I've lurked these forums for a few years, big on Overclock.net, and a few other hobby forums. My friend recently bought a home and asked me to help him setup an HTPC. The HTPC part is not an issue for me, but the wiring is. Since he is basically overhauling the house now that it is empty and being torn apart, I'd like to suggest wiring it up properly before we start.
From reading various builds on the internet, I see that the popular choice for serious home networked theater systems are running CAT5 lines throughout the entire house to carry all of the necessary data feeds. What I am completely clueless on is how you get a video signal from HDMI out (HTPC) to the HDMI in of the receiver/tv.
Also, is this even necessary? I know it's good to have put in now rather than later... he is not a big techy person, but he likes to have nice things. He has a closet in the hallway that is approximately 18-20ft away from where the TV will be. The wires/cables can be run through under the floor via the basement. Definitely very easy to route cables through the basement as its bare and has the bare wooden ceiling (from the main floor).
The nice thing about this closet is that its in the center of the home and would be a great spot for the wifi antenna. If I could setup HTPC, cable box, electronics in the closet and wire them to a wall mounted TV. Control it using an RF remote, I think that would be really nice.
If anyone has any quality resources that I can read up on, I would be happy to read and learn more.
Relocating gear to a closet for either use in a single room, or as part of a Distributed Video system is well-understood. There's a ton of threads on these topics in the Home A/V subforum a few down from this one.
"HDMI-over-Cat5e" is a frequent topic, and there are lots of products that can do it. For a short run like you've described, a lot of the inexpensive versions of these products will work fine... The best ones use the HDBaseT technology, but will be more expensive (although Monoprice has one!).
If the walls are open, yes, NOW is the time to run a boatload of wiring - lots of cat5e/cat6 should be on the agenda. Whole House Audio should also be on the list of possibilities, as well as speaker runs for 5.1 surrounds, etc.