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Smart House - Monitor for inside a wall?

Posted on 2012-09-17
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Last Modified: 2012-10-09
I'm thinking about setting up my house to be a cool type of smart house. I want to place touch screen monitors into the walls of my house, all the monitors will be connected to a server in a basement. I'm thinking HDMI over Cat6. I'm going to put the near future Windows 8 OS on them.

I've never run a multi-screen desktop before. My goal is to have the same desktop image repeated over to all the other screens. So if you leave the kitchen to the living room for example you can pick up where you left off.

The main purpose of this will to make it so you can check the news, weather, grocery shopping list, make it a TV tuner, security system, and to set up a whole house audio system.

I do IT for a living, but sadly I've never messed with multi-screen devices, let alone touch. The main purpose of this post is to ask input and suggestions. Do you think this setup will work? What will I all need on the server for hardware (in particular for the monitor inputs) to get all of these touchscreens going? Any touchscreen suggestions? Will I need a special one for the bathroom in regards to humidity?

Below is an image of what I'm thinking about doing:

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Question by:Pancake_Effect
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LVL 10

Assisted Solution

by:CSI-Windows_com
CSI-Windows_com earned 800 total points
ID: 38406156
Seems like a lot of hardwiring and dependency on a single box.

What about using cheap android tablets (Galaxy Tab 2 7" comes to mind) that you can carry with your or affix.

Or use a Windows Slate and do RDS to the server machine if you need big Windows apps on the move.
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Author Comment

by:Pancake_Effect
ID: 38406215
Those are some good ideas, the main problem I can forsee with that however is with the galaxy it won't accomplish my goal of a streamlined interface for the mutliple locations. And doing a quick Google search on a windows slate looks like there a grand a piece. I figure if I spend:
$800 on a server
$100 for wire
Monitors $300 x 5 = $1,500 for monitors

That's only $2,400 for a whole house audio, home security interface, and a could have it for numerous other uses, and the ability to upgrade the OS.
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by:CSI-Windows_com
CSI-Windows_com earned 800 total points
ID: 38406501
Part of it depends on what home automation hardware you are using.  If it's x10 there are network appliances the replace the entire Server.

You could have 5 Galaxy tabs for the price of your hardwiring and they can be used for many other things.

They come with an IR port and software to run almost any home entertainment system.

Here is a link to possible software packages: http://ulanoff.com/blogs/automation/droid-apps/

Not sure that "screen sync" would be worth the extra hassle and "Streamlined interface" is the name of the game on mobile.
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:PCableGuy
ID: 38407987
If you want TV on all of them, what type of TV signal will it be - cable, satellite, or off-air, etc?
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:viki2000
viki2000 earned 800 total points
ID: 38411249
If you look for big monitors to see easy TV then here is a review:
http://touchscreen-monitors-review.toptenreviews.com/

For bathroom, you should think maybe at waterproof touchscreens. I used them on industrial filed. Some companies which I remember:
http://www.pro-face.com/
http://www.starpanel.com/

Maybe your future approach is to transform an entire wall in a Multitouch screen:
http://www.multi-touch-screen.co/multiuser-multitouch-video-wall/
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LVL 21

Assisted Solution

by:viki2000
viki2000 earned 800 total points
ID: 38411313
And for the multi-monitor connection to the server you may consider a dedicated video card with multi-monitor capabilities as:
http://www.matrox.com/graphics/en/products/graphics_cards/m_series/?ref=mseries_adw
http://www.amd.com/US/PRODUCTS/DESKTOP/GRAPHICS/ATI-RADEON-HD-5000/Pages/ati-radeon-hd-5000.aspx

Of course theoretically you may use a splitter to clone your image on each monitor, but speed sometimes is important when you increase the number of monitors.

Read also next discussion:
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Q_27709970.html
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

by:
Callandor earned 400 total points
ID: 38415496
How about tying your smartphone to the system and carrying it with you, instead of installing multiple input devices?

There may be an off-the-shelf solution already made that you can use; see http://www.smarthome.com/_/index.aspx
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LVL 4

Author Closing Comment

by:Pancake_Effect
ID: 38479529
Thank you all for your input. I will keep this all in mind when think of a finalized solution. Specifically thanks Callandor for that link, that's a gold mine for information I was looking for in terms of products.
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