It's been a while! I haven't done much more to the trunk area, as I'm waiting for a good break so I can remove the amp rack and bondo it. Instead of putting carpet down, I decided to try some bondo and texture paint, so that it looks like my computer rack. So, no new news on that front.
However, I decided to try a multi-zone setup. Unfortunately, CF doesn't work very well with this at all. There's a bug with 4.0 that prevents the front and rear zones from being able to play different music simultaneously. I submitted a bug report on it, but it's a low priority for the fellas at CF right now - I'm hoping to see a fix (or some other resolution) for 4.1 or 4.2. Instead, I decided to use my HTPC experience and try running XBMC for the rear seat passengers.
Here's the configuration: I installed my Lilliput 669GL 5 wire touchscreen (minus the touchscreen ability - just running a standard HDMI cable to it) in the rear seat, using a gooseneck mount I had laying around. I ran a 3.5mm stereo cable from the onboard sound card to the rear screen, put in a splitter (so both my boys can listen) and put in some decent headphones. Then I took my old MCE remote control and IR receiver and put it in the back, running it off of the Ram Hub.
Once the hardware was in place, I installed EventGhost and configured it to capture all of the remote button presses and send them to XBMC - this way XBMC doesn't need to maintain focus in order for the remote to work. Then I installed XBMC and configured it to run on the rear monitor (XBMC has native support for multi-monitor and multi-soundcard configurations) and use the onboard audio. After the software was configured, I rebooted and tested everything - and it worked perfectly. XBMC always shows up on the second monitor after resuming from hibernation, and the remote keeps working, too.
I fired up CF and started playing music, and then started playing back a DVD rip on XBMC - success! No bogging down, no skips, no slowdowns that I could see on either CF or XBMC. Finally, I have a true dual zone configuration, and all I had to do was use XBMC for the rear passengers.
Now that I know this works, I'll be saving up so I can upgrade the rear screen to a 10", and I'm going to buy some decent noise cancelling headsets too, so the rear passengers won't hear the music playing over the car speakers. I'm actually looking at some Pyle PLVWH6 dual wireless IR headsets, which would totally eliminate headset wire clutter, and the receiver would mount on the rear parcel shelf, and running the 12VDC power to it would be a snap.
Needless to say, I'm pretty stoked about the whole dual zone setup. And even better, this is all running on my ASRock E350M1 Fusion powered board with a single 80GB Intel SSD. I didn't even have to upgrade my motherboard to get this working. Sweet! Once I get all of the wires properly routed and hidden, and I decide on where the headphone jacks are going to be mounted, I'll take some pics and maybe a video of everything running at the same time.
Thanks for reading!