Currently, I am only running one hybrid (7.10 rc2) which is plugged into a generic 32" LCD tv. I'm using the vga plug on my video card/tv and running at 720p. I use UI2 w/ overlay to avoid the ugly tearing that occurs when using UI2 w/ alpha blending. I also have a surround sound receiver (via s/pdif coax) being controlled by my gyroscopic fiire remote which you may have seen in the LMCE demo video. At this time, I do not have any home automation. I will probably though sometime in the near future.
I have made several youtube videos talking about LMCE and how to set it up the way I have my system running. Search for username pandaman123213 or click the link below to see my videos. Feel free to ask about my setup and I'd be willing to make more videos or help you. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pandaman123213&search_type=&aq=f
Compatibility of my setup
DVD install never seems to work. I might have a bad disc, but I always use the CD installer. Kubuntu takes about 45 mins to install and LMCE another 75 mins. Altogether, it takes about two hours to install and then about 30 mins to set up tuner, recording schedules, and clear out those flickr pictures for my own. Analog and digital surround sound on the motherboard are plug and play and fully supported. Fiire remote is autodetected and my tuner card is fully supported. That TV tuner card also has mpeg encoders built in (it's a dual analog with dual encoders) and those take the load of encoding off of the CPU. Network cards work perfectly as well.
Foxconn 945P7AA-8KS2 Here's the newegg info page. It's discontinued, but still useful. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813186070
CPU Type Pentium D / Pentium 4 HT / Celeron D FSB 1066/800MHz North Bridge Intel 945P South Bridge Intel ICH7
Memory Number of Memory Slots 4×240pin Memory Standard DDR2 667 Channel Supported Dual Channel
Expansion Slots PCI Express x16 1 PCI Express x1 2 PCI Slots 3
Storage Devices PATA 3 x ATA100 6 Dev Max. SATA 3Gb/s 4
Onboard Audio Audio Chipset Realtek ALC880 Audio Channels 8 Channels
Onboard LAN LAN Chipset Broadcom BCM5789KFB Max LAN Speed 10/100/1000Mbps
Rear Panel Ports USB 4 x USB 2.0 S/PDIF Out 1x Coaxial Audio Ports 6 Ports Onboard USB 4 x USB 2.0
Intel Pentium 4 631 Cedar Mill 3.0GHz 2MB L2 Cache LGA 775 86 (775_VR_CONFIG_05A) 65 (775_VR_CONFIG_06) Single-Core Processor
Here's the newegg information page. It's discontinued, but for what it's worth. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819116004
EVGA 512-P3-N954-TR GeForce 9500 GT 512MB 128-bit GDDR2 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Supported
This card works well, but requires tweaking. You'll need to download the latest drivers from NVIDIA and install them. Otherwise, the screen flickers every 10 secs. Also, if using the CD install version, kubuntu 7.10 cannot live boot this video card. I had to use the alternate (text) installer to install kubuntu, then I had to edit my /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to use the vesa driver to even boot up. Then, just follow the normal install process.
pqi 2GB 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 667 (PC2 5400)
TV Capture Cards
Hauppauge WinTV-PVR 500 MCE Dual tuners onboard with MPEG2 encoders for each.
Logitech 967557-0403 wireless keyboard and mouse
LG 2-Tone 16X DVD+R 8X DVD+RW 10X DVD+R DL 16X DVD-R 6X DVD-RW 12X DVD-RAM 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-R 32X CD-RW 48X CD-ROM 2MB Cache USB 2.0 External Super Multi DVD Rewriter with LightScribe Model GSA-E10L (Whew, that's a long one)
ASUS Black 16X DVD-ROM 48X CD-ROM ATAPI/E-IDE DVD-ROM Drive Model DVD-E616A3 in the tower
Fiire Chief gyration remote
YAMAHA YHT-390BL 5.1 Channel Home Theater in a Box System http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882115124
1x HITACHI Deskstar 7K160 HDS721616PLAT80 (0Y30002) 160GB 7200 RPM 8MB Cache IDE Ultra ATA133 for the operating system
1x SAMSUNG HD103UI 1TB 5400 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s for media storage
Misc Network Notes
Right now, I'm not in a situation where I can let LMCE control my network, so I have turned off the DHCP router in the web admin page. This doesn't seem to phase LMCE at all and I believe I am at full functionality for my equipment. I also bought a cheap secondary network card from fry's electronics. Sorry, I cannot remember what model it is, but this for future network expansion.
It's taken alot of patience, testing, and especially money to get to a working and useful LinuxMCE box. But take out all the experimental parts and this system isn't too unreasonable. Here's the breakdown.
$370 for a refurbished, 32" lcd tv
$329 for a nice surround sound system
$308 for base computer. No tuners, remotes, display, just the tower.
$300 for 2 pchdtv 5500 digital tuners. These were bought in haste. They worked well with digital, but not analog. Sold em cause I don't have digital.
$150 for fiire remote. (ouch! But worth it)
$139 for pvr 500. This is my current tuner card. 2 analog tuners with dual encoders. Nice card and only one cable in, so I don't need a splitter.
$120 for a slick 1TB hard drive. Now, they are around 90. Thank you technology curve!
$68 for an upcoming digital tuner. Will update this page once I get it and install it
$54 for a better wireless keyboard and mouse. I can sit on the couch and use this one. Not so with the older one. It had no better range than a wired keyboard
$22 for a past usb sound card. Worked ok, but couldn't control volume through LMCE. Sold it
So all together, this system cost me approximately $1860 Now, most of this was gradually bought over the period of two years. If I take out the parts that didn't work and just count the cost of the parts right now, the price drops to approximately $1520. My most expensive things were the TV and sound system, so if you're able to get good deals there, the price could drop even further.
Things of note
Sometimes, after going to the KDE desktop, mixer settings are set to zero. I just put the volume back to normal when this happens. I also reboot after I'm finished using the KDE desktop just to save cpu consumption and to avoid that problem. Now, since I use s/pdif coax, this problem is gone. Also note, desktop sounds, like the KDE log in sound scratchy through s/pdif coax. Linuxmce sounds work great though, so not a big deal
TV tuner is fully supported and detected during normal setup. However, LMCE defaults the channel frequency table to us-broadcast. That means I only receive channels 2-11. I usually go into mythtv and change it manually.
Fiire remote is plug and play.
I've noticed that this particular motherboard has some weird quirks. If I leave the computer off for a day or so, the bios gets corrupted and reverts to default settings. This is no big deal as I just change the settings back to what they were and no need to reinstall. I think this is just some bug with my particular one and not the model in general.
My surround sound system is a YAMAHA YHT-390BL 5.1 Channel Home Theater in a Box and I'm using s/pdif coax to get sound to it. I bought some nice cord for this that said it was lossless. Even if it's not and that was just a marketing ploy, it only cost $14 on newegg.com, so I can take that hit. I don't have an IR blaster, so I mapped the volume buttons on the fiire remote to control volume. That means I have to push the "tv" button on the fiire remote, then change volume, and then switch back to normal mode to control LMCE. No big deal.