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post #1 of 53 Old 05-23-2013, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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After reading 50 some threads I'm lost in space. New construction wanting to automate the house. Can someone give me a thread to start me learning from the ground up before asking question??

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post #2 of 53 Old 05-23-2013, 08:08 PM
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New construction is done? Or you are about to start?

Generally speaking, what you want to do is list out what you want to do! biggrin.gif

Lights, shades, thermostats, tvs, audio, video, speakers, locations, etc.

Plan, plan, plan, plan, plan.

I always look at a home as I would my own home - as I would want it to be. Any and every TV should have an available remote control that is easy to use. Every room with audio should have some way to start that audio within seconds of entering that room and being able to adjust basic functionality.

Advanced controls and interfaces are a different question and relate to how often you want or need to deal with it.

Thermostats for example...

Do you need your control system to be able to setup and adjust the typical 1-3 thermostats that are in your home? How often do you actually tweak your thermostats? I rarely touch my thermostats, and decided to just throw some Nest thermostats in place which are fully controllable from my iOS device wherever I'm at. I prefer that I can control my thermostat from wherever I am in the world, but I don't need that level of control for my A/V system.

The one thing I always recommend is that people over wire, that they run conduit between tough to reach locations, and that they think about anything and everything they may want and put a physical wire - or two - in place.

Low-voltage motorized shades, for example may benefit from a wire to them to provide power to them full time, and may benefit from another wire to provide local control to them.

But, if you know you don't want to control your blinds... then run a wire anyway. Because in 5 years, when you change your mind, it will cost you thousands to get those wires in place.

So, the first step isn't deciding between AMX, Crestron, Control4, Elan, or a long list of others, it's deciding what you want to do, where you want things, and how much control you want over everything.

Keep in mind that manufacturers aren't on the same page, they never have been. They don't provide the level of functionality and control that people desire, and they have no interest yet in getting on the same page in this regard. So, it falls on you, or it falls on you hiring someone that can lead you through the maze and help you acheive your goal.

So, the best thing to do is just start asking the questions. Some questions will lead to links with a lot of reading, others will just spark some discussion and perhaps heated debate. It's all good though, and a sign that you are thinking about your final goal and what you want to achieve.


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post #3 of 53 Old 05-24-2013, 06:07 AM
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I might suggest you review your budget before you start. That will give you a better idea of what you should be looking at and will help others to guide you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that home automation grows on you. You may intend to do a modest system when you start, but as you get further into it, you will no doubt want to expand your thinking.

In the budget consideration, you need to determine early on if you are a DIY person, or want to hire most things done.
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post #4 of 53 Old 05-24-2013, 10:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your feedback! My first input was to ask for threads that give the basic information (vocabulary, basic wiring, what makes up a zone) so I could do addition reading before asking question. If you can not speak the same language then communicating your wants is impossible. This is not a DIY, I leave that to the SME or subject matter experts. I would like to have a all-in-one system, like Crestron. My budget is TBD, based on my requirements and the feedback I receive. After 32 years in the military, I'm anal retarted about understanding what I want.

Elements: Main Floor
Dedicated Theater Room (24' x 14' x 9')
Great Room (Kitchen-Dinning-Living)
Master Bedroom
Front Porch
Sun Room
Mud Room
Bedroom #2

Elements: Basement
Bedroom #3 & 4
Workout Room
Game Room

Thus I first need to understand my requirements; media, data, some lighting. Centralized rack/closet that all wiring dead ends to. My house plans has this, it's in the basement (4' x 6' x 9') closet. I will have one set of house plans dedicated to wiring for this automated system. I have a word document I'm building with information/requirements as I learn along this journey.

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post #5 of 53 Old 05-24-2013, 08:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

Elements: Main Floor
Dedicated Theater Room (24' x 14' x 9')
Great Room (Kitchen-Dinning-Living)
Master Bedroom
Front Porch
Sun Room
Mud Room
Bedroom #2

Elements: Basement
Bedroom #3 & 4
Workout Room
Game Room
While a qualified A/V person will walk you through your questions, which generally do include budget, you look like you have some understanding of your rooms, so let's go with this list that you have of rooms.

Within each room, what is it you would like to control. These details are the things that matter to you, the little gadgets and gizmos that deliver exactly what you are after.

I like to start with the simple rooms. Generally a dedicated area of listening, that is unique, is called a 'zone'. Sometimes people have mutiple rooms as a single 'zone', but it is much cleaner in my experience to have every room as it's own zone if budget allows for this. So, treat your rooms individually, and start with the simplest rooms.

ie: Front Porch - Would like audio in this area - it will have a covered porch so a couple of in-ceiling speakers would be nice out there while sitting or doing work in the front yard. A keypad to control audio out there should be right inside the doorway.

