LinuxMCE is filled with cool features. Since it has been started by a company and made open source, it is arguably the most advanced and polished home automation system available. From their website, "LinuxMCE is the only all-in-one solution for your home that seamlessly combines media & entertainment, home automation, security, telecom and computing. You can control your whole house with a mobile phone, a touch-screen tablet or a web-interface. A LinuxMCE system is like an appliance - not a computer. It is self-configuring, maintaining and updating. No technical skills are required to use or install LinuxMCE. LinuxMCE is above all simple. The devices are all plug and play. LinuxMCE is also an open platform, offering unlimited expansion potential, and requiring no special cabling. This is LinuxMCE: a complete, comfortable and secure solution for your home. "
A list of features from the LinuxMCE website and additional ones that we think are important:
Orbiters are high-tech remote controls. LinuxMCE provides for multiple orbiter options such as a generic PC, wireless tablet PC, PDAs, mobile phones running Symbian or Microsoft Mobile, or through a web interface that can be accessed by any computer inside your network or through the Internet. (The web interface requires user authentication, but currently not with SSL.)
Below are some possible Orbiter platforms:
Media Directors (MDs) can also be generic PCs, but are better when they have an output for a television set such as S-video or RCA jacks. Having a good sound card is also a good idea. The MDs play all your streaming music and video from the core, network attached storage (NAS), or any other MD in your home. Output to a TV and speakers for an awesome multimedia experience.
Below are some possible Media Director platforms:
Network Attached Storage
You can extend your core's storage with a Network Attached Storage device, or NAS. LinuxMCE can recognize this and use the NAS for saving your files or reading from them (including your music and video collection).
- Use Orbiters to arm, disarm, monitor sensors, and view video cameras.
- Immediate notification of any alerts on your mobile phone with live video.
- Auto arming/disarming of the alarm based on schedule or triggered events.
- Mark rooms as off-limits to anyone but authorized persons.
- The instant anything important happens at your home, such as a security breach, fire or even someone ringing the doorbell, your mobile phone will beep and show you a live video feed.
- Because LinuxMCE is able to distinctly recognize each family member and determine who is coming and going, LinuxMCE can automatically turn the alarm off and unlock the door when it detects you approaching the house, and automatically lock and arm when everyone has left. You don't have to worry about forgetting to turn the alarm on.
- Tell LinuxMCE that only certain people are allowed in certain rooms. When LinuxMCE detects the presence of an authorized person it will automatically shut off the alarm sensors in that room. It's fully automatic. If an unauthorized person enters, you will be notified on your mobile phone.
- Tell LinuxMCE if you leave the children at home with a baby sitter. LinuxMCE will notify you whenever someone comes and goes from the house, and show you a picture so you can be sure there are no unauthorized visitors. You can push a button on your phone to turn on the surveillance cameras and check what's happening at any time.
- Effortless video conferencing - answer and dial just like normal
- Tie all your homes together as one phone system
- Always routes your calls to the extension nearest you
- LinuxMCE automatically turns all your TVs into video phones. If somebody calls you from a video phone, it rings on the phones in the house just like normal. You can transfer the call to someone else, whether or not they have a video phone. You can still put the call on hold, and pick it up on your mobile phone or cordless.
- With LinuxMCE, whenever you're on the phone, the nearest Orbiter will automatically show you pictures of each family member. If you want to transfer, or conference, just touch the person's picture.
- If you have multiple residences, just tell your LinuxMCE rep to join them. LinuxMCE will automatically sense what home you're in. Anytime someone calls any of your homes-anywhere in the world-the call is automatically put through, unless you're sleeping. LinuxMCE uses voice-over-ip, so there are no long distance charges.
- LinuxMCE's 'follow-me' keep track of what room in the house you're in, and your phone calls automatically ring on the extension nearest you.
- LinuxMCE remembers who normally calls for whom and route the call automatically, based on the caller ID. When your daughter's school friend calls, it will automatically ring in your daughter's room if that's where she is - without disturbing anyone else in the house. If she's out, it will go automatically to her mobile phone if you wish.
- As you add names to your personal phone book, be sure to check off which ones are priority people, like friends and family. When you press the button on your mobile phone to go to sleep, LinuxMCE adjusts your phone settings. Somebody who calls will automatically get voicemail, except for your priority callers who will be told that you are sleeping, and given the option of waking you. If they choose to do so, LinuxMCE will put the call through to the phone by the bed so as not to disturb others in the house.
- Your mobile phone turns into a remote control for lights, climate, etc.
