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post #1 of 14 Old 01-08-2013, 03:33 PM - Thread Starter
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We are meeting with an architect this week to start the process of building a new home. I figured that this is as good a time as any to start my research. This will be our first house that we have had built, so I want to do it right. I plan on wiring the whole house with CAT6, RG6, and audio. Since we are building a new house, by budget is going to vary once we get things figured out with the architect and contractor.

My main thoughts are is what is enough? I would like to eventually add home automation, but for now I am looking for the best option for whole home audio and streaming audio/video content from my NAS to devices in the home. I would eventually like to add IP camera's, so I will be running to CAT6 to those possible locations as well. I was wondering if 2 CAT6 drops, and 2 RG6 drops per wall for each room, then add where I see fit from there.

I think I can figure out most of the wiring for the basic stuff, but depending on what runs it all I was wondering what I would need for other locations.? I may as well run it now while it is easy. Always better to have something and not use it, rather than need it and not have it. I have been looking at Niles and Control4 systems mainly, and just recently started looking at the Sonos. I have a large collection of music and movies on my NAS, but see that Control4 is the only device that does video that I have looked at so far. So I was just wondering if I should run CAT6 to the entry way of all the rooms in case I want some sort of control panel later.

I just have a huge feeling that I'm going to forget something and hate myself for it later. I think I need to decide what system I would like to use, then I can get a better idea of what I want to do from there. I like the look of the control4, and the idea that I can control it from anywhere, but I do not like the idea that I can't program it myself. Are there any systems that anyone would recommend I look at over others? I'm sort of open to anything since I really don't have my heart set on anything yet. Right now I have been looking more at speakers since I feel wiring and speakers are a given for any system, so it was a good starting point.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for such a long first post.
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-08-2013, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by towndrunk View Post

We are meeting with an architect this week to start the process of building a new home. I figured that this is as good a time as any to start my research.

Hey, look everyone - someone that didn't wait until the last minute!!! biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif
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My main thoughts are is what is enough? I would like to eventually add home automation, but for now I am looking for the best option for whole home audio and streaming audio/video content from my NAS to devices in the home. I would eventually like to add IP camera's, so I will be running to CAT6 to those possible locations as well. I was wondering if 2 CAT6 drops, and 2 RG6 drops per wall for each room, then add where I see fit from there.

Well, that configuration along with whole-house-audio wiring certainly covers a lot of it. IP camera locations, potential wall stations / in-wall touchscreens are the other future items to consider (cat5e/cat6 again).
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I think I can figure out most of the wiring for the basic stuff, but depending on what runs it all I was wondering what I would need for other locations.? I may as well run it now while it is easy. Always better to have something and not use it, rather than need it and not have it.

Yep! Check out the Cocoontech WikI for a bunch of ideas:

http://www.cocoontech.com/wiki/Wiring_Your_New_House_101
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I have been looking at Niles and Control4 systems mainly, and just recently started looking at the Sonos. I have a large collection of music and movies on my NAS, but see that Control4 is the only device that does video that I have looked at so far. So I was just wondering if I should run CAT6 to the entry way of all the rooms in case I want some sort of control panel later.

Yes, that's the recommended standard to run a cat5e/cat6 to a keypad location which is also where a volume control would go (the WHA speaker wiring should loop through there). That covers most, if not all, systems.
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I just have a huge feeling that I'm going to forget something and hate myself for it later.

You will, which is why we recommend getting flex conduit runs to major A/V locations and places where adding wiring later would be difficult or costly (I'd say impossible, but it's really just a matter of money). First floor locations and exterior walls are the more difficult places to reach later. Pre-wire for speakers in just about every room.
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I think I need to decide what system I would like to use, then I can get a better idea of what I want to do from there. I like the look of the control4, and the idea that I can control it from anywhere, but I do not like the idea that I can't program it myself. Are there any systems that anyone would recommend I look at over others? I'm sort of open to anything since I really don't have my heart set on anything yet. Right now I have been looking more at speakers since I feel wiring and speakers are a given for any system, so it was a good starting point.

