25 Aug 2002 mjcox   » (Master)

Spent a good few hours over the weekend trying to find misc bits and pieces to make my home automation more complete. I want to be able to play my music collection in the main room which has the nice 5.1 amp and speaker setup. I thought about buying an Audiotron or the cute spimmp3 devices, but they're about $300+VAT+duty+blah. So here is the alernative cunning plan:

  • Find a cheap soundcard that will output SP/DIF (coax) that works okay with Linux. SP/DIF input too would be nice but not essential. Not yet investigated.
  • Get a pair of 75 ohm to 110 ohm baluns. Then I can feed the SP/DIF output through the balun into the cat5 network, and up to the front room, converted again to SP/DIF and fed into the amp. How hard is it to find a UK source of these things, they should only be about $10-$20 each - it's only a transformer after all.
  • Find my awful IRDA keyboard that I bought in the USA for about $20 a couple of years ago instead of getting a IRDA receiver for the Linux machine.
Ideally I'd have a 2nd balun on the same cat5 cable passing composite video back from the machine through the AV amp to the TV, but that would mean sourcing a replacement video card that has composite out and works with Linux.

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