Thanks up front for vast amount of info both here and linked from here. It made my research much easier. As the title states, Im working on an A/V distribution plan for a new home we are building. We are working with our builder now to finalize the floor plan but what Im posting is probably 75% accurate (family room and kitchen are still being reworked). I have quite a bit of experience working with wiring, I was an avionics and electronics tech on helicopters for a number of years and am now a systems engineer that goofs with both discrete wiring and ethernet on a regular basis, so working with coax, twisted pairs, ethernet, etc doesnt bother me in the slightest. That being said, the only wire Ive run in a home is some speaker wire and ethernet in my previous home, whole home AV is a little new and I want to get it right up front. So first the floorplan.
I should have put a key on there, I realize that now. The TV icons in the box are RG6, the black triangles are CAT-5E. White triangles are phone jacks using CAT-5E. Speakers are the boxed S'es. In the room with 2 speakers there is an S with a line through it on the wall, thats the volume control switch. The Media room is going to be my hub, I will be installing an A/V rack in a stealthed cabinet shamelessly ripped off of these forums.
I realize that the size of this photo may not be big enough to see all the icons, Ill post a link to the full size image once I can.
For 2 channel audio rooms Im using 16/4 to the switch, and then a single run of 16/4 to both speakers, breaking the first pair out at the closest speaker and then continuing the run and terminating the second pair at the end speaker. For the 5:1 rooms it will be 14 gauge individual pairs to each speaker location. The one question I have here is for subwoofer wiring. Is another 14 gauge run good enough there? So in effect Ill have 6 14 gauge runs to the room, or am I missing something (power?)? Do I need to run a CAT-5E run to each switch location to allow it to be used with certain distributed audio systems?
I am going to run HDMI cables to all the TV locations except bedrooms 2 and 3. Those runs are 65+ feet, if at some point down the road I need to service them with HDMI I can look at going with baluns using the two CAT-5E runs in the TV bundle correct? I will listen to reasons to talk me out of that plan.
My objective AV plan
There is a reason that is called an objective plan, Unless this house comes in significantly under budget (HA!) I wont have the funds to complete the distribution portion of this plan, specifically the matrix. Its not a deal breaker because I dont have TVs for all those locations anyway, the goal here is to have the wiring in place to allow us to grow into the house and/or provide more value when selling down the road. For instance, we arent TV in the bedroom people, but Im provisioning for it anyway because its easy to prewire and we may become TV in the bedroom people later. So here is my short term plan.
A little convoluted, but let me try to explain and hopefully this all works. Im going with a direct receiver to the 3 TV areas we will use immediately after building; family room, media room, study. Each TV will have its own receiver, and its own cable box attached directly to that receiver. I will have to run IR repeaters from those three locations to the necessary equipment, I will use one of the CAT-5Es in each TV bundle for that. My son has a TV in bedroom 2, but he is good with basic cable so we will just barrel his RG6 directly off the splitter for him to use without a cable box. That room wont use any other service from the rack, he has an Xbox in that room and will use that 90% of the time.
For the audio zones, I plan on providing service by using multi-zone receivers. Im doing 5:1 in two rooms and 2:1 everywhere else so I believe that is ok. Audio will be Sirius 95% of the time, which I plan to service directly from the receivers. Our first expansion will likely be the patio, Im assuming at that point I would need to look at a 4x8 matrix minimum right?
An idea I had with running the TV prewire stuff was to run all the cabling through an open gang at a wall mount height and continue that run to a floor level box to allow more flexibility down the road. If I want to mount at the wall height, I just pull the excess into the attic and use the terminations there. If for whatever reason I want to use a floor cabinet I can just let out the excess back down to the bottom box. I didnt plan on cutting out every box and capping them, some of those runs would only be opened at the bottom box so the wall stays clean. I will have detailed captures of all box locations so I can cut into them when needed down the road. Is this legal (power outlet at wall height would have to do the same or it defeats the purpose) or even useful?
The other question/concern I have is related to sealed envelope construction. I tried to avoid exterior walls because of this but some places just couldnt be avoided. Specifically the patio, bundle A in the master bedroom, and bundle B in bedroom 2. Conduit is the safe play there, but should I run the RG-6, HDMI, and coax bundles inside it or run them seperately (and trap them in the spray foam forever) and leave the conduit open for future expansion? Hopefully I covered everything, please pick apart my plan and tell me where you think Im going wrong, Im looking forward to your reviews.