Sun Room - Audio zone - keypad by the door
Mud Room - No special requirements, no audio, no video, ....
Master Bedroom, Bedroom #2, #3, and #4 - All rooms will have a wall mounted flat panel TV in them and in-wall or ceiling speakers as appropriate. Each room should use an RF remote control tied into the control system for reliability. No local sources are necessary, but they should have access to whole-home shared video and audio gear.

More complex rooms follow...
Great room area - surround sound in the family room with a large flat panel display. An additional pair of speakers in the kitchen shoudl mirror the family room speakers and be easily accessible by the family room RF remote to mirror the family room when desired. This room should have a local equipment rack that allows for gaming, Blu-ray Disc playback, and an auxilliary HDMI input with analog audio available.

Theater... Start list of what you want here.

Outside... lots of speakers? Just a few? This is all dependent on your home itself.

Blinds control? Yes? No? A few? A lot?

HVAC control? Any desire at all for this?

Lighting control? Yes? No? A few? A lot?

Lighting design assistance?

Ethernet/Networking should be setup in the head-end with everything else, and you should pick all the locations which you want a hard-wired ethernet connection available. I typically recommend all bedrooms, any sub-rack locations with local A/V gear, and anywhere someone may sit around for a while with a laptop. ie - great room next to the couch. Obviously any home office space as well should have one or two depending on your office setup.

The reality of all of this is that this is the custom portion, and you really don't need to be to clear on the specifics, but you have to put together a list of what it is you are hoping to achieve. I'm not familiar with the specific threads which may help you ask the right questions, but that is more about what the custom installers should do with you when you meet with them. They should ask you questions about what it is you want to achieve. They should consult with you and give you ideas and provide a proposal which delivers on those ideas, backed by reliable equipment that ensures headache free usage.

You definitely do want to consider a budget on things... A 12+ zone audio setup with multiple surround zones, projection, audio/video matrixing, racks properly wired, etc. could easily exceed $50,000. Which could be $30,000 over what you are hoping to spend. Or, it could be in line with your budget. A good A/V installer will not work for the lowest price - they will work to give you every single thing that you have asked for while spending every penny of your budget, but not going over (by much). They back into the number you give them, and typically go a bit over, but if you plan accordingly, then you will also give them a number several thousand less than you actually want to spend.

Yes, most places put down numbers that can be slightly negotiated. Perhaps 5% to 15% less than the first offer depending on the installer and scope of the work.

Good places will come out and meet with you free of charge.


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post #6 of 53 Old 05-25-2013, 05:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your well thought out response, from your other responses on threads you sound like you enjoy this interaction. A zone would be 1 media like music in 1 area that you want to control? Like Great Rm music or Master Bedrm music. If TV is added to either it's another zone control, but both music zone and TV zone can be control through 1 or mulituple control points (remote, wall, ipda, etc..)??

So musical zones would be: (note: wood/tile floors tilted speakers)
1. Great rm (38' x 16' 9') 3-8" tilted ceiling speakers
2. Master Bedrm 2-8" ceiling speakers & 2-6.5" tilted ceiling speaker bathrm
3. Front porch 2-8" tilted ceiling speakers
4. Sun Rm 2-8" tilted ceiling speakers
5. Mudrm 2-6.5" tilted ceiling speakers
6. Basement great rm 3-8" ceiling speakers
This would be considered my first 6 zones?? Each zone should have a wall control and/or remote for that zone?? There should be a master remote for all zones??

The Theater rm is a zone to itself (23" x 13" x 9")?? Budget is important and I rather spend the limited funding on more important items than auto lights (except theater rm) , HVACS, blinds, etc....

Am I on the right track??

If there is an issue with wiring runs and distance, where should the rack be located?? Main floor closer to theater rm and main living?? I'm in the planning stage, it's easier to move and arrange now than later. That's why I move the theater rm upstairs vice down stair, I'm 62 vice 32!! Should there be 2 racks vice 1, main floor and basement?? Can 1 Crestron control both racks?? I have a complete High end surround sound now, but thinking to build in my theater room and use older system in basement. Def Tech speakers with 17" built in woofers. Reading the threads about behind the screen speaker vice floor speakers??

Anyway, zoning flat screen TV's. Each TV is a zone??

Internet, is this a zone or just wiring??

