Originally Posted by ataylor
I'd like to do as much of it as possible without having to hire an integrator or "authorized distributor."
Note that buying from "unauthorized" sources means you're not likely to get warranty coverage. Plan accordingly...
Serving video to remote locations in a cost-effective manner. Is video-over-ethernet a thing? Seems like I've seen HDMI-to-ethernet wall plates, which might serve the purpose, but I've never attempted this before.
It is, but you probably mean HDMI-over-Cat5e, which is what almost all of the solutions are. They use the same type of cabling as Ethernet, but have nothing else in common. HDMI matrix switches with HDBaseT for distribution are definitely something you should look at.
I hate hate hate crappy-looking DIY solutions like X10 and the like. I'm sure there's a way to make these things seem high-end and professional in nature, but the X10 website just screams "nerds in their parents' basements" to me. I like DIY stuff, but I tend to do it up right and make it look professional; if I can't, then I'll hire it done.
Several mid-line solutions that can be DIY'ed, including Lutron's RadioRA2.
Feeding multiple TVs in the same room without multiple DirecTV boxes seems to be an issue. That's what I like about the Savant SmartView deal, although I'm not sure where all those video sources are coming from; there might be a half-dozen DirecTV boxes in the back of the closet for all I know.
Not an issue, a fact. Each set-top box (with some very minor exceptions) will produce one output. If you want three different channels running at the same time, that's three set-top boxes.
And, of course, the biggie - are there ways to purchase the gear for DIY guys?
Yes, best avenue is usually to work with a dealer to obtain the gear and backing, with the understanding that you're DIY and won't be burdening the dealer for assistance in exchange for a good deal on the hardware... And then stick to that.
Spend some time in the A/V Distribution forum above, as that covers a lot of what you're trying to do.