Media Systems - Update

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



Home Automation - Media Systems

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.

A Blast from the past - Part 3 Music Video

A few of my friends I went to High School have a Rap group, still new to alot of the video editing software, and limited on options... I only had a finite amount of photos to work with and no video. I came up with this, sadly its a 5% complete video, and all my original work was lost, so this is all that remains.

There is alot of dead space, and blank areas that are intentionally left that way to add footage later.

A Blast from the past - Part 1 EMags

Back in the Mid 90's I used to be in several Computer graphics, coding and other groups. This was in the Golden Era of the BBS, prior to the goliath days of the Internet today.

I wrote several Electronic Magazines in Turbo Pascal 7 and Assembler and then did some graphics and gathered interviews and articles.

Here is a quick demo of the History of the Cyberia / Quantum EMag (short lives as it is)


A Blast from the past - Part 2 Movie Intro

When I first messed around with some video editing software, I decided I needed an Intro for my Home Theater, here is the outcome.


Ambilight for the Mediacenter

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.