I've been reading up on here for awhile and have my grand plan for a new house we are building, just wanted to give a few details and solicit any thoughts, comments, or suggestions the crowd here might have for me.
The basics: the house has a large open living room/kitchen area upstairs with a master bedroom off of the main open area and also another bedroom on the main floor. The downstairs (walkout basement) has another large open central area w/wet bar and 2 finished bedrooms. All wiring will be homerun to an unfinished storage area in the basement that will house my HTPC, AV receivers, tuner, etc.
I plan to have the main home theater in the downstairs living room, with a passable theater setup in the upstairs living room as well. The master bedroom will also have a small TV in it. I will run an OTA antenna in the attic down to the control center in the basement for HD locals, and for the time being we plan on living on that and online/downloaded content from DSL. I will split the antenna to go to an HDHomerun and to the RG6 drops in the house for local TV tuners. The main HTPC in the basement will be running Win7 MCE for to pull DVR content off the HDHomerun.
For video cabling and distribution, I plan to run HDMI to the upstairs and downstairs living rooms and to the master bedroom. The downstairs living room will have an HDMI cable in the wall, the other two will be through baluns (two Cat 5e each). I am paying a premium to have the low volt subcontractor do this, but I am assured the run will pass a 1080p signal (and somebody besides me will be accountable for this). I will have a Monoprice 4x4 HDMI switch in the basement - just using HTPC now, but will probably be adding things in the future.
For audio, the upstairs and downstairs living rooms will be prewired for surround sound. I will also prewire for in-ceiling speaker pairs in the master bedroom (and maybe the kitchen area). I plan to run a homegrown whole house audio solution using an HK AVR325 to power the downstairs speakers and zone 2 on the 325 will power the in-ceiling speakers in the master bedroom. I have an old Kenwood receiver from a home theater in a box set that will power the upstairs living room speakers. I am confident I will be able to find an audio card solution in the HTPC to provide digital outs to both receivers (and maybe receive from Squeezebox), but I have not researched that part yet.
This is not a paid Logitech commercial, but I plan to use a Squeezebox Duet for music, Dinovo mini for the HTPC, and a Harmony 900 to control everything. I know I could gen up some kind of interface for music straight off the PC, but I like the Duet controller interface for music (hey Logitech, build the Harmony software into the Duet controller already!) I am worried about some of the range issues I have read about with the Harmony 900, but I will have ample Cat 5e and RG6 throughout the house so if I need to, will plug in the RF Blaster in an optimized location and run the IR blaster to the basement area through a Cat 5e or RG6 connection (is one better than the other? what parts/connectors would be easiest for a cable novice to install for this purpose?).
That is about it, would love to hear your thoughts/comments/suggestions. I am particularly wondering if I am fundamentally wrong in my thinking on how all of this will work. Thanks