dunks517's self-build and digital home install


Well-known Member
Hello there, the following few pages will detail the impementation of my self build and home install, do bear in mind that this has been installed for 4 years, technology has moved on and although hindsight is a wonderful thing, we're happy as Larry.

Here's my intentions/Mission Statement (cough cough):rolleyes: :

The Family Digital Home
The Digital home concept for myself started at the planning stage when I bought my first 5.1 system, DVD and mini-disc player in 2001, this led to a natural progression to adding an MP3 player, laptop and PDA over time and leading to an Xbox, Xbox 360 and Media Center PC. What I wanted to do was have all this to hand wherever I was in my home and over time I started to formulate an idea of what I wanted. At the same time we also started to look at a self-build and after 4 years of dead ends and false starts we have finally set off to live down Convergence Avenue. We planned our new home always with an eye to accommodating whole house music video and internet and over time formulated the following aims:

1. Centralised media (music, video, TV & Images).
2. High Definition TV & Video and high quality Music in multiple areas in the house and garden.
3. Control of lighting, heating, AV equipment and appliances from a centralised point (and over a mobile/internet connection).
4. Ease of access for all members of family - no over-complicated programs/GUIs.
finally the most important aim:
5. To achieve the above on a budget that is wife-friendly.


The zones in the home are:

1. AV Hub/Boot Room.
2. Living Room.
3. Office
4. Family room & Kitchen
5. Master Bedroom and en-suite
6. Family Bathroom
7. Childs Bedroom
8. Garden

Note: All items in red font are still work in progress.

The following pictures should explain how it all works:

Multiroom audio:


Video Distribution:


The home LAN:


AV Hub/Boot Room:

This is where the following AV gear is situated in a flush wall mounted 19" data cabinet:

a. MCE Win 7 PC (Dell studio 540) with Bluray Drive and DVB-T2 TV Card feeding 2 rooms with Freeview HD.
b. Network switches & patch panels.
c. Sky HD.
d. Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver.
e. External Hard Drives totalling just under 2Tb of storage.
f. Speaker switches.
g. Sonos Zoneplayer 80.
h. IR transmitter (from Living Room).
i. Coax TV & FM distribution.
j. 24 port rackmount Ethernet Switch.
k. Netgear ADSL Wifi Router.
l. Karaoke DVD Player.
m. Sennheiser RF headphones.
n. Xbox 360 HD-DVD Add-on.
o. Kinect



1. 4 x Cat5e Wall ports.
2. Network connected printer.
3. LCD Monitor (connected by 5m in-wall VGA to PC in Boot Room).
4. Wireless Keyboard and mouse.
5. Wired for but not fitted with ceiling speakers.


Living Room*:

1. Panasonic TH-42PX70B plasma display. Panasonic - ideas for life - Page not found
2. B&W CWM 6260 Hi-Fi, Home Theater & iPod® Speakers – Bowers & Wilkins | B&W Speakers (fronts & centre). BW CWM for the rears Hi-Fi, Home Theater & iPod® Speakers – Bowers & Wilkins | B&W Speakers
3. Kef HTB2 Subwoofer in Gloss Black. KEF Audio - Powered Subwoofer PSW2500
4. 10M HDMI cable & power cables running in-ceiling for future projector
5. 5M HDMI, Component, USB,VGA, Coax & 2x Cat5e cables running in-wall from behind Plasmas on wall.
6. IR receiver in-wall.
7. X10 wall switches/scene controllers.
8. Logitech Harmony One Remote Control.




* All AV equpment supplying the Living Room is situated in the Boot Room approx 3.5M from the wall where the plasma will be situated.

Family Room/Kitchen:

1. 32" LCD TV - Technika Tesco's Special.
2. Xbox 360 (for gaming and MCE).
3. Sony HTK 475 Amp, Speakers & subwoofer.
4. 2 x Cat5e Wall Ports.
5. 6. Sennheiser HDR 120 RF Headphones.
7. X10 wall switches.
8. Ceiling stereo speakers & in wall volume control.
9. Toshiba EP-30 HD-DVD player.





Family Bathroom

1. 2 Linn Diskreet in-wall speakers fed from the Hub via Zone 2 of the Onkyo Amp.


2. The Speaker volume control:


Master Bedroom

1. 2. Acoustic Solutions SP101 amp.
2. 2 x in-ceiling speakers
3. 2 x Cat5e Wall ports.
4. Coax for TV.
5. 19" LCD DVB-T TV



Childs Bedroom[/B]

1. 2 x Cat5e Wall ports.
2. Coax for TV.
3. 32" LCD TV
4. Win 7 PC.
5. 2.1 Altec Lansing powered speakers
6.Xbox 360.
7. PS3.
8. Wii


1. 2 x outdoor speakers connected to Boot Room amp zone 2. Music selected via PDA using Rudeo MCE Control.




