I'm amazed at the expertise I've encountered here trying to figure out my various questions. Now that I'm confident I can get as much Insteon working as I want to put in, I'm ready to think more about the shiny exciting world of AV distribution. Loudmouth opinions encouraged
My house is a Victorian row-house from 1896. All floors are original hardwood (i.e. cutting through them is discouraged), all exterior walls appear to be brick with a plaster layer over them (so in-wall cable runs are tricky). All ceilings and many interior walls appear to be dry-wall.
--What's there now?--
There is a surprising amount of wiring from the previous owner (apparently a fan of X-10). I have ceiling speakers in the kitchen and my office, wall speakers in the master bath, and outdoor speakers on the deck. These are all on impedance-matching volume controls that run down to a head-end in the basement, where they are all driven by the same amp. I have a media server on my third floor that outputs audio to this amp via coax interconnects, and then daisy chain off of this amp up one floor to the living room audio system (so it can play the same music the rest of the house is). ML is, of course, taking care of the pretty stuff and management of this system.
--What wiring exists?--
Nearly every room of interest for media distribution has 1 Cat5e line run to it. These all terminate at a head-end in the 2nd floor Laundry room. The living room has two wiring panels (both on the "wrong" side of the room for the TV...), with coax, S-Vid, Audio L/R, and 3 sets of speaker terminals. There are single coax runs to the two bedrooms of interest (currently wired for Cable TV)... and other random wires. Additionally, there is Cat5e wired for phone jacks throughout the house (unused). This is a summary based on my best memory of it, and my best understanding of the current setup.
--What is my vision for the system?--
My ultimate vision for the house is to have a display and output in all rooms, controlled 100% by MainLobby. I have a single HD DVR and don't envision watching enough TV (or having enough pairs of eyes in the house) to justify more than one TV feed in the house. I would like DVD/Recorded video to be centralized, either on a video server or in a changer. I would also assume there's an xbox 360 centralized (controller range won't be an issue).
In the living room, I would prefer to have only speakers and a TV (no components). In the two bedrooms, I wouldn't mind needing a receiver to shorten speaker cable runs. However, I would like these to be hidden in a closet, so they would be remotely controlled by ML (serial or IR). All video runs should carry HD signals.
--The Bottom Line--
That's an off the cuff version of what I'd like to get running in my house. I'd be happy to explain anything that isn't clear. The question is -- if this were your house, how would you approach this? Would you try to utilize existing wiring, or just go for it and put in the exact wiring you'd want? What would you cut out/add in for functionality or cost reasons? Would photos of any of this help?
I sincerely appreciate everyone's help that chimes in on this. I'd like to get clear on what this is going to look like before I start down any particular path that will constrain me in the future.
Good grief this stuff is cool.
Discuss with other members how to distribute and setup whole house audio and video. Let everyone know what combination of products you are using to accomplish this.
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