Hello welcome to part 6 the final post on my A/V install project. Today I have some pictures of the finished Living Room and Children’s Bedroom.

I’ve still got a few odd jobs to finish, I need to install an additional network point behind my lazy boy chair for the laptop and get a new aerial installed on the roof and hooked up to Media Center.

Living Room:

Windows 7 HTPC + Sherwood AVR + Nintendo Wii

AMD / ATI based HTPC using an Antec Remote Micro Fusion case.

I didn’t have any money in my budget for an AVR and 5.1 surround sound speakers, I was going to use my Denon stereo amp and a pair of speakers in the living room and purchase an AVR + 5.1 speakers at a later date. However I saw a local advert on Gumtrree for a cheap old Sherwood RD-7106R AVR + Eltax 5.1 speaker set, so I bought them! The AVR only supports SPDIF Optical in so I am using that for audio pass-through from the HTPC and HDMI direct from the HTPC to the HDTV for video signal.

I’ve not got a sub woofer at the moment either but the sound is still decent enough when playing movies in DTS and Dolby Digital, no HD audio support obviously. I am using a Logitech remote control with RF extender as with the equipment in the cabinet and the position of it the IR does not work when sat in my chair. The Logitech RF works better than I expected.

Wiring behind the Alphason App1000-blk cabinet.

My chair with laptop table and a Logitech Harmony 895 which is an older remote but I have to say it is excellent. I had to install an additional power socket behind the chair so I could easily plug in the laptop and remote control charger base without having wires trailing across the room from else where.

Logitech Harmony 895 Universal Remote Control

Wall mounted rear surround speakers, due to the odd shape of my Living room this was the only place I could really mount the speakers, I am very happy with the way in which the speaker cable just appears out of the ceiling to connect to the speaker!

Rear of the Living room with the stairs

Front and centre speakers, I did have the front left / right speakers on Gale speaker stands but I haven’t really got the room, so I put them in the bay window instead to give us more floor space. The cables for the speakers come up from underneath the floor!

LG 42 inch LED HDTV – Yeah it was cheap and the picture on black / dark scenes bleeds white in areas, but for the money I spent I am happy with it. 1080P Blu-ray movies in Arcsoft Total Media Theatre 5 look awesome. I purchased this TV from http://www.1staudiovisual.co.uk as they had a good price and I know the owner of the company who lives in Thailand.

I am toying with the idea of a ceiling mounted projector and motorized projector screen to come down from the ceiling and cover the bay window, maybe later if I am feeling flush!

My Movies 4.01

My side lamps in the living room and also the lamps in the bedrooms are controlled with Z-Wave Home Automation plug-in modules and the excellent mControl Home Automation software from Embedded Automation. I can also recommend PowerController MCE for Z-Wave in Media Center

You may also notice an Amulet Voice activated Remote Control for Media Center from Amulet Devices.

Eltax Millennium 100 front speakers and a Eltax Silverstone Center speaker.

Windows 7 Music Library – Now Playing

mControl MCML Media Center add-in for controlling the Z-Wave lights (Two pictures down) . I also use the mControl mobile webpage on my iPod Touch to control the lights.


I have also just purchased an Aeon Labs MiniMote which I have not received yet and its late in the post: take note http://zwave-products.co.uk/ so I can control the lights when the WHS and mControl are in S3 sleep mode.

Another cool feature I have just figured out how to setup is for the side lamps in the living room to auto dim down and brighten up when I start / stop and pause movie playback in Media Center / My Movies.

Children’s Bedroom:

Kind of happy with this room, I would like a larger TV and some better matching Denon speakers but the kids are more than happy with their new TV setup.

Linksys DMA 2100 Media Center Extender and a Denon UD-M31 stereo amp

My Movies TV Series Library – Blue’s Clues

TunerFree MCE add-in – Cbeebies

Well sadly that’s it for part 6, I hope you have enjoyed reading this series of blog posts, its certainly different as you don’t see many posts on this kind of installation topic. I was thinking about maybe doing a part 7 showing my Media Center User Interface and all the add-ins I am currently using? I might do it if there is some interest so leave your comments and feedback below.



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11 thoughts on “Stuart’s A/V install project–Part 6 The Final One?”
  1. Great stuff!
    What are you doing about ventilation inside the cabinet ? isn’t getting to hot in there?

  2. I had to leave the back off the cabinet any ways as the AVR was too deep with the speaker wires connected at the rear, so there’s plenty of air flow in there I am not too worried about it. If I was living back in Thailand however I would be worried and would have to put in some DIY fans for air flow but not so hot in the UK.

