An awesome smart home does not have to cost a fortune. Thanks to the brilliant open source projects available a geek dream home is something we can all have. In the modern world a lot of what makes a smart home amazing is about entertainment so its no wonder three of the projects I love the most are all about media and television.
If you wish you had a pimped media centre or are planning diy home automation these projects may get you started
No geek home would be the same without a MythTV server hidden away somewhere and if it is anything like mine it is full of tuner cards serving up 24/7 live TV. With support for DVB-T, DVB-T and old school analog tuner cards MythTV is the first choice for live TV.
What makes MythTV great is that it supports a huge variety of hardware and comes in various install options including purpose built distributions like MythBuntu which make installation a breeze. Although MythTV can take a bit of figuring out it is definitely the best TV Tuner capable open source application out there and plugins like mythweb are more than welcome for any smart home project.
With the price of surveillance equipment having dropped over the last few years to the point where a full installation can cost less than a high end graphics card it is no wonder many people are enjoying a little piece of mind that CCTV brings. (See my guide on DIY CCTV)
Zoneminder is not only open source but it supports an insane variety of camera sources including regular CCTV cameras, network cameras and even web cams. If you are planning to include video surveillance in your smart home then zoneminder is the way to go.
Although MythTV has a frontend it still has a long way to go when compared to XBMC which is an open source media centre with a focus on media libraries and will probably always be better than the MythTV frontend since Myth is focused on Live TV and not media management.
With native support for MythTV and Zoneminder you can bring everything together in one beautiful media centre frontend which supports virtually any media file you can find and looks good doing it with support for Fan Art, Visualisations and more.
At the heart of any smart home with a strong focus on media is storage, after all you need somewhere to store you tv recordings from MythTV and your Zoneminder recordings would be useless if you did not store them for at least a few days.
Freenas supports several RAID configurations and nearly every protocol you can think of including DAAP, SMB, uPNP, iSCSI and NFS all of which will help you bring your entire system together.
I know what you are thinking, everything so far is about media. Smart homes are about automation! Misterhouse is a great open source automation project with support for popular protocols like X10
Of course things get a little more complicated at this point but if you dedicated to your smart home dream it should be no problem reading over the documentation and getting your home automated with “free” software.