Well, it's been a busy few days, more like a couple of weeks. But I will some it all up into 1 weekends worth of work.
Many changes came down the pipe, and hardware was flung all over the house, here is what I was left with.
So the jist of it all? My systems had a huge need to rebalance power supplies, based on what hardware the system had and its functions.
Upgrading the Mediacenter video card allowed me to move its current card (7770) into the "New" Arcade. I then took that video card and placed it in ESX02 to toy with GPU passthrough, soon leading to the nVidia GT hacking I hope to do so I can get a cheap "gird" card for VDI
So whats the goal? Whats next? What should we look forward to (or not)
ESX01 - Dedicated to Core functionality and Systems (Home automation, Alarm, Email, AV, WSUS etc etc)
ESX02 - Dedicated to Virtual Desktops and Cloud Computing. I plan to add an nVidia GT640 or higher to this machine, converted into a Grid Card, to allow 3D Gaming on VDI sessions.
Well I'm kind of back into the Arcade and Game computer kick again, this will swap between Media Systems, Home Automation and Game machines.
What should we look forward to?
Well, I'll be upgrading software and hardware on the Arcade here soon. I am in the middle of doing all new graphics and making sure all the games and applications run on the new hardware.
In the Game computer arena, I'll add some new snaps and maybe clips of my Game Computer with the new keyboard and decked out lighting (should give you a good chuckle)
In the Mediacenter / Systems arena, this is starting to slow down a hair; all TVs are up and running, media is imported and functional. I still need to work out some Plex issues and casting issues between devices but I am fairly happy with how it all sits now.
Lastly, for now, in the Home Automation arena, I need to finish up some scripts and events for the new hardware in place (Thermostat and Garage door control). I plan on knocking that out soon and then I can start re-focusing on the Web App to control the house... sigh it never ends.
Slowly but surely I am migrating alot of the work load off my main MediaCenter in the living room. So it can focus primarily on just playing media or games.
I have moved my MyMovies install / DB location onto my "Cascade" server. This same machine also hosts my Plex Media Server and Windows 7 MCE with the ServerWMC addon for Live TV control.
Also, I have updated all my devices to the newest PlexBMC 4.0 Beta and the latest PlexBMC Helper from github, now the PlexBMC Helper is working on Android so all my devices work as I want.
Currently the Living Room MediaCenter now only contains its own Ceton PCIe4 Tuner (may be moved eventually to Cascade in conjunction with its USB4 Tuner), Its own Hauppauge WinTV card (for FM Radio) and its own plugins and recorded TV etc.
This will all eventually go away as I slowly migrate over to Kodi, due to the recent solidified news of MCE not being available in Windows 10. I do have Kodi and Plex installed on the MediaCenter now, and I have plugins to access them from the main menu. I actually swap around between the 3 depending on what I currently want to do.
Well, it's been a headache but I finally am finalizing (ha..yeah right) my Media Systems setup.
I changed from Plex to Kodi as the primary front end for each device. Reason being, is the LiveTV functionality is light years beyond the Plex serverwmc plugin. No fault of the Plugin author, as he is limited on what he can do with a Plex plugin.
With that said, I settled on Kodi Helix 14.2 for each Android (and option on each Windows 8.1 MCE system), yet I use PlexBMC plugins so I can access my Plex Backend Database. Thus still keeping consistent metadata and media between all devices.
I use the Conq skin, PlexBMC and PlexBMC helper (currently broken on android),PVR.wmc for LiveTV, and then an IP cam plugin for my Security Cameras. Thankfully the Plex control code I wrote for my Home Automation control system still works for Kodi as they share the same API.
The last hurdle I had to over come was the Ceton InfiniTV 4USB. Sadly ESX USB Passthru is garbage, I was only getting maybe 10-12Mbps thru the USB port and it was killing the TV quality to the point it was un-watchable. Thus I decided to fast track upgrading the ESX host and picked up a Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3, AMX FX-9590 8core 5Ghz CPU and a PCIe USB controller.
Now that I had a 990 chipset I can do DirectPath I/O via IOMMU, I had to upgrade from ESX 5.1 to 5.5u2 for it to work correctly, but I now have a USB card passed thru to my Windows 7 MCE VM and the USB tuner connected and functioning.
All devices now have the same look and feel, media and metadata, LiveTV options and access to recordings across all devices as well as remote access (Via Plex). All devices can be controlled remotely via my Home Automation app or other home commands via the built in API. Now the real fun begins eh?
