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TCL Series 6 65", Denon X4500H, Fronts: KEF Q650c, Surrounds: KEF Ci160.2CL, Atmos: KEF Ci160.2CR
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After several years of wishing and several more of planning and then revising our plans, we have finally got our basement framed and I (with the the help of an experienced friend) have pulled the electrical wiring for all the lights and outlets. We are now ready to enter the next phase of our project with mapping out and then pulling all of the electrical cabling for audio, video and networking. I have some big plans and ideas drawn up (See Attached Files) but my wife thinks that there is "no way I am smart enough" to figure out how to do this without spending tons of money and/or without hiring a professional to just do it all (out of our budget to have someone "do it all" ... I want to do as much of this build as much as possible myself but I can hire out small portions of the project that are over my head if needed).


She's right. I am not smart enough to figure this out on my own ... but she doesn't know about the AVS Forum! I am requesting the expertise input of forum members to help me sort out what I am missing and what I don't know before I start the next phase.


Please look at the uploaded attachment images of the room designs and comment on what I might be missing and what I need / how to connect it all together. The attachments certainly do the best job of explaining what I am going for.


Keep it simple in your explanations as I am a newbie to a lot of this still.

BASEMENT FAMILY ROOM 11-0 x 17-0
  • Wall Mounted Plasma HDTV with independent access to media server / HTPC
  • Motorized projection screen mounted in tray ceiling. Screen wil retract down in front of TV when in use.
  • 5.1 Surround Sound (In-Wall) with powered sub
  • Mounted video projector
  • Zone #1 Distributed Audio with 8-inch in-ceiling speakers
  • Gaming systems. (Will connect directly to TV unless there is a way to place it in the hub as well)
  • NECESSITY FOR ROOM: RADIO-FREQUENCY (RF) UNIVERSAL REMOTE BACK TO COMPONENTS IN HUB

PLAYROOM
  • Zone #2 Distibuted Audio with 8-inch in-ceiling speakers
  • Computer networked into media server / HTPC to access movies and control audio
  • Wall-mounted HDTV with independent access to media server / HTPC

UPSTAIRS LIVING ROOM
  • Wall-mounted HDTV with independent access to media server / HTPC
  • Zone #3 Distributed Audio with 8-inch in-ceiling speakers
  • Computer networked into media server / HTPC to access movies and control audio

UPSTAIRS MASTER BEDROOM
  • HDTV with independent access to media server / HTPC
  • Zone #4 Distributed Audio with 8-inch in-ceiling speakers

HUB (In Basement)
  • Router
  • Media Server / HTPC to store all audio files and movies. Will also have DVR capability.
  • 4-Source and 4-Zone Audio Reciever for distributed audio
  • AVR
  • DVD/ VCR (The kids still use these relics)
  • Blu-Ray Player with Netflix and Pandora streaming
  • Satellite Receiver


I am looking mainly for comments and direction on the following:


1. Is the design of the hub (option #1 - mechanical room) the most logical and the most practical vs. hub option #2 in the closet behind the family room or even option #3 of just sticking all of the components at the front of the family room in cabinetry/shelving? I really do NOT want to have the components in the family room if at all possible. I like the clean look the design with just the mounted tv, in-wall speakers and motorized projection screen, so I really them out of sight and want to control them by using a universal RF remote.


2. If I use the mechanical room hub option, will HDMI be able to support that distance? (50 feet of cord length to family room tv and also to playroom tv)


3. How do I hook all this together to make it work? What specific cables do I need to make all of it work? (i.e. "Route 10 lines of coax from x to y and 2 lines of cat5e from x to z, etc). If this is too much off topic for this thread, let me know and I will inquire elsewhere.


4. I want each of the 4 rooms to be able to independently access the media (i.e. kids can watch "toy story" in playroom while I watch "the italian job" in the family room and wife watches some girly movie in the master bedroom at the same time). I just don't know what components I need to do this. Is a switcher of some sort what I need?


5. What else am I missing? What would you do instead?


I have been impressed with the input by forum members over the past several months of reading that I have done and know you all have great ideas and have learned a lot through your own experiences that will save me some time, possibly money, and likely heartache of mistakes. I am looking forward to your critiques, responses and correction of any flaws you might see.


When the project is complete, my wife will be amazed that I actually did this ... and then I will proudly admit that I had help along the way. Thanks everyone!

 

Theater Specs2 copy5.pdf 167.607421875k . file

 

Upstairs copy5.pdf 55.1328125k . file

 

Basement copy5.pdf 96.0751953125k . file

 

FamilyRoom3 copy5.pdf 49.126953125k . file
 

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Well...my first reaction...and I think one in your wife's column...is I wonder how you're going to pull all of this cable...ALL over the house. I assume all the drywall is up? Do you know how hard that's going to be? Good on ya, but it sounds pretty ambitious if this is your first project.


