Home audio distribution – another thing that seems to be way harder than it needs to be!

So, we’ve almost been in our new house a year now – and things are slowly getting done.

Based on the advice of an electrician mate, we went with a btcino home automation system….. suppoedly its one of the btter ones around…. i think because he’s used to comparing it to the (seemingly) universally panned clipsal “automation” solutions.

Im completely baffled as to why each endpoint (such as a light or a switch) doesnt have an IP address – and a central management station allows association between a light/switch/dimmer/sensor etc etc… but thats another story – im sure there are reasons why this is not common place – and i would really love someone who’s in the know in that area to tell me why! From an IT nerd point of view it seems so incredibly logical! (i realise there is control4, creston, x10 etc – but trying to get a hold of these devices seems inordinately difficult…. or in the case of creston, they want you to use an implementation partner… <and i couldnt get any of the implementation partners to talk to me when i told them it was for a home install – they just didnt care> i.e. mega-bucks!)

Anyway, back on topic…. so the btcino has an audio distribution system with 8 x RCA inputs and an AM/FM radio module…. so, my first thought, lets get a device with multiple audio outputs and stream mp3’s and internet radio though the device into the inputs – which are then setup in 5 rooms around the house…. nup, none of them seem to be around… how about a PC with a multi-output soundcard… dont seem to exist (although there are a couple of solutions for using a 7.1 soundcard as a 4 x a 2 speaker stereo output… which i thought was pretty smart) – to add to that, windows 7 (and ive assumed 8) doesnt support playing multiple audio streams simultaneously though different cards (again, there seems to be a $20 app to solve that)… so with a bit of dicking around, it may be possible – and im going to give it a crack (and ill post results here if it turns out!)…. BUT….. i cant be the only one that wants to have PC level flexibility to stream multiple audio sources from any location i choose into an audio distribution system…. so WTF ?

Ofcourse – one could argue (and i will) that a decent home automation system would have the ability to allocate a DLNA streamed playlist, internet radio station etc to audio channels natively…. but that seems not to be the case.

Anyhoo – any electrcial engineers interested in an open source project  to fix this fucking stupid state of affairs ? (and, in the mean time, if anyone has run into a multi-channel sound card that google cant seem to find, let me know)

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