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One Network to Rule Them All

Let’s talk about brilliant user Jon from Florida. Jon has two things going for him. First of all, he started using XBMC back in the glory days when “XBMC” wasn’t a recursive name for XBMC Media Center. Second, he doesn’t do things half way. When he decided to install XBMC into his home, he decided to install XBMC into his entire home. It is running through his walls. It has wrapped its adamantium tendrils around the thick bones of Jon’s Ft. Lauderdale house, and it is going to do its very best never to let go.

Network Switch and Drobo

Network Switch and Drobo

The Brains of the Operation

Less poetically, Jon has fully wired his home with Cat5 ethernet, installing four ethernet drops in every room in the house. All of this ethernet ends up attached to a switch in a tucked away closet, as you can see in the picture to the right.

On the other end of this switch is Jon’s server, a 5 drive Drobo, holding five 2 terabyte harddrives, for a total storage of about 9 terabytes of space. This Drobo provides all the storage Jon needs for the setup of his entire home. Speaking of which…

Whole Home Audio

As I said, Jon’s home is fully immersed in XBMC goodness. To accomplish this, Jon has installed ceiling speakers throughout the house. He’s also run wiring from every ceiling speaker and the surround sound systems in both the living room and the family room.

Bringing all of these speakers together is an HP Slate, running Windows 7 with a shell modification that’s allowed Jon to boot directly into XBMC. This slate has been installed directly into the wall of Jon’s hallway.

The HP Slate, running XBMC

The HP Slate, running XBMC

As you can see, Jon pulled out all the stops to make this Slate look slick. The Slate itself is affixed to the wall with two brackets. The custom brush metal frame mounts flush to the wall, just covering the the edge of the Slate. To make the Slate easily accessible, the frame is mounted using simple velcro.

the HP Slate, pulled out from the wall

the HP Slate, pulled out from the wall

A closer view of the Slate in action

A closer view of the Slate in action

The HP Slate is, once again, running Windows 7, and is, further, being powered by a custom touch skin; however, Jon and his family are much more likely to control the system using XBMC Commander on their iPhones.

All of the wires from the Slate run from the touch computer to the top of a kitchen cabinet, where a usb hub connects the Slate to a powerful soundcard, which then connects to all of the speaker systems around the house. An X-10 CM unit is also attached to provide computer control to Jon’s home automated lights and other power accessories.

Jon's wires... Raise your hand if you can see them

Jon's wires… Raise your hand if you can see them!

A Lovely Living Room

From the hallway, we turn to the Living Room. This is a fairly simple affair. Comfy L shaped couch. 42″ Sony LCD TV. Sony surround system. And, for HTPC, the Lenovo Idea Center, running – once again – a modified Windows 7.

One Classy Living Room

One Classy Living Room

One of the key factors in Jon’s decision to go with Windows 7 (and a full HTPC, over something like the Apple TV 2) was its ability to perform other tasks. For example, as you may notice, there’s a webcam on the entertainment unit that Jon uses for Skype sessions.

Family Fun Room

Moving on from the Living room, we turn to the Family room. Here, once again, is a Lenovo Idea Center and 42″ Sony TV. However, this room greatly differs from the living room, in that it is intended for the use of Jon’s 4 year old and 8 year old. To that effect, Jon has limited XBMC in this room to kid-safe content only.

Scooby Scooby Doo, I see you!

Scooby Scooby Doo, I see you!

To make it easier for his kids to control this content (and also to provide his children with kid appropriate edu-tainment software), Jon has installed a HP TouchSmart PC in the corner of the room. That computer is running the XBMC Web Interface for easy movie browsing.

The HP TouchSmart

The HP TouchSmart… when I was a kid, I had a 486 sx25. Not exactly equivalent, I guess.

The Bedrooms

And, finally, we turn to the bedrooms. Each bedroom includes a 32″ Sony LCD with an Apple TV 2 attached via velcro. Naturally, all the wiring is hidden in the wall.

Why yes, that IS an Apple TV 2! Thank you for noticing!

Why yes, that IS an Apple TV 2! Thank you for noticing!

And there we have the home of Jon from Florida. The next time (i.e. the first time) somebody pays for me to go on a cruise, I think I’m going to have to stop by for a visit… a visit that may last several weeks. Be prepared Jon!

Thanks for reading everybody! Now, if you keep sending in your info and pics to natethomas AT xbmc DOT org, I’ll see if we can’t start pumping these out a little more regularly.