Yeah, there are many DIY-capable systems, they don't tend to be as integrated as Control4 / Crestron. And most of the systems have multiple control methods / devices - I can control audio from keypads or a mobile device / tablet, and that's typical.

Jeff

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post #3 of 14 Old 01-08-2013, 07:34 PM
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Wow, towndrunk, we could just share an account. I am going through the same exact process and have very similar needs. See my "New Build Schematic"http://www.avsforum.com/t/1450404/new-build-schematic post below. I have already designed the house with the architect, but started about the same time as you. I have received the same advice as you have already seen here in this thread, and you can see from my post below that I am designing my system and the wiring along the same lines. I am not as adamant about touchscreens in every room. From what I have been able to briefly experience, the ipad/pod/phone interface with C4 is very nice, and I would rather pick up a few extra ipods than pay $700 for C4 touchpads to be mounted in every room. Besides, my household already has 5 portable ios devices.

As for one of the things you should figure out with the architect, it is the network room/closet. As the wiki points out, you need to provide for good space, and mounting capability along with ventilation. That is really the only important thing the architect needs to worry about other than maybe projector/tv locations in rooms. The wiring, jacks, etc. can all be done with the builder and will change many times between now and the framing. Definitely have a conversation with your builder about wanting to do all of this so that it can get worked in to the schedule. I want to either do it all myself, or at least have very close supervision over whoever does it, as I don't want to have someone staple my CAT6 cable.

Something I have been looking at a lot lately is CAT6 Shielded v. Unshielded. The consensus seems to be that UTP (Unshielded) is perfectly fine for the network drops, especially since the location of my router will keep runs under 150'. For the video connections over CAT6, however, I think I may go with the Shielded. I am still asking around and researching.

Let's stay connected and share lessons. I can always use a supplement to my iddy biddy brain.
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-08-2013, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by furley11 View Post

I am not as adamant about touchscreens in every room. From what I have been able to briefly experience, the ipad/pod/phone interface with C4 is very nice, and I would rather pick up a few extra ipods than pay $700 for C4 touchpads to be mounted in every room. Besides, my household already has 5 portable ios devices.

You might not be now. But what if in 2-years time (or, say, less than a year after you move in...) those become $200 touchpads? The point of all the pre-wiring advice we give around here is for future potential as much as immediate usage. In-wall control panels have a lot of advantages over mobile devices - but this is not an either/or - the likely best solutions going forward will be "both".
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As for one of the things you should figure out with the architect, it is the network room/closet. As the wiki points out, you need to provide for good space, and mounting capability along with ventilation. That is really the only important thing the architect needs to worry about other than maybe projector/tv locations in rooms. The wiring, jacks, etc. can all be done with the builder and will change many times between now and the framing. Definitely have a conversation with your builder about wanting to do all of this so that it can get worked in to the schedule. I want to either do it all myself, or at least have very close supervision over whoever does it, as I don't want to have someone staple my CAT6 cable.

Correct. Work on the wiring and all potential locations for stuff, worry about the equipment later. Planning for major A/V areas and display locations should be part of your design process, but a lot of it can wait until it's time for electrical. One thing I didn't pay enough attention to, was the placement of light switches and the associated 3-way circuits. I was much more concerned about the low-volt stuff, and knew if I wanted to do lighting control later I'd just use RadioRA2 or other RF-based products. But going through some of that planning now, there's several extra switches I'll have to replace just to get all the controls where I'd like them to be (when moving to keypads for scene control).
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Something I have been looking at a lot lately is CAT6 Shielded v. Unshielded. The consensus seems to be that UTP (Unshielded) is perfectly fine for the network drops, especially since the location of my router will keep runs under 150'. For the video connections over CAT6, however, I think I may go with the Shielded. I am still asking around and researching.

