Planning for my new Audio / Video Setup

Main Objectives Baseline

Quality OTA (1080i or better, dolby 5.1 compatible) recording (2 tuners) access from main TV room.
One programmable remote to control 90 percent of the functions of all components.
Streaming Lossless Music Playback (high quality, better than mp3 quality).
Ability to add and replace service providers like Netflix, HULU, Amazon, Youtube, Sling without investing in a lot of proprietary boxes.
A new TV that does not lock me into its smart features.

I will probably need to get a new HTPC / jukebox and a new receiver.  

I have a small string of lights behind the TV for illumination, other than that, we watch in a darkened room.  I currently have a have a 43 inch Panasonic TV, a ONKYO home theater receiver and a 5.1 sound system, a HTPC and a NETFLIX win 10 machine.  I use Media Monkey as a music jukebox player and have most of my CDs ripped as FLAC.  We currently use one other TV, and 2 other stereos and 2 pcs.

I want to upgrade our OTA recordings capability to something that is not dependent on my Windows 7 box.  Streaming that to another TV is nice, but not really a priority.

I have yet to see any clear advantages in the OTA recording options. More importantly, I don’t see the limitations or conflicts that could arise.

When I start to consider Plex, Kodi, Media Portal, Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC), I start to overload.

Tablio for KODI?    with dolby 5.1

Serious Work  on what to do


This blog is called the random musings.  This post is a great example.  One of things I am planning for is to prevent lock in.  Your cable company, your satellite tv provider, want you to be a customer for life.  If you want an idea of how badly, just try and cancel your service.  After I canceled DirecTV, I wrote this. To customer retention specialist everywhere: Really aggravating process.  I don’t mind using their services; however, I want to make sure it is easy for me to switch, well, in case they start (continue ..) price gouging.   I start with my  AV-receiver as the heart of my system, then the speakers, the TV and then I lay out how various providers connect to them.  And I need an easy to use remote control setup to control it. My last setup seems simple compared to what I am planning for next.  I need internet protocol, irc, rf, bluetooth and who knows what else kind of control.  Alexa and the Google Home product come to mind. I need a centralized data store for all this audio and visual content. I plan on hardwiring the biggest data hogs so that I don’t have to worry about wireless access degradation.

Today, I have a Windows 7 machine that I use as an Home Theater PC (HTPC) and a jukebox.  Mickeysoft has pretty much abandoned Windows Media Center, so our doing OTA recording on this machine looks dicey in the near future.  TV has a line going through it.  Sound is fantastic, bought, it takes up a lot of room.  We got rid of DIRECTV and set up a laptop to stream Netflix and play movies.  I did this so as not to interfere with the  HTPC recording.  Disk, arm contention and all that jazz.   Having a HTPC as part of the system has worked out great.  With it, I was able to say, I really won’t miss Directv that much.  I am worried that all the vendors know this, and they want to sell you proprietary boxes. Well, not worried, but wary.  My prefered method of accessing new services is through a HTPC, so I don’t get locked into proprietary devices.  It also can make accessing by remote a little cleaner.  My baseline for audio over these services is dolby 5.1.  But life gets complicated.  To run Netflix with 5.1, you have to use Windows 10.  This is an example of the kind of thing I plan on working around.  One of the things I can’t work around is the fact that if you try and buy a non 4k tv, it is probably not going to have the bells and whistles that you want.  Not being able to get a few of the things you want is a pretty common occurrence. The big providers have no incentive in doing anything that makes it easy for people to plan make own systems.  I say we draft the Netflix guy for president. He really popularized an easy, inexpensive alternative to what is easily one of the biggest industries in the world.  That is genius.  I rant to easily!

Streaming and Possible Data Caps and 4K TVs

In 2015, the FCC redefined what really constitutes “broadband” speed in the US as 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, up from 4 Mbps, which was the standard since 2010.

We love streaming. We are seeing some great movies with the Netflix DVD plan.  I miss maybe 3 or 4 shoes that I don’t get, but it’s more than offset by being able to watch Kimmy, Evil (House of Cards) and a zillion other things.

So I go to look at TVs.  4K TVs are the rage.  We set our Netflix Windows 10 app to play at High Quality, up to 3GB per hour in data.