CD
 

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dont pull HDMI pull CAT6....... multiples if possible.



also lame that your wife isnt encouraging...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobG5589 /forum/post/18126377


Sounds like you are in waaayyyy over your head.


Blasphemy!


Plug and pray my freinds.....plug and pray.



EDIT


In hindsight, the quote is Pull and Pray. (rookie mistake, my apologies)


Anyway yeah that didnt work for me either, as we had 6 month old shots and checkup today.


That said.


Have fun!


Oh..... and good luck!
 

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TCL Series 6 65", Denon X4500H, Fronts: KEF Q650c, Surrounds: KEF Ci160.2CL, Atmos: KEF Ci160.2CR
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry if my original post wasn't clear.


Basement was completely unfinished in the home. Framing is now completed so the room layout is set as shown in the drawings. Electrical is pulled but not the cabling for audio, video, speaker wire, and networking. Drywall is NOT up anywhere in the basement. Since the framing is still open, I have complete access above and below. I have already easily drilled the access I need through the areas above in the upstairs and it didn't require any major holes, surgery, tearing down, or divorce. Lots of conduit already placed upstairs and downstairs for access now and for future access / upgrades / future-proofing.


Actually, my wife is rather supportive. She knows it's a big project and just wants me to make sure I have all of the information and knowledge about what I need to do BEFORE I spend the time and money to do it. She is actually quite impressed with what I have done and come up with so far....title mostly to get some attention to the thread instead of the all-too-common title of "Newbie Build Needing Some Advice". My attempt at humor seems to have backfired.


I've done all the work up to this point myself with some assistance and I feel this is something I can do... just wanted some critiques of the plans, wanted to know how practical my ideas are and a little guidance on how to get there. Any help would be appreciated.
 

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TCL Series 6 65", Denon X4500H, Fronts: KEF Q650c, Surrounds: KEF Ci160.2CL, Atmos: KEF Ci160.2CR
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
One area of input with regard to my plans that I forgot to ask about is:


I want 4 zones of distributed audio. I was thinking that I would put 2 in-ceiling speakers in the Family Room (Basement) for that zone instead of using the 5.1 Surround speakers for this purpose. Is that dumb or is it logical so the kids aren't using the surround speakers for regular music?
 

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Hi Sillywilly


I would use the 5.1 system for the audio in the family room. Depending on what speakers you had in mind, the 5.1 system is typically for most people the best speakers in the house.


There are many ways to do distributed audio that you have to think about how you want the zones to function. I use the sonos system because it is very flexible, and more importantly stupid simple and reliable. This might not be your choice for audio system because it can get expensive, but it is much cheaper than a lot of the full blown distributed audio systems and a heck of a lot easier to set up and use (Think very good WAF).


I know you said you already ran cables and had access, but if you didn't there are still ways to send audio/video/ethernet through your power line, wifi, exitsting coax,etc that you could use to work around. Not better that hard wired line, but options.


Also, I"m kinda curious at the yamaha recessed lighting that also acts as destributed audio/speaker system. It was shown at CES, and might be worth looking into as well.


There are many ways to skin a cat so you should be able to do much of what you want no matter what your skill level. What will matter is your expectations and goals for each room.


Hope that helps...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sillywilly /forum/post/18127396


Is that dumb or is it logical so the kids aren't using the surround speakers for regular music?

Two thoughts, When I play music only I use the surrounds and set the receiver to 7.1 stereo.


Second, depending on the age of the kids I would consider setting up a separate kid friendly control center that was cheep and simple to use rather than thinking they might use the main equipment stack ($$$). Or are you willing to come running every time they call?


Something they can push a DVD/CD into and watch and listen.
 

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Silly - great planning and thinking. While I am not finished with my build, I do have some experience with kids. I agree with Big. I look at what you are doing from a TCO (total cost of ownership) perspective - you might be spending precious movie-watching time dealing with mis-firing remotes, system trouble-shooting, etc. when there are young ones as users. I may have your situation wrong and if I do - I apologize in advance. Good luck sir.
 

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SillyWilly,


I'm rooting for you here. I will be in a very similar situation once I get my basement going. I have great space to put a HT, but will most likely go the same route as you with the dual-use family room. By doing this, I can still have my bar & billiard.


I wish you all the best with getting the media setup arranged the way you want it, and I'll be following along with your progress.


Good luck!


Chris
 

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I set up a hub much like you are planning. I too was going crazy since I am not clear on what technology is going to actually "win the war" when it comes to HD distribution. Right now we have HDMI, Cat, and even Coax in contention. What I did, for reference, is I ran one coax and 3 cats (in some cases 4 cats, but generally 3) from a central hub to multiple locations. The coax will carry....well....coax. I may not even need it, but if I want to hook up a cable box that seemed the easiest way since I don't have satallite.


