Saturday, January 1, 2011
Windows Media Center Controller for HD Home Sports Bar
Ever since I built the HD Home Sports Bar, I had issues controlling all of the TVs.
The issue was that I was using FiOS HD Tuners to provide a signal to the 3 TVs, and they all shared the same IR codes.
This meant that if I tried to send an IR code to one box, all the boxes would respond.
Verizon released an Android app that allowed you to discretely control each box, but it was very, very slow and almost worthless in the time it took to switch between STBs.
Then Verizon added SimulCrypt to my head-end and it broke my HTPC's ATI OCUR Tuner. So I ordred a Ceton InfiniTV 4 and when it came in, I decided to ditch the $40 a month I was paying Verizon for the STBs and try to recoup some of the $400 I had to spend on the InfiniTV4.
Verizon actually eventually dropped my service cost by $20 a month too, so now I'm paying $60 less a month and actually have a much better set up.
I also lucked out with the InfiniTV 4s, because I didn't know which of the 3 vendors I should purchase the card from, I chose all 3.
They all came in over the past few weeks, and they're still backordered, so I've made > $200 a piece on eBay for the 2 cards I didn't need so I now basically got my Ceton InfiniTV 4 free, and I'm saving $60 a month.
I did drop ~ $80 a piece for the Linksys DMA 2100 extenders that I'm now using to provide a signal to the HD Home Sports Bar TVs, so lets call this whole project an investment of $240 in upgrading my HTPC set up.
The $60 a month savings though is huge; $720 a year saved!
So how do I control everything now?
Check out this video I put together.
I'm utilizing the awesome and under appreciated Vista Media Center TCP / IP Controller project and Girder to completely control my setup from any PC, Mac, Smart Phone, Pad, etc, on my home network.
The TCP / IP control has a Windows 7 beta version that works very well.
Basically, the application runs on your HTPC and then you can send HTTP requests to the application's server and each extender runs the service on a separate port.
For instance, if I wanted to hit the "Info" button on Extender 1, I would send
If I wanted to send it to Extender 2, I would send:
So, knowing how this can work, and not wanting to have to manually keep track of ports and send commands, I wrote a dead simple web application I call Windows Media Center Controller, which basically lets me make a web remote that works flawlessly with all of my extenders for my HTPC.
I can operate each TV independently and never have been happier with my HTPC or my HD Home Sports Bar!
Too bad the Ceton delivery delays pretty much made me miss being able to use this for College Football season, but there are still plenty of good NFL weekends left, and lots of reasons to use the HD Home Sports Bar until next season. :)
Let me know if anyone wants more details.