Thank you again for your feedback, I can feel my brain swell!

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post #7 of 53 Old 05-25-2013, 10:22 AM
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Sounds like there's definitely a lot of planning and questions to answer. If you want, check out this forum. This is my buddy's home that he and my company prewired. It starts from the absolute beginning of the build up to today (always working on it, new ideas so we won't call it "finished"). It's great for prewiring ideas. We chose Control4 as the automation system. If you have any questions about it feel free to PM me.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1357219/new-house-because-i-love-this-stuff

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post #8 of 53 Old 05-25-2013, 12:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is my 2nd draft of the main floor, still working out the kinks!
Big change; Spa Room now Theater Room from the basement with no windows or outside door. Like a family room, enter through kitchen to dedicate theater room. Covered porch now Sun Room w/ same window-door arrangement and spa. Basement floor plan TBD, 2 bedrooms, storage and mechanical room, full bathroom and a great room (game room and gym).

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post #9 of 53 Old 05-25-2013, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

A zone would be 1 media like music in 1 area that you want to control? Like Great Rm music or Master Bedrm music. If TV is added to either it's another zone control, but both music zone and TV zone can be control through 1 or mulituple control points (remote, wall, ipda, etc..)??
No, a zone is an single area which receives the same sources at the same time. For example, if you have a large outdoor area, you may put 20 speakers outside...

Now, do you want all 20 speakers to play the same audio? Probably. But, perhaps you have some speakers by the porch you want to turn on, and other speakers you want to leave turned off. Then, perhaps you have two zones out there... The porch zone, and the yard zone. Perhaps you have speakers by a pool house, by the yard, and by the porch. When people are on the porch you may want some music turned on low, you want the same music turned on in the yard but a bit louder, and you have a TV in the pool house area, and the speakers there should be playing what is on the TV. So, that would be three zones.

So, any single area that plays audio is a zone. That zone may, or may not include video requirements.


Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

So musical zones would be: (note: wood/tile floors tilted speakers)
1. Great rm (38' x 16' 9') 3-8" tilted ceiling speakers
2. Master Bedrm 2-8" ceiling speakers & 2-6.5" tilted ceiling speaker bathrm
3. Front porch 2-8" tilted ceiling speakers
4. Sun Rm 2-8" tilted ceiling speakers
5. Mudrm 2-6.5" tilted ceiling speakers
6. Basement great rm 3-8" ceiling speakers
This would be considered my first 6 zones??
That would be 6 zones, but areas like the master bedroom and master bathroom I would recommend be separated, even if they typically will play the same audio. Be aware that ceiling speakers are less intrusive, but if you have a room above them, then the noise from those speakers will bleed into those rooms, and the noise is pervasive - it's extremely loud in adjacent rooms.
Quote:
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Each zone should have a wall control and/or remote for that zone?? There should be a master remote for all zones??
Now, this gets into what you are sold. I personally WOULD sell you an individual controller for each room, and then I would probably recommend iPad control or eControl (computer interface) as a master to see what is going on and adjust everything.
Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

The Theater rm is a zone to itself (23" x 13" x 9")?? Budget is important and I rather spend the limited funding on more important items than auto lights (except theater rm) , HVACS, blinds, etc....
That's good to know, but anyone talking to you will need a budget so they can work with your budget. You don't go buy a house and just say "Show me stuff" - you say "I have $200,000, so show me homes in that price range, and these are some of the features I am looking for within that budget." - the realtor may tell you that you will not get those features with that budget, or they may tell you that you can get all you want and more. I have worked on homes which have spent over $700,000 on just the low-voltage work - network, lighting, HVAC, audio, video, etc. So, it's good to set a budget and then work around that number as appropriate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

If there is an issue with wiring runs and distance, where should the rack be located?? Main floor closer to theater rm and main living?? I'm in the planning stage, it's easier to move and arrange now than later. That's why I move the theater rm upstairs vice down stair, I'm 62 vice 32!! Should there be 2 racks vice 1, main floor and basement?? Can 1 Crestron control both racks?? I have a complete High end surround sound now, but thinking to build in my theater room and use older system in basement. Def Tech speakers with 17" built in woofers. Reading the threads about behind the screen speaker vice floor speakers??
This is where things get tricky without really seeing the entire floor plan. I generally try to put the equipment rack in a storage space in the basement which allows for plenty of airflow and doesn't ever need to be touched, then I recommend local equipment be placed in the room that needs that equipment. The location of the main equipment rack tends to hold little significance as wiring extenders can generally get audio and video wherever they need to go.
Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

Anyway, zoning flat screen TV's. Each TV is a zone??
No, each ZONE is a zone. wink.gif
If your master bedroom has stereo speakers and a TV, then that will be considered one zone, with a TV and will be addressed by the company doing the work.
My home, for example, has about 20 zones in it total. There are headphones which are dedicated as zones for audio, and there are many rooms which are audio only, like the back porch, garage, and dining room. There are also zones which are A/V zones such as the master bedroom, playroom, and family room. The kitchen has two pairs of speakers in it, which have dedicated amplification, but they are treated as a single zone in this setup because they come on together and turn off together and have the same volume at all times.

