Moved into a new house that is supposedly prewired for A/V distribution, need guidance - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-06-2013, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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I just moved into a new house that is supposed to be wired properly for a centralized media cabinet with distributed audio and video, but I'm a little lost as to how to go about it. Can someone provide some guidance on where to start, what components I'll need, etc.?

In addition to the A/V the house has 3 zones for in-ceiling speakers. There are two spots in the 3 main rooms (living room, den, and master bedroom) that have wires ran for speakers. All those wires end up in the basement (pictured below). In each of these rooms there is a wall plate that has speaker wire + cat5 as seen in the pictures below. I assume these are for volume/zone control for certain systems? I intend to use sonos for my music zones, so I think I can ignore those.



For the TV locations, in the 3 main spots there appears to be two cat5e & two coax ran to each location. In our master bathroom TV there is just one cat5e & one coax. All of these also appear to end up in the basement. As far as components, at each TV there will be a satellite receiver. I have a PS3 and a HTPC for our den, so I'm not sure how that would work. I would love if the HTPC was accessible on other TVs. I currently use a WDLive in our master bedroom but it's garbage.



Any advice on where to start? I'd love to learn and do this myself, rather than pay a professional if I can avoid it. I understand everything, I just need advice.
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-06-2013, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by abstracted View Post

I just moved into a new house that is supposed to be wired properly for a centralized media cabinet with distributed audio and video, but I'm a little lost as to how to go about it. Can someone provide some guidance on where to start, what components I'll need, etc.?

Supposed to be? eek.gif

Well, turns out - it is! biggrin.gif
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In addition to the A/V the house has 3 zones for in-ceiling speakers. There are two spots in the 3 main rooms (living room, den, and master bedroom) that have wires ran for speakers. All those wires end up in the basement (pictured below). In each of these rooms there is a wall plate that has speaker wire + cat5 as seen in the pictures below. I assume these are for volume/zone control for certain systems? I intend to use sonos for my music zones, so I think I can ignore those.

Correct - if you plan to use a Sonos unit per zone (3 total) that's all you'll need. Looks like the keypad locations were done correctly, you're set up to use most any whole-house audio system on the market.
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For the TV locations, in the 3 main spots there appears to be two cat5e & two coax ran to each location. In our master bathroom TV there is just one cat5e & one coax. All of these also appear to end up in the basement. As far as components, at each TV there will be a satellite receiver.

Your photos appear to show recessed wall boxes, probably higher on the wall to end up behind a wall-mounted flat panel? You can either put your set-top boxes on a shelf below those (GASP - using the coax in the walls!!!! biggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gif), tuck them behind the TV (need a mount that provides enough space, although the Joey boxes are quite small) along with RF remotes, or centralize them down in the basement, using either an HDMI-over-cat5 extender or an HDMI matrix switch (also with cat5e distribution). The HDBaseT extenders only require one cable, for example.
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I have a PS3 and a HTPC for our den, so I'm not sure how that would work. I would love if the HTPC was accessible on other TVs. I currently use a WDLive in our master bedroom but it's garbage.

You can centralize those sources and make them available to any display by installing an HDMI matrix switch. There are a wide range of prices for these systems, and all of them have some limitations by their nature. Lots of threads here about the concept / products.
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Any advice on where to start? I'd love to learn and do this myself, rather than pay a professional if I can avoid it. I understand everything, I just need advice.

Read lots of threads in this forum. Keywords: HDBaseT, distrributed video, HDMI Matrix switch, and "common denominator" audio problem.

Jeff

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post #3 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 04:52 AM
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GASP - using the coax in the walls!!!!

Oh no you didn't! cool.gif

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I intend to use sonos for my music zones, so I think I can ignore those.

Or, for less that the cost of those 3 Sonos Connect: Amps, you can pick up a NuVo P3100 which will power all 3 sets of speakers. And then you can write a review about it. Just a suggestion...
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Gramin View Post

Or, for less that the cost of those 3 Sonos Connect: Amps, you can pick up a NuVo P3100 which will power all 3 sets of speakers. And then you can write a review about it. Just a suggestion...

