Help planning small distribution system for new build - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 21 Old 06-25-2019, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Help planning small distribution system for new build

I've been reading various threads but I'm pretty confused and would appreciate some help. We're planning to build a new house, and I'd like to centralize all the components for the primary purpose of keeping the endpoints (the rooms with the TVs) free of clutter and wiring. I plan to do the wiring and install myself (I've done plenty of A/V wiring, but never distributed video). Current thinking is to have 1x coax and 2x cat6 to each TV location, and all speakers wires run back to the central closet through terminal plates in the rooms they're in (so they can be used with a "locally" placed amp if desired).

There will be 4 video endpoints (Family room (5.1), basement theater (5.1), basement bar (stereo), outdoor patio (stereo)), and 4-6 audio-only zones. I'm not trying to do anything very high end; not really an audio- or videophile, just want it to work. The majority of our consumption is streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Amazon prime, PBS Kids, ESPN app), over-the-air HDTV, or the (very) occasional Blu-ray. I wouldn't mind being able to play my Xbox One on any TV too, provided the controller signals reach.

I've been reading up on the different tech out there and it seems like HDBaseT might be the way to go. I've looked at products like this from Monoprice, which makes sense in isolation, but when I start thinking about how to incorporate the surround sound and other audio I get a bit lost. The questions I have are:


1. Am I even on the right track with HDBaseT? Or considering our primary use cases (streaming+HDTV), should I avoid the complication/cost and just tuck hardwired streamer boxes (Rokus or whatever) behind each TV, and then use digital-to-cat5 converters to extract the audio from the TV and run it back to centrally located amps for the speakers? That would mean I only do Blu-Ray/Xbox in the basement theater but that's probably fine.

2. If I go for the full HDBaseT distribution, how would I handle the separate amplified 5.1 or stereo speakers for each video area with an HDBaseT matrix? I know the audio is carried by HDBaseT to the HDMI, but I don't think that helps me here because I don't want to carry it to the TV. I would want to separate it out so I can run it to a separate amp/receiver (colocated in the basement with the HDBaseT matrix) that powers the 5.1 speakers in, say, the family room. EDIT: Maybe I need a matrix like this, with de-embedded audio?

3. If I get something like Monoprice's home audio distribution system (which I've installed in my in-laws' house and liked just fine), is there a way to "share" a set of speakers for both video and music purposes? Like let's say I have the speakers out in the outdoor patio, and sometimes I want to use them to listen to music via Chromecast, but other times I want to use them for the TV that's out there. How can I make that work?


I'm sure I'll have more q's as I get deeper into it but if someone can point me in the right direction on those I'd appreciate it.

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post #2 of 21 Old 06-26-2019, 09:20 AM
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I'm not a whole lot of help, what with a 1994 house, with little wiring for such things.

But I had grand plans of pulling wire to each TV location, so I could watch recorded stuff everywhere. Then I got TiVo's (with Tivo Mini's) and Roku's and decided it wasn't necessary. There are very few times where I want the exact same thing playing at the exact same time around the house, video wise. I can watch the same show in different rooms, just not synchronized. As my kids get older, I see this becoming even less important.

Regarding audio, i went Sonos, mostly due to not having wires everywhere. And I really enjoy it. It's not the cheapest game in town, but if you have Sonos soundbars, you can get TV audio around the house, which is something I use almost daily. OK, maybe weekly

The Sonos soundbars make it easy to switch from TV audio to music, through the Sonos app. I would think the Monoprice WHA would have similar functionality, though not sure how the switchover would exactly work.

I don't know if I'd do Sonos in new construction, but I'd think pretty hard about it. I've been extremely pleased with everything about it. I've seen guys who pulling the speaker wiring to their wiring closet, and have a stack of Sonos Connect Amps. Sounds like it's actually not as cost ineffective as you'd think.
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post #3 of 21 Old 06-27-2019, 10:58 AM
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HDbaseT may serve your needs but the devil is in the details. I do think it is still a good idea to run your internet to a centrally located equipment cabinet through conduit to a patch panel and then to a switch. From there run conduit to your drop locations. Currently, I have 2 cat6a cables, 2 RG6 coax cable and speaker wire in the conduit. I am just streaming internet content to an LG TV and using LG's webOS to select content. For one site through HDMI cables I have a blu ray player capable of 4K Ultra Hd and 3D , an AVR capable of atmos, a computer and a PS3 I rarely use.

While I think HDBaseT was a good concept when full HD, 1080 with dolby audio, were the best quality, I think the advent of 4K and now 8K and atmos it is time to question whether HDBaseT is adequate, cost effective or too complex. If we are headed to needing to transmit 48 GBPS, use earc, variable refresh rates, etc we will need to rewire and get new equipment.

