Originally Posted by cheezefrog
I am in the process of remodel work to my home and running a lot of wire for smart home / automation / av dist/ network / and whole home audio. I was wondering what the "preferred" and realistically future proof wire is for someone who plans on eventually having a matrix switch to run AV in every room and support 4k + future technology as it comes out.
A consistent wiring pattern in each room/zone is the important baseline. Then add more wire runs for more AV-heavy areas, and additional runs intended for specific use cases above that...
I have been looking a lot at netstreams older products, for some reason I just really like the Ethernet + 16/2 or 16/4 design, and more so because I don't have to "centralize" and run RCA wires for every speaker in the home to one panel, instead netstreams design runs inline to the touch panels in every room while you just have an output for cat5e + 16/4 + RG6 to the controller.
Home run wires allow for centralizing gear, but are also needed for switching infrastructures since you have to get all the wires to one place. I would home run at least 2Cat6 and 16/4+cat5/6 for each room at a minimum, and go up from there. Skip the 16/4+cat obviously for rooms that have no need for WHA now or in the future, but remember that $50/zone of wire cost turns into hundreds to do it later...
I would not assume that you'll use a 4K matrix "in the future". With the Internet streaming services and the general "IP-based distribution of content" becoming more and more prevalent, the very likely future case is we just have a 1Gbps Ethernet link to every display/device and the real decoding is done in the last 6 feet. That doesn't remove needs for HDMI runs to projectors or from an AVR to a display, but the use cases for a matrix are no longer mainstream.
I understand netstreams got bought out and they will no longer support the technology with clearone coming into the fold now, however, I noticed that a lot of distribution controllers like control4's 16 channel audio switch (and others) are still using RCA. What is the best approach for home audio wiring these days? Is good old RCA still the best future proof method by doing long runs all going to a central location from the speakers scattered throughout the home? Or is Ethernet (such as netstreams) and the way they layout the digilinX products a really promising approach?
Stereo RCA out from audio switches are assuming they go to a multizone amp nearby. Yes, you can place zone streamer boxes all over the house - but that's really a feature for folks that don't have the wiring centralized. The gear still needs to be housed somewhere, and hiding a stack of streamer boxes in a rack is, IMO, better than having one sitting on a dresser in each room. Now, that said, when you home run your speaker wire, there's nothing wrong with having those wires loop through an outlet-height wall plate in the same room as the speakers, so that you could intercept those wires to connect them to a local streamer box (or other source) if that makes sense for that zone.
Hope that helps,