Originally Posted by gh0001
Since I have a new house to wire, I drew the following wiring chart based on my limited knowledge. I am sure there are many mistakes so I wish I can get advice from experts..
That's a good start! You should definitely concentrate on the pre-wire aspects of the house at this point. Equipment selection can wait...
[*] Does the diagram below work?
Yes, with some caveats. Whatever you do, home run all of your wiring, add some more wire until you think you have too much, and then add a bit more...
[*] Do the HDTV and Projector at basement get audio out of the AVR? If not, how to enable audio for the HDTV at least?
Projector doesn't need audio. Many AVRs have dual HDMI (mirrored) outputs, with audio passed on one output.
[*] it is acceptable that the stereos at family & dining on 1st floor always play the same music, but can I just turn on one of them or both of them?
Don't know, is that acceptable to you? If the rooms are open to each other, it's probably fine. But home run all your speaker wires individually so that you can change your mind later if you upgrade to a "whole house audio" system.
[*] if the AVR is being used for 7.1 Audio, can I still use it for the stereo music at the same time?
If you mean on the 7.1 setup, yes - either in 2-channel mode or in an "all channel stereo" mode. AVRs with Zone2 outputs are stereo only and are independent of what's being played in the main zone. Note however that most AVRs only route analog audio to their Zone2 outputs, so you may need to run RCA analog audio cables in parallel for digital / HDMI sources.
[*] I wonder if it is possible control the AVR (network enabled) to achieve the desired feature above. I heard that there are some iPhone/iPad apps that allows you to control the AVR via WLAN. It is a little undesirable if I have to use an AVR app to turn on or set up AVR first and then use the Airplay app to play the iTunes music.
Correct. You can also use the media browsing (DLNA) support in many AVRs instead of iTunes, which would keep you in the same app, but quite frankly, the usability of those setups isn't so hot...
If you want "good" control / usability of whole house zones, you'll want to look at systems designed for that purpose. Depending on what you want, that could be as simple as a Sonos unit to feed two rooms (maybe with an external auto-on/off amplifier), or could be a full Whole House Audio system.
While you've got the walls open, seriously consider running speaker and control (cat5e) wires to other rooms in the house, so that if you want to do a WHA system in the future, you can without tearing into the walls.
[*] The sat box that I have only has RCA output. Is there any adapter to convert it to HDMI to connect it to the HDMI matrix?
There are, but you'd be much better off upgrading that receiver to a modern one with HDMI. If by "sat" you mean a DirecTV / Dish box, you might be able to get an upgrade for free... And the results will be far superior to converting anything to HDMI.
[*] The HDMI common denominator problem: If the HDTV at family room has only 2 ch. audio, does it mean that the 7.1 AVR won't get full audio input all the time? Or that only happens when the HDTV uses the same source as the AVR?
Correct - and how much you'll have to reboot / power cycle / unplug will depend on all the specific model's behavior. I would highly recommend dedicating 5.1 sources to your theater and duplicating them for the "rest of the house". A cheap BD player and one more Apple TV solves the issue...
[*] Will the 1:2 HDMI splitter work given that the input is from HDMI matrix output?
Yes, but again, home run all the cables, so that splitter should be in the basement with the matrix.
You're off to a good start. Keep reading, especially the "Wiring Your House" Wiki over at cocoontech.com...