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My wife and I are in the early stages of building a new house. We want to install an AV distribution system. I've been reading many of the posts here and I've come up with a high level drawing of what we're thinking.


We want the majority of the equipment to be located in the basement. For video, I want to distribute HDMI over CAT6 cable. I'm fine using two drops per transmitter/receiver pair. I'm also going to run RG6 to each TV for OTA stations. In each case where we want a DVD player, I'm planning to install one locally to the TV. Eventually, I could do a jukebox in the basement, but I don't see that as necessary right now.


For audio I'm thinking of running speaker wire from each room back to the basement. I'm thinking we could go with 6 or 8 zones. I don't want to have a keypad or wall control. I'm thinking something that would work with an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, or web control. Maybe a keypad on each floor would work too. This is where I need some practical advice.


So, equipment wise, what would you suggest? For video a 4 by 8 matrix switch, but which one? For audio, I don't know if I need a matrix switch or just a multi-zone amp. My audio sources will probably be a stereo receiver and iTunes via an AirPort Express.


What I'm initially thinking for wiring is 3 CAT6 drops and two RG6 drops for each TV. That will give me one spare of each.


I haven't though of how to control the video portion of this. I'm thinking IR through the HDMI transmitter/receivers. Do the HDMI matrix switches have a setup screen that displays on the TV or do I need to start looking at a dedicated RS232 controller to handle this?


Here's the high level drawing I created this morning. Again, we're in the very early stages of this. I just want all this planned before the walls go up.


Thanks for any advice you can offer.
 

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I would add a couple more Cat6 and RG6 to each drop. Since you mention doing RG6 for OTA, you'll need cabling for return audio channel. Also plan on at least one Cat6 per TV for control. I'd run Cat6 to wall location as well incase you want keypads for distributed audio control.
 

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Looks good. The only thing i would change is trying to use the TV for OTA. I would rather you use a set top box and distribute it like the other video sources. This will make programming the remotes easier because you dont have to switch inputs. It will make wiring easier because you dont have to take audio out of the TV back to the matrix switch.


Another thing to think about is the DVD players in each room. You should think about streaming boxes instead. Blu-ray players or apple tv or roku.. They are more fun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Good point on the set top box for OTA. I'll just use that as an input to the switch and I won't need to run RG6 at all.


As for control, most of the matrix switches I've seen will pass the IR signals to the main unit, then on to the source. Will that be adequate, or do I need to look for something else?
 

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The problem I find with all such schemes is the conflict over who gets to use the source. I just spent two weeks at my daughters new home. The have installed (so far) three TVs. It was common for all TVs to be in use, each watching a different show. If I was trying to share one or two cable boxes that would have led to a conflict.


We have whole house audio implemented with Sonos gear - that works fine since there is a player for each zone. Sharing a central server of music works in this case since each player can play a different file on the server. The requirements of streaming music are low, so it's not a problem for the server to handle multiple zones.


Streaming video is also possible using a central server but, with current technology, the number of players streaming video at the same time is much more limited then with music.


When designing the wiring for my daughters new home I ran wiring to allow for such a scheme as you propose but concluded that multiple sources (video that is) at the point of use was much simpler and more versatile.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by fcwilt /forum/post/19584586


The problem I find with all such schemes is the conflict over who gets to use the source. I just spent two weeks at my daughters new home. The have installed (so far) three TVs. It was common for all TVs to be in use, each watching a different show. If I was trying to share one or two cable boxes that would have led to a conflict.


[snip]


When designing the wiring for my daughters new home I ran wiring to allow for such a scheme as you propose but concluded that multiple sources (video that is) at the point of use was much simpler and more versatile.

You need to learn to share.



Distributing sources is primarily to enable access to content/devices where duplicating them locally is either cumbersome or expensive. But yes, having to "share" the source can become a problem.


A good general rule of thumb in designing these setups is: One set-top box per family member, and adjust up/down from there based on expected usage. If your daughter usually has just 2 people in the household, then 2 cable boxes was probably never a problem for them. Adding another viewer to the mix is what created the conflict...



Jeff
 

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Well actually when my wife and I are visiting there are 4 adults and 4 kids - so conflict is fairly common.
 

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Minor thing...I'm assuming your HDMI (red) terminology is rather loose to actually being other video transfers? I say this as the Wii does not do HDMI. The most you can do is component to your AV receiver. But I'm also assuming that they will reside close to each other, so it doesn't really matter, but if they don't, you may want to run some additional cable and not just HDMI cable.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by touchton /forum/post/19582493


For audio I'm thinking of running speaker wire from each room back to the basement. I'm thinking we could go with 6 or 8 zones. I don't want to have a keypad or wall control. I'm thinking something that would work with an iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, or web control. Maybe a keypad on each floor would work too. This is where I need some practical advice.

Even if you don't want control/keypads now, wire the audio zones as recommended by the CEA so that you can add them in the future. All you have to do is loop the speaker wires through a switch location and add a cat5 wire. If you don't want to have a blank plate on the wall, photograph/document the locations and just bury the wires in the wall. Easy enough to cut a low-volt ring in the future.


Also for your audio system, consider the video sources (especially the set-top boxes) as potential audio sources. Sports, music channels, etc. are frequently used even without a display nearby...


(another minor point for your diagram - the audio amp/switch is not usually referred to as a 'matrix', which may be confusing for some people looking at it. "Whole House Audio" or "audio distribution amplifier" is less confusing)


Jeff
 

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Two things I thought of for your setup. Slightly opposed to others on the OTA part. If you have TV's with OTA tuners built in and you actually watch standard content OTA is a great way to get multiple channel sources for free. The only cost of OTA is running the RG-6 and the signal AMP, no monthly cost for additional DVR. Plus each TV can watch whatever channel it wants.


The second part is possibly alternative or supplemental to AirPort Express. Do you want to stream any non iTunes content like Pandora, Slacker or web based radio? Not sure what the current capabilities of the AirPort Express is in that regard.
 

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IMO


If you came to me with a request like this I would suggest the following.


Rooms w/o TV's sonos ZP120


Rooms w/ TV's 2.0 sonos ZP120 + appleTV + TiVo/DirecTV/Dish DVR


Rooms w/ 5.1/7.1 system get an AVR + ZP90 + appleTV + TiVo/DirecTV/Dish DVR


If you want to run distributed video my guess will be that you are running from a local source I.E. off your harddrive in which case the appleTV will be fine. The issues with people sharing a source can be a real drag and I would try to avoid that. For things like DVR retrieval look at getting TiVo or some kind of dish service the DVRs can play back into different rooms, cable DVRs always seem to lag behind other venders.
 
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