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post #1 of 15 Old 12-15-2012, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I am in the process of building a two-story home about 5,000 sq. ft. I am looking to do whole home A/V distribution with the hardware being stored in a central closet on the first floor. I will have a home theater room over the garage that will be finished at a later date.

I had a guy come out that was recommended by my contractor. However, I'm not sure that his proposal is exactly what I'm looking for. He has proposed 14 drops, each with RG6, 1 HDMI, 1 shielded cat 5, and 1 unshielded cat 5. He suggested dividing up my directTv boxes and tucking them behind tvs and also subscribing to basic cable for kid's bedrooms, guest bedrooms, and master bath.

As far as hardware, I will be looking at 4-5 DirectTV boxes and HTPC. I also am looking to wire speakers at least throughout the downstairs. He recommended Ipod speaker docks for upstairs rooms. He said a 3 zone receiver would give me surround sound in my living room, music throughout downstairs (with volume controls in each room), and 3rd music zone for outside.

I still like the idea of someday having a matrix system throughtout the house, even if not immediately installed. Would I be hurting myself with the cabeling he has suggested.

Lastly, does anyone know a list of good designers/installers. I am located in central NC between Winston-Salem and Charlotte. Also, what type of recommendations do you have for wiring for each drop as this is my only concern at the moment and would you wire for speakers in the upstairs portion of the house? Secondly, what type of cost would be associated with your recommendations? This is something I would like to use, but I have not spent much time looking into it in several years and my decision time has sort of crept up on me rather quickly. Probably need to make a decision in the next 2 weeks. Please let me know what specific questions you need answered in order to help me.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-15-2012, 12:09 PM
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Check with references, to make sure he's good.

Ask him to future proof, so you can have DirecTV and/or cable at ALL displays, and tell him you may want a matrix in the future.

I'd wire for speakers everywhere, but only install the ones you need now. Think about garage, patio, all bedrooms.

Volume controls may be an OK option for the near future, but you may want better control, of source, from each zone, down the road. Category cable to each zone will help cover you for this. I really appreciate keypads in each zone, with the option for wireless control available.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #3 of 15 Old 12-15-2012, 12:28 PM
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Re: Wiring

I don't see any speaker wire. Do you plan on having any 5.1 zones or whole home audio (e.g. Sonos) sytems at any point? If so, you'll want speaker wire run everywhere you might consider putting a speaker. HDMI is only effective up to about 35 feet. If you have any runs longer than that, skip the HDMI line. Run more Cat... and I assume you mean Cat 5e. At a minimum, it should be 5e, but you might as well spend a few extra bucks and go with Cat 6. As far as wiring goes, it's cheap to run wire when there are no walls. So, run it everywhere. And back to the Cat... you need more of it. Run at least 3 lines to each location. You can send HD signals over Cat. Some protocols call for 1 Cat line, some 2 lines.

Re: Matrix

Personally, think it's a great idea. I'm putting one in my condo. I only need a 4x4 whereas you might need an 8x8. They're not cheap, so do your research. But, they allow everything to be placed in one rack.

Re: Control

How will you control everything? There are systems such as Control4 or Crestron that have the ability to control all your hardware and provided whole home audio. The downside is that they're costly and require dealers to make any and all changes to your system, thus costing even more money. If you want a DIY solution (with an active support forum and tech support), you should look into iRule. For $100, you can use up to 5 iphones/ipads/androids/kindles to control your system.

Curious... what is your budget for this project?
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-15-2012, 01:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Re: Budget

Honestly, I haven't really put together a budget as I really haven't done enough research on equipment to know the cost. However, I'm not looking to install everything at the moment. Mostly, I am looking to wire for everything now so that I don't have to go back and open up walls when I am ready to make equipment purchases. I really need some help putting a cost on things such as wiring, control systems, etc. What is the typical budget you would expect to do what I am describing if installed by a professional. Fortunately, I am able to have a somewhat flexible budget, but at the same time I am not looking to complete the entire project immediately, mainly just the wiring and maybe downstairs 5.1 system.

Can anyone help me with a budget for wiring?

Re: Control

The only guy I spoke with recommended Yamaha receivers and said there was a droid and apple app to control the receiver and pick the source as long as your in range of the wifi.

