well, but you will need access points since they are wireless.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:29 pm

I can echo Ricks post above. The only other item I would add is one hard in wall touch screen. The balance of the screens can be wireless iPads or iPhones (or iTouch's). I like one unit built in to be installed in the most used area of the home. That one screen should be big, like the AIO-Touch 15 that I have. Wired screens still provide the best advanced features that the flash interface has to offer.

Make sure that you really look at the lighting solution. Insteon has limitations in that it does not integrate well. Z-wave/ZigBee is what I would be looking into. UPB is a close second. Insteon is at the bottom of my list.

Like RIck and others said, there are many ways to accomplish what you want and no two installations are ever the same. That is the beauty of the Cinemar system; Many options that integrate well together.
Thanks
Dave Bruner
:shock:

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:38 pm

No disrespect to DaveB, but if you use an ISY with your Insteon devices, you will have at least the level of integration of any other aftermarket lighting product out there.

Scene control, status reporting, grouping and the new switches and access points are pretty darn reliable. You only mention 12 switches, the more you use the more reliable the network will be, but you shoud be fine.

After saying all that, UPB is stll the most reliable communication mechanism I have found, but I don't know what integration issues DaveB may be referring to as long as you use the ISY as your controller.

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:29 pm

Not to turn this into a debate, but Insteon does not currently integrate with HAI and probably never will. Elk did buy in. The ISY works, but adds $$ into the buy in price tag as compared to Z-Wave or UPB and adds yet another layer to what should be a simple lighting control system.

I own a complete UPB home that is controlled by HAI and have had this configuration for years without one issue. I have 42 UPB devices in total. When I moved from X-10, which I had for many years prior along with it's growing pains, I could not have been happier. When Insteon came on the market, I simply looked at it as an extended X-10 and still do (probably unfairly). Insteon still has not been widely accepted in the integration community. It is OK for the DIY.

I closely follow both ZigBee and ZWave and like where they are both moving. I think that both of the Z options are more forward thinking and have more potential then either Insteon or UPB. I have no clue who will come out on top.

Like I said, many solutions here.
Thanks
Dave Bruner
:shock:

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:34 pm

ricks wrote:I think the first question to ask yourself is "do I want a component system with ML/MLS integrating everything or a core system with ML/MLS as a front end?".

Xantech MRAudio for music distribution...
Thank you as your post was very helpful. With the Xantech MR, would I need to install the keypads around the home? I would prefer not to have to and just use an iPad to drive the system (with the appropriate Cinemar software of course). Can the Xantech be used as a multi zone system without the keypads?

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Re: This is potentially a good section but....

Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:38 pm

bigDvette wrote:
Are your audio zones and video zones the same locations? If not what do you plan to use to listen to video sources (local amp, tv speakers?)
With the exception of one zone, yes. TV speakers though will be used for video sources.
bigDvette wrote:Do you plan to have cable boxes at all locations?
I would prefer all cable boxes to be centrally located.
bigDvette wrote:Can you run cat5/6 to the Video locations?
Yes. Are you suggesting baluns?
bigDvette wrote:What type of video connections do you plan to use HDMI or Component?
Component.
bigDvette wrote:How many different movie streams do you believe you will serve at once?
I would be surprised if this would be more than two.

Many thanks for your reply to my earlier post and insights.

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