New construction, starting from scratch with everything - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-04-2008, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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My wife and I are building a new home. When it comes to audio/video, I am more or less clueless on how to even approach a new project such as this.

I know for sure that my main focus will be the master bath, great room and kitchen.

I would like an iPod docking station (for iPhone/iPod I guess) and ceiling mount speakers, behind-the-mirror TV for the bathroom and integrated AM/FM as well.

I'd also like to incorporate a system where watching a movie in the great room can be paused and continued in the bedroom for example.

Any suggestions on where to even begin? I will consult my builder, but I would like more opinions on products since I am sure an electrician would push one particular thing he/she sells over another.

I'm open to discussion and suggestions too on how to approach this, as I am pretty concrete on what I would like but just do not know the approach to take.

Thanks.

I already own a Samsung 52" LCD and a Samsung 25" LCD, along with Bose home theater system.
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-04-2008, 03:48 PM
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Basic suggestions:

Select a central location for the audio/video gear, perhaps some type of closet. Make sure it's well ventilated, probably with a fan to the outside. Electronics don't like heat.

Audio
16-4 (or 14-4 if it's a long distance) wire and one cat5 cable from the closet to each room control box (mud box). From the box continue running the 16-4/14-4 wires to the speaker locations.

Video
As a minimum, run one coax RG-6, one HDMI cable, and two Cat6 cable from the closet to each room you want TV. If you may want satellite, run four RG-6 from the closet to the potential dish location. For TV surround sound you need an A/V receiver in the room, so allow space and wire connections for the receiver and the speakers (7 speakers plus a subwoofer for 7.1 surround)

Equipment
Decide how elaborate you want to go.
For example, do you want separate control of audio source for each room? If so, you need a mult-amp system such a Nuvo, Russound, and others sell. These also usually transmit remote IR signals from the room control pad to the equipment closet (IR Blaster function) for control of all the equipment in the closet. I believe you can get IPod docking stations for them.

Do you want music from the internet/computer? If so you need to consider connection to those. For background music or general listening there are interesting internet sources such as Pandora Radio which have customized commercial free music (cheaper than satellite, and perhaps better).

If you want a wireless remote display of the music being played and the selection of music available in an online library or internet, there are systems from Sonos and Squeezebox that provide this. These provide connection to either computer or internet music sources. For example, I ripped all my CDs to my computer and can now access them using my Squeezebox Duet system.

If you want a complete (but not inexpensive) approach to A/V distribution you could look at Sony's new Homeshare HD system. It apparently runs $1000-$2000 per room.

Future expansion
If you can, run large plastic conduit (1.5-2") from the closet to all the potential TV locations. That will allow you to easily pull any cable you want in the future.

This touches on some of the basic. Hope it helps. Obviously there's much to consider when starting from scratch.

Carl
Curmudgeon Elektroniker
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-05-2008, 09:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Wow, lots of great info, thank you.

Is the Sony system still recommended, given the availability of things like HomeLogic and Sonos, etc?

I guess in the realm of that, my needs are basic, being audio and video in a centralized location. I know many of these systems control lighting, sprinkler systems, alarms, etc, which I don't find totally necessary.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-05-2008, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RyanDe680 View Post

I'd also like to incorporate a system where watching a movie in the great room can be paused and continued in the bedroom for example.

Are you talking about watching a movie from the DVR furnished by your service provider, or from a DVD player? Have you investigated available service providers in your area? I ask because some providers (Verizon FIOS, AT&T U-Verse, etc) either have or are coming out with a "whole house DVR" system, where content recorded on the DVR located in your main viewing area (e.g., the great room) can be viewed in other rooms (e.g., the bedroom) using the STB in the other room. On the other hand, if you're talking about starting a DVD movie in the great room and finishing it in the bedroom, you can certainly go with a distributed video system. Another method (and the one that I'll employ) is to have inexpensive DVD players in both rooms.

We're in the process of building a home, and I did a lot of research and got a lot of great information on this forum. AT&T U-Verse is one of the providers in our new area, so I'll probably try them out for most TV watching. Most of my serious movie viewing will be done in the upstairs media room, using the PS3 as my blu-ray/DVD player. I didn't see the need for a distributed video system, so that's not on the plate, at least for now.

I concentrated more on planning for whole house audio, so I can listen to music from various sources (music server, Ipod, internet radio, etc) throughout the house (family room, bedrooms, study, kitchen, patio, garage, etc). My builder uses a custom installer, and a basic package (3 rooms audio, several rooms video/data) is included in the home price. I paid extra to have the installer go ahead and run extra video/data to certain rooms, and audio to almost every room. I also had them run conduit to some key locations for future expansion or technology changes. I'll be set up for video and data when the house is completed. When I decide to install whole house audio in 6 to 9 months, all of the structured wiring will already be in place. If I want to start with audio in half of the rooms, I can install ceiling speakers and keypads/volume controls in those rooms. I can add other rooms later, depending upon my needs and the capabilities of the system I choose.