Last items somewhat on this list, Fix PlexBMC Helper for Android Devices, Fix my Camera streaming from WoWZa for Android, Mount the Office MediaCenter in the Office and then build some playlists for Music so I can code room "moods" or other goodies.
Once I get the MediaCenter mounted in the Office (and clean my house abit lol) I plan on making a quick Demo video of my setup and control.
More to come
Well, its been a long time coming. I've wanted to do this ( among other things ) for several years. Sadly I feel I may be on the heals of a dieing art though.
My Primary Windows Mediacenter runs Windows 8.1 with a Ceton InfiniTV PCIe 4 Cable Card 4x HD Tuner and a Hauppauge card (I still use for FM Tuning and possibly adding OTA).
This system utilizes MyMoves for my TV and Movie Database, and also has plugins for Plex, Huluu, Second Run TV, Amazon Prime and Netflix.
My Plex server runs on a Windows 7 VM with Mediacenter installed. And I have several Android TV sticks as well as a Amazon Fire TV stick, I guess not to mention a Rasberry Pi running XBMC/Kodi and a Dell Vostro 360 All in One with Windows 8.1 Mediacenter and 3 XBox 360s that can function as Extenders.
I ended up grabbing a Ceton IntiniTV 4 USB on eBay and a 19inch Dynex 720p TV and Wall Mount (for the Kitchen). The goal is to mount the Vostro 360 in the Office, 19inch TV in the Kitchen (with the Amazon Fire Stick), Android Stick in my room (CX-919), Android Stick in the Garage (UG802), Xbox 360 Extender in my Second Bedroom (or Rasberry Pi XBMC) an XBox 260 Extender in the Basement and the last Xbox 360 left in the Living Room for gaming.
I plan to take the InfiniTV 4 USB and connect it via USB passthru on my ESX host to my Plex Server / Windows 7 MCE VM and utilize ServerWMC and wmc2plex Plugins to allow Plex to stream live HD TV from the InfiniTV 4 USB.
For continuity I utilize the XBMC NFO exporting for MyMovies, where I create my "Golden Meta Data" for Movies and Shows. Once exported I use the Plex Media Scanner plugin for XBMC NFO importing. This allows my Meta Data, covers and info to match between my MyMovies database used on my Windows Mediacenter systems.
Thus the end goal is all devices in my house (and outside via tablets, web and cell phone) will have the same look, feel and media no matter where I am. Also allowing for whole house streaming, recording, second screen interaction, remote connectivity and device to device media slinging.
As I build out the remaining portions of the system and validate its configuration, I will post more detail information on the project as well as pictures.
The gallery has been slowly growing, as I add/update and correct data in the pictures. As I work on my machines through out the house I am adding new pictures of the hardware.
As of recent I've updated pictures of the vSphere server, Mediacenter and the New Arcade I am tossing together to upgrade the current Arcades PC.
Feel free, take a look and poke around as I update and upload.
I've spent the past few nights and some time this weekend getting the site back online.
The gallery is added ( though still being populated and still not 100% themed/skinned and functioning correctly)...
I'm trying to locate my old images and data, but I fear that may be all gone. I am doing my best to re-populate what I have and take more photos and do more write ups to get the site back to its former glory.
A few months ago we came across the DIY Ambilight kits, within 15 minutes I had ordered 2 different kits to play around with. Here is the end result, I ended up with a kit from eBay with a 50 RBG LED Strand from Adafruit. I'll put more details in a full write up, but for now here are a couple of videos.
I've been working on a custom web console to control my home automation system, It's built off ASPX with VB.net and Java / HTML. The goal of the whole thing is to toss a few tablets around the house running this webpage, load it via cell phone or load it via remote or home web browsers.
This is still far from complete, all content visible does function, yet I just have ALOT of content to add....
Well, its been awhile... I've dusted off the arcade, I've begun to a new PC for it and I've dug up everything I had wrapped up in it. What does this lead us to?
I wrote this app back in 2010, since then I've lost my original source code ( and sadly know-how ). I was able to locate 2 versions of my CoinFX Arcade application out in the wild, version 0.3.0b and the last release version 0.3.8b. These have been added to the downloads section.
I am resurrecting my webpage, restocking it with goodies and getting back into the game.
Stay tuned! More to come...