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Display: LG OLED 65e6p, Player: OPPO UDP-203, AVR:Yamaha TSR 7810, Streaming: Comcast 60Mbps RG6 to Cat6a, Speakers: Mains Vandersteen IIC, Center, Surrounds, Rears Klipsch
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post #4 of 21 Old 06-27-2019, 06:19 PM
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Not saying HDBaseT is appropriate for OP’s situation, but I will say it handles 4K just fine. I have 8 TVs all fed via HDBaseT, all 4K, and everything syncs up perfectly and looks great.


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post #5 of 21 Old 06-28-2019, 10:30 AM
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If it's during construction, don't run your wire through conduit. It's easy to drill and route wires through framing lumber. Run conduit, but leave it empty aside from pull string. This is for future use.
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post #6 of 21 Old 07-10-2019, 04:41 PM
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I'm kind of in the same boat and had the same questions regarding distributing the audio and video. The answer is don't go from matrix to receiver, but from receiver to matrix. HDMI will carry both the audio and video.

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post #7 of 21 Old 07-16-2019, 06:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Postmoderndesign View Post
HDbaseT may serve your needs but the devil is in the details. I do think it is still a good idea to run your internet to a centrally located equipment cabinet through conduit to a patch panel and then to a switch. From there run conduit to your drop locations. Currently, I have 2 cat6a cables, 2 RG6 coax cable and speaker wire in the conduit. I am just streaming internet content to an LG TV and using LG's webOS to select content. For one site through HDMI cables I have a blu ray player capable of 4K Ultra Hd and 3D , an AVR capable of atmos, a computer and a PS3 I rarely use.

While I think HDBaseT was a good concept when full HD, 1080 with dolby audio, were the best quality, I think the advent of 4K and now 8K and atmos it is time to question whether HDBaseT is adequate, cost effective or too complex. If we are headed to needing to transmit 48 GBPS, use earc, variable refresh rates, etc we will need to rewire and get new equipment.
Since I posted the Valens VS 3000, which allows 18GBPS to be distributed over long distances through category cable, (cat6A will allow the most capacity), has been announced. To be useful HDCP, switches and storage devices need to be rethought. The Valens chip may be immediately useful in the situation where a player is far from a display. It possibly allows HDMI to go to the recycle bin. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/168-h...ns-vs3000.html

In truth I do not understand or know enough to described the hurdles or the solutions to achieve a 4K Ultra HD whole house system.

Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha
Display: LG OLED 65e6p, Player: OPPO UDP-203, AVR:Yamaha TSR 7810, Streaming: Comcast 60Mbps RG6 to Cat6a, Speakers: Mains Vandersteen IIC, Center, Surrounds, Rears Klipsch

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post #8 of 21 Old 07-17-2019, 08:00 AM
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'The majority of our consumption is streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Amazon prime, PBS Kids, ESPN app), over-the-air HDTV, or the (very) occasional Blu-ray. I wouldn't mind being able to play my Xbox One on any TV too, provided the controller signals reach.' - I would question any requirement for a centralised Video Matrix.

For the most part a 'Smart' TV's with wired internet will likely deliver most of what you require in the secondary zones and where required you can mount an additional streaming device local to the TV for any services the TV does not deliver.

The trend to BYOD means you want to plan around 'local' Video and audio connectivity - be that wired or wireless with the ability to integrate with local or distributed music too.

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post #9 of 21 Old 07-20-2019, 06:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Fernand View Post
'The majority of our consumption is streaming services (e.g. Netflix, Amazon prime, PBS Kids, ESPN app), over-the-air HDTV, or the (very) occasional Blu-ray. I wouldn't mind being able to play my Xbox One on any TV too, provided the controller signals reach.' - I would question any requirement for a centralised Video Matrix.

For the most part a 'Smart' TV's with wired internet will likely deliver most of what you require in the secondary zones and where required you can mount an additional streaming device local to the TV for any services the TV does not deliver.

The trend to BYOD means you want to plan around 'local' Video and audio connectivity - be that wired or wireless with the ability to integrate with local or distributed music too.

Joe
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I think this brings us to 18G SDVoE. I am far from understanding all of what is being worked on. But here are a couple videos that may be helpful:
SDVoE, (Software Defined Video over Ethernet) and AV-over-IP Are Reaching Inflection Points
SDVoE Alliance president Justin Kennington says AV-over-IP is moving beyond conversation
https://www.commercialintegrator.com...ection-points/
and:
What are SDVoE products?

Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha
Display: LG OLED 65e6p, Player: OPPO UDP-203, AVR:Yamaha TSR 7810, Streaming: Comcast 60Mbps RG6 to Cat6a, Speakers: Mains Vandersteen IIC, Center, Surrounds, Rears Klipsch

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post #10 of 21 Old 07-23-2019, 02:04 AM
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'we don't compress, but when we do it it is very light' - make your mind up

SDVoE is aiming to replace the traditional 'Matrix' and add functionality to HDMI over IP systems built around a conventional Network Switch - at present you either go 'Matrix' with a, usually closed architecture, to gain overall system functionality or HDMI over IP using a Gigabit Switch as the 'Hub' with an additional control layer. SDVoE will potentially remove some of the need for the additional control layer if the connected devices are designed to 'interact' with each other. Early days and mostly seems to be aimed at large AV systems.

Joe

PS Another link here - https://www.anixter.com/en_us/resour...nd-sdvoe-.html
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post #11 of 21 Old 07-25-2019, 05:26 AM
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I have been trying to figure out how Cat6A can transmit 18 GBPS over a cable rated at 10 GBPS If I am understanding correctly Cat6A has a return channel and Cat6A is bidirectional. So the return channel is used for extra capacity

Also from 2017 an Altona post on 4K 4:4:4 HDR

I invite others to comment on this post.
https://www.leviton.com/en/docs/Levi...uiresCat6A.pdf
https://www.avproedge.com/news/a-maj...ion-technology

Anál nathrach, orth’ bháis’s bethad, do chél dénmha
Display: LG OLED 65e6p, Player: OPPO UDP-203, AVR:Yamaha TSR 7810, Streaming: Comcast 60Mbps RG6 to Cat6a, Speakers: Mains Vandersteen IIC, Center, Surrounds, Rears Klipsch

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post #12 of 21 Old 07-26-2019, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Well based on everything said in this thread and some other research, I'm leaning away from video distribution and toward centralizing audio components, at least as a starting point. Upon reflection, the main thing I really want is to keep the audio components hidden away.

I plan to:
  1. Run 1x coax and 2x cat6 to each TV location
  2. Use one of the cat6 runs for internet, one for returning audio (TV optical or digital out -> converter -> cat6 -> converted -> amp in central closet)
  3. Each TV will have its own streaming apps or a Roku/FireTV stick plugged into it locally
  4. With all these run back to a central closet (in the basement), I could use one of the cat6 runs to switch to video distribution in the future if I wanted to

My main question now is the best way to control the receiver/amp if it's not in the same room as the TV. We like the simple Logitech Harmony hub with remotes (like this) so we have several of those right now. But those have a hub that have to sit in the same room (since the remote itself doesn't have IR), and that would only handle the TV. How to send commands back to the amp for changing volume? I've seen IR-over-ethernet...do I have to run a third cat6 line to each TV location just for this or is there another way?
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post #13 of 21 Old 07-31-2019, 01:45 PM
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If you choose to use Android devices (Android Smart TVs, nVidia Shields, or Fire Stick 4Ks) for your streaming video players you could always add NetPlay later (via NetPlayTV app) for easy HDMI (and other) video distribution. It runs over your standard home network so no change there.

You might consider getting AVRs and/or amps that support IP control (as well as IR). Will give you more flexibility in your remote control choices.

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post #14 of 21 Old 07-31-2019, 03:15 PM
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If you choose to use Android devices (Android Smart TVs, nVidia Shields, or Fire Stick 4Ks) for your streaming video players you could always add NetPlay later (via NetPlayTV app) for easy HDMI (and other) video distribution. It runs over your standard home network so no change there.

You might consider getting AVRs and/or amps that support IP control (as well as IR). Will give you more flexibility in your remote control choices.
have always been interested in video storm and netplayer.

I just watched the video. That GUI is the only thing I dont like about the system.
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post #15 of 21 Old 07-31-2019, 04:59 PM
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have always been interested in video storm and netplayer.

I just watched the video. That GUI is the only thing I dont like about the system.

Are you referring to the NetPlayTV GUI? Which part of the GUI don't you like? Maybe it is something we can improve.

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post #16 of 21 Old 07-31-2019, 05:15 PM
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Are you referring to the NetPlayTV GUI? Which part of the GUI don't you like? Maybe it is something we can improve.
Not sure if you have improved it since that video was posted. But, to me, just feels a bit dated. The top source list shouldnt be that blocky and bland. Also feel it could shoot out from the left hand side, and scroll down top to bottom. Maybe even be able select a graphic, instead of the just word, apple tv, hdcam, dvr, etc.