- Effortless, "follow-me automatically" automation
- Self-configuring and maintaining. NO programming or tech skills needed
- Home automation systems are usually controlled by a slew of expensive touch-screen tablets needed everywhere you want control. Only LinuxMCE turns your mobile phone into a comfortable remote, making the tablets optional.
- Your mobile phone not only becomes more comfortable and useable than any type of remote control on the market, it works anywhere in the world you have cellular data coverage. Control everything, monitor your cameras, accept deliveries, etc. It doesn't matter if you're in the living room or in Lithuania. When you're at home, the mobile uses Bluetooth to communicate. When you're away, it automatically switches to the cellular network.
- LinuxMCE can recognize each family member and automatically set up the room according to his preferences. Just keep your mobile phone in your pocket. It compares the relative strengths throughout the house to calculate exactly where each family member is. It works for your lighting, climate, media, as well as security settings.
- With LinuxMCE, everything is plug-and-play, self-configuring, and no programmer will ever come to your home. All you do is go to a simple web site, and answer multiple-choice questions about your lifestyle.
- With LinuxMCE, you get zero-touch automation. If you have a DVD you want to watch, just put the disc in the nearest media director. LinuxMCE will analyze what type of disc it is, and setup all your TVs and stereo equipment automatically. LinuxMCE will even feed the DVD Menu directly to the nearest mobile phone or Orbiter. You don't have to touch a single button.
- Your media follows you around the house
- Each family member can have both public and private media
- Live video of favorite shows & channel history
- LinuxMCE always knows what room each family member is in, and learns his favorite media (TV shows, music, etc.). Press the 'TV' button on your mobile phone. The nearest TV - no matter what brand - will automatically come on to your favorite show. 90% of the time you will not need to use the program guide or channel surf.
- When you move around the house, all you do is hold down the media button on your mobile phone for 1 second, and a red "F" for 'follow me' appears. Now just wander around the house and whatever media you were enjoying - TV, DVD movie, music, radio, etc. - will follow you. It works individually for each family member. This is the ultimate convenience, and only LinuxMCE has it. To date, only a handful of super-rich individuals have spent millions for this luxury.
- In case there are two people in the same room, LinuxMCE sets up the room for whoever entered first. If that person leaves the room, then LinuxMCE sets it up for the next person who is still in the room.
- Whenever you choose to record or save any media - TV shows, DVD movies, music, etc. - you are given the option of making it public, so the whole family can enjoy it, or private, so only you can access it. When you first get your LinuxMCE system, just be sure to tell LinuxMCE who are the heads of the house. These people can view everybody's private media.
- LinuxMCE learns each family member's favorite shows; when anybody presses the 'TV' button, LinuxMCE turns on the nearest TV, scans the current running programs, and automatically tunes to that person's favorite show. There's a full EPG too, but this is far more comfortable and convenient.
- All media - music, movies, TV shows, home videos, etc. are stored on the LinuxMCE Core - the central server. The Core is powerful enough to handle dozens of simultaneous media streams. You'll never have to worry about a hard drive crash and losing your media. You have virtually unlimited capacity, and everyone in the family can enjoy any media anywhere, anytime.
- The LinuxMCE Core distributes all the media digitally. This means you do not have to tear open your walls to run extra cables, plus the media can go from anywhere to anywhere with absolutely no loss of quality.
- Perform basic computing without a mouse or keyboard
- Powerful computing platform for advanced users
- Every LinuxMCE Media Director has a full computer built-in, and comes with a wireless keyboard & mouse so you can run all your favorite software. Today's high-def TVs are actually great for computing because of the fantastic picture quality. So, if you want to check the weather or the latest news, just hit a button on your mobile phone and the page will show up on the TV.
- If you are a PC power user, imagine having a server running multi Intel Xeon processors and a 10 terabyte (10,000 GB) RAID 5 array. Plus, each Media Director incorporates a high-powered PC inside with the latest hardware, such as a 200GB hard drive, up to an Intel Pentium 4 at 3.06Ghz Processor with 2 GB RAM. And you just press 1 button to switch between Linux and Windows. The Media Director also has video outputs for computer monitors, such as VGA and DVI, and the latest audio/video sub-system for use as a high-end gaming platform.
- When you have multiple homes with LinuxMCE systems, they can all be joined as one. Every LinuxMCE Core will automatically create a VPN (virtual private network) connection to the others. It's completely safe and fully encrypted. The benefit is that you can go from one house to another and know that you will still have access to all your files no matter where you are without the hassle of copying them.
- LinuxMCE automatically creates a network share for each family member so you can put all your normal computer files there, too. You can access any of your files anytime, anywhere - LinuxMCE automatically creates a password-protected personal web page for each family member.