  3. dee mak.

    Enjoyed the posts. A lot of the installations you’ll see are often high end so it’s good to see more down to earth installs.

    Been toying with the idea of migrating from using mediabrowser to mymovies. It’s just the random buggyness of mediabrowser that’s annoying, like sometimes no folder icons will appear, no collection management and/or it just gets stuck and you have to green button out. I would think mymovies handles this better especially now it supports inidividual episodes.

  4. Yeah this is definitely not a high-end install and more what an enthusiast would do with a budget.

    I found MediaBrowser not to be as stable as My Movies, I used My Movies 2.0 then switched to Media Browser for a good while, because the My Movies HTML UI was dated, when My Movies 3.0 was released I switched back to My Movies, its very polished now in My Movies 4.0.

  5. Been following this with interest. It’s good to see the end result. Looks really nice all sealed in and decorated. Thanks for the plugs too.


  6. Think i’ll have to try mymovies, last time i did it ate all my jpgs and started replacing them as they were created with metabrowser.

    You’ve had more luck with rf than what i had, i got big delays in media center especially when holding the buttons for things like volume-+. Eventually when i cabled the place I put in keane IR blaster and that works great.

  7. The RF is OK it can be delayed a little some times.

    I think I should have put in a magic eye in somewhere and used one of these IR extender kits


    I can still do this if I have to and just have the magic I sat on top of the TV cabinet and then put the IR wands on the front of the AVR and Media Center PC.

    I’ve used that particular type before with Media Center and they were pretty good.

  8. That looks very similar to the one I used actually, i went down the keene route as i’m a bit green when it comes to the home control stuff and from recommendations people rate their stuff.

    I wish I could have gone back and put cat5e everywhere instead fo just to a couple drops in each room though as you can use ir-over-cat5e (this was news to me :).A drop behind the tv would have been good as it seems all tvs now are coming with internet tv built in.

    A harmony is next on my list to buy, sure will miss a green button on a remote though as i solely use media center but I guess you can map that.

  9. It’s all looking pretty good now, Stuart – nice job! Also pleased to see your Amulet remote fitting neatly into the picture 🙂

    I was wondering: what did you use to tie My Movies into the lighting control, for pause/continue of Movies? It’s a neat trick, and I haven’t come across a specific plug-in for that before. Are you doing something clever with EventGhost?


  10. Hi Eddy

    For the auto dimming / brightening of my side lamps when playing / stopping or pausing Movies and Vieos in Media Center and in the My Movies add-in I am using the mControl Home Automation software installed on the WHS . I then installed and configured the Embedded Automation VMC Controller Driver in to the mControl settings.

    Then on my Windows 7 Media Center PC I had to install the Windows Media Center TCP/IP Controller aka VMCController.

    You are then able to send commands from the mControl Editor software to the 7MC PC like up / down / left / right to test its working. My 7MC PC then becomes a “Device” in mControl that you can run automation and macros against. My 7MC PC device in mControl is called MCX01 which is just the hostname of the PC.

    I then added some automation macros so for example I have a macro called Play Movie

    IF Condition: MCX01 -> Play -> DVD
    MCX01 -> Play -> VIDEO

    THEN (Actions)
    RUN Macro Dim lights

    Maybe I should do a fully blog post on how I set all this up ?

    There are actually two ways you are meant to be able to do this in mControl however I could only get number 2 to work number 1 never worked for me.

    There are two ways to work with Media Centers:
    1. Using the mControl Add-in, which uses the MCE Media State Aggregator Service (MSAS) engine.

    2. Using the WMC TCP Controller device and its macro conditions. This is documented here: http://www.embeddedautomation.com/helpdesk/kb_article.php?ref=5337-TDKC-8815

    I also followed this thread which helped me set it up: http://www.embeddedautomation.com/forum/showthread.php?t=962

    I really like mControl but I have only scratched the surface with it and don’t understand everything that it can do. I am using an Aeon Labs Z-Wave USB Controller Stick attached to the WHS and then I have my Z-Wave Lamp and appliance modules around the house connected to various lights.

  11. I’d like to thank Eddy from Amulet Devices, he has utilized a sample SOAP XML code and created a WGET cmd file and now I can turn on / off and even dim my Z-Wave lights using the Amulet Voice Remote Control.

    I can just say “Lights On” for example then the side lamps in the living room turn on, or use another voice command “Dim Lights 50” to dim the lamps 50%

    This is extremely cool, I never thought I’d have voice controlled lighting but now I do!

    Thanks again Eddy

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