what do i want?

doogan123December 15, 2008

Hello everyone.

So I moving along on my build, and need to take into account audio/video/network. On the network side - I have that covered - I do that for a living. Will run cat 6 all over. I am not a believer of wireless as the backbone

On the Audio / Video - I know i need wire for it, but have no idea what or how to design it. This does need to be a DIY project. Wiring/electonic setups are not challenging for me. I just do not know anything about AV setups

So I guess I need to try and understand what my options are. I know i want Audio in built in speakers, I want TV in a few rooms (the Master suite, den etc). I will be doing a Home theather in the basement later ( not finishing basement now). Do I have a central DVD player or jukebox? Central Cable box? How do i control these from the various rooms? How does the audio from one cable box come into the TV in a specific room. Do I Zone it out for each floor or is that a more expensive approach ( More equipment?) These may be basic questons or very loose thoughts, but i am not familiar

Are there any resources out there that can show me what the basics are first, before i can even engage anyone in a design converstaion.

I am at the point soon that i need to run all the wiring so i am tight on time ( month or so)

I hope someone can help me out as i do my research

thanks all

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I suggest running a lot of conduit instead of committing to any single wiring approach. I wired my entire home - security, data, A/V etc. My philosophy was to run cables where I needed connectivity on day 1, conduit in all other places. The only exception to this was speaker wire which I put in before drywall (even though whole house audio system is a down the road project) because it seemed easier to me to run speaker cables instead of conduit.

I established a central hub in the basement to terminate all the cables. From each second floor bedroom, I have a homerun of conduit (somet have 2) to the basement. I also ran a conduit from the attic to the basement just in case (I later used this conduit to solve an HVAC issue on the second floor).

All of the main floor voice and data cables were installed and home run to the hub where I have a voice and data distribution center. Phone, satellite TV and satellite Internet feeds run to this location and are distributed to the various rooms on the main level.

For audio, I installed home made speaker boxes into the ceiling and ran CL3 (4 conductor, high quality) standed wire from the speakers to gang boxes on a wall close by where a controller could be installed in the future. The gang boxes have conduits that run into the basement. I purchased decent, but moderately priced, speakers to cover up the speaker holes after drywall was done.

My approach would allow me to wire up a central audio/video station in the basement if I decided to go that route. I instead chose to have 2 different audio/video consoles in the house - one in the family room (where we watch TV 99.9% of the time) and another console in a reading room that is next to the master suite. My decision to use this approach is based on the house design and how we live in it. But I have the conduits in place so I could always relocate equipment to the basement down the road if I want.

Since you are about a month out you need to start stocking up your supplies soon if you plan on purchasing at big box stores (which i recommend since you can over buy and return unused parts later). The big box stores sell the conduit and other parts but each store usually has a limited quantities. I wound up cleaning out a few home depots and lowes stores in my area when I was purchasing the materials for my house.

Make sure you have a nice set of hole making drill bits and a powerful drill (1/2 inch) plus a bunch of batteries if you don't have power at the house. I wound up using a 3/8th drill and I worked it like a sled dog - used 6 batteries a day. A larger drill would have made life easier.

I think you will find that the conduit approach is much easier than pulling cables especially if you are doing it yourself which is how I installed mine. I recommend that you take a little extra time and properly secure the conduit to studs and gang boxes to avoid kinking as well as lost tubes when you attempt to pull cables down the road. I also avoided using splices (tried to make each run 1 continuous length of conduit) - you wind up with a little more waste but it will make life easier when pulling cable later.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 29, 2008 at 12:52PM
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I cringed when I saw your mention of 'DVD'.... So 20th century. I suggest you get a Sony Playstation 3 and experiment with it. (I don't have the 1st game for mine). The PS3 has a Blu-Ray in it, wireless that will talk to your computer and use it as a media server, surf the web, play your music, slideshow your pix, play your videos, download and play PPV HD movies, download and show movie trailers. It's the best-kept secret in Home theater. If everyone knew about what they can do, a lot of home theater specialists would be kicking cans down the street mumbling 'who'd a thunk'......

    Bookmark   January 20, 2009 at 4:34AM
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