The zones, are the ends points - the destinations. The place where the audio and video finally ends up as a unique point. Each unique area is a zone.

The flip side to the zones are your sources. What do you want to see and what will you be listening to? Cable TV? Dish? DirecTV? Fios? Other? AppleTV? Blu-ray? Surround Receivers? Roku? How many of each single source and do you want them all availalble anywhere?
Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

Internet, is this a zone or just wiring??
Your home Ethernet (network) setup is just like your home telephone setup - it is wiring everything back to one central location and you just pick where you want Interent accessible throughout your home.

This is a lot to go over, and it certainly won't hurt for you to talk to an A/V specialist at this point because they may be able to help guide you through all of this personally. They may help you get exactly what you are hoping to achieve and be there for every actual physical step of the process.


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post #10 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for provide feedback to my question, I’m learning a great deal. For this discussion let’s say I have a budget of $10,000 for home automation, TBD on real budget based on my gain of knowledge of subject.

1. Music throughout the home, this will be from ceiling speakers. Question; Great Room, Master Bedroom, and Sun Room have TV’s mounted over the fireplace. TV speakers are poor, so I would like wall speakers to replace TV speakers. These are directional, but can these replace the ceiling speakers and double as music speakers?? Can they be used in conjunction with the ceiling speakers??

2. TV throughout the home, this will come from Direct TV, DVD, and TBD on streaming based on internet feed (poor local download speed).

3. Question; Master Bedroom and bathroom have ceiling speakers for music (2 zones per your recommendation) and a TV with wall speakers. Is that 3 zones; 2 for music and 1 for TV, or 2 zones 1 bathroom and 1 bedroom??

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post #11 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Great Room:
Living has 2 ceiling speakers (audio) and TV/wall speakers (audio/video)
Dining has 2 ceiling speakers (audio)
Kitchen has 2 ceiling speakers (audio)
Internet and phone are not zones??

Based on sources and availability; if Direct TV is playing music, then the ceiling speakers can play Direct TV?? But you would not want the ceiling speakers to play if Direct TV is playing a movie, you would choose the wall speakers. Is this all 1 zone, end source?? Thus you direct input from Direct TV to the Great Room (zone) and then choose which speakers would play??

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post #12 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 10:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

Thank you for provide feedback to my question, I’m learning a great deal. For this discussion let’s say I have a budget of $10,000 for home automation, TBD on real budget based on my gain of knowledge of subject.

That budget can get you a good distributed audio system, some basic video distribution, and perhaps some lighting control - assuming it's purchased / installed by a dealer. "Automation" usually means the integration of those systems (and others) together into one control interface - and that's where the money really starts to add up.
Quote:
1. Music throughout the home, this will be from ceiling speakers. Question; Great Room, Master Bedroom, and Sun Room have TV’s mounted over the fireplace. TV speakers are poor, so I would like wall speakers to replace TV speakers. These are directional, but can these replace the ceiling speakers and double as music speakers?? Can they be used in conjunction with the ceiling speakers??

They can, and based on placement, can be quite effective - the in-ceiling speakers can do double duty as surround speakers or whole house audio channels. Wall mounted speakers around the TV wouldn't be my first choice for whole house audio use... And while we're there - TV's over the fireplace are generally frowned upon around here - they are almost always lousy placements from a height perspective. You don't want to look up at a TV for any length of time, your neck will object.
Quote:
2. TV throughout the home, this will come from Direct TV, DVD, and TBD on streaming based on internet feed (poor local download speed).

DirecTV can be easily distributed throughout the house using their Genie whole-house DVR solution. Distributing BD/DVD and streaming devices isn't cost effective, as you can buy a <$100 device per TV to do that, while each video zone for distribution is more in the $500+ range...
Quote:
3. Question; Master Bedroom and bathroom have ceiling speakers for music (2 zones per your recommendation) and a TV with wall speakers. Is that 3 zones; 2 for music and 1 for TV, or 2 zones 1 bathroom and 1 bedroom??

