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Advice for Video/Audio in 4 zones


MitzyGoose

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Hi...I'm getting a house with Control 4 - just the basics, prewired for security, not sure what else yet. I'd like to add the distribution of TV/music. I have a NAS and have been copying my CDs and DVDs (ISO) to it. Here's what I think I need, could you help me validate?

I want tv/audio in 4 rooms

I want to be able to have two people watch two different TV sources at the same time

I already have a NAS with my personal music/DVD collection on it

I want to be able to watch Netflix at any tv (only one stream is required here - second person can't watch Netflix if I am)

Two people should be able to watch two different Uverse channels

Two people should be able to watch two different personal DVDs

I don't want to have individual media streaming boxes at the TV or a uverse box at each tv (takes too much space)

So, if this is what I want, I think I need:

- CAT6 ethernet connection in each room, connected to the main "network" area (probably master closet)

- 2 Media players that can stream from my NAS (Dune? Popcorn Hour? WD Live Hub? any preferences?)

- 2 Uverse boxes

- I already have a Bluray player with Netflix that I could put on the system

- Matrix switcher, 4 outputs, 8 inputs

- HDMI Baluns so that I can stream HDMI over CAT6 (not sure how many - 1 or 2 for each tv?)

I plan on getting a Bluray player for my computer so that I can copy my 3 Bluray disks to my NAS. My preference would be to have the media player play back my copied Bluray-on-NAS info.

To me...this shouldn't cost too much. Assume my house has the ethernet connections already. My uverse subscription already comes with 2 boxes without extra charge. So I think I only need to purchase the media players, matrix switch and baluns...right?

Seriously...how much money should I expect to spend? The dealer thought this could run like $30k and I can't see how it could cost that much. Is this something I could "do myself"?

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I am unsure what your budget is for the HDMI Matrix Switch, but most of the lower-mid end models require 2 x Cat6 per HDMI Balun. The Matrix Switch like SnapAV, Hydra and others require only 1 Cat 5e/6/7. I think James from Diamond Designs sells the SnapAV.

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I would put DVD players in the same room as the TVs. You Dune, STB/DVR and Uverse player can go through the matrix switch. If you can manage with 4 inputs, 4 outputs the Monoprice switch is awesome.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011310&p_id=8151&seq=1&format=2

Monoprice now has baluns that work over 1 cat5e/cat6 cable with IR/LAN, although I haven't used these at all.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011012&p_id=8123&seq=1&format=2

You can install all of this by yourself and then have your Control4 dealer come in and hook it up to the controller. This will save you a bundle over other brands of HDMI switches.

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asugarbe - I need to tell the builder how much wiring to put in. I think they'll charge me extra beyond their included 3 rooms but I want this addressed during building rather than having it run afterwards. So, if I have the money, should I put two Cat6 ports at each location? Is that better? I don't want to buy things that require only one if it will lead to a lower quality. Having said that, I am not expecting audiophile quality nor am I running a movie star viewing room. I just want "snow free" TV watching of 70's TV DVDs and stuff like the Mentalist. I don't want the signal to break up and I do want the sound/picture to be acceptable. The reason I have so many tvs is so that I can watch my instructional DVDs near my sewing machine or my knitting machine. I don't have a media room (that was converted into a craft room...seriously)

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More questions that I forgot to ask earlier. I want to be able to play music from my NAS throughout the house. Do I need another device to do this or is this just another input device into the switcher? Also, I will have speakers in the walls, what do I need to route the sound to the speakers? (sorry for the dumb question...I know how to do this if the sound receiver is in the room. Not sure how to do this when the devices are in the network closet)

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asugarbe - I need to tell the builder how much wiring to put in. I think they'll charge me extra beyond their included 3 rooms but I want this addressed during building rather than having it run afterwards. So, if I have the money, should I put two Cat6 ports at each location? Is that better? I don't want to buy things that require only one if it will lead to a lower quality.

If anything, I would recommend some type of vaccum tube to a central location to run your own wiring in the future. As for the Cat6, I recommend two drops. In the scenario of having a HDMI Matrix switch that requires 2 x Cat 6 or as a backup. Again, the main piece would be to add some mechanism of adding wires in the future like the Vacuum tube.

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More questions that I forgot to ask earlier. I want to be able to play music from my NAS throughout the house. Do I need another device to do this or is this just another input device into the switcher? Also, I will have speakers in the walls, what do I need to route the sound to the speakers? (sorry for the dumb question...I know how to do this if the sound receiver is in the room. Not sure how to do this when the devices are in the network closet)

I think the C4 Amps are solid. Since you are planning for whole-house audio, I would recommend the 4 or 8 channel amp. The C4 Controller(Director) can scan your NAS and would be one of the Audio-Inputs into the C4 Amp. Then you can distribute audio from your NAS into the different audio zones.

If you have an AVR like Denon, Marantz and others, then the C4 Controller can be an Audio Input on that device also.

You can use an Audio Switcher for the speakers, but you will then have to plan for Volume Controls and Remote Audio Zone Switching if needed. The C4 Amp is already intergrated, so you can control audio, adding/removing zones and specific volume controls from the MyHome App on many devices. There are other options like NuVo and others that I am not familiar with.

http://www.control4.com/residential/products/av/

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asugarbe - thanks for your advice. May I summarize to ensure that I understand?

- put two separate CAT6 lines run at each location (is shielded CAT 6 ok?)

- Hydra matrix thing for my video (movies/tv etc)

- Baluns to translate from ethernet to HDMI

- Control 4 controller for my music

- Prefer wiring chase to make it easier to add new ethernet (not sure if the builder will do this, but I will ask)

Note that if I put two drops at each location, that'd be 16 separate lines, excluding whatever might be needed for security cameras etc. So I suppose I should get a 24 port router?

Did I get that right? One more thing...do I need an ethernet port in the garage? I can't imagine why, but while they're running the line...

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asugarbe - thanks for your advice. May I summarize to ensure that I understand?

- put two separate CAT6 lines run at each location (is shielded CAT 6 ok?)

- Hydra matrix thing for my video (movies/tv etc)

- Baluns to translate from ethernet to HDMI

- Control 4 controller for my music

- Prefer wiring chase to make it easier to add new ethernet (not sure if the builder will do this, but I will ask)

1. I would recommend Cat6 STP or even 6A if it is within your budget.

2. Based on the forum, it seems like Hydra is the new-new that offers quite a few options. SnapAV seems to be a pretty viable option also. I must note I haven't used any of these devices personally.

3. Yes

4. Yes. C4 Controller will scan your file share for music and video. I would recommend that your Dealer adds at least 5 File Share Drivers during installation. You need a driver per file share.

5. Yes. This is ideal for any future wiring

Note that if I put two drops at each location, that'd be 16 separate lines, excluding whatever might be needed for security cameras etc. So I suppose I should get a 24 port router?

Did I get that right? One more thing...do I need an ethernet port in the garage? I can't imagine why, but while they're running the line...

The only requirement for the Switch would be for hard wire connections of the C4 Controller, NAS, and possibly a C4 Amp. If I'm not mistaken, the new HC-250 supports PoE. Most of the HDMI over IP Solutions require homerun connections from the Matrix switch to the Balun for the exception of JAP(Which requires a Managed Switch).

I would recommend running Cat5e/6 to the garage doors. C4 has the ability to control Garage Doors which normally requires 1 or the 4 pair Ethernet cables per door back to a controller.

I also use Ethernet drops for my Outdoor Camera system. They also come in handy for IR buds to control non-IP devices like TV, DVR, Blu-Ray and so on.

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