Re: Speaker wire

Sorry, he was running 5.1 for the downstairs living room. I also wanted 5.1 for an upstairs family space/game room, but he recommended it have it's own receiver and satellite box. He was also running speaker wire to the garage, kitchen, master bedroom, master bath, and back yard area. (16 gauge). He was going to go ahead and run rear speaker wire for the upstairs 5.1 system, but nothing for the front and center channel.

Please continue to provide me recommendations on wiring and equipment. Also, if someone can put together some budget ranges and what you can achieve within those budget ranges would be great (ie. 5-10K gets you this, 10-15K gets you this, etc.)
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post #5 of 15 Old 12-15-2012, 03:09 PM
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Take a look at this:

http://www.cocoontech.com/wiki/Wiring_Your_New_House_101

... for a bunch of background on wiring. Wiring costs will depend on who does the work. I got off relatively cheap with all the pre-wiring I did, spending probably ~$1500-1800. My builder had a good base wiring package already, but I added a significant number of drops. I worked with the subcontractor, provided the wire, and did all the extra terminations myself (well, I've done them as I needed them).

Jeff

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post #6 of 15 Old 12-15-2012, 07:09 PM
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Control:

Many of the newer AVRs can be controlled via manufacturer provided apps. But do you want to control your TV, blu ray player and whole home audio from a single app on your phone? Once you start making everything "talk" to each other, it gets expensive. I really think you should look into iRule.

iRule will give you the ability to add on to your system one device at a time and subsequently control that device via the iRule app on your phone/tablet. It works over your network (wifi and/or wired) so you don't need to be in line of sight of your devices. I'm putting together a 4x4 matrix, 3 zones of music, 5.1 in the Living Room... all for about $7k. My most expensive equipment is the 4x4 matrix ($1600), 3 zones of sonos ($1500), and the A/V rack (about $750 with all the pieces). I'm only starting with 3 zones of music (Master Bed/Bath, Hallway, Kitchen) but since I'm going Sonos, I'll be able to add on whenever I want by purchasing another $500 amp and connecting it to my speakers.

Something I think could help... go talk to a couple Control4 / Crestron et al dealers. Bring them through your home and tell them exactly what you want. And don't leave out the future state. Let them know where you're headed. Have them put together some quotes. Then do LOTS of research. I went to Best Buy Magnolia and had them price out my setup. They said $50k. I then went to a couple local Control4 dealers. They said $20-25k. Was able to get a large retailer out here that installs Control4 to get it down to about $15k. Then I did some more research. Started looking into iRule. Took nearly the same items that the Control4 dealer was suggesting I get, substituted the sound system for Sonos, going to DIY, and now I'm at $7k. But their quotes helped a lot! There's certain things that you'll forget, such as a 16 port switch for handling all the devices that will be communicating over the network. Wired is always better than wireless, so I'm going to keep most of my equipment hardwired.

Take a look at this:http://www.avsforum.com/t/1428725/control4-setup-thoughts-suggestions. Go to post 7 and open the PDF. It's the Control4 setup. Read through it and you'll get an idea about what my system will be able to do and how much Control4 costs. And then divide it in half and that's how much it will cost me to DIY with iRule.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 04:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Control:
Many of the newer AVRs can be controlled via manufacturer provided apps. But do you want to control your TV, blu ray player and whole home audio from a single app on your phone? Once you start making everything "talk" to each other, it gets expensive. I really think you should look into iRule.
iRule will give you the ability to add on to your system one device at a time and subsequently control that device via the iRule app on your phone/tablet. It works over your network (wifi and/or wired) so you don't need to be in line of sight of your devices. I'm putting together a 4x4 matrix, 3 zones of music, 5.1 in the Living Room... all for about $7k. My most expensive equipment is the 4x4 matrix ($1600), 3 zones of sonos ($1500), and the A/V rack (about $750 with all the pieces). I'm only starting with 3 zones of music (Master Bed/Bath, Hallway, Kitchen) but since I'm going Sonos, I'll be able to add on whenever I want by purchasing another $500 amp and connecting it to my speakers.
Something I think could help... go talk to a couple Control4 / Crestron et al dealers. Bring them through your home and tell them exactly what you want. And don't leave out the future state. Let them know where you're headed. Have them put together some quotes. Then do LOTS of research. I went to Best Buy Magnolia and had them price out my setup. They said $50k. I then went to a couple local Control4 dealers. They said $20-25k. Was able to get a large retailer out here that installs Control4 to get it down to about $15k. Then I did some more research. Started looking into iRule. Took nearly the same items that the Control4 dealer was suggesting I get, substituted the sound system for Sonos, going to DIY, and now I'm at $7k. But their quotes helped a lot! There's certain things that you'll forget, such as a 16 port switch for handling all the devices that will be communicating over the network. Wired is always better than wireless, so I'm going to keep most of my equipment hardwired.
Take a look at this:http://www.avsforum.com/t/1428725/control4-setup-thoughts-suggestions. Go to post 7 and open the PDF. It's the Control4 setup. Read through it and you'll get an idea about what my system will be able to do and how much Control4 costs. And then divide it in half and that's how much it will cost me to DIY with iRule.

