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New multi-room A/V system - Any ideas

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slmonline's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
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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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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But that leaves me still with three main problems tosolve

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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

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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?

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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.

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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…

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slmonline's picture
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Joined: 31 Jan 2011
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Re: New multi-room A/V system - Any ideas

Specifically my requirementsare to have:>>


Audio and Video in 11 rooms, and audio only in afurther 3 rooms which are linked with the same output as three of the original11 (so just sub zones), ideally with the sources all being in a central hub (arack in a cupboard). I want each media point to have independent control ofwhat they watch or listen to, so in fact to be able to do 11 different thingsat the same time and control what they are doing with a remote, at the mediapoint.

As an idea of budget, excluding the cabling,projector, speakers and televisions, sky boxes and ariels (so mainly focusing onswitches, remote controllers, IR extenders, servers, clients, drives,streamers, amps if needed) I am trying to come in somewhere between £2000 and£3000, the more complete a system, the more integrated and centrallycontrolled, the more functionality, the more I would spend I guess... Ofcourse, if my expectations are entirely unrealistic, then I need to be toldthat and told what budget I should be looking at... I do however prefer tocompromise on my requirements where possible, to keep within budget

big1986ben's picture
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Re: New multi-room A/V system - Any ideas

I would use a NAS for your music and something like the Asus O!play for each room, I would run ethernet cable to each room all to your router you will need a switch as well. This will distribute all digital media. As for the Sky you could run coax and use a splitter and magic eyes but you could only watch one channel on all TVs at the same time. 

 

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gas2u's picture
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Joined: 26 May 2009
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Re: New multi-room A/V system - Any ideas

Hi


I have slowly been doing the same in my house.


I have used two setups that crossover i will describe as follows.


I started by running 2 cat5e cables to each room from a central point under the stairs where i keep myAVA MEDIA  RS5 Sever unit with all my digital media saved to it, also i have my 24 way  switch there  to distribute the data.


To read and play the data i only have two devices at the moment 1 is the Mede8er and then Xtreamer, i find the xtreamer better at the moment. Both these will stream all movie,video,mp3 data and pictures stored on any device plugged into the network. HD video can sometimes stutter depending on file format and for music the downside is that you need a display (tv) turned on to navigate the menus.


Both devices will play streaming media from the internet subscriber music movies etc but NO iPlayer.


For my music i opted for sonos i think it is amazing i have used ZP120 for all rooms but the Kitchen where there is a S5 unit with Monitor audio Ceiling speakers linked to most of them just a set of older stereo speakers used for the dinning room and Monitor Audio Climates for the patio sound.


I have subscribed to Napster for almost 2 years and it is very good but for the last 2 months with the issue that is now in hand with Napsters and Sonos by there own admission.


I hope this helps or gives you an idea