User Manual

From LinuxMCE
Revision as of 21:13, 26 October 2007 by Rwilson131 (Talk | contribs) (Setting Up LinuxMCE)

Jump to: navigation, search

LinuxMCE is the only all-in-one open source solution that seamlessly combines:

  • Media & entertainment with a server for music and video plus a PVR like TiVo or Sky+
  • Home automation to control everything from lights to heating with a touch-screen tablet or your mobile phone
  • Phone system with video conferencing
  • Security system that feeds live video to your mobile during a security breach

LinuxMCE is a complicated piece of software. Understanding the basics is very important to ensuring proper setup and ensures the user gets the results expected. CLICK HERE for a quick overview of the basics or CLICK HERE for an overview of the different software components used in LinuxMCE

If you have any questions you can visit our forums.

Understanding LinuxMCE

What is LinuxMCE

Here is an overview of LinuxMCE.

What can I do with LinuxMCE

Following is a list of things you can do with LinuxMCE. Each link takes you to a how-to page which has 3 parts:

  1. How to set it up
  2. How to use it
  3. Where to find the source code and how it works.



Home Automation


PC Computing

  • Have LinuxMCE's screen saver turn my regular TV off when there's no activity and back on automatically, like a PC monitor with power save
  • Browse web pages on the media directors
  • Browse web pages on the orbiters
  • Use open office on the media directors
  • Access a KDE/Gnome desktop on the media directors



Hardware can be a difficult decision, but understanding exactly what functions are needed can greatly simplify this decision. You can review several wiki articles relating to hardware HERE

Installation of Software Components

There are currently two methods of installation. The DVD installation which only requires the downloading and creation of a single installation disk, and the 3 CD method which requires 3 disks, but offers more flexibility in installation.

DVD Installation

CD Installation

Setting Up LinuxMCE

Setting up your LinuxMCE system consists of 4 things:

  1. Providing some general information, such as what kind of network you have.
  2. Creating the devices (lights, tv's, cameras, etc.).
  3. Creating your scenarios. A "scenario" is a group of commands, or tasks, you want executed when you touch a button. Each scenario you create will appear on the Orbiters as a button. Scenarios are generally organized into 5 categories: lighting, media, climate, security and telephone. You can create, for example, a lighting scenario called "Entertaining" which turns on all the lights in the house and in the front yard. A button labeled "Entertaining" will then appear on the Orbiters in the lighting section--touch it to activate the scenario. Any scenario can do anything. For example, just because the "Entertaining" scenario is a lighting scenario doesn't mean the scenario only affects lights. You can make the scenario also play some music, and maybe open the front gate. You can use the "Advanced, My Scenarios" menu option for low-level control over a scenario, to make it do whatever you want. However the Wizard includes pages that make it very easy to create scenarios. For example, when you add a lighting scenario with the Wizard, it lists all the lights in the house and lets you pick the ones you want to change with the scenario.
  4. Creating event handlers. This is how you tell LinuxMCE you want it to do something in response to some event. For example, you want LinuxMCE to turn on the Front Porch light when a motion detector is tripped. Or you want it to play a loud message on the TV's when there is a security breach. Or stop watering the lawn after it rains.

The developers have tried to automate has much of the set up as possible with several scripts and wizards. See the different wizards below, and if the wizards are unable to set up the system properly then visit the admin website for many more options

  • To get started you will want to read the documentation on Getting Started
  • You will need to know if your graphics card is capable of running the UI2 with masking or the UI2 with alpha blending prior to running the wizard. Please read Graphics Test for information on how to determine the capabilities of your current video card.
  • If you are in doubt or if you want to get a working setup quickly please select UI1 which will work on any video card supported by Kubuntu.


The Audio/Video Wizard is designed to allow for easy setup of components which allow the Core or a Media Director to output content to the connected display, which can range from a simple CRT, to HCTV with component and/or composite inputs.

Setup Wizard

The setup wizard is an automated series of screen which allows the user to enter information and devices that LinuxMCE will control. The Setup Wizard is broken down in to two modes: Media Player Wizard and House Setup Wizard.

First Page of the Setup Wizard
After selection of the Setup Wizard you will see an additional screen. If the audio and video are properly setup you should see and hear a video. If this is correct please select Next.

Which Wizard to Choose

The next screen you will encounter asks which wizard would you like to start: Media Player Wizard or the House Setup Wizard. Please select the wizard you want to begin.

House Setup Wizard

Media Player Wizard

Using LinuxMCE Admin Website

Although there are automated wizards to assist in setup, the most robust system for setup is the LinuxMCE Admin Website. The user can create and modify any and all devices that LinuxMCE can control.

Using LinuxMCE

LinuxMCE is a complicated piece of software, so proper understanding of each of the components makes for a better experience. CLICK HERE for a quick introduction and description of the terms needed to understand most to best use LinuxMCE. The orbiter is the primary interface for controlling functions within LinuxMCE. This guide will follow the menu items listed on the orbiter

Orbiter Interface


There are only going to be options listed here if you have setup an interface and created lights. The lights are specific to a room, so that the orbiter for a room will only show lights within that room

This short section requires expansion


This short section requires expansion


This short section requires expansion


This short section requires expansion


This short section requires expansion


This short section requires expansion

General Usage Pages



Controlling Equipment
Using Portable Media
Media Attributes





LinuxMCE Admin Website

Other Items of Concern