Home Theater and Whole House Audio-Video

Home Theater
A-V System in Home Theater

Fred has built quite a home entertainment system in our current New Hampshire home. We have gotten several questions about how this and the associated computer infrastructure in our home works. We’ve created this section of our website to attempt to explain this. Note that you can move your cursor over any part of the pictures on this page to see what each component in the picture does.

Our home network provides the following services to every room in the house:

All of this equipment and technology provides a variety of multimedia services in various rooms within our home. Probably the most interesting setup is our Home Theater. This system uses a Theater Grade DLP Projector System and Video Processor from Runco to create Cinescope (2.35:1 format) images on a 96″ screen. The system also features a Fireball Media Server from Escient which stores our CD collection (over 800 discs) on a hard drive and provides indexing of over 1,000 DVDs stored in four changers which it controls. The Escient system will look for all of the jacket information for any new DVD via the Internet and displays a nicely organized view of all of our discs providing easy access. The sound system is based upon premium components from AnthemAerial, and Sunfire with over 5,500 watts of power delivered to 7 speakers plus an additional 1,500 watts delivered to Bass Shakers in the four theater chairs in the room. It’s quite an experience with the volume up when a big explosion occurs in a movie! Most of the source devices have some form of Internet connectivity which allows us to download and play movies and TV shows via the Internet as well as access local video and audio content stored on our Home Server. The most useful devices for this purpose are the AppleTV, the DirecTV DVR, and the Playstation 3 Game console. All three can access high-quality content over the internet. Our system has access to high-definition content via BluRay discs, our DirecTV Satellite System, and via the Internet. Finally, we have our PlayStation 3 and Wii Gaming consoles hooked up to the system which provides an alternative to watching video. Again, these systems are linked to the Internet via our home network to support networking gaming, and access to content around the world.

We also have a fairly extensive A-V Entertainment Center in our Family Room. This system also has a 9.1 ATMOS surround system and a rear projection TV as well as Satellite Radio, TiVo DVRs, and a DVD Changer.

A-V Equipment
A-V Equipment and Big Screen TV in the Family Room

Another interesting aspect of our home network is support for a centralized database of digital music which can be played from almost any room in the house. This system used the Turtle Beach AudioTron (or the TiVo with Home Media Option) to select from our music collection which is stored on our home server in MP3 format.

Turtle Beach AudioTron and XM Satellite Radio (Game Room Stereo System)

The AudioTron uses our home LAN to communicate with the server and provides a web-based interface for the selection of music. This interface can be accessed from any PC in the house.

AudioTron Web Interface
Interface to AudioTron via a PC and Web Browser

The backbone of our home network is called the “Node 0” and it is located in our basement. This equipment provides multimedia services to each room in our home as well as wireless broadband access to the internet anywhere on our property.

Home Network
Node 0 – The Nerve Center of Our Home Network

A variety of multimedia services are provided via wall jacks in each room similar to the one shown below. Some rooms use multiple jacks to provide additional Data, Video, or other connections where they are needed.

Multimedia Outlet
Typical Multimedia Outlet

An important component of our network is our Home Server. It consists of an Intel Pentium-based PC running Windows XP Professional. This machine has a little over 5 Terabytes of disk storage which is used to hold an extensive collection of audio files, graphics files, video files, and our work and home-related computer files. The server and the information that it stores can be accessed by a PC in the house, by the TiVos and AudioTrons for the display of graphics files and playback of our music and video collection. This machine also acts as a web server for  www.anita-fred.net. Finally, it provides centralized backup for all of our PCs as well as basic network services such as DHCP and DNS services.

Home Server
Our Home Server

Our Home Server is based upon a custom-built PC system. It is a Windows Home Server machine with a storage capacity of 9 Terabytes. For more details on this system, click here. To see more details on our home network and the related Audio-Video (A-V), Data, and Communications Equipment, click here.

We have a total of 7 PCs in our home; 3 of which are a combination of work and a personal laptop. We use our PCs for several different tasks and hobbies including:

  • Desktop Publishing (check out our newsletter from this past year)
  • Communicate with Friends via E-mail
  • Digital Photography
  • Digital Video Creation, Editing, and DVD authoring
  • Digital Audio Production and CD authoring
  • Track and Manage Our Finances
  • Create Computer Graphics and images
  • Use Map and Travel Programs To Plan Trips
  • Play Computer Games
  • Browse the World Wide Web
  • Web Site Development and Publishing
  • Java Programming (the Fireworks on our home page are a Java Applet that Fred wrote)

Our Hobbies and Pets

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