Oh, that's a much better idea!

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post #5 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 09:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a lot guys, I'll do some reading and post back with more questions as I have them.
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Or, for less that the cost of those 3 Sonos Connect: Amps, you can pick up a NuVo P3100 which will power all 3 sets of speakers. And then you can write a review about it. Just a suggestion...
Haha, but then what ever will I do with my beloved Sonos system???? confused.gif
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 09:12 AM
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Haha, but then what ever will I do with my beloved Sonos system???? confused.gif

Why, do a head-to-head comparison and review, of course... wink.gif

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post #7 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Why, do a head-to-head comparison and review, of course... wink.gif

It would be my pleasure to do that if a NuVo rep would be gracious enough to gift me one. So I can do a head to head comparison, for the community of course.
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 10:07 AM
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It would be my pleasure to do that if a NuVo rep would be gracious enough to gift me one. So I can do a head to head comparison, for the community of course.

Now, now... don't get ahead of yourself. I suggested that exact same thing a couple weeks ago. smile.gif I should be the one doing the comparison and review.

I'm in a similar situation (though my condo is new construction, so I was able to dictate the prewiring). I was leaning towards Sonos, but I'm going to have 8 zones (when all is said and done) and that will be one damn expensive Sonos setup, not to mention having to rackmount them. So now I'm looking at NuVo and Russound, mostly because I can easily rackmount them from the start. I have a slight preference towards the Russound right now, but that could change.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Now, now... don't get ahead of yourself. I suggested that exact same thing a couple weeks ago. smile.gif I should be the one doing the comparison and review.

I'm in a similar situation (though my condo is new construction, so I was able to dictate the prewiring). I was leaning towards Sonos, but I'm going to have 8 zones (when all is said and done) and that will be one damn expensive Sonos setup, not to mention having to rackmount them. So now I'm looking at NuVo and Russound, mostly because I can easily rackmount them from the start. I have a slight preference towards the Russound right now, but that could change.

Ha ha, do you have personal experience with Sonos? I've been using my Sonos for 7 years, I don't think I could live without it!!
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-07-2013, 10:53 AM
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Ha ha, do you have personal experience with Sonos?

A little, not much. Your enthusiasm is playing with me! Everyone I know that has it, loves it. ARG!
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post #11 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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So, currently this is what I'm looking at for the setup. Each TV has it's own satellite receiver, the PS3 will only be for the Den, and I'd like the HTPC to be accessible on all TVs.

Living Room
- Satellite Box
- HTPC (shared)

Den
- Satellite Box
- HTPC (shared)
- PS3

Master Bedroom
- Satellite Box
- HTPC (shared)

Master Bedroom Bathroom
- Satellite Box
- HTPC (shared)
- edit: The bathroom only has one cat5e, I assume this will pose a problem?

The only thing that I want shared is the HTPC, is there any way to accomplish this with a 1x4 matrix switch? Or will I need a matrix switch with at least 6 inputs and 4 outputs? If I could tuck the satellite receiver in behind the TVs that would be ideal because then I can keep them on separate TV inputs and remove them from the matrix switch. I might have room to do that on 2 of the 4 TVs, which would essentially put me at 4x4 for the matrix switch which is much more affordable.
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post #12 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by abstracted View Post

- edit: The bathroom only has one cat5e, I assume this will pose a problem?

You may want to handle that room separately so that the limitation there doesn't affect the rest of your system. An HDBaseT matrix would work for all the rooms, but those are more expensive...
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The only thing that I want shared is the HTPC, is there any way to accomplish this with a 1x4 matrix switch?

If that's all you want to share, you don't need a matrix, just a 1x4 HDMI splitter and the cat5e extenders.
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Or will I need a matrix switch with at least 6 inputs and 4 outputs?

