Postcards from Tradocia

the home theater

And now, for something completely different.

JoKur and I spent some time the other day kicking around ideas for our respective home theater systems (at home, not in Iraq, obviously).

One stellar idea that we came up with was that of small (4″ or so) LCD screens, mounted in-wall in various rooms throughout the house. These would be connected to your “entertainment PC” in another room, and could be used to control your music player application to deliver music from the PC to speakers in the room.

It’s totally doable, in theory, and conceivably it wouldn’t cost much, but the big problem is what kind of LCD screens to use?

We initially tossed around the idea of using regular off-the-shelf LCD screens for Playstations or Xboxes, then modifying them to run off house power and using a long S-video cable run. The second idea (which is really quite idea) was to use one of these drive-bay LCD displays – the advantage being that they are software-programmable and have buttons to perform exactly the functions we want. However, the limiting factor is that they’re USB devices; JoKur claims that “you can do anything with Cat5” and I’m inclined to believe him, but can you really make a 100ft+ run of USB cable (when the specs say the maximum single cable length is 5m/16ft?)? Because if you can’t, that idea is toast.

I came across LVDS displays today, which seem promising (see an example here), but I can’t find any specs on maximum cable length, which is really the key issue.

So…any super-geniuses out there have any great ideas? Totally wild and/or off-the-wall suggestions are welcomed and encouraged – especially anything involving lots of Dremel usage, Cat5 cable being used inappropriately, or gratuitously hacking apart devices.


  1. Nick Jackson

    I found a web site for USB repeater cables (Model AR2500) at The gist seems to be that there is a limit to the length of a particular USB cable before the information becomes garbled.

    According to VPI Video Products,, the USB-C5-LC extends one USB device up to 150 feet. Hope this is helpful.

    Nick Jackson

  2. SGT P

    Whoa! Well there you are JoKur! And yes, Cat 5 can be used for anything. (Including remoting your DSVT into another location)

  3. Anonymous

    We will field test this isue I stand by my statement you can use Cat5 for anything I say again anything.

  4. SGT P

    Even though you didn’t put a name behind it, I know its you JoKur. Classic JoKur misspelling and lack of punctuation. I’ll save you the corrections this time though, Joe!

    PS I am a believer in the Cat5 universal use theory.

  5. cindy

    I’m sure you are all busy getting ready for elections on Sunday. I hope you have time to realize that you are making history. I listened to Hugh Hewitt last night. He was broadcasting from the Iraqi voting center in California. I wanted to let you and any of your friends reading this that voter after voter thanked the American servicemen and women for their efforts in bringing freedom to Iraq. Last night on Fox News they showed a woman voting who struggled to walk to the box because she had been tortured by Sadam Hussein (while she was pregnant). She was so thankful because she didn’t think this day would ever come. Good luck and stay safe. Love, Cindy

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