There is a way to do all of this with simple home-run coax cable:
1) Use an A/V receiver with multi-source capability at the hub. You want one that does multi-source with BOTH audio and video -- some offer only audio. Examples are the Denon AVR-3300 and mid to higher-end Pioneer Elite models. These are at or below the price range that you indicated.
2) Feed the multi-source output (sometimes it's the record output) into a modulator with MTS capability, such as the ChannelPlus 56xx series (http://www.channelplus.com/modultrs.htm
). This will put whatever source you've selected onto a UHF or cable channel that you select -- if it is an audio-only source, the screen will be blank.
3) Feed the output of the modulator to a distribution amplifier with an IR engine, like the ChannelPlus 8200 (http://www.channelplus.com/coax_pan.htm
4) In each room where you want video capability, just use a TV & tune to the modulated channel.
5) In rooms where you also want audio capability, add a stereo VCR connected to a receiver & speakers. If you're just listening to audio, leave the TV off & listen to the audio output of the VCR tuned to your selected channel through your receiver.
6) In rooms where you want to be able to control the source equipment (e.g. DVD player), insert an IR target, like ChannelPlus 2133, between the coax on the wall and the VCR or TV (in front of any splitters).
This set up will give you:
1) Ability to watch / listen to any source in your main room (at the hub) and a different source (audio or video) in your other rooms.
2) Ability to control on/off and volume in any room and to control the source in any room where you add the IR target.
3) Avoid need for special wiring (beyond home run coax).
4) Avoid using your main receiver to drive multiple sets of speakers.
1) Audio gets modulated into an MTS TV signal -- this may not be audiophile quality, but it sounds very good to me. This is not an issue in your main room, where the A/V receiver is getting the source directly.
2) Need to have a seperate VCR and receiver for rooms where you want audio. With current prices, this is not at all expensive & you may have some extras anyways.
Let me know if you have any questions or need more clarification.