A Zone is a zone. biggrin.gif

A room is usually a zone. The bedroom is likely a "audio/video zone", with the master bath an "audio-only zone". They can still share sources, but you'll have to figure out and explain what you want to accomplish...
Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

Based on sources and availability; if Direct TV is playing music, then the ceiling speakers can play Direct TV?? But you would not want the ceiling speakers to play if Direct TV is playing a movie, you would choose the wall speakers. Is this all 1 zone, end source?? Thus you direct input from Direct TV to the Great Room (zone) and then choose which speakers would play??

The speakers can be switched from one source/amplifier to another based on use cases. This just takes some planning and an understanding of what you want to accomplish.

Since you've only really mentioned distributed A/V at this point, and not really "automation", I'd suggest you spend a few hours reading threads one forum up in the "Home A/V Distribution" forum...

Jeff


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post #13 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 10:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for your feedback. I've been reading on multiple forum and threads related to multiple subjects. When your an empty bucket you fill up where ever you find water!! I did not know where to start my discussion so I ventured down this road. But based on my limited whole house automation as I learned, my better road would be under "Home A/V Distribution".

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post #14 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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If A/V distribution throughout the house is my primary automation, what device would be recommended? Crestron??

Is this by basic layout/zones, am I missing something??

Main floor:
Theater Rm: A/V/lighting zone
Greatrm (Kitchen-Dinning-Living): A/V zone
Master Bdrm: A/V zone
Master Bathrm A zone
Mud Rm: A zone
Front Porch: A zone
Sun Rm: A/V zone
Bedrm #2: A/V zone
Office: A/V zone

Basement:
Greatrm: A/V zone
Bedrm #3 A/V zone
Bedrm #4: A/V zone

Outside:
Pole Barn: A/V zone
Patio: A zone

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post #15 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 11:43 AM
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IMO, you have a couple hundred HOURS of labor related to this work effort if there are currently no wires in place. I'm thinking this is a new build, new construction, which may cut down on the installation effort, but realistically, at $50 an hour for qualified help, this is still about a $10,000 effort on the low end, without any equipment purchased. I would think it would end up being closer to a $20,000 - $40,000 effort depending on overall complexity and equipment used. Heck, a upper mid-line theater with front projection and surround sound generally runs in the $12,000-$18,000 range fully installed and configured. While a lesser expensive mid-line setup may run around $10,000 for just the theater.

I would strongly encourage you, at this time, to get some quotes because different A/V vendors are going to provide you very different options which you should explore. I'm very comfortable with Crestron and I provide a lot of b-stock (used) gear with a warranty which keeps costs way down compared to others, but, you are running at 14 total zones, at least of which is a surround zone, and nine additional areas include video. That's a significant system if things are going to be run from a head end. I consider anything above an 8x8 HDMI matrix to be very significant these days.

New gear:
8x8 HDMI matrix - About $2,000
8 HDMI Cat-X HD-Base-T sets - About $1,600
14 speaker pairs @ $100 pair = $1,400

Used gear:
Audio preamps/source selection * 2 @ $400 each = $800
Amps - * 3 @ $500 each = $1,500
Control system w/RF & Power = $600
Remotes/Keypads - $100 each = $1,500

Labor + programming: $10,000+

Those prices are bottom line pricing and not at all reflective of what you are more likely to see in the real world, and we have a total of about $20,000 without lighting or anything else thrown into the mix.

If you are shooting for $10,000, then going with a more basic system may be a better option or choice in this particular setup. Crestron gear, new is one of the pricier choices.

All pricing I listed above, is you purchasing it, which is likely not acceptable to an installer, and their pricing on gear is likely to be double what I just listed.


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post #16 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 12:18 PM
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Wire for everything, during construction. Get the basics installed before you move in, and add zones when time and money allow. If the right cables are there, expansion will be easy.

The Erskine Group can provide you with wiring plans, that you hand to a competent local installer. The local installer can set you up with the hardware - speakers, amps, remotes. Take a look at local installers who are Control4 dealers. I don't think you want really high end equipment, with the associated costs.

The local installer will certainly have experience with design, but using an unbiased designer may help keep costs down, to some extent.

Finding a good local installer is probably the key component to getting a system you're happy with - not the control system manufacturer.

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The $10,000 is only the wiring, brain, ceiling speakers, rack, etc... The a/v hardware is not part of my base budget. The lead input stated this is new construction and planning stage. Planning means research and developing a plan, I'm researching. I've talked to a A/V specialist, that's where I was told about Crestron brain. I was told I need a budge, $10,000 was my SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess). As I learn what makes a good system my SWAG becomes more of a reality.