Don't go shielded. Most, really almost all, gear is designed for use with unshielded cat5e/cat6, and so it provides either no real value or could be a problem. Run twice as much UTP for that money instead. smile.gif

Jeff

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post #5 of 14 Old 01-08-2013, 10:19 PM
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Good stuff, jeff, thanks! I see you are in Houston. Know any Austin guys I should look to for installation/purchase?
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-09-2013, 04:27 AM - Thread Starter
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I agree about the touchpads, and not wanting them in the wall at this point. The thing I'm thinking about is if I do want one later, or heaven forbid I change systems and the new systems requires something there. I can run an extra possibly $10 drops now, rather than having almost not "easy" way to do it later. Right now I'm not looking at touch pads, but more so what if I want to put a volume control or some sort of other interface that doesn't even exist right now? Like I said my biggest fear is that I'm going to forget something, or need something later and not have it.

I will talk with the Architect later this week, but I'm going to have everything ran to a Home Run in the basement. I will have a large 4 post rack there as well as a 2 post rack for all of my patch panels. I currently have a 22U rack, but I don't think that is going to be enough. I currently have a router, switch, VM server, NAS, and Testing server in there. My biggest concerns will be with the mechanicals once we start building to make sure that I have a dedicated circuit for that, and that it is cooled and ventilated. We wont have much else in the basement, so that will help out as well with heat dispersion.

I think audio is pretty cut and dry to wire once you have a plan for wiring. The only thing that bothers me, even though I can't think of any reason why right now, but Control4 only has analog inputs on their Amplifier. I'm just more concerned about video since I would like to view my movie collection in other rooms and I'm not sure how control4 handles that. I just want to make sure that I run all the necessary cabling now. I will have a conduit ran from my basement to the family room where a majority of my "theater" type stuff will be. Still trying to persuade the wife we need a theater type room with a bar in it. She is paranoid about finishing off the basement since all of her friends have flooded at some point. Understandable.

I also need to find out how many cables I should run to the outside of the house to interface with any telco/cable provider. I'm thinking if I run about 5-6 RG6 lines I should be good for about anything I may need. I currently have direct tv and will most likely continue to use them. Can't be without my Sunday Ticket. . .
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-09-2013, 07:07 AM
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just to add a couple of thoughts:

for runs outside the house such as for cable, telephone, Directv et al, it is better to install conduit and let the installers run their cable right to their gear: that way they cannot blame a cable run you installed if there is a problem

I would also call in an integrator and ask for a bid for pre wiring: pick his brain on what is recommended: I agree you can never prewire too much:

from my own experience no matter how much you prewire you will always end up at least one run short wink.gif

I have found for my home the most versatile and flexible cabling is CAT 6E, which allows you to use HD baseT technology
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-09-2013, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I was thinking the same thing about having a conduit from the outside location and let the installers run it as well, but I wasn't sure where that box would be located on the side of the house in proximity to my basement run. The last thing I really want is to have Direct TV run cables all over the exterior of my new home. I'm trying to do as much coordinating now as possible to avoid that.

I will be meeting with a local Control4 vendor to pick their brain as well. I would like to see the Sonos as well to see if it would be a viable option to Control4. I would like to have it all in one system, but I just need to do some more research to find out what best fits my situation. Thanks for the ideas. I have already a page full of notes just from reading this forum over the last few weeks.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-09-2013, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by towndrunk View Post

I agree about the touchpads, and not wanting them in the wall at this point. The thing I'm thinking about is if I do want one later, or heaven forbid I change systems and the new systems requires something there. I can run an extra possibly $10 drops now, rather than having almost not "easy" way to do it later. Right now I'm not looking at touch pads, but more so what if I want to put a volume control or some sort of other interface that doesn't even exist right now? Like I said my biggest fear is that I'm going to forget something, or need something later and not have it.