So did you bypass the Control4 system and now you are just using iRule? How does this work with Z-wave devices? What 4x4 matrix did you go with? I'm just getting ready to start pulling wire in my home. Probably pull (2) Cat6 cables and a HDMI cable from the central closet. Not sure I need RG6 pulled as well anymore.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shdwkeeper View Post

I'm just getting ready to start pulling wire in my home. Probably pull (2) Cat6 cables and a HDMI cable from the central closet. Not sure I need RG6 pulled as well anymore.

The RG6 has probably more long-term viability than the HDMI cable. Don't "be weird" and not have "Cable TV" capabilities at your display locations... The cat6 cables are probably more useful as long-haul HDMI runs than HDMI cables...

Jeff

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post #9 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The RG6 has probably more long-term viability than the HDMI cable. Don't "be weird" and not have "Cable TV" capabilities at your display locations... The cat6 cables are probably more useful as long-haul HDMI runs than HDMI cables...
Jeff

So a structured cable bundle of 2 x RG6 (Quad Shielded) + 2 x Cat 6 would be beneficial than?
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shdwkeeper View Post

So a structured cable bundle of 2 x RG6 (Quad Shielded) + 2 x Cat 6 would be beneficial than?

I'm not a fan of the bundled cables, but quantity-wise, yes, that's the minimum you'd want to run per display. A 3rd category cable would be my recommendation, but with single-cable HDMI extenders (HDBaseT) availability increasing, two cables may be "enough".

Jeff

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post #11 of 15 Old 01-05-2013, 08:31 PM
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So did you bypass the Control4 system and now you are just using iRule? How does this work with Z-wave devices? What 4x4 matrix did you go with?

Yep, no Control4. I'll be using iRule. Z-wave can be controlled via iRule, though I'm not sure what equipment is needed. Go to iruleathome.com and search their forums for more information on zwave. For the 4x4, I'm going to try out a monoprice matrix (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011310&p_id=8151&seq=1&format=2) Good reviews though there are comments that it takes up to 10 seconds to switch between sources. Given that most people (me included) don't frequently switch between sources (watching cable more often than not), I'm not too concerned with having to wait several seconds for my new source to come up on the TV.

I'd run a couple more lines of Cat cable (or at least put in conduit). HDMI over IP uses 1 or 2 lines of Cat. And you might want to plug a line into your TV for control over IP or internet. Or you might have a PoE device to control your TV that will need a line of Cat cable to work. You can never have too much Cat cable. It's relatively cheap and has soooo many uses. Throw in a few more runs.

And agree with Jeff about the RG6. You gotta have it, mostly for resale value.
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post #13 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 07:17 AM
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Thanks for the link. One note about that matrix is that you'll still need to purchase an extender set for each run over 35 ft. An extender set is a sender and receiver, the device that takes your signal from HDMI and sends it over Cat cable to the receiver that then puts it back into HDMI and to the TV. The monoprice device has everything you need for only $300. Hopefully they'll come out with an HDBaseT matrix by March, but I doubt it.
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post #14 of 15 Old 01-06-2013, 04:41 PM
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These HDMI cables at Monoprice are saying they work at 60ft.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10255
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post #15 of 15 Old 01-12-2013, 10:11 AM
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I'm a bit of a noob to all of this, but for my next system I plan to ditch directv and paying for DVR's and outlets and go with a Silicon dust HDHomerun a WMC HTPC with XBMC and extenders (xbox 360 if I can't find anything cheaper). I'll use URC RF remotes to control everything in each room. Thought I would just throw that out there as an option to get away from the big bill that comes with directv every month (unless you want Sunday ticket).
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