To get to this point and it be on the correct trail means I'm starting to understand terminology and what I'm looking to accomplish. So I'm getting there with outstanding input from the SME!! I will address the Theater build using the correct forum along with hardware. Here I'm learning and asking question about the big picture.
Quote:
[Main floor:
Theater Rm: A/V/lighting zone
Greatrm (Kitchen-Dinning-Living): A/V zone
Master Bdrm: A/V zone
Master Bathrm A zone
Mud Rm: A zone
Front Porch: A zone
Sun Rm: A/V zone
Bedrm #2: A/V zone
Office: A/V zone

Basement:
Greatrm: A/V zone
Bedrm #3 A/V zone
Bedrm #4: A/V zone

Outside:
Pole Barn: A/V zone
Patio: A zone/QUOTE]

I assume I'm on the correct road?? I plan to only have two surround sound zones; theater rm and master bedrm. I understand that TV above fireplaces are not a popular location within this site. Both the living rm and master bedrm are 10-20% use to watch TV. My wife would be working in the kitchen and watching TV as noise or listen to news. So distance makes it an ideal location. Bedrm is on the bed looking up anyway. The sun rm TV is only 5-10% use, in the spa or sitting in front of the fireplace in the winter. I have thought about the location of these three TV's a lot, look at the main floor plan above.

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post #18 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Living in N. Idaho does not allow for multiple venders. Spokane, WA is an hour away and it may come to in porting specialist. The intent to build a system that can be added to as time progress, so wiring is my most important learning curve issue. That is why I'm asking the question I'm asking and not overly concerned about a budget. I'm working on my zones and what I want in those zones, which leads to what wiring is required. A/V equipment is the end point, that comes later. So I'm working through learning zones and how they interact with what I'm looking to accomplish. So all the help and opinions are very much look forward to, so please put your 2cen in!!

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post #19 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 01:19 PM
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We ask about the budget as the solutions and their capabilities will vary greatly. As Neurorad said, getting the wiring right is the important part for now.

Do you intend to DIY some/all of this, or hire a pro? That will affect the choice of equipment as well as the budget. Crestron and the other well-known automation / integration gear will require professional installation, as you won't have access to the hardware nor the (bigger issue!) programming software.

Zones with surround capabilities are usually handled with separate equipment stacks, which can be co-located with the distribution gear. The video distribution system would feed an AVR to handle surround duties. But there's issues with HDMI audio in these setups (search for 'HDMI common denominator'), so care needs to be taken when feeding surround systems from HDMI distribution.

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post #20 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 02:44 PM
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It's great that you're doing a lot of research up front. But, you'll need to find that installer, eventually. Better sooner than later. If you need to fly them in, it will take longer.

An hour away isn't very far.

Don't forget control in each zone. It's pricey.

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post #21 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you Jeff for your feedback!!
This will be a DIY/Professional. If I can learn the wiring requirements, develop a wiring diagram, then I wish to pull the wiring myself. My custom building is a hands on builder, not just a ring leading of subs. He and his electrician will provide guidance and tools as required, they are very good down to earth people. Some of the job (wiring, ceiling speakers, basic) will be done as we build. This is all after I get bids from the professional. The professional will handle the brain, rack, etc... The theater room will not be built on the initial build. I have a surround sound system (Denon AVR, Def Tech speakers, 60" Plasma, PS3, etc..) I will use until I'm ready to build the theater. I understand about Crestron and programming software, I do not kid myself about my knowledge. Like the bones of a house which I rank #1 priority in the build, the bones of this A/V system is my #1 priority. So I'm learning the bones now, the terminology, zones and what I want where.

If the theater has one surround sound and the master bedroom has the other, can't they both share the same AVR located in one location? Or does each system require their own AVR? I think you asnered this with separate?? I understand that 5-6 TV's can have separate video off the Crestron, all others mirror another TV? These question can be asked over at A/V Distribution forum if that's a better place to ask?? I will search 'HDMI common denominator' and read more as I crawl along.

My main question is did I get the zoning correct above or am I missing something??

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post #22 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

This will be a DIY/Professional. If I can learn the wiring requirements, develop a wiring diagram, then I wish to pull the wiring myself. My custom building is a hands on builder, not just a ring leading of subs. He and his electrician will provide guidance and tools as required, they are very good down to earth people. Some of the job (wiring, ceiling speakers, basic) will be done as we build. This is all after I get bids from the professional. The professional will handle the brain, rack, etc...