Follow the CEA wiring recommendations, and it's a pretty good assumption that future keypad technology will all work with a cat5e drop. Burying some drops in hallways or other places where some future "home automation" would make sense is I think a good idea. You don't have to expose them with blank plates everywhere (I agree that would be ugly), just secure the wires behind the eventual drywall and document the locations with photos, etc.
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I think audio is pretty cut and dry to wire once you have a plan for wiring. The only thing that bothers me, even though I can't think of any reason why right now, but Control4 only has analog inputs on their Amplifier. I'm just more concerned about video since I would like to view my movie collection in other rooms and I'm not sure how control4 handles that.

Audio and video distribution until you get to very high-end gear is handled separately. Meaning music vs. video (with audio, obviously). My implementation has a whole house audio system and a video distribution system both in the rack. Audio from my set-top boxes are also connected as sources to the WHA system, so I can listen to "TV audio" in places like the master bathroom (I use that feature every morning to listen to the morning news).
Quote:
I just want to make sure that I run all the necessary cabling now. I will have a conduit ran from my basement to the family room where a majority of my "theater" type stuff will be. Still trying to persuade the wife we need a theater type room with a bar in it. She is paranoid about finishing off the basement since all of her friends have flooded at some point. Understandable.
I also need to find out how many cables I should run to the outside of the house to interface with any telco/cable provider. I'm thinking if I run about 5-6 RG6 lines I should be good for about anything I may need. I currently have direct tv and will most likely continue to use them. Can't be without my Sunday Ticket. . .

A few RG6 lines will be enough for DirecTV (at least for now - running 4-5 wouldn't be a bad idea) and you'll want at least 2 cat5e/cat6 lines to the demarc location as well. Best advice there is to run a flex conduit directly from that location to your wiring hub - in case something else comes up in the future.

Jeff

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post #10 of 14 Old 01-09-2013, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Audio and video distribution until you get to very high-end gear is handled separately. Meaning music vs. video (with audio, obviously). My implementation has a whole house audio system and a video distribution system both in the rack. Audio from my set-top boxes are also connected as sources to the WHA system, so I can listen to "TV audio" in places like the master bathroom (I use that feature every morning to listen to the morning news).
Jeff

I would like to do something like that, feed a set top box to the WHA system. It would be great for Superbowl Parties and other things like that. Also, Direct TV has some music channels if I decided to go that route. How did you feed them back to your system?

Since Audio is pretty basic, with the only options that I see being different are what you can stream from, I thought about staying away from Control4 for that. Just so I don't have to rely on a programmer for any changes. What are you using for video distribution? I have been looking at different options to see what they have to offer and the interface for each. Right now I use a computer for my streaming options, and have a free software package called XBMC. It works well for what I need it to do, but I would like to get something that offers a similar experience to more than one television.
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post #11 of 14 Old 01-09-2013, 09:25 AM
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I would like to do something like that, feed a set top box to the WHA system. It would be great for Superbowl Parties and other things like that. Also, Direct TV has some music channels if I decided to go that route. How did you feed them back to your system?

You're going to dual feed them, that is run the HDMI cable from the DirecTV box to your AVR/TV and then run one of the audio outs from the DirecTV to the amp/controller.

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Since Audio is pretty basic, with the only options that I see being different are what you can stream from, I thought about staying away from Control4 for that. Just so I don't have to rely on a programmer for any changes. What are you using for video distribution?

Good idea to stay away from C4 to keep costs low. You should look at iRule (iruleathome.com). It provides control over your home network via your iDevices. I'm going to use the 4x4 hdmi matrix from monoprice (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011310&p_id=8151&seq=1&format=2) unless they come out with an HDBaseT matrix by March. There are comments about it taking up to 10 seconds to switch sources, but I'm not too concerned about that. It's not like you're switching back and forth between cable, blu-ray and streaming every hour.

And back to your comment re: C4 and video, C4 does not have a video matrix. If you go the C4 route, you'd still have to get a separate matrix to handle the HDMI switching.

