In-room Extender Design Strategy

In-room Extender Design Strategy

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One of the simplest strategies for setting up a Windows Media Center (WMC) home entertainment network is to place the Extenders in the same room as the audio and video equipment.

Similar to the centralized Extender design we covered previously, the Windows Media Center (WMC) is still centrally located and on the IP network, but this strategy is less complex because IR repeating and audio distribution are not required. Each Extender is located physically in the same location with the a/v equipment and the WMC experience and content is delivered from the centralized WMC. This configuration is best suited for customers who have five or less displays and are not concerned with having additional equipment in the room.

Integration with an audio distribution system in this design is also possible. You just have to run audio back from an Extender connected back to a central distributed audio solution. While this allows the rest of the home to enjoy the audio of a particular Extender session, this addition adds complexity and is purely optional depending on your customer's needs.

 

Advantages

  • Single, simple, consistent remote
  • Easily scaled up to five display locations using home network
  • In-room source for each display
  • Extenders with additional features (e.g. DVD, gaming, etc) available in room
  • Each Extender has full rights access to protected content on the host PC
  • No IR repeating system required
  • No switching systems
  • Distributed audio integration

Disadvantages

  • Synchronized video playback in multiple rooms not supported
  • Heat, noise and space considerations
  • Additional a/v components in room
  • Requires additional hardware to re-distribute audio from local Extenders

Other Considerations

Performance – As with other WMC design strategies, the PC should be a single machine dedicated to the entertainment system. Performance requirements of the WMC increase with the number of Extenders connected to the system.

Heat & Noise – Because the Extenders are in the individual rooms, heat and noise should be managed appropriately.

Control – Customers can easily get confused with multiple remote controls in a room. It's easy for them to forget which remote goes to which device. You should consider using programmable or universal remote controls so customers have one simple interface in each room.

 

Comments
  • Previously Microsoft's Consumer Electronics installer blog talked about using Media Center with a rack

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