AVS Special Member
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Northern, VA - Washington, DC
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Sonos is a awesome product, but I wouldn't use it as the backbone for whole house audio distribution, when you also have a video distribution system that is a part of it. Instead, I would leverage Sonos as a source which is available to the whole house distribution system.
Certainly pulling a RG6 to all TVs is not a bad thing. But, it is not likely a cable you will ever use. If you do have any room without connection to the head-end (central equipment location), then you will be kicking yourself for not at least having a cable jack on the wall (or available somewhere).
I would recommend coax to each room, not behind the TV, perhaps just buried in a wall, for possible use, if needed.
Run one cat-5e or 6 cable to each TV and for HDBT use Cat-6STP cabling. This is the gold standard for HDBT, and is recommended for 4K content over HDBT. Run these two wires, at a minimum, to every TV location. The extra wire is a spare, and there is an amazing number of 'spare' wires which are nice to have around.
Consider local room sources which may require connection to the system. Run Cat-6STP to those locations with a spare cat-5e/6 as well. A local HDMI port in the family room to hook up some video gaming, or in the theater is a really nice addition.
If distances are 50' or less, then perhaps just run a HDMI cable and conduit to the display. A quality HDMI cable is half the price of entry level HDBT, and far less than higher end HDBT. So, this can really save you some money, while not hurting your image quality at all.
For shades, I have just run cat-5e cable. I've powered the shades and put in control of them using just one cat-5e cable. I think shades manufacturers are woefully behind on good automation integration. You will want to speak to a few shades companies before moving to far along to see what they recommend for shades and emphasize integratable control of them. Potentially, you may just be able to use a iOS or Android app to control them and setup a schedule. But some shades are looking for 120v to provide power.
For speakers, 14 gauge wiring is my recommendation for whole-house audio.
Since some TV zones will also have good in-wall/ceiling speakers, the TV audio should go through those speakers as well. That's why Sonos won't be the only source for whole house audio. The Blu-ray, and cable tuners, game systems, computers, etc. may also want to leverage the quality speaker that you are putting in place.
There must (IMO) be a point of control in each room that has speakers or video in it. Whether it be a handheld remote, or a 12 button keypad on the wall, it's very important to get cat-5e wiring to potential locations for control so they are there when you want it.
Finally, I always recommend a good wired Ethernet home. This gives you a solid connection to the Internet without worrying all the time about signal integrity with wireless Ethernet. While Wi-fi often works perfectly well, it also doesn't always do so and that hard-wired connection can be very helpful.
Automation is such a silly word I think. I think integration when I think of automation, most companies just think of 'control on your phone' as automation. So, be aware that a lot of automation may not be as expected and should not be assumed.
All of this said, I think the prewire is the most important part of everything. Door locks, garage doors, sprinkler systems, lights, HVAC, etc. may all benefit from having a local wire available to it. So, sitting down and talking to someone about the long-term goals and potential goals, may help with this very first part, which is getting the wiring right. Spending several thousand dollars on this (or more) should be expected.
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- Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.