The setups around the house are controlled by either Logitech Harmony remote controls or via a iPhone, iPd Touch or iPad 1. The software for the Apple Devices are

My Movies
VMC Mote
Sonos Controller
Logitech remote mouse.

Please feel free to add any comments/suggestions.
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Well-known Member
The first fix is now complete with all the cables run, each room has internal ceiling speakers, 2x cat5e & 1 x coax with the exception of the family room and lounge which both have a 5.1 setup (and also the bathroom with just speakers in them). The living room has a 10M HDMI for a projector in the ceiling and 1 HDMI, 1 VGA, 1 Coax, 1 Component & 1 Cat 5e run into the plasma wall from the hub.

The Lounge, Kitchen, Family room, Dining Area and Hall are to be fitted with RAKO and all the wiring is complete.


Wouldn't load for me in Firefox, OK in Explorer, looking good.

Deleted member 39001

Why Cat5 and not Cat6 for futureproofing for gigabit? Also hope you firewall all that lot like mad.
I would love to see your finished product.
I am very jealous of your view, what part of the land have you built it in?


Well-known Member
I used 2 boxes of Cat5e, one was partially used and was around 200m from my Brother in Law (there was about 5M left in the box when I finished the runs) and the other was around £40.00 from Lets Automate. I chose Cat5e because they usage will be General computing, Xbox Live and streaming audio & video. My daughter doesn't use that much bandwith when playing on the Cbeebies and Bratz websites! I took the choice of Cat5e on a cost basis and also on the fact it can handle HD feeds and music etc no problem. Incidentally I bumped into a couple of Custom-Installers about 2 years ago and they said that I should just use Fibre on the runs, which is just about as future-proof as I think you can get. (I do want to be able to afford to eat as well!)

The House is in NE Scotland, the hills are the Mearns and are the beginnings of the Cairngorms, If you carried on over the hills for about 20 miles you will reach Lochnagar and Balmoral. When I get the chance I can be Clmbing on a Mountain Crag in an hour and be skiing in little over 1 1/2 hours. (I've got a slipped disc at the moment!)
The view is fantastic except the council planted some trees just the other side of the wall! For some reason they do not seem to be growing very well ;)



Deleted member 39001

Scotland you say, well at least it's warmer down here in the South West even if I haven't got that fantastic view. How long were you looking for the land for? You certainly got a great spot.
Agreed on the fibre optics, definetly will future proof anything pretty much but total overkill.

Have you heard of Windows Home Server at all?


Shown at Cebit this year, it's servers for the home geared around entertainment, photo's, music etc. No pricing yet but the HP unit is interesting as you can just chuck a new hard drive unit on and Windows Server will automatically detect it and put it in it's raid etc? Will be interesting to see where it goes for AV.


Well-known Member
The countdown to the last 4 weeks has started! The exterior is by and large completed and the inner stud fitting is in the last stages, During the last weekend I fitted the pattress boxes into the walls (better to cock up now rather than later when everything is finished and painted!) The frame for the AV cabinet is in place and the rack has been cannibalised so I just have the internal 19" rack and I'm going to spray it black and insert it flush into the wall in the office. The big worry now is whether the trees to the front of the house will prevent us from getting Sky!!! A life with Freeview alone seems hardly worth living!!

The next stages are:

1. Termination of all cables.
2. Fitting of TV aerial.
3. Construction of 19" rack.
4. Fitting of Plasma.
5. Installation of speakers.
6. Installation and testing of all av eqpt.

Here are a few photos

1. The Lounge plasma wall.
2. Rear of the Lounge.
3. The Family room where the Xbox 360 will be situated (note the pole holding up the ceiling which may be chromed for those "special" evenings in with the missus!)
3. The front of the house.


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Well-known Member
Guess which smart bloke found a 5M scart lead in the garage that should be in the wall from the boot room to the plasma wall! :suicide: Looks like I'll have to find a good deal on Sky HD and there goes the amp now! Theres no way I'm going to connect Sky via composite (using 1 of the component cables) or coax on a plasma!