Good luck. It's a bit overwhelming at first, but it's really a lot of fun learning about what's available and planning for a new house.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-05-2008, 07:34 PM
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You could write a series of book on all the choices you have

The golden rule right now is you cant run enough wire.

every tv drop gets at least 5 wire mini-coax, plus 2 cat 5s and 2 more coax. I ran a bundle of 5 wire mini and a bundle with 2 cat5 and 2 coax. I have a simple system and I use all that. the 5 wire is your RGB plus audio in HD. I use my cat5 for a IR blaster but many of the future HDMI extenders have cat5 in mind. the coax is just good to have. I modulate my security cameras over a coax wire. you will get differnt thoughts on running hdmi. I did, my long run (50 ft) works fine, however my short run seems to drop out... I ended up going back to my component and like it.

I use sage tv to distribute my video but there are plenty other choices

As far as the whole house audio prewire...

Run your speaker wire from the closet through your control box and then up to your speakers. Run a cat5 for controls. Wireing the speakers via the box for the controls is from the old schools days where you have a manual volume control in the box. these days 90% of the systems are digital so your control panel tells the amp to change volume and you dont really need to run speakers via box you use for controls. However I figured what the hell when I wired mine and I was glad I did. Some intercom systems like the russ sound comm point can use your overhead speakers if you do this. your overhead speakers get wired via the intercom room box and they cut the speaker wire. Were I f'd that part up was I stupidly did'nt wire a second cat 5 for the intercom so wire two cat5s...

Now I know some intercoms integrate better with the whole house audio and acutally switch the speakers back at the amp but a box of cat5 is about $60

Wire alarm wire to EVERY window even upstairs ones. if you ever go full home automation it is nice to know if any window are open before firing up the AC. cost of a wired window sensor is about $3.00. A wireless one is about $30 and not where near as realable.

oh and the builder is most likely not going to know anything. I build high end condos and I would say 99% of my builder buddies down have a clue. most are making the houses home theater ready with a few runs of speaker wilre mostly 5.1 and not 7.1 and a high outlet for a TV. oh and they run cat5 now instead of telephone wire...
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post #6 of 8 Old 04-18-2010, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by personalt View Post

Run your speaker wire from the closet through your control box and then up to your speakers. Run a cat5 for controls. Wireing the speakers via the box for the controls is from the old schools days where you have a manual volume control in the box. these days 90% of the systems are digital so your control panel tells the amp to change volume and you dont really need to run speakers via box you use for controls. However I figured what the hell when I wired mine and I was glad I did. Some intercom systems like the russ sound comm point can use your overhead speakers if you do this. your overhead speakers get wired via the intercom room box and they cut the speaker wire. Were I f'd that part up was I stupidly did'nt wire a second cat 5 for the intercom so wire two cat5s...

Now I know some intercoms integrate better with the whole house audio and acutally switch the speakers back at the amp but a box of cat5 is about $60

Would does 'they cut the speaker wire' mean?

Also, I assume you answer the person at the door via the intercom system by using the intercom panel at the local room box and use the overhead speaker to hear the person talking at the door. If so, would it not be better to just wire the intercom into your whole house phone system so that you don't have to get up to walk up to the wall box to answer the door intercom? Also, you can just press a key on the phone to open the front door to let the person in if you have the door wired to allow that.

Btw, I use SageTV too for whole house HD video. I also use Sonos for whole house audio. I LOVE both (but SageTV requires a bit of maintenance but it is worth it.)

The great thing about Sonos whole house audio is that it only requires cat5e for the first unit and all the other units communicate wirelessly over their own network and are located locally in the room and merely have to be connected to the local room speakers (free standing or built-in). I love that Sonos is DIY, robust, fully featured, bullet proof, all work in perfect sync if you are playing the same music in every room and just works right out of the box.
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post #7 of 8 Old 04-19-2010, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by eonibm View Post

What does 'they cut the speaker wire' mean?

The 4 conductors to the speakers are looped through the keypad/VC location, during rough-in.

If you want to tap into the wires, they're cut at this location. This would be done for ABUS distributed audio systems, in-wall volume controls (VC), and some intercoms.

Can the Sonos zones be hardwired, or do they have to be wireless?

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post #8 of 8 Old 04-19-2010, 12:15 PM
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The Sonos units (called Zoneplayers) work wirelessly or wired as far as being connected to the music source, as long as one unit is direct connected via ethernet to your router. However, each Zoneplayer must be direct connected to the speakers they are driving.

Up to 32 units can be used in one house and even though they have a wide wireless range, Sonos has a product called a Zonebridge that bridges Zoneplayers that are too far apart for the wireless signal to tie them together (which rarely would occur in a normal size home). They operate on their own wireless network that they create, not your existing wireless network.

You can hardwire them by connecting them via ethernet jacks around the house too (but I am not sure why you would want to).
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