Comcast has capped data usage at 1 terabyte per month in 20 states or so, so I am using that as my monthly budget.  I have seen articles that say they will offer data beyond the cap at an extra $50 a month, but, Comcast is the last company I want to give more money to.  3 GB per hour or 333 hours to use a terabyte of data.  A high estimate of our streaming usage is 5 days a week, 4 hours or 20 a week or 80 hours a month.  80 hours of Netflix at High is 80 x 3 or 240gb or around 1/4 of the cap.  So cap wise, we look okay.

To stream 4k, they say you need a good internet connection.  Our speeds are not bad.  We stream at high quality, Dolby 5.1 and our current TV is 1080i, or half the bandwidth of 1080p.  We when we first start streaming a show, the quality is not so good.  Okay, they use a lot of compression in streaming, and they do a lot of tricks to conserve bandwidth.  I think of it like this, they do not paint all the pixels in the background for the first bit of viewing, until they figure out how to paint them on the screen correctly for this particular show.  On our TV, it only paints half the pixels of HD 1080p, and the quality at the beginning is low.  HDR basically quadruples that.  I have heard mention of HDR streaming is crap.  I goggled “tips for streaming 4K”.  I was not impressed with what I saw.  Pretty much useless drivel.  So it’s June in 2017, streaming 4K does not look like a real possibility.  There is another technology called HDR that has promise to increase video quality, however, in both cases 4K and HDR, the content available with these technologies is low.  I doubt many OTA broadcast stations will offer any 4k soon.  I would be surprised to see even 1080p in the near future.


My bottom line, if you a cord cutter, wait on 4K and HDR.

Securing 4K video on a television also requires you to buy an all-new monitor and cables that support both HDMI 2.0 and the new HDCP 2.2 copy-protection standard—which, chances are, none of your existing hardware does.

HDR might be nice to have, but,

Right now, 1080p HDR televisions are practically unheard of, as vendors market 4K and HDR together as premium features. And on the content side, movie studios tend to bundle 4K and HDR, with Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and on-demand streams costing more money than their 1080p counterparts.

FYI, I get a little confused when I see YouTube saying look at this 4K (Ultra HD) content, which they scale down and show on my PC at 480i. The videos are nice, but, I know I am watching 480i.  I think they should say, your equipment can’t handle the 4K

Via Slashdot :

The latest televisions have more pixels than ever. But can your eyes detect the difference? The answer is yes — if you sit close enough. Old TVs had 349,920 pixels. High-definition flat screens bumped up the total to 2 million. Ultrahigh-definition sets inflated it to 8 million. And manufacturers are now experimenting with 8K TVs that have an astounding 33 million pixels. More pixels render hair, fur and skin with greater detail, but the benefit depends on viewing the screen from an ideal distance so the sharpness of the images is clear, but the tiny points of illumination aren’t individually distinguishable. According to standards set by the International Telecommunication Union, that ideal distance is 3 times the height of an HDTV screen, 1.5 times the height of a UHDTV screen and .75 times the height of an 8K screen (Editor’s note: the link could be paywalled; here’s a PDF copy of the newspaper). Given those measurements, viewers should sit 6 feet away from a 50-inch HDTV with a 24.5-inch tall screen. But they should sit just 3 feet from a UHDTV of the same size, closer than most Americans prefer.
I like sitting more than 6 feet away!
You can stream 4K Ultra HD on several online video services: Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu with their devices.  I need research on how to connect their devices to a Home Theater Receiver.

Component List of new System

HTPC / DVR/ Sling / Hulu / Youtube /
Windows 10 system with PlayReady (DRM for 4K).
AV receiver
Add on Remotes
Proprietary boxes
Audio Juke Box

Networking and Connecting you sytems

Room Layout

Audio Specs

dolby 5.1

Video Specs

HTPC Specs

hdmi, optical, rgb, …. display port ??
Data store specs


Rated Output Power (North American)
With 8 ohm loads, both channels driven, from 20-20,000 Hz; rated 100
watts per channel minimum RMS power, with no more than 0.7% total
harmonic distortion from 250 milliwatts to rated output.

Surround Mode Output Power ()
(6 ohms, 1 kHz THD 0.9%) 115 W per channel)

● Supports playback in Dolby Atmos format which
provides 360-degree placement and movement of
sounds including overhead sound
● Dolby Surround listening mode expands 2 ch, 5.1 ch or
7.1 ch source to available speaker configurations
● Equipped with 4K compatible HDMI IN/OUT jacks
● Supports the HDMI Standby Through function which
allows signal transmission from players to the TV in
standby state
● Supports HDCP2.2, high quality content (HDMI IN1 to IN3/HDMI OUT)
● Supports ARC (Audio Return Channel)
● Supports  DLNA, AirPlay etc.
● Supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth®
● Bi-Amping capability
● A/V Sync Function to correct deviation of audio and
● 32 bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor)
● Automatic speaker setup available using supplied
calibrated microphone (AccuEQ Room Calibration)

Cabling comments via BLU

Run conduit with pull strings so you can easily install whatever you
need and remove it later when you decide to replace it.

