Home media setup help.

Dear reader,

I am here because a friend of mine is moving into my house and this gives me the oppertunity for play around with the media in my house. (since we’ll be getting more rooms).

First off before i go into the concept of what im trying to achieve, this is the hardware available to me:
One incredibly powerfull computer (think oc’d 2500k to 4.2ghz, HD6950 special edition, optionally 16 GB Ram)
One 47 inch tv
One 27 inch monitor
Three very simple Dell office computers from 2007
One very simple Dell server computer from 2007
The required cables
Htc Desire HD (android phone)
5.1 audio set
two 2.0 audio sets

Here’s the plan:
The idea is to make it so that i can control the media in all three rooms with my phone using universal remote. The way i intended on achieving that is the following:

I think that the easiest way to do this so that i can use my computer for my studies while my housemate is watching a movie on the tv and housemate nr 2 is listening to music in his room is to put a small Dell machine in every room but the one with the very powerfull pc, then make 3 virtual machines on the big pc and enable the small Dell computers to log into those virtual machines via LAN. Then also install universal remote desktop client onto every virtual machine and name them according to room. This way every room has its own desktop envrionment and will therefore not interfere with one another.

But there are sevral things about this that im not sure will work or are practical, wich are:
Im not sure if its possible for those small Dell machines to have a comfortable computer experiance if they have to log into the main pc.
Also, it will be nearly impossible to get the same song in every room (for when we want to throw a party for example ;)
And i have the feeling that maybe a seperate pc for the tv might be a good idea but the rest should be possible if i had the right software (so withoud virtual machines, wich are a memory hog and arent exactly the easiest things to work with), problem is. I have no idea what software is capable of doing this. So i washoping you could help with finding something that is both visually appealing and functional as room by room media system.

Thanks for reading this long post and we are looking forward to your reply!
5 answers Last reply
More about home media setup help
  1. personally i'd have one pc set up as a high-speed server with different drives for music than for movies/video and have the pc in each room be able to access this on a home network.

    though technical i'm by no means intimately familiar with networking and virtual machines but for parties if you could create an audio stream on your home network that every pc taps into then this would solve the issue. i googled this and a few results came up so maybe read a little on this.


    personally i'd keep the main pc hooked up to the tv and whatever other monitors you want on it to use this as the main room media/gaming/work pc. you could then run windows media center or just run windows via wireless interface.

    as far as controlling everything with a remote app....perhaps you are able to create different "zones" within the app that you can control provided the phone can connect with the different pcs (wireless? bluetooth? via network?). i'm not sure how exactly the program works since i've never used it.
  2. Thanks a lot for your reply,

    And those are some solid idea's ill look into them when i have more time. And i think your right about having the big pc hooked up to the big screen, so i guess ill have to do that by drilling a hole in the floor on the 3e floor to let some cables down. And then creating a VM so i can use the big pc for something other then media while the tv will lose no function.
  3. what i meant by hooking the big pc hooked up to the big screen was to use it for gaming or media directly. if you have to drill through the floor to accomplish this you have to take into account how you will control it. if via m&kb you may need signal boosters of some sort depending on what you use.

    be aware that running a virtual machine in the background is going to affect the forground activities. personally i'd try to avoid vm if i could but its completely up to you. i'm sure you are more familiar with vm than i am.
  4. Hmm, a signal booster hmm... I have 2 USB 3.0 slots that have the maximum available power supply you can put on a usb slot (for charging phones quickly and whatnot) will that work or will the signal still fade to quickly?

    Your idea about creating a music stream sounds very interesting and ill be looking into it, i wonder if that is also possible while using spotify. I guess ill find out.

    Also, i wonder if there is any way to send USB and HDMI or DVI signals over a networking cable. Because if there is i could get some of those "network over AC" things that i can plug into the wall next to my pc and next to the tv to save myself some drilling and unnecessary cables.

    Running a VM in the background indeed limits my pc's capabillities, but since that particular VM will only be used for some internet browsing and playing movies i dont think that it will be a CPU hog, more of a memory hog and i got plenty of that. But ill guess ill find out soon enough :D

    Again thanks a lot for thinking with me here, i appreciate it a lot!
  5. usb cables have a maximum limit. read about it here.


    one option is to use a wireless keyboard/mouse set downstairs to control the vm or pc and to have it mounted on the ceiling with the usb cable connected to the pc. you could then have a kvm switch or software to use a seperate kb/m upstairs.

    i wouldnt even think about using network cables. there was a whole discussion i saw elsewhere and there was nothing but unanswered questions and issues there. just use hdmi. you can get special wall plates which have a female connection built right in if you dont mind a minor quality loss.
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