Putting a system together: recommendations?

Hello all,

I've been browsing the web for a while, looking at different options, and I'd like some advice on the following:

I'm looking for hardware and software recommendations. I will be moving to a recent construction (2003) with incorporated cat5e. The house is of typical US construction (wood/sheetrock). I will also have a linux box running 24/7, although I would not mind having an independent (USB?) controller. I also have a netgear b/g wireless router running.

My aims are to have the following:

Voice-controlled operation, voice messages from the computer on speakers throughout the house (which should also be able to play music). The speakers should also be selectable, so I can listen to different music/paging in different rooms simultaneously. How easy is it to install and run cabling for speakers? Which is a good set (I've seen the M60 a lot) for PA & music? How can I do multi-zone control?

Light control by web interface (and voice). Dimming is not a big deal, since I plan to put CFL bulbs wherever I can. Also controlling some basic appliances (eg automatic window blinds open/close, etc).

I would also like to have one or more security cameras running, monitored via web server/TV. Interface to TV, so I can watch movies on my network storage, etc. If possible, also include control of the TV by the computer.

I'd also like to include various thermometers (eg Tini/iButton/PICs), and would be happy to have PIC systems/controllers running the show. Although, for lights, it seems X10 is pretty much the standard.

I'd also like to have it look as clean/professional as possible... :)

As for software, I happy with anything that works; although I'm leaning towards MisterHouse.

Any help/comments would be greatly appreciated!


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I have clean in-ceiling speakers and infrared equipment that might help. You can hide the IR-350 receivers in many locations. Depending on the house structure it is easy to run cabling for speakers, don't forget to run both audio and cat5 wire to the volume controls. If you are doing the installing your self you might want to buy a special drill tool that cuts perfect holes in the drywall. That has worked well for me, and using a fox and hound if you cannot remember where the cable is located. I would run alll speakers and cat5 runs to a central location to minimize wire lenght and allow for multi-zone and different applications. (MP3 servers etc..)

-J snipped-for-privacy@ihomeiq.com

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