Also the control would be nice if it was overlaid on the bottom, and maybe not as blocky and colorful if that makes sense? Also no need for number keys for alot of sources so that should be able to be hidden per source?

That being said....

Would love to try out your products if you ever need a beta tester. Love the tech, and think with some minor GUI tweaks, it would look amazing.
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post #17 of 21 Old 08-01-2019, 07:38 AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I'll send you a PM to continue the discussion because we are getting off topic here

There have been updates since the video was made so we should recapture it.

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post #18 of 21 Old 09-05-2019, 05:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, I'm still trying to sort this out. If I do want to do a video distribution system (and I think I do, dealing with local sources but still piping audio back to a central closet, and then being able to control it all, is more trouble than it's worth), and have all components centralized, how do I extract the audio from the output side of an HDBaseT matrix system and pump it into an amp for the destination zone?

All this will be in the same closet...but when I look at something like the Monoprice BlackBird system, it has the RJ45 outputs that go to the HDBaseT receivers but no audio outs. I want to "split" the audio and send it into an amp for each zone (again, in the same closet as the matrix), which in turn will have speaker wires run to each room. How do I do this?

EDIT: OK it seems like it's the BlackBird systems that just don't allow this. Other HDBaseT matrixes I've found have SPDIF audio outs alongside the RJ45 outputs. Like this one. So that makes sense. Now I just need to find the right amps for each zone (5.1 and stereo).

EDIT2: Crap, that other system I found apparently only supports 2-channel audio. WTF.

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post #19 of 21 Old 09-07-2019, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm still struggling on the decision between full-bore video distribution with an HDBaseT matrix, or doing local video sources with centralized audio amps (using the TV's digital audio out to pipe audio over ethernet back to the amps all in a central closet, using optical-to-ethernet audio converters...unless there's a better option?).

Since we mostly watch streaming video, and there are TVs coming out now that have built-in AirPlay 2 and decent built-in apps for Netflix etc, the local sources approach is definitely an option for us. This is cheaper, and having the ability to cast using AirPlay/Google Cast to each TV (and still get your audio through the surround sound speakers) is a nice perk if for some reason you don't want to use the TV's apps. I'd lose the ability to watch Blu-Ray anywhere but I can live with that.

Question 1
The one thing that's hanging me up as I think through the local source approach...how do I remote-control the amps? Both the TV (local) and the amp/receiver (in closet) for a zone will have to be IR-controlled. Should I plan on an IR receiver in each room that is run back to the central closet? How does this work...do I just run a 2-conductor wire in the walls, connect an IR receiver eye to it in the room, and then at the closet end hook it up to a blaster? Are there distance limitations to consider here?

Question 2
I want to "re-use" the amps and speakers in my various TV zones for audio. We use Alexa, and I'd like to have it all automatically switch to the inputs for music without us having to pull out a remote or an app. If I say, "Alexa, play music in the Family Room", I want to use maybe an Echo Input (named Family Room in this case) to be the audio endpoint and the receiver it's connected to would automatically turn on and switch to the input the Echo is plugged into. I've seem similar behavior on my old Denon receiver with AirPlay (it would power itself on and switch inputs when you sent it audio), but it had AirPlay built-in. Is there a way to do this with an external source (in this case, the Echo Input), or are there receivers with Echo audio endpoint capability built-in that will behave similarly?

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post #20 of 21 Old 09-07-2019, 11:50 AM
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Check out new multizone amplifiers from HTD that are designed specifically for Alexa and similar devices. They have two inputs to every amp channel, one being a "priority" signal sensing input. Connect your echo input to that priority input, and any time it detects a signal on that input it swaps amplifier to that input.

Listening to TV or some centralized audio source or whatever in a room, "Alexa play classical music" and the speakers play from the echo input until done. When no signal, it swaps back to TV or whatever.

With an echo in each room or zone you want to be independent, the speakers local to that device will play it's output. But of course since you can group echo devices, if you say "play everywhere" or whatever each echo device outputs the signal to that amplifier zone, so they all swap, and you get your Amazon music everywhere.

Not a bad solution if you like the Amazon streaming music options.
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post #21 of 21 Old 09-08-2019, 07:26 AM
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Help planning small distribution system for new build

Google and Chromecast work a little better than Alexa for that sort of thing. Several receivers have Chromecast built-in. Chromecasts will switch on your existing receiver and change its input automatically (HDMI CEC). Especially a better option if you want a zone to be surround sound for TV but turn the speakers into mono point sources for background music.
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