Matrix inputs are the "sources" (set-top box, HTPC, etc.). Outputs are the TVs.
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If I could tuck the satellite receiver in behind the TVs that would be ideal because then I can keep them on separate TV inputs and remove them from the matrix switch. I might have room to do that on 2 of the 4 TVs, which would essentially put me at 4x4 for the matrix switch which is much more affordable.

If you distribute video, you can "share" set-top boxes among the displays, as long as you have enough to handle your simultaneous use - if you've got two people in the household, you probably only need two set-top boxes (placed on the matrix), for example.

Jeff

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post #13 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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How does the switching of the matrix sources work? Do I need a separate remote for that, or can a remote like a harmony handle that?
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post #14 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 10:18 AM
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How does the switching of the matrix sources work? Do I need a separate remote for that, or can a remote like a harmony handle that?

IR signals. You'll need to place IR buds near the TV. Or, how I'm going to do it, is to use iRule to control everything. I'll pick up some Global Cache hardware that will take an IP signal and convert it to IP.
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post #15 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 10:26 AM
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What are you sharing from the HTPC? Movies and other "stuff" stored on the hard drive? If that's the case, I suggest picking up a separate NAS so you don't have to keep the HTPC on all the time. And look at WD TV Live. It will allow you to stream content from your NAS to your TV via an HDMI output on the device. They're relatively cheap. You could pick up one for each TV.
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post #16 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 02:36 PM
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IR signals. You'll need to place IR buds near the TV. Or, how I'm going to do it, is to use iRule to control everything. I'll pick up some Global Cache hardware that will take an IP signal and convert it to IP.

Gramin, have you actually used this setup yet? I know you're planning to use iRule for everything, but having used it, I don't recommend it to folks for their primary / everyday TV viewing. Same answer for any of the mobile-device / tablet-based remote apps - it's not the software (same answer whether it was iRule, Roomie, or whatever), it's the whole package.

The apps work great for simple source selection, but are awful for DVR control or "channel surfing", IMO. Having to pick up, unlock, and then look at the device to make simple volume changes, hit mute, change channels, etc. is a pain. It's because the user interface is on the TV, but you have to look at the "remote" to use it - so it's a back-and-forth to figure out what you're doing. As opposed to a hard-button remote - I never need to take my eyes off the TV to use it (within reason).

I use iRule for my theater, and certainly a tablet / phone for music / content selection, but have no intention to replace my IR "wand" remote with it for these reasons... I'd suggest you start a trial run with one zone and see what you think for yourself, but this is why I don't recommend that path to folks in general.

Jef

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post #17 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 05:19 PM - Thread Starter
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IR signals. You'll need to place IR buds near the TV. Or, how I'm going to do it, is to use iRule to control everything. I'll pick up some Global Cache hardware that will take an IP signal and convert it to IP.
I understand it's IR signals, I was just wondering if smart remotes like the harmony remotes can automatically switch sources in the matrix when you want to go from HTPC to TV for example.
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What are you sharing from the HTPC? Movies and other "stuff" stored on the hard drive? If that's the case, I suggest picking up a separate NAS so you don't have to keep the HTPC on all the time. And look at WD TV Live. It will allow you to stream content from your NAS to your TV via an HDMI output on the device. They're relatively cheap. You could pick up one for each TV.
I have a WD Live and I hate it. The interface is so slow and buggy it drives me nuts. Even accessing media on the network was near impossible, and after Googling my problems I see it wasn't just me. I run mediaportal on my HTPC for my movie collection, as well as netflix and whatever else I want. It's handy to have an accessible computer on any TV. Especially when you can use an air mouse app on your smartphone or tablet to control it. Leaving the HTPC on all the time isn't a big deal IMO, that's what it was designed for.
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post #18 of 18 Old 02-08-2013, 07:02 PM
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I understand it's IR signals, I was just wondering if smart remotes like the harmony remotes can automatically switch sources in the matrix when you want to go from HTPC to TV for example.

Harmony, etc. can treat the matrix switch just like an AVR or any other 'video switch' - no problem. Harmony had the codes for my Aton matrix, which I'd put in the 'rare' category... biggrin.gif

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