Newbie help

In this forum you can share tips and tricks on how to use Cinemar products with some program or a task that you want it to do. So no one has to reinvent the wheel if you already did! (No questions in this forum only solutions, questions will be deleted without hesitation.)

Engerland
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 11:06 am
Contact:

Newbie help

Postby Engerland » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:18 pm

I have been looking at Cinemar for a while in order to use a system with greater flexibility and access for the end user (I am currently using Control4). I am sure that the answer to the questions below are obvious to many but I would really appreciated some help in guiding me with Cinemar's products.

1. What is the best way to control a TV with main lobby/tv lobby? Is that through a USB-IR controller linked to the IR of the TV via a PC? Is that quite fast?

2. In the event of a power cut is what is the best solution for a PC turning automatically back on and controlling lights etc?

3. What are the better lighting options with main lobby? Insteon?

4. Best options for accessing MP3s and initiating play through my Russound A-Bus system.

5. Recommended options for interfacing with the main PC...i.e. how can I best interface with the PC in basement from the kitche?

Thanks for any ideas.

User avatar
DavidL
Simply Incredible
Simply Incredible
Posts: 11071
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2003 9:39 am
Location: Metamora, Michigan
Contact:

Postby DavidL » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:46 pm

Hi Engerland, welcome to Cinemar's forum!

1. What is the best way to control a TV with main lobby/tv lobby? Is that through a USB-IR controller linked to the IR of the TV via a PC? Is that quite fast?

Depends on the TV and how it can be controlled. Since you reference IR, I assume that you can ONLY control your TV via IR. So, yes, the USB_UIRT would be a great controller if your controlling PC is proximate to the TV. The USB_UIRT has to be within 10 ft of the MLServer PC due to USB cable length limitations. You could probably steal a few more ft as the IR device isn't that data intensive. Then, you plug a IR emitter into the USB_UIRT and stick the emitter to the IR eye on your TV. You then program Cinemar's MLUSBUIRT with your IR codes that you can learn from your TV remote control. Then, you can send commands from MLServer 3 to control your TV.

TVLobby is an optional Cinemar product that is a daily TV Guide that looks great in MainLobby. You download the guide data, and then you can view the guide on the ML screen. You can program the "Watch" button to send the channel numbers to your USB_UIRT device to send IR to your TV to change channel. This is my favorite Lobby product. I use it ALL the time as it is much faster than my Tivo's onscreen guide, and I don't have to show the guide to everyone watching TV to change the channel to MY station :) Yes, this is quite fast. faster than you can push the buttons on your remote control. The drawback is it is not 2 way. MLServer doesn't know what station you are on (or the power status) if it doesn't see you manually turned the TV to a diff station.


2. In the event of a power cut is what is the best solution for a PC turning automatically back on and controlling lights etc?

PC should ALWAYS be on a UPS. My House / UPS(s) are then on a propane generator so I am always up and running. If you don't have a generator, then you can put MLServer in Windows Startup folder so when Windows starts, so does MLServer. Dependent apps like J. River Media Center can then be started using MLServer's MLStartup plugin to auto start J. River after MLServer has started. The PC should be set in it's bios to turn on when power is restored (or last state). Don't forget you can still manually operate most lights even when the PC is turned off by clicking them the good ole fashion way - at the switch. There is a new MLWMI plugin that monitors the power state of the PC. With that, MLServer can then have decision logic to shutdown the other PCs on the LAN via MLWMI client apps running on them. MLServer PC (via MLWMI plugin) can also start all of the client PCs using a Wake on Lan magic packet (if your client PC supports WOL and is setup in the bios). You can also use the WatchDog appliction (comes with MLServer 3) to restart MLServer if something shuts MLServer down inapproriately. All of this amounts to a very reliable system.

3. What are the better lighting options with main lobby? Insteon?
Today's best is Vantage Q series controller. In development is an even better MLInfusion Vantage controller plugin. Also in development is a Litetouch and soon a Lightolier plugin. These are relatively expensive solutions, but ultra reliable.

RadioRA and GrafikEye are also supported. This is the next Tier of reliability (and cost).

UPB / Insteon / and soon ZWave fills in the next group.

X10 is the last and cheapest but more unreliable in a lot of installations. But, may be good enough for you, depending on your needs (and budget).


4. Best options for accessing MP3s and initiating play through my Russound A-Bus system.

MusicLobby3 is as far as we are concerned the best music management system on the planet and getting better as we speak. You can use the MLCav66 plugin to read your keypad pushes to do actions in MusicLobby3.


5. Recommended options for interfacing with the main PC...i.e. how can I best interface with the PC in basement from the kitche?

PC can have a MuxLab VGA balun on the graphics card output. This then converts to a Cat5 wire that you run to the kitchen. At the kitchen end, another MuxLab balun to switch back to VGA connection to a touchscreen in the kitchen. I am putting that exact setup together as a new Cinemar touchscreen hardware option that should be available soon.

There are also UTMA technology choices that don't require a video specific cat5 cable. It uses the PC LAN to send the video / mouse to the kitchen from special Windows over IP software running on the server in the basement.

You can run a PC in the kitchen, and just network to the MLServer PC inthe basement. You can use a wireless tablet like www.cinemaronline.com/samsungq1.html which is the easiest option.

There are a lot of choices here. tell us more on your setup and desires and we will hone you in.

You came to the right Place!! Have fun.

Engerland
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 11:06 am
Contact:

Postby Engerland » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:04 am

Thanks for the input! I really do appreicate the ideas and advice.

The Russound system I have are the A-Bus keypads (their small in wall amps powering their own speaker zone). Any ideas how they can be brought under control in a main lobby system?

After your note I realised that I could bring my cable box/DVR under the control of main lobby through a serial port. As the cable box/DVR is the interface to the TV would serial port control be better than IR?

The advice on linking a remote monitor to a PC is pretty clear. My main desire is to bring lighting, the thermostat and media under control of main lobby.

Engerland
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat May 20, 2006 11:06 am
Contact:

Postby Engerland » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:18 am

one other question....I looked up the Vantage Q controller.

This is probably a very novice style question - but what brand of keypads can this system control? I don't see how this works? Any help!

User avatar
DavidL
Simply Incredible
Simply Incredible
Posts: 11071
Joined: Sat Feb 08, 2003 9:39 am
Location: Metamora, Michigan
Contact:

Postby DavidL » Sun Oct 29, 2006 9:43 am

Are you asking what keypad a Vantage Q series supports? Answer: Vantage q series keypads :)

I assume you are asking what keypads MainLobby supports.

Answer: many, many, many....

If you have a Vantage Q series keypad, then the MLVantage plugin can see what button you push and can do things that you (or your dealer) program it to do in MainLobby environment (unlimited number of tasks could be done).

MainLobby is principally a touchscreen user interface. So, virtually any touchscreen (or plain desktop monitor / mouse) can be used. Cinemar is creating our own line of touchscreens to answer this question (common one) with a www.cinemaronline.com/touchscreen.html answer (website not done yet).

Take a look at RedRadio Rad/IO mini touchscreens that are good in non primary rooms like a bedroom. A 12 inch to 19 inch in wall touchscreen is the best for primary usages. This larger sizes is because of all that MainLobby can do, larger screens hold more stuff. You can show your photoalbum when it isn't being used as a automation controller terminal. So, think of it as a place to show artwork too.


Return to “Tips, Tricks and Tutorials”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest