Home > Media Center > Rethinking my MCE setup for the new house

Rethinking my MCE setup for the new house

I’m moving into a new home and have been giving thought to rearranging my MCE setup.  Right now, and for years, I have my MCE machine in the basement running basically as a server and several extenders throughout the home as clients.  I’m using analog cable only.

Here’s what I have in mind for the new house:

  • HDTV ready – I plan to buy a new rear projection HDTV at some point in the not too distant future.  With that in mind, I’d like to make sure that the house wiring and the MCE system are going to be up to speed.
  • HDTV tuning – My local cable company now offers a reasonable HDTV lineup, so I’m thinking of trying to use that feed.  I’ll probably use MyTray/FireSTB to record a digital high-def signal off of firewire in parallel to the analog recording.  Alternatively, I may look into OTA but I don’t really want to mount an external antenna (plus, ATSC isn’t officially supported in Canada and you need to hack it to work).
  • Gigabit ethernet – I pulled Cat5e throughout the basement that we’re finishing as the home theater / rec room, punched it down into a patch panel, and bought a new gigabit switch.  Also popped a few lines up to the main floor as well, but couldn’t get access to the top floor to wire the bedrooms.  I’ll have to cross that bridge later.
  • Speaker wire – I pulled lots of speaker wire throughout the basement to accomodate future speaker setups that I might want to use
  • Remote – Pick up a Harmony remote for the system so that visitors can actually use it
  • PC in the home theater rack – I’ve never been happy with the SVideo output from any PC, but I’m expecting that doing an HDMI connection to the HDTV will correct that.  Plus, I’ll now be able to play DVDs and Divx on the HDTV.

Some issues I expect to run into:

  • Since any way I will be trying to get HDTV into the system will be a hack, chances of it working with Vista are very slim.
  • None of my extenders support HDTV right now, hopefully I’ll be able to correct that with an XBox 360 shortly.
  • I’m not 100% sure that the firewire from my cable company’s STB will work

Happy to receive anyone’s input on your experiences with this, or even on a good value TV I should be looking into.

Categories: Media Center
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