New multi-room A/V system - Any ideas
I could really use some help if anybody is willing. Ihave to start by saying that I’m not very worldly in the area of A/V, it’s awhole new world for me and I’m doing my best to learn, but it’s not easystarting from almost nothing (most I’ve ever had before it a TV and satellitebox in the living room).
I am refurbishing our home, it’s an big old farmhouse andas we’re a large family (five children), I thought, while I’m ripping theplaster off all the walls, I’d put in a multi room A/V system. Trouble is, Ihave a very limited budget once I’ve bought the TV’s themselves, so I’m tryingto figure out what I can achieve still.
Basically, what I want ideally is visual and audio mediain eleven locations (six bedrooms, guest room, kitchen, living room, play roomand cinema room) and further if possible audio media also in the dining roomand in the two bathrooms.
I think I have TV and Satellite mostly figured out, withthe exception of the cinema room anyway, my proposal is to use a Labgear TVdistribution amplifier (similar to HDU681S but more outputs) with five inputs oftwo sky+HDboxes, the tv ariel, and FM ariel, a DAB ariel and 12 outputs (so I haveone spare). This will only work with Coax, so only standard resolution (no HD),but except for the cinema room that is fine, and will delivery two skychannels, freeview, fm and dab radio to all the rooms, and by adding magic eyesand a global super plus combiner I can even control the sky boxes from eachroom if I want to. Total cost (excluding cabling) is about £300 plus the tv’sin each room
But that leaves me still with three main problems tosolve
1) I also want to be able to deliver recorded media toall of the rooms, independently, so mainly music (back-up cd’s or downloadedmusic) and back-up dvd’s, would also be nice to watch stored home movies andphotos. I’d like to be able to control the delivery of this media, in eachroom, with some kind of remote controller. I’ve considered
a) Sonos – But for 11 main rooms plus a further 3 zones,it’s going to be very expensive, and still won’t solve visual media, I do likethat it gives me access to Napster though, and I don’t know if any of the othersolutions can do that, can they?
b) Apple TV – Seems to have some potential, put one ineach room, give each family member an ipod touch, but I apart from 11 apple tv’sand 6 ipod touches, I don’t really know what else I need to make it work,presumably some kind of central device with itunes running (can I link 11 appletv’s to one itunes) and can I put home movies and back-up dvd’s into itunes?
c) Other streaming devices like boxee or xbox360 or ps3 –Again, seems to have some potential, with one in each room, though less clearhow to control the devices, although seems like they can handle wider varietyof media and can use a standard NAS drive at the hub to store everything, butis it a better or worse solution than apple tv? Any thoughts?
d) A central media server or media PC– Getting out of myleague to understand these, so much content on the net, so many conflictingarticles about how good or bad they are, and not clear to me what combinationof central device and client device I’d need and what costs would be, anysupport on options here would help, but again, I am looking for a budgetsolution.
e) I even thought, what about just a laptop in each room,directly connected to the tv, either with it’s own local storage, or also stillhaving a NAS on the network – But naturally more expensive than b) or c) soprobably not best budget option.
f) what am I missing, or which of the above would be moststable and easy to use
2) I need to figure out the cinema room – In there I wanta projector and screen, and want to be able to watch the sky+HD and the HDrecorded media, in HD, and have surround sound, 5.1, so how to integrate thiswith the rest, but have it in HD? Any ideas?
3) If I can, I’d like to be able to have a pair of cornerspeakers in each room, so the sound can either come from the TV, but also cancome out of speakers instead, but I am lost how to achieve this (have neverused speakers before, only tv). What is the difference between active speakersand passive speakers, how do I get the sound to go from my TV, to the speakers,what do I need in the middle and how much does it cost, or can I directlyconnect speakers to my TV, if so, what kind? I am not an audiophile, they don’tneed to be the worlds most amazing speakers, just basic room speakers todeliver a nice stereo sound, better than comes directly out of the TV itself.
Help… Please, anybody that has better knowledge than me,I’d appreciate help on any or all of the above, and I going off in wrongdirections, am I missing things that would do the job better… Already the aboveis the result of nearly two weeks of surfing and trying to learn, going roundin circles and feeling very out of my depth…. Am I making a mistake separating the tv from the recorded media, isthere a better ‘all in one’ solution, on a budget? Hope someone out there mightbe able to help me…