As Neurorad said, and especially if you're intending on using one of the integrated systems, you need to get the dealer / integrator picked out before the wiring is done. They will absolutely have requirements there, and how much you can DIY will depend on the dealer. If they're going to be on the hook for the system working, many of them, rightly so, will insist on doing this work.
Quote:
If the theater has one surround sound and the master bedroom has the other, can't they both share the same AVR located in one location?

No, most (if not all) AVRs only support surround sound in their primary zone - so you'll need an AVR per surround-capable zone. They can be located together in the wiring closet / rack location, though. Again, that takes some additional planning and wiring.
Quote:
My main question is did I get the zoning correct above or am I missing something??

Easier to organize and think about if you group them by "audio/video/TV" and "audio-only" zones. That will make it easier for everyone to size the equipment (and the budget!), as the video zone count is the most critical. When you cross the typical 4/8/12 zone count the equipment tends to support, the cost of video distribution goes up considerably as a step function.

Jeff


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post #23 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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As Neurorad said, and especially if you're intending on using one of the integrated systems, you need to get the dealer / integrator picked out before the wiring is done. They will absolutely have requirements there, and how much you can DIY will depend on the dealer. If they're going to be on the hook for the system working, many of them, rightly so, will insist on doing this work.

Understand and this will happen long before a wire is pulled!!
Quote:
[No, most (if not all) AVRs only support surround sound in their primary zone - so you'll need an AVR per surround-capable zone. They can be located together in the wiring closet / rack location, though. Again, that takes some additional planning and wiring./QUOTE]

Understand, now I know I need to AVR for my system. I own two already, but now I know they both will be used in the rack.

[QUOEasier to organize and think about if you group them by "audio/video/TV" and "audio-only" zones. That will make it easier for everyone to size the equipment (and the budget!), as the video zone count is the most critical. When you cross the typical 4/8/12 zone count the equipment tends to support, the cost of video distribution goes up considerably as a step function.
TE]

So this would be this zone structure and language:

Audio/Video/TV:
Theater RM (surround)
Main Great RM
Master Bedrm (surround)
Office
Sun RM
Basement Great RM Gym
Basement Great RM Playrm
Pole Barn (TBD)

Audio:
Main Great RM
Master Bedrm
Master Bathrm
Front Porch
Basement Great RM
Patio

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post #24 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 06:09 PM
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All of your cables will be installed the same week, after the plumber and electrician are done, and before the drywall goes up.

Don't forget security/alarm/camera/WAP/keypad/touchscreen/LAN cables. Alarm to include carbon monoxide and water leak detectors, motion detectors, alarm keypads, siren. Some people have both line voltage and low voltage smoke detectors. Phone cables may be an option too. Not sure if you want to include access control at the front door (remote activation, card swipe). Front door station could include a camera. Doorbells important. Intercoms are another consideration. Motorized shades should be decided preconstruction, unless you don't mind changing batteries or future drywall work.

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post #25 of 53 Old 05-26-2013, 09:46 PM
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Wiring is certainly the biggie, and should be planned as an 'end-game' approach. What is it you want to do? EVER? Not today, not right after move in where budgets can be tight, but over the ownership period of your home, what all would you like to accomplish.

That's where we go back to planning.

So, you have your A/V and audio only zones picked out, I think the list is good.

What you need to each TV location is somewhat dependent, but I would pull 4 pieces of Cat-6 cable minimum.

If there was a secondary equipment rack location, I would pull 3 pieces of cat-6 to that location.

If you want a keypad in any specific room, pull a piece of cat-6 to the location you want that keypad. In my home (by example) I have 12-button Crestron keypads in each audio only zone and in every bedroom.

Run speaker wire (14 gauge or better) to each speaker from the head end.

Coaxial cable (RG6) is not required to any location except from outside to the head end, but for future salability of the home, I would run a piece of RG6 from the head end to each television location.

Anywhere you want hard wired Internet, you should run a piece of cat-6 to. Since all the television locations have multiple Cat-6, and since any auxiliary equipment location has cat-6, then the only places left are things like your home office (if you have one) or any bedroom location where you might want hard-wired Ethernet.

The advice above on security, doorbells, intercom, fire safety, etc. are all good. Generally, all of these devices, except fire/smoke alarms, want a piece of cat-6 run to them. I pulled my home doorbell to put in a intercom at the front door and intercom stations throughout the home. Added a wireless deadbolt release hard-wired into the control system so anyone can unlock the door from one of the intercom stations. For lighting, I went with Insteon, but there are other solutions... Most of them are pricier.