When placing my boxes to terminate these runs, I placed one at ~5 ft and one at the normal height. That way, I can pull the cable out at either height depending on the need. If I have a LCD/plasma, I can pull it out the 5ft outlet. If I have a cable box, I would pull it out the bottom.


Now, the reason for all the cats. Cats can do HDMI better than HDMI. At least according to the commnets on monoprice. It takes 2 cat cables to carry an HDMI signal. This run can do 50 feet very easily, 75 ft most of the time, and 100 feet....well, that's a stretch. So I have three cats, 2 for the HDMI and one for regular ethernet.


This kept the wiring simply. I plan to have all my equipment in a closet (a hidden closet at that) and will then send out the signal to several places in the basement (a projector in my theater, a TV in spare bedroom, and a gaming/overflow TV in the downstairs den). I also sent the signal upstairs to my den on the main floor.


In summary, just runs tons of cat and a signal Coax as a just in case. Feel free to PM me. I have tons of pics as my drywall is on hold due to 2 feet of snow.


One other thing, rather than getting an RF remote, which are priced, you can get a regular remote (just makes sure it takes AA/AAA batteries) and there is a module you can buy that makes it into an RF remote. In this manner, I get the cheapest logitech remote I can, which is still PC programable. Usually runs about $40. Then I get the RF thingy, which basically replaces one of the batteries with an RF signal sender. It costs about $25.


For media distribution, I have a HP Mediasmart sever. I got it refurb fron newegg for $300 shipped. It comes with Windows Home Server. I can not say enough good things about this beast. It can take 4 drives internal (it has those cool ports where you just slide the drive in w/o taking the system apart) and it also has 4 USB and 1 eSATA for more dives.


I also recently got a Patrior Box Office (for about $50 after rebate...awesome deal) which is basically a media extender. It interfaces very nicely with the Mediasmart and does HDMI 1080p. It will even play Blue Ray ISO's, which was critical for me. The only complicated thing I needed to do was a telnet file edit to make it see the server. Someone on the Patriot forums walked me through it step by step.
 

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TCL Series 6 65", Denon X4500H, Fronts: KEF Q650c, Surrounds: KEF Ci160.2CL, Atmos: KEF Ci160.2CR
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC /forum/post/18127735


Two thoughts, When I play music only I use the surrounds and set the receiver to 7.1 stereo.

I was originally thinking of getting a 7.1 AVR for that purpose in the family room. I started going away from it after I realized distribution to the other zones would still need a multiple zone and source receiver anyway. Hence, the thought of using 5.1 AVR for just movies in the family room and just place 2 in-ceiling speakers running off the multizone receiver I would already have in use.


With using a 7.1 AVR for that zone, would you still install those 2 in-ceiling speakers for simple audio listening in that room?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LexMan; /forum/post/0


I would use the 5.1 system for the audio in the family room. Depending on what speakers you had in mind, the 5.1 system is typically for most people the best speakers in the house.

I agree that the 5.1 speakers are going to be my best speakers. Is it worth running audio on them for simple background listening in that room?


Thanks for the comments BIG and LexMan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So the main question I have with my basement is where I should stick my components in relation to my basement family room ("theater room").


I have presented 3 options that I have come up with and don't know which one would be best. (See image attachments in original post).

Option #1: Place all components in the mechanical room in the basement. Control the components using a RF remote since they will be hidden away across the hall behind a closed door.

Pros: Hidden away. Keeps the front of family room viewing area clear of any distractions, noisy equipment, etc. Makes use of space that has no further purpose (vs. option #2 location)

Cons: Measured cable length from hub to wall where TV inputs will be is 50 ft (not sure about using dedicated HDMI at this length)
Option #2: Place all components in the closet just behind the wall of the rear of family room. Components will also be controlled using a RF remote as they will also be hidden away behind a wall and closed door.

Pros: Keeps the clean look in the family room as described above. Is closer in measured cable length distance than the mechanical room option (about 35 ft)

Cons: Distance for dedicated HDMI is still further than what I am aware is optimal cable distance away so may not be an advantage at all. Takes away closet space that already has a pre-planned use. Not ideal for ventilation.
Option #3: Place all of the components in the family room in built-in cabinets flanking each side of the front of the room.

Pros: Close enough to use dedicated HDMI for connections. Would likely be easier to set up and wire than other options

Cons: Additional cost of cabinetry. Limits the size of projection screen I can get as the cabinetry will have set dimensions due to the fixed size of components... and most of all I don't really like the look of having cabinetry flanking the sides of the front of the room
My preference is Option #1. After looking at the schematic drawings that are attached, is there a better way? Better design? Other pros and cons with each option that I may be missing?
 
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