Setting up a PC-based Home Theatre with Zone 2

Mar 16, 2018
Hello good people, and thank you in advance for your patience. this is not a short post...

After many years of watching movies and TV on a 15" laptop, I decided to save up and invest a little in a home theatre. I've been searching for the perfect setup that will last for many years (I'm not rich enough to buy cheap products...), all that's left are some issues I have that I would really appreciate help with.

I am interested in the following items:
- TV - LG OLED65E7P (assuming price will drop once the 2018 models are shipping)
- AV Receiver - Denon AVR-X3400H (7.2 channels, 2nd zone, etc.)
- Remote - Logitech Harmony 650 (or Elite, for the hub)
- Console - Xbox One (Maybe the One X)

Other than that I have some older analogue stuff like a tape cassette, VCR and a turntable that will all connect to the receiver, and I'll add some minor stuff as well, like a Bluetooth transmitter for headphones, Amazon's Echo Dot and maybe a streamer. My questions are:

1). I have about 40TB of downloaded video and audio content on my external HDs. If I create a home network for all my PC and HDs - Do I still need HDMI to connect the PC to the AV Receiver or can I get video and audio files from the PC via wi-fi to the receiver (or TV)?

2). Assuming that my laptop or PC needs to be connected to the receiver (via the PC's only HDMI output) - how can I turn my TV into the PC's 2nd screen? Do I need to disconnect it from the receiver and connect to the TV each time or is there an easier solution?

3). Do I really need a streamer for content? Or is it a must in case I want to work on the computer while the others watch Netflix or Amazon TV? If I do get it - does it connect to the TV or to the receiver? Also - Do I need a video recorder or can the HDMI cable between my PC and the receiver stream the signal to the PC from the receiver?

4). The TV, receiver, and the X-box all have LAN ports. What do I need to connect directly to the Internet (other than the PC) or to the home network, and what is good with wi-fi?

5). To use the 7.2 receiver's Zone 2 function - as I have a couch-againt-wall situation in my living room forcing me to use a 5.1 setup, I have an option to connect 2 speakers from the receiver to the adjacent bedroom. Is there a wireless option for that? (I already need to drill a wall to connect the bedroom TV to the receivers as the 2nd monitor output)

6). Zone 2 is my bedroom. To browse and play content that is stored in my living room PC from bed - what do I need? Will a 2nd set of mouse and keyboard do the job? If I want to use wireless headphones in the night at bed - where do I connect the bluetooth transmitter and/or bluetooth receiver? Or do I connect to the AV receiver via bluetooth?

7). If I decide again getting the Xbox - can my PC still play downloaded BluRay movies?

8). What set of 5.1 speaker would you recommend to go with these specs that would not be inferior to them nor an overkill?

9). Do I need a UPS box for all this stuff or will a power-strip surge protector do for about 5 big appliances and about 8-10 small ones?

I would appreciate help with all this (or parts of it). I learned a lot during the search for all the stuff, and I read as much as I could but I am really not all that tech savvy.

Thanks in advance,
1. You can do it either way. I would prefer HDMI myself.
2. The video or graphics control panel will allow you to set the receiver/TV as your extended or 2nd display. If the receiver is off the PC will detect that so you can leave it connected.
3. If you are working on the PC it would be simpler for viewers to control the content themselves with a streamer. If you have a Xbox I think that will work as a streamer. HDMI cables are one way (except for the audio return channel). All your sources would connect to the receiver. TVs don't have video outputs and the HDMI out of a receiver is HDCP encoded so you can't record it. You can't get a video card with HDMI input that is HDCP compliant. You can record content that's playing from the PC on the PC but not from any other source.
4. Since it doesn't seem that you will be streaming from TV apps you could probably go WIFI for it. The receiver would also be fine WIFI. I would hardwire the Xbox just in case. If you can hardwire them all then do it.
5. You have the option to use the powered speaker output for passive speakers or connect a bluetooth transmitter to the line level zone 2 output.
6. If you want to do music streaming get a Denon receiver with HEOS built in. That will get you one source of streaming that can be use in both zones (but not play different content at the same time). If you use wireless HEOS speakers or soundbars anywhere in the house you can have many separate zones.. Control is via IOS or Android app on whatever you want to use. Much easier and more flexible. Heos also plays hires audio files over the network and you connect the drive to the receiver or PC.
7. Your PC can play BD discs.
8. Speakers depends on the room size and layout, speaker placement requirements (bookshelf, floorstanding, in wall or ceiling etc) and your budget. Get the best front speakers you can. A high quality sub that doesn't boom is also important. You can save some money using cheaper surround speakers.
9. Your PC will want a UPS. Running a TV and receiver off one would require a large unit. Not stricktly required. APC makes some specifically for AV.
You may need more than one if the gear isn't close enough. Your older analog sources can get by without anything.
The batteries in these units all require periodic replacement. Not cheap either.
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