Active Member
Guess which smart bloke found a 5M scart lead in the garage that should be in the wall from the boot room to the plasma wall! :suicide: Looks like I'll have to find a good deal on Sky HD and there goes the amp now! Theres no way I'm going to connect Sky via composite (using 1 of the component cables) or coax on a plasma!

the perfect mistake !:thumbsup:

don't forget to look upset to the wife


Hi Dunks,
Can't wait to see the final result of this multi-room custom-install project. Beautiful house by the way, it seems to have a nice bit of character about it.



Well-known Member
I have been starting on the installation at last, it has only taken 5 years since we started to plan a house and 3 since we got the land. More pics will follow but here are a couple from today off my phone of the Hub/Boot Room/Rack (can't decide what to call it):rolleyes:

Picture 1: Showing position in relation to the Plasma wall.

Picture 2: The hub and the mighty folding saw!:smashin:


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Well-known Member
Here is the latest drip feed update, I have been fitting the kitchen and other assorted jobs this week, here are some photos:

1. The faceplate and gubbins on the plasma wall - note the larger hole created during the search for the power cables! (coiled up out of reach)

2 . The Plasma wall.

3. The half-finished kitchen

4. The plasma wall again.

5. The patio adrift on a sea of soil.


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Well-known Member
Here are the latest photos from the delayed entry into the house, apparently if the one trade is delayed (the arrival of the doors ) it means that all the trades can bugger off and start other jobs leaving our jobs half done! Very frustrating!!:mad:

However here are some pictures of the hub:

1. The empty hub showing the loftbox for coax tv, DAB & FM.
2. Cable Management!!
3. Sockets & IR controller.
4. Panny 42PX70B.
5. Bowers & Wilkins CWM6260 custom speaker & IR receiver.
6. Cable outlet for VGA & power for desk monitor, Receiver for mouse & keyboard, cradle for PDA and leads for Sennheiser RF HDR-120 remote headphones.
7. The hub awaiting Sky HD, Sky+, 2 Ch amp for multiroom & Xbox 360 with HDDVD add-on.

Also have bought a Kef HTB2 Sub (the wife insisted on it!)

The VGA cable in the wall to the plasma doesn't work so the PC is connected via component with no overscan :clap: I shall also connect with HDMI and compare Sky HD using the same cables to ascertain the best method of viewing.


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Well-known Member
Looking good Dunks. I've been following your build for a while, looks like you've got all the toys i couldn't quite strech to or accommodate in my build. :( ;)

Here are the latest photos from the delayed entry into the house, apparently if the one trade is delayed (the arrival of the doors ) it means that all the trades can bugger off and start other jobs leaving our jobs half done! Very frustrating!!:mad:

I know that feeling. Although I have to say, I've had some really good guys working on my project, and even when I've missed my slot due to late deliveries, they've managed to work something out for me.

Also. its nice to see that you've gone for the wheelbarrow in the kitchen look too. I do like the rustic feel.:D

Deleted member 39001

Why do you have under interets: Saving the planet?
When you going to be contributing big time to the ol global warming with that lot in your house?? :D
Or have you got some solar power going on or wind power?
I like the windows above your front door, kind of reminds me of a canadian house.

Congrats on finishing most of the house by the way, is their much let to do bar installing your kit?. I can't wait to see all your kit installed and running. :thumbsup:


Well-known Member
My main effort will be getting the hub sorted and all systems working in the lounge, then the family room and daughters room and finally installing speakers in the rest of the house as the budget will allow (I also have a big garden!). I have some cheaper ceiling/bathroom speakers from Ebay (£30 for 4) which will be installed first then replaced by the B&W ones as funds will allow and the LCD in the family room will look suspicously like a Sanyo 32" CRT for the time being!!:(

BT are seriously getting on my nerves! first they say that I gave a false name and that I made a fraudulent application, and now trying to get them to actually come and drill through the wall and connect the cable that they supplied but we had to put under the road is getting a joke. All of the utilities companies service has been diabolical to list a couple:

Electricity: the company cashed our cheque and then the chappy said he had never received our application (we had correspondence with his signature on it).

Gas: Lost our payment!

Water: We had a problem with the size of the mains pipe at the end of the drive, they sent an 'expert' who could verify if the pipe was large enough - he didn't have the authority to say, when finally authority was granted the chap who gave us the permission to connect to the pipe then phoned up stating that we had made an illegal connection and he deals with 20+ cases a day and couldn't recall granting authority, he was not interested in resolving the matter just covering his ass.

Funny old thing: We went over the heads of the people we were dealing with and spoke with their managers and funnily enough our problems were strangely resolved!

Moral: Gas, Electric, BT & Water have the monopoly for installing the services so they can be inept with no recourse - where else could I go to get my house powered and watered? (once they are installed we are hitting the web looking for the best deal!)

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