Help - AV Wiring plan before talk w. contractor

pbx2_gwJuly 19, 2012

Was hoping to get some advice from the community about my new build wiring before I talk to the contractor & my builder.

Plan is to have all 3 bedrooms + kitchen + family room + loft + maybe master bathroom be able to get:

1) Video served via a central server like Synology

2) TiVo/BluRay/CableTV video/audio distributed to each of the rooms

2) 5.1 Surround sound in family room

Basics:

I was thinking of having a home-run to each of above rooms with a dual Cat5e/RG6 Quad wire bundle like this.

That will solve the A/V wiring right?

What about the audio for the surround? Just a simple speaker wire run?

Appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

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bus_driver

While I am not up-to-date on the latest, I did my house as if the newest and best would change every year. I have three of the 3/4 ENT (Smurf tube) for each room running to a respective wall box. The other end of each ENT is either in the attic or the basement, accessible. From the basement to the attic, is a 1 1/2" and a 2" PVC conduit. So the newest and latest is just a matter of pulling out the old and pulling in the new.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:22PM
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Greg__R

With #2, if you are streaming full bit-rate BluRay you are going to need Cat6 and Gigabit Ethernet. How are you planing on distributing your A/V? Depending on your solution you may want additional cabling.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:12PM
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yosemitebill

While you're heading in the right direction, I would highly recommend talking with a reputable home audio/video installer first - not just a low voltage contractor - to help determine your needs.

Running 2x2 cable right now is the minimum since products may require one CAT5e for signal distribution and the other for an internet connection. What about a wired internet connection for a computer in that room? What about some wired land-line telephone connections? The 2 RG6s should be OK though the inflexible quad-shielding coax is only used due to interference from the CAT5e's running along inside the cable jacket.

If you're planning whole house audio, you'll need another feed, maybe CAT5e (for line level distribution and control signals) or 16/4 (for speaker distribution) for that as well.

BTW 2x2 cable ran before the rock goes up for most construction is usually pretty good to work with, but sometimes it can also be a real bear to work with - talk to the person who will be installing it.

Regarding your specific questions:

1) Depending on the video content you are attempting to stream from the NAS, I don't believe Synology is DLNA certified and may not be your best solution. NAS media streamers from companies such as Buffalo Technology may be a better option, especially if you're also trying to distribute auido streams such as iTunes.

2)Rather than centralizing all the equipment, which would also require cross point switching in the equipment rack, just put equipment such as Blu-Ray players in each room.

3)5.1 surround in the family room would be standard in-wall speaker wiring to the speakers - which if for home theater, the speakers should be in the walls - not the ceiling!

But then maybe consider wiring for a 7.1 receiver with 2-zone capabilities so that you could send a separate source to the kitchen or patio areas. I.E. - 5.1 surround sound video playing in the family room and stereo music in the kitchen or on the patio.

Lots to consider, which is why I recommend getting a really good A/V installer into the loop.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 7:26PM
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pbx2_gw

Posted by bus_driver (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 18:22

While I am not up-to-date on the latest, I did my house as if the newest and best would change every year. I have three of the 3/4 ENT (Smurf tube) for each room running to a respective wall box. The other end of each ENT is either in the attic or the basement, accessible. From the basement to the attic, is a 1 1/2" and a 2" PVC conduit. So the newest and latest is just a matter of pulling out the old and pulling in the new.

Thanks - I was trying to envision how all those wires can running through just one conduit. But you made me realize it is several conduit/smurfs correct?

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Posted by Greg__R (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:12

With #2, if you are streaming full bit-rate BluRay you are going to need Cat6 and Gigabit Ethernet. How are you planing on distributing your A/V? Depending on your solution you may want additional cabling.

I hadn't figure out the distribution appliance yet. My main goal was to get as much bandwidth pipes out to all the rooms mentioned above. I am just surprised that it appears I am underestimating the need for more cable.
Do you have a particular amount in mind?

Thanks again both for your feedback!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:24PM
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pbx2_gw

yosemite bill - thanks for answering this in details.
Wanted address your questions in kind.

Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

While you're heading in the right direction, I would highly recommend talking with a reputable home audio/video installer first - not just a low voltage contractor - to help determine your needs.

I really thought I was going the simplest route LOL!
Dedicate video distribution to all the rooms & really audio to only one room.

