Long time member, but inactive for a couple of years. Finally getting to pull the trigger on our build, and planning out distribution. Unfortunately, I don't have unlimited budget for cabling, so I'm trying to be simple and flexible.
I'm currently planning on a mid-level HTD system for audio and IR pass-thru to 6 zones. For flexibility, I'm planning to loop the speaker wire through the keypad drop before going up to the speaker. Audio sources will be a CATV STB (for music stations), AM/FM receiver, XM radio, and PC, with room for two future inputs (one of which could be the basement HTS when we finish it --someday).
The source equipment will be homerun to the basement utility room. I plan to keep a good buffer (10-20') between the electrical panel and source equip.
For video, I'm thinking about pairing up rooms (there's only three of us, so having every room able to pick independently isn't worth the added cost). Right now I'm looking at a 4x2 HDMI matrix, with each output feeding a Tripp Lite B126-002 extender which will split it to two rooms over a single CAT6 each. I'm hoping to go with passive baluns on the receiver end to keep costs low. At the end of the day, I'll have four video zones (2 pairs of 2) that can select between the STB, the PC, and the two future inputs.
So, my question: In researching the B126-002, I find that Tripp Lite advocates a single solid-conductor end-to-end cable between the balun ends to prevent losses. Does anyone have experience with range or signal issues doing anything different?
Ideally, I'd like to keep a clean install with wall ports terminating the CAT6, and then use a patch cable to the receiver balun. But I'm worried about the whole setup not working if I do. Would I be better off planning to use pass-through keystones so I can remove it and feed the service loop of the cable through the wall at the places where I want to use the balun?
I'm also wondering about solid core vs. stranded. Is the solid core really necessary? I'm not sure how confident I am that the builder's electrical guys are savvy enough to run solid core without damaging it. Plus it's more expensive.
For what it's worth, the longest run is somewhere around 80', and I'm not a stickler for full 1080p.
Lastly, does anyone see any fatal flaws in the plan? It's not the slickest setup in the world, but I can do the whole thing for around $2k and it will blow away any of the neighbors.