General Setup Help - Blank Canvas


Established Member
Nov 13, 2006
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Hi everyone

Long-time lurker on here but never really had the need to post, until now that is. I'm looking for some general help in building a home cinema from the ground up, and ideally would like some guidance on what to look for and buy not only for a home cinema, but also for home networking and smart home as well. I didn't know which forum to post in - mods feel free to move this if it belongs elsewhere.

Back in my bachelor days i had a 36" Sony TV with a Marantz amp and 5 B&W speakers in the lounge, those days are long since gone (as is this knowledge) and am now in a very different position - we're halfway through our own house build and heading towards installing the wiring in January, so i'm looking now at how to wire the house up to support a reliable home network that'll use smart home technology, as well as having a dedicated 5m x 4m home cinema room.

I have so many questions that I don't even know where to start so I'd love to hear from anyone who is knowledgeable about:
  • Home cinema - screens, speakers, wiring setup, games consoles etc
  • Home networking - routers, wifi, patch panels, switches, different services (cable, fttp) etc
  • Smart home - heating, security, automation, alarms etc
As i say, the house is a complete blank canvas at the moment as it's being built and we have complete free reign on what we can put in. My main aim is not to close doors at this point, ensure that whatever we set up is robust enough to add to in the future, and that may well be the case with the cinema room as that's lower priority than things like windows and kitchen (so i'm told ;) ). But for example, reading through what's available it seems like Dolby Atmos is an option, so the question is what wires do i need where in order to put this in place in the future.

Couple of questions to get started about hardware in a cinema room:
  1. Is it best to go with a projector or a TV?
  2. I presume I'll need an amp, should I look for one that supports Dolby Atmos? What other options should I consider?
  3. I like the idea of discreet, in wall speakers although suspect these will compromise sound quality. I'm not a complete audiophile so this would likely be acceptable, what are the options here? Is this advisable? And how many speakers should I be considering?
  4. I'd like to have as little hardware in the room as possible, we're looking at having the nerve centre or networking etc in the garage, would it make sense to have the AV stuff in the same place? Or keep it simple and have it in the same room?
  5. What cabling should I consider? Do the speakers use dedicated cables still, or are there other options?
With regards networking, this is the list of things I'm considering at the moment:
  1. I've been recommended a Protectli Firewall Appliance to use for router functionality.
  2. I need to find switches to handle connectivity for the house.
  3. I need to find patch panels to handle connectivity for the house.
  4. I've been recommended Ubiquiti AP-AC-Pro to handle the wireless networking in the house.
  5. I need to find a server rack cabinet to install everything in.
The list goes on! Please get in touch if you can help :)


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