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Riverhead, NY

Cleaned up office

Cleaned up my office and built myself a shelf:

My desk. Old target or walmart special. I've had it for years.

A/V Rack
-Original 60GB PS3
-HP random running windows media center
-3x1 automatic HDMI switches
-1x8 HDMI smp/splitter
-HDMI to analog (R/W/Y)
-RF modulator
-(Currently re-doing the living room so the other spaces are for a receiver)
There's around 10+ HDMI cables there also, a gigabit switch (just for the office), IR repeater system, etc. There's a couple wall plates and a chase to the basement.
HDMI goes to all the main TV's (7) while coax goes to aux TV's (laundry, shop, garage, kitchen)

Left to right:
-Vizio 26"
-IP phone with sidecar
-Dell 24"
-Vizio 23"
-Old altec lansing (you can see sub below)
The right mouse and middle keyboard are my PC (right now cheap mac mini, building new one)
The keyboard to the left and mouse in the middle are the media center PC. I like having them around for when I need to work on the machine...but hate having to store them. I decided to build myself a shelf so I can hide them and also to raise the monitors height

Built out of pine 1/8" and ripped down boards (aka: shop scrap). Strong enough to hold 300lbs that I put on it. Glued and crown stapled. Quick coat of black spray paint.

Put in place. Deep enough to hide the keyboard/mouse. Also threw the mini underneath it for now. Gotta go to office max and pickup some little cubbies to throw my USB/memory card readers etc and hide it under the left side.

If you have any questions on any of the gear let me know.


Womelsdorf, PA
Nice. Would love to see a diagram of your central video distribution system (the HDMI and RF modulated output stuff). Have always thought about a whole home AV distribution center like that but never quite worked out the setup and how to remotely control it all....

Riverhead, NY
Click for full size
Ok here's a microsoft paint layout of it.
Green = HDMI
Red/Blue = Red/White (Analog Audio)
Yellow = Yellow (Analog Video)
Purple = Coax

Source -> Destination

HDMI 3x1 auto switcher, 3 in 1 out. Automatically switched to last active source. No power required.

From there it goes to a 1x8 hdmi splitter/amp. This is powered.

A couple of those go directly to TV's. One goes into the basement. From there it goes to a 1x4 amp/splitter and to three TV's. My original design had this as the sole splitter. Due to cable length constraints I left it down there. Eventually I will remove it and run them all back to the source.

One of the cables goes to a HDMI to analog converter. This is the first device that any "source" sees. HDMI is two way and will look for devices to see their capabilities (resolution, refresh, etc). This little piece of hardware identifies itself each time and accepts all parameters. Previous to this I would get errors if, say, I turned on the LR tv then MBR tv. Turned off the LR tv and left MBR tv on. It would re-negotiate and the video would "blip" for a second. I've explained this very simply (goes alot more in depth) but suffice to say it was one of my better investments.

From that device I get Red, White (audio) and Yellow (Video). I have a couple old analog sets which I just cannot justify throwing away. I don't NEED high definition in my shop or garage. I also happened to have an old Radio Shack modulator. This device takes Yellow and White (mono only) and modulates (converts) it to an RF signal that is outputted over Coax cable. Being mono, I wired up a splitter/summer box (modifications to this: Why not Wye?).

The analog audio goes to the basement for a distributed audio system and garage for the same. I also use a older 65" RP TV in the basement which is DVI only. This audio feeds there.

Now the last part, the RF. It goes from the modulator to a splitter. From the splitter half goes to another splitter (see above). The other half goes to a RF/IR combiner and separator. To see what I mean, take a look at this: Infrared over Coax.

I happened to have a coax cable in the perfect spot in my kitchen (Right by the sink, makes doing dishes suck significantly less). Unfortunately there is not an easy way to get ANY cable over there from below or above. All of my other rooms have a hard wired RF solution (I'll get into that below). This product places a IR receiver in the kitchen, hooks up a "dongle" to the coax, runs to the office, and takes another dongle that splits out the RF/IR signal.

I use IR in most locations. This means each location has a IR receiver (most are mounted on the TV). My reasons were two fold:
1) I have a bunch of TV's. IR remotes are cheap. RF are expensive.
2) I want local control of devices. For example, in the living room, I just use the TV volume (in process of re-doing, stereo is packed away). My bedroom has an amp and in ceiling speakers. I use the IR remote to control the volume of the amp.

I have like 9 remotes scattered around. They are cheap. I couldn't justify having an RF remote or two and having to drag it everywhere. RF is a great solution....Just not for me. A couple rooms have Logitech Harmony remotes.

My MCE (Media Center Edition, Windows 7, the "computer") is connected to a Cable Card via a Silicon Dust HD HOME RUN. I also have a product called Remote Potato running on it. This allows me to control/schedule/etc everything on the PC/DVR with a smart phone.

My tenant has a Xbox 360 which allows him to watch Live TV (via MCE) and watch my movies.

It looks significantly more complex then it is. The rooms with Harmony's guide you (Activity). The rooms without I tell people just to hit the power button on the TV. Very simple.

Currently this all runs at 720p. It can run 1080p no problems. If I wasn't cheap I would replace all the TV's with LCD (and the two LCD's that are only 720p). It has the benefit of running one single source across every TV in my house. Great for me (I used to live alone, renting out a room now). Most likely not good for a family.

One change that could be made to make it more "family friendly" would be using a matrix switcher - something like a 2x8 or 4x8 switcher. This device takes in two or 4 (2x, 4x) inputs and allows you to "route" them anywhere you want to the 8 devices (x8).