*********************************************************
Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

Running 2x2 cable right now is the minimum since products may require one CAT5e for signal distribution and the other for an internet connection. What about a wired internet connection for a computer in that room? What about some wired land-line telephone connections? The 2 RG6s should be OK though the inflexible quad-shielding coax is only used due to interference from the CAT5e's running along inside the cable jacket.

Distributing video+data was really my main objective. But wire internet & phone are being taken cared of by wireless for the most part in most of the rooms. & if some1 really needs to plug in, they will have one of those CAT5e or maybe even the newer Cat6 wires.

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Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

If you're planning whole house audio, you'll need another feed, maybe CAT5e (for line level distribution and control signals) or 16/4 (for speaker distribution) for that as well.

I am unfamiliar with the term "16/4" - can you please explain?

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Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

BTW 2x2 cable ran before the rock goes up for most construction is usually pretty good to work with, but sometimes it can also be a real bear to work with - talk to the person who will be installing it.

Noted!

*********************************************************
Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

Regarding your specific questions:

1) Depending on the video content you are attempting to stream from the NAS, I don't believe Synology is DLNA certified and may not be your best solution. NAS media streamers from companies such as Buffalo Technology may be a better option, especially if you're also trying to distribute auido streams such as iTunes.

Like I said above, I am not locked into the appliances yet. It's more about getting the pipes ready for what will eventually come on down & you are helping me with all the talking points!

*********************************************************
Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

2)Rather than centralizing all the equipment, which would also require cross point switching in the equipment rack, just put equipment such as Blu-Ray players in each room.

I think my feeling on this has always been I'm trying to reach that Utopian ideal of centralization of the equipment to cut the clutter in each room but also fully knowing that it we are not there yet as enthusiasts & equipment makers & thus this could be very painful & costly! LOL!

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Posted by yosemitebill (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 19, 12 at 19:26

3)5.1 surround in the family room would be standard in-wall speaker wiring to the speakers - which if for home theater, the speakers should be in the walls - not the ceiling!

But then maybe consider wiring for a 7.1 receiver with 2-zone capabilities so that you could send a separate source to the kitchen or patio areas. I.E. - 5.1 surround sound video playing in the family room and stereo music in the kitchen or on the patio.

Great suggestion! However, due to budgetary constraints, I was going to overcome the remote audio to kitchen or patio by either putting in portable stereo or using something like an Apple Airport Express to stream music.

Question: where does a receiver go in the entire scheme with a server? Does the receiver go through the server? or the server goes through the receiver?

*********************************************************
Thanks again yosemitebill!!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 4:15PM
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bus_driver

I used 3 conduits per room to create three separate locations per room-- for flexibility of placing equipment supplied by communication cables.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 7:02PM
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Greg__R

>> Do you have a particular amount in mind?

Pbx, an example of where additional Cat5/6 runs would be required would be HDMI point-to-point units. These use Cat5e/6 but are NOT Ethernet. Additionally, IR commands can be repeated over cable (many folks use Cat5 but less conductors is also an option). At this point you'd still need a 3rd wire for your TCP/IP network aka "internet".

Option 1)
- HDMI point to point (1 cable)
- IR repeater to control remote equipment (1 cable)
- Ethernet (1 cable)

Option 2)
- HDMI over TCP/IP (1 cable)
- IR repeater over TCP/IP (share cable)
- Ethernet (share cable)
- 1 switch in each room so each item can be plugged in (computer, HDMI receiver, IR repeater I/O)

Some units can receive all of option #2's communications so you wouldn't need a switch. As you can guess, the TCP/IP based stuff is going to cost more and be a little harder to setup in terms of your home network. Option #1 will be the cheapest in terms of equipment cost but will use the most cabling.

The really high end stuff (Crestron, etc.) use fiber optic cables that carry all the standards and have a box in each room. Only dealers can install/program these systems and they are $$$$.

Anyway, there are so many options you definitely want to add the smurf tube so you can fish another wire through yourself if required. Personally, my home has 2 Cat6 and 2 RG6 routed to each room. I then have a switch to split out the signals I need. For example, the master bedroom has the switch which connects the remote IR, TV, and XBMC box and lighting. The other port is on the other side of the room and allows us flexibility if we want to rotate/remodel our room at some point.

If you're talking about a bunch of wires, I'd strongly consider a central network rack + patch bay (used)... this is much nicer than the "box on the wall" solution which get crowded very quickly.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 8:36PM
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