I am sorry, but I completely disagree.  Even with modern Wifi, I can get
much better throughput using physical wires if for no other reason than
each link can be switched and therefore isn’t “shared”.  With Wifi,
every device is sharing the medium.  I.e., I can get 20-30Gbps aggregate
across my 1Gbps physical network, versus maybe 1.2Gbps across my 1200AC
Wifi.  And let’s not even start with interference from my neighbors!
Indeed.  I’m thinking not just IP, but also possibly HDBaseT.  I’m going
to run separate Cat5e for my PoE security cameras (which only need 100mbps).
Cat6a throughout.

Over the top

OM3 multimode with LC connectors can handle 25, 40, 50 and 100G ethernet at
100m. One pair per room should be fine — but really, the
switch cost will be nasty for all the ports you don’t use.

——— more cabling

everything is conduit so it is easy to pull a replacement cable

CAT6 cable, CAT6 wall jacks, patch panels, and patch cables (these connect from the patch panel to the switch and other active equipment.

Use color coded cable identification tags .
Mark the wall jacks something like 1A & 1B and the cables the same way. Post a cross-reference from the number to the room next to the terminations.

Whenever possible, route the power cords away from the signal cables or speaker wires to prevent any hum or interference heard in the speakers.

Items such as Wireless Router, Radio, Cell Phones, desktop fans, Fluorescent lights, Large metal objects, including computer cases and metal furniture may interfere with the signal of the mouse. Please keep the items away from the mouse and check the behavior of the mouse.


Open Embedded Linux Entertainment Center (OpenELEC) is a small Linux based Just Enough Operating System (JeOS) built from scratch as a platform to turn your computer into a Kodi media center.


DCD = Directv or Comcast or Dish Sling only has Dolby 5.1 for on Demand, Live TV is stereo

PBS Antenna
ABC Antenna
NBC Antenna
CBS Antenna
Fox Antenna
MYTV 38 Antenna
56 CW Antenna
68 ION Antenna
Comedy Central DCD Sling
Specialized Subscription
Netflix Win 10 app
Amazon Prime
Netflix mail
Not of current interest,
limited original content

Every once in a while its nice to get access to Comcast / Public Access TV for things like St Paddy’s Day Breakfast

Subscription On Demand is nice to have

Hulu as of oct 2017 no dolby 5,1 for Streaming
Amazon Prime, no 5.1 on PC, yes on Amazon FireTV and FireTV stick  BBC (no Yes Prime Minister yet)

Medium is .07 GB per hour or 14,285 hours for a terabyte
High is 3 GB per hour or 333 hours for a terabyte
Comcast 1 terabyte per month (is 1000 GB is 1,000,000 MB)
Average viewing is 5 days a week, 4 hours or 20 a week or 80 hours a month
80 hours of Netflix at High is 80 x 3 or 240gb or around 1/4 of the cap

Plex no DVR
Kodi no dvr
MediaPortal, MythTV, NextPVR, Tvheadend, VDR, Windows Media Center DVR?

USB 2.0 ATSC TV (HDTV) Tuner – White $25

Yes, you can watch and record two different shows at the same time with only one DVB or ATSC TV card.
Use media portal on laptop with external ATSC card

Online EPG service for HTPC users in America named SchedulesDirect.
SchedulesDirect only supports open-source software projects like Kodi and MediaPortal as well as a few others.

Many WMC users are responding by switching to Kodi or MediaPortal, because these are open solutions with superior user interfaces and are supported by SchedulesDirect.

HDHomeRun CONNECT 2-Tuner ATSC DLNA/UPnP Compatible Streaming Media Player – Silicondust $90. Microcenter



Carpentry and TV and Wiring Install (781) 426-1478, from craigslist Joe

Hi I have 15+ yrs exp. as a Carpenter & Handyman
I have wall mounted 100’s of flat screen TV’s

Services offered
IKEA & simular furniture assembly, wall mount your TV, hang pictures and shelves, install any type of tile and laminate flooring, painting ceilings walls trim & doors
Etc etc

Honest, reliable
with references

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