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My friend's parents are building a new house and have commissioned me to design a simple AV system that will serve their basic needs:
1. Distribute HD cable to 4 TVs with the boxes stored together in the basement rack
2. Distribute 1 channel of whole house audio to their selected "entertaining area"
3. Keep control as simple as possible

What do you all think of my attached diagram? I plan to use several Cat6 lines to carry the HDMI signal from the basement rack components to the TVs (IR commands will also be carried on these lines). All four TVs will have their own dedicated cable box, and 2 other TVs will have local HDMI wall plates.

On that note, should we run HDMI from the wallplates to the TV locations, or should we use Cat6 to make that run? The Wall plates that support Cat6 do not have great reviews online, so I'm more tempted to use an actual in-wall HDMI cable.

I am also proposing that we install a Chromecast in the basement and run the video on the Cat6 cables to the Living Room TV.

Right now, I'm not positive what technology I want to use to carry the video signal across the Cat6 cabling. HDBaseT is an option, but very expensive. We'll have 5 video runs (4 cable, 1 Chromecast), which will rack up a huge hardware bill. We also have the option of using much cheaper baluns that can be purchased online.

Does anyone have experience with these HDMI over Cat6 technologies? I'm leaning towards the cheaper baluns for budgetary reasons.

I plan on splitting the audio from the Chromecast and running it into the whole house audio system. I need to make sure that the HDMI over Cat6 solution that I choose has minimal latency, so the Chromecast video on the Living Room TV is in sync with the whole house audio.

Finally, I've found cheap cables that convert a 3.5mm cable to RJ45 and reverse. Is this a reliable way to give them a flexible option to connect other audio devices to the WHA system? I'm not expecting perfect audio quality, but want a flexible solution that will let them add/move the locations of their audio devices around the house, as long as an ethernet port is nearby.

Let me know your thoughts!
 

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For the audio to RJ45 just buy one and test it with a sufficient long cable. If it sucks just return it. If it works at the start and it's not made of biodegradable materials and has good solder joints I don't see it being an issue. If it's got no transformer you might get buzz. If they haven't matched the imoedance for the cat6 you might get weak sound quality. Regardless, however it sounds when you buy it as long as it is built well it's gonna sound the same in 20 years.

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If each cable box is for a single TV, why not just locate the box near the TV? Are you offering free support 24/7 for it? :)
 

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First thought is you shouldn't be doing the job if you don't know the basics/understand the cost vs. reliability equation!

As RBalwinski suggests if cost is an issue stick the Sources out in the Zones as your current plan has no benefit in terms of sharing the Sources across your Zones but does have the potential to add a lot of cost to the system.

Chromecast - I think you lost 3. when you added in a Centralised solution, if the client requires a streamer in each Zone again stick one in each Zone.

WHA - you don't say what you have planned.

Joe
 
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