So, wire. Wire like crazy, but this is where you must have a fairly complete game plan and, as noted, now is really a good time to really drag through installers who want work. I certainly drive an hour each way for a decent job. Further at times, so get on the horn to whomever will come to you.

Expect the A/V prewire to take a team of 4 one or two days to complete with new construction, and as a completely rough guess, $10,000-$15,000 is a good number to throw out at this level of prewire to include wiring for everything you can dream up.
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post #26 of 53 Old 05-27-2013, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Wiring is certainly the biggie, and should be planned as an 'end-game' approach. What is it you want to do? EVER? Not today, not right after move in where budgets can be tight, but over the ownership period of your home, what all would you like to accomplish. That's where we go back to planning.

This is why I'm spending the time to learn how to play baseball, if you understand the game then you will enjoy the game! This is why I ask redundant question until I better understand what I really want and how to get it.
Quote:
What you need to each TV location is somewhat dependent, but I would pull 4 pieces of Cat-6 cable minimum. If there was a secondary equipment rack location, I would pull 3 pieces of cat-6 to that location.

Thank you for stating my zone breakdown looks good, at least I'm in the ballgame. Please explain the need/difference between 1 rack located in the basement or 2 racks?? I now I need 2-AVR, do I need to duplicate PS3, DirectTV, etc...
Quote:
If you want a keypad in any specific room, pull a piece of cat-6 to the location you want that keypad. In my home (by example) I have 12-button Crestron keypads in each audio only zone and in every bedroom.

I assume this means in the wall?

Basic recommendation wiring: TBD
4-Cat6 to each TV plus 1-RG6
1-Cat6 for internet each location
1-Cat6 for phone each location
1-Cat6 for intercom system location
14 gauge speaker wire from speakers

Does this look like what you said??

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post #27 of 53 Old 05-27-2013, 06:25 AM - Thread Starter
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I asked this question in the LCD forum, but know one answered it! I assume that when mounted on a wall a LCD TV becomes a monitor vice multi-function boxes with a smart home/automated home application? If you require 5 new flat panel LCD TV's, you already have a theater room for 75% TV watching, then what's the point in buying a high grade multi-functional TV, just buy lower cost flat panel LCD TV's.

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post #28 of 53 Old 05-27-2013, 06:32 AM - Thread Starter
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[QUOTEDirecTV can be easily distributed throughout the house using their Genie whole-house DVR solution. Distributing BD/DVD and streaming devices isn't cost effective, as you can buy a <$100 device per TV to do that, while each video zone for distribution is more in the $500+ range...][/QUOTE]

I understand about the use of Direct TV's genie with it's master and slave concept. I assume that PS3 (DVD/Blue-ray/photos/videos) output get routed to whatever location I choose. I don't understands Jeff's last statement about <$100 vice $500 more?? Can you explain?

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post #29 of 53 Old 05-27-2013, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udtsealeod View Post

I understand about the use of Direct TV's genie with it's master and slave concept. I assume that PS3 (DVD/Blue-ray/photos/videos) output get routed to whatever location I choose. I don't understands Jeff's last statement about <$100 vice $500 more?? Can you explain?

Distributed HD video, usually accomplished with HDMI matrix switches, is expensive. A name brand* 4x4 (four source, four TV) HDMI matrix can run $1500-2000, and 8x8 units are considerably more. So that's ~$4-500 per zone. If you dedicate a BD player or streamer (or a BD player with streaming) to each zone, you avoid the costs and hassles of the video distribution, and in many ways, get more functionality. Now, if there are use cases that require simultaneous viewing of the same source, that will require distribution - and the most popular use case is sharing content from a DVR - but with DirecTV and others offering a networked whole house DVR solution, they've got a solution already. And that solution, while it requires set-top box rental fees, will be cheaper than a matrix.

Jeff


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post #30 of 53 Old 05-27-2013, 09:31 AM
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One thing I haven't seen mentioned is smurf tube/conduit from attic or upstairs level to the basement. You may also want to consider one from each end of the home to the other (this can be harder with studs). This will allow you to get wires from one side of the house to the other after the walls are up. If you can you should also run some from your rack location to any main tv locations. This is really the only future proof solution. Nobody knows 10 years from now if Cat 6 will be enough or if we will need Cat 7 or super duper HDMI with a thunderbolt twist and a splash of usb 8.0. With conduit you'll be ready for even that.
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