For audio, look at Sonos and HTD. The former is easy to build on one piece at a time while the latter will throw you in with several zones at a decent price.
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post #12 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm am more interested in Audio from day one, then adding Video and Automation at a later date. So I wonder if I could concentrate more on Audio right now rather than trying to find a system that integrates everything. By looking at other threads here in the forums I have started to do some research on Control4, NuVo, Russound, and HTD. I have seen a few things that I like, as well as some things that I don't like so far. I am at the very beginning stages of my research, and I'm starting to find that all of the information is a little overwhelming. A lot of the reviews I have read are biased towards whatever that individual is using too.

The only reason that I started with Control4 is that another builder we visited had it, and gave me the card for his installer. They offered a "discount" if I purchased the equipment from him after buying a house from that particular builder. I liked the idea that I could control it via television, ipxd/android, etc, and that it would all be under one control. Automation/Audio/Video. . . For Video, I just want something that would play my movies from a NAS on any other television without having to connect a computer to that display.

Like I said, I'm at the beginning stages of my research. I have a long way to go after looking at all the options. Thanks for the advice so far.
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post #13 of 14 Old 01-10-2013, 06:51 AM
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I liked the idea that I could control it via television, ipxd/android, etc, and that it would all be under one control.

All the solutions we're suggesting can also be controlled via your iDevices. If Control4 is your cup of tea, by all means, go for it. It's a good product. But it's expensive. Sure, he might offer you a small discount at the beginning. But don't forget, every time you have an issue with your system or need to make a change, you have to call the installer (and he'll charge you). And it's always a bad idea to go with the first installer you meet. Do your research... contact other C4 installers in the area and get quotes from them. Tell them what you want, your budget, and ask them to draw up a proposal. If you search through some of my other posts, you'll find a PDF attachment that is the quote I received from one local C4 installer.

If you haven't yet, check out iRule. This will allow you to control all your devices and music from a user designed app on your smartphone/tablet.

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I'm am more interested in Audio from day one

Not knowing your budget, here's my suggestion. Pick up this (http://www.htd.com/Products/multi-channel-amplifiers/DMA-1240) and this (http://www.htd.com/Products/mid-level-whole-house-audio/MC-66-Multi-Zone-Controller) and this (http://www.htd.com/Products/mid-level-whole-house-audio/HTDNET-MC). Those three HTD products will allow you to send up to six individual sources to six independent zones. Cost is about $1250. Then you'll want to pick up one or two Sonos Connects. Each Connect will be a source on the HTD system, capable of streaming music from Pandora et al and your NAS. The more Connects, the more individual streams you can have. Each connect costs $350.

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For Video, I just want something that would play my movies from a NAS on any other television without having to connect a computer to that display.

Check out the Western Digital WD TV Live. This can stream movies from your NAS. You'll want to plug the WD TV Live into something like this (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011307&p_id=6192&seq=1&format=2) which will alow you to easily send the signal to any of your TVs.
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I'm not a whole lot closer to a final decision on what I'm going to do. The architect should have some plans for us to review next week so that I can get a better idea of what I'll be working with. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do for whole home audio, as far as what system I want to control everything. Just a lot to take in. I am going to go into a local home audio shop here in the next week or two to ask some questions and get a better understanding about what it is that I really want to do, or should be doing.

The thing that I've been focusing on a lot recently is speakers. I've been reading, and most of the ones that come highly recommended are about 300-500 a pair, and some at about 250 ea. I was wondering what others are using? I bought two pair of the "Monnoprice" in ceiling speakers, the 6 and 8 in Kevlar ones. They are decent, but don't seem to output what I was really hoping for. I have them hooked up to an old Harman/Kardon AVR 220 receiver and they sound a little "tinny". Would be good for a bedroom/bathroom, but I'm looking for a little more for the kitchen, living room/family room.

A lot of reviews keep pointing towards the Niles Direct Sound line, or Klipsch. I guess I'll just keep reading for now, but I wanted to see if anyone here had any advice, or could point me in the right direction. I'm not even sure if in ceiling speakers are the best option either.
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