New Home Wiring : Newbie Questions (PLEASE HELP)

blueeyedsoulbrother

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Feb 14, 2009
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My 72 year old father is finally building his dream home and has been coming to me for all his technical questions. My head is spinning and I've tried to talk to a few home theater wiring outfits including Best Buy's Magnolia outfit. I feel this should be relatively simple but the proposals these places offer seem to be intentionally confusing so they can make up charges.

Anyone willing to help me with an idea of what I need to purchase and need to do, I think I could install and set it up myself. The sheet rock is not up yet and we want to do as much in wall as possible and somewhat future proof it. I was looking at HDbaseT but have been told it's not the way to go (by BestBuy).

What we want is the following and please suggest alternatives and additions where you see fit:

- For each room (10+) we want it to be TV ready. Perhaps cable boxes in the basement on a rack with IR recivers in each room. What IR units are good and reasonably priced? How would we direct the cable box/channel to the correct TV/room?

-Cat6(?) connectors in each room, HDMI in wall for hooking up bluray to wall mounted TV's seemlessly. Is there a length limit for Cat6? If I got 1000ft spools of it from Monoprice and just ran it from each room to the basement where we are likely to have a rack and router would be good? Would I need a switch or other device seeing as it's going to be more than 10 ethernet connections?

-Is HDbaseT even a viable option?

-We are not doing a home theater speaker set up yet but might do a theater room in the basement at a later date but a cost effective multiroom sound system would be nice. I was told Sonos might be the way to go. Ideas?

-For the TVs wall mounted in larger rooms I suppose we need to go with soundbars. Not interested in spending $500+ on a soundbar but want a decent sound upgrade from the TV speakers. Any particular model or brand recommendations?

I realize these are newbie questions but everything I read online is a completely different solution than the previous one. It's causing me more confusion than anything and I've seen some price points being way more than we care to spend. Not looking to go cheap but don't want to spend $8k on wiring which is what BestBuy has now quoted us.

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things. What else might we want or need? The idea is to do all this as neatly as possible and in wall before the sheetrock goes up.

Any guidance is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!!
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
-Cat6(?) connectors in each room, HDMI in wall for hooking up bluray to wall mounted TV's seemlessly. Is there a length limit for Cat6? If I got 1000ft spools of it from Monoprice and just ran it from each room to the basement where we are likely to have a rack and router would be good? Would I need a switch or other device seeing as it's going to be more than 10 ethernet connections?
I'll not address the rest of it, but for this part:

Cat5e is all you need. 1GB for up to 100 meters
Cat 6 does 10GB, but only for short distances. To go to the 100 meter distance at 10GB, you need Cat6a.

Don't buy 1,000 foot rolls. Buy 10 x 100 foot rolls instead. Why? Consider running 2X drops to each room. It is just as easy as running one. And with multiple shorter rolls, you can pull both at the same time. Instead of trying to estimate, cutting off two lengths, and getting it 6" too short.

Do not put the main router in the basement. Yes, I know that is convenient, because that is where the main entertainment center will be.
However, the basement is the absolute worst place to propagate the primary WiFi signal from. Put it on the first floor, and run cable down to the basement.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator
Yes, you will need multiple switches/patch panels.

Seeing as this is in the very early stages of construction, you might want to hire a local network guy. And talk to whoever you ISP/TV/Phone provider will be. They may have certain requirements or suggestions that we out here cannot see.

A few $$ spent today on local advice may prevent much more $$ spent later, or crappy performance. Your local ISP may do it for free.

And don't go to BestBuy. Get some independent guy.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
i wouldnt listen to best buy at all as they are a bunch of trained monkeys. half of them only know what the training tells them and even the geeksquad who are supposed to be computer gurus can be complete idiots.

i agree, never put the main router in the basement. it should be on the first floor in a central location so that the wifi source covers the entire house. the main internet panel such as from cable or fiber optic internet can be in the basement.

from this router you then have a few options... you can run a few lines out and then connect them up to switches or just run the lines direct to the rooms. or some combination of both. we are running a combination of both.. one line runs to each room but since i have multiple devices in one room i use a 4 port switch in that particular room.

at a bar minimum i would have a wall plate in each room behind the television with a cat5 port. you will likely need a coax connection to (they make faceplats with both on one 2x4 panel). you also need a power outlet in the general viscinity.

if you plan on setting up any computers or surround sound i would also put faceplates (can be blanks if its a future upgrade) with some drop lines down through the joists (pre drill holes). or if you are handy... you could just put them in later provided you leave the basement ceiling open to future changes.

of course you should do the whole basement ceiling with a nice drop ceiling for access to the above flooring wiring. it might not be the nicest ceiling you've ever seen but it is very convenient.

you dont need to go with soundbars. you could go with cheap sound systems instead. the energy take classic 5.1 is a good budget level surround system and all you would need is an amplifier. the speakers cost around $300 so that leaves you $200 for an amplifier (to get to your $500 budget you proposed for a soundbar) so is definitely doable. you can wall mount the speakers and have wall plates next to them to hide all wires.

for the main theater room you will want at minimum a 4x6 inch faceplate or two 4x4 faceplates for networking, coax and speaker connections. in each part of the room where a speaker exists you will want a 2x4 faceplate with speaker connectors to hide wires in the walls and ceiling.

i would buy the cat5e in 1000ft spools. in this way you can pull the wire in place and trim it to the exact length needed (leaving a few feet spare). if you go with 10x100ft rolls you will have alot of wasted material. its more time to do the prior but you save on materials bigtime.

honestly i never heard of HDbaseT before you mentioned it. honestly i dont think there is any real future proof solution at this moment. i would just use regular cat5e for your internet and coax for your tv... or whatever output your cable box uses for a multi room setup. talk to verizon, comcast or whoever you use for television about multi room setups. get transferred to one of the technicians who install it not one of the office jockeys.

its possible to put an av rack in the basement if centrally located. it would need to have adequate cooling so i wouldnt stuff it in a closet unless you have exhaust fans providing enough cooling for the equipment.

i cannot recommend any ir receivers as i dont know whats good for a good price.

there are also devices such as this.. http://www.electronichouse.com/product/details/kx7_in-wall_touchpanel/
which are touch panels you can place in walls to control a whole house media solution. i dont know many details on them though.
 

blueeyedsoulbrother

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Feb 14, 2009
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Thanks guys. I appreciate the info. All very helpful. If anyone has any more information please post.

Also I was checking Monoprice and they have Cat6 cable but do not specifically say if it's Cat6E, so I'll have to assume not. Wrote them and have yet to get a reply.
 

USAFRet

Splendid
Moderator


If it only says "Cat6", then that's what it is.
 
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