Originally Posted by samsway
Will have 6 zones but speakers in about 12 rooms. Don't plan on playing anything fancier than nice ambient music etc..
Just make sure you home-run all those rooms - you want to be able to separate the rooms into their own zones in the future. Won't matter for most things, though...
I will place all equipment in a rack in the media room, including 1-2 set top boxes, blu-ray, media player, etc. I will use a 4x4 matrix to distribute it to 4 viewing locations in the house. One of them will be the media room so that will be just HDMI. The other 3 will be HDMI over ethernet. I am not sure about the distance but should be around 200 feet for the farthest location.
200 feet would be a pretty long run for a 2-story house of that size. Mine is similar and longest runs are like 125ft.
It's not HDMI "over Ethernet", but rather "over cat5e / cat6 cable". Distinction used for clarity in the forum - these are point-to-point connections that have nothing to do with Ethernet or TCP/IP.
If you're going to put all of your equipment in a rack in the media room, is that where all your structured wiring (networking, phone, etc.) will terminate? If not, you'll want to plan some more to link those two locations together, and figure out what cable(s) will run to which location. I placed all my distribution equipment in a rack in a closet with the structured wiring enclosure, and linked it to the theater as another zone.
I did mention running conduits from the attic to every room, but was told that the price would be exorbitant... so I dropped that idea.
Try again with flex conduit dropped from the attic down to key locations (e.g. theater, family room, office). You don't need point-to-point continuous conduit, just enough to access first floor rooms from an attic / basement space... (you don't mention your location, put that in your profile and you might get some better 'local' advice)
1. Do I really need RG6 in this day and age? I know people have mentioned to drop it in all rooms for resale purposes, and possible cable TV usage in the future, but other than that, is it of any other use?
Gramin covered this, but +1 on running RG6. You don't want to "be weird" and NOT have basic cable TV outlets in the house. If only for resale. Coax is the other ubiquitous residential low-volt cable type, and can be used for lots of A/V purposes.
2. Do I need to drop more than 4 Cat6 cables in each connected room? This includes data, HDMI over ethernet, and keypad control.
Probably enough for most spaces, I'd add some in key A/V areas. Pre-wiring is so cheap compared to later, it's much better to have too much.
I am on a budget, and am trying to avoid the more expensive ones. But any advice would be great on this aspect.
5000 sqft definitely screams Monoprice budget
You say you've only got 4 locations - I assume you're wiring for more than that for a house that size. Unless your bedrooms are all 25x25...
Don't worry too much about the equipment now - you're probably 4-6 months away from needing it, and there will certainly be new products in that time. Hopefully we'll see a Monoprice HDBaseT matrix before then.
I have looked into home automation but find it overwhelming. I don't feel the need for it right now, but will I be future proof with running the cables as mentioned above?
Assume you'll have security pre-wiring. I'd pre-wire for external cameras, wall-mount automation keypad locations (bury the wires behind the drywall instead of exposing a bunch of empty plates), and pre-wire speaker and TV locations in most rooms. Don't forget the garage, back yard / patio, utility room, kitchen, and so forth...