Loft Conversion - Ask the Experts!

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by gavvet, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. gavvet

    gavvet
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    Ok here goes –we are about to have a loft extension done creating a room 4m x 6m above our bedrooms –a second living room. My original plan was to put in a 50” plasma, 7:1 amp + speakers, Sky HD and use a PS3 to stream music & ripped DVDs from a PC server situated in the other part of the loft all connected by cat5 cabling. (already up & running in my current living room)

    However I then found this forum!!!! and realise the world is my oyster if my pockets are deep enough. So here are my thoughts – any input would be invaluable & much appreciated.

    Firstly turn the room in a home theatre – PJ & screen, with smaller LCD/plasma for my young son to watch kids TV & use the PS3 on at other times (the room will double up as a sort of den/playroom for him……I know but needs must!!).

    Automation – of lights, blinds, PJ & screen but also extending into other areas of the home and possibly including central heating as well (at the same time we will put in a new boiler & change to a pressurised hot water system)

    We currently use a Phillips WACS700 to stream music from living room to kitchen & bedroom which works really well & is neat & unobtrusive & will probably keep this in the kitchen but move the one in our bedroom to the study, leaving the need to have a/v in our bedroom. I will leave the current Sky + box in the current living room (currently RF2 goes back to loft & supplies bedroom & kitchen) & change the multiroom box in the study to HD & move it to the loft conversion.

    Now, what I my best options? I would like to centralise everything as this is going to be a good opportunity – there will be a small area/room between the main room & the rest of the loft which can be used as a central point & possibly be just near where a PJ would go. I was already intending network cabling to living room, bedroom, study & kitchen. The more I read on these forums the more info I get but after a while it starts to get confusing. The Digilinx system looks really good & looks like it can be extended on once infrastructure is in place – I like the idea of internet tablet control (how long until this can be done by mobile phone Ipod Touch, Archos?), but I have no idea of the costs of such a system. Can it be used to distribute Sky HD as a source? & be used to control all the other systems as well? Does it feed to a standard amp that will then give 5/7:1 surround?

    I have started ripping DVDs to PC but like the thought of a central medial server but the cost of Imerge, Kalidescepe etc seem high for the amount of DVDs we watch – are the Escient MX series available in this country? They seem reasonably priced over there but I can’t find any reference to them in the UK- if not what else is available? Or could my PC server be integrated in & use to distribute ripped DVDs?

    Lighting would initially be for the HT only but it would be neat to add to this as time went on so a system that could be retro fitted (Rako?) would be best

    My budget isn’t unlimited but is not tight either .All replies are eagerly anticipated & appreciated

    Finally I am in SW Scotland does anyone know/recommend any installers in this area?– I left a project enquiry at Brilliant Living about 10d ago but haven’t heard back from them as yet

    Thanks
     
  2. MAW

    MAW
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    I'd contact Joe at TMF, www.tmfsolutions.co.uk He's a frequent contributor, and I'm fairly sure this is his kind of project. Streaming from a PC server is pretty easy these days, try an X-Box or PS3, whoops, you have that already. Digilinx, don't know if Joe offers that, it's excellent stuff and can do what you want, costs, well, there's another thing. Have a chat with someone, get them round to look. It all sounds perfectly feasible, loft rooms are fun to do. The system you end up with will be determined by how much you want to spend.
     
  3. neilball

    neilball
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    If you want heating controls that can be retrofitted into the main house as well as operating in the loft conversion with an interface that allows integration with Digilinx then at the moment only the Honeywell Hometronic system fits the bill. It is available in the UK from Sensible Heat and is also supplied by a number of custom installers, some of whom are based in Scotland. Not cheap (seems to be par for the course these days!) but does realistically save 25% or more from the annual heating bill so (eventually) pays for itself if you stay in the house long enough. It is perfect for room-by-room zoning and has options for remote access, webserver modules, integration etc. More info at here.
    If you want better heating control but without all of the bells & whistles then you could also look at the Honeywell CM-Zone system. This is available from aplumbers merchants and internet retailers and uses the same radio based comms so again is simple to retrofit. More info here.

    I need to be clear that I work as an agent for Sensible Heat (am based in the Scottish Borders) but try my best to give unbiased advice & help wherever possible :)
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    Actually, Neil, that's useful info, not to accuse you of bias, far from it, but as a big digilinx installer I need to know these things!
     
  5. neilball

    neilball
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    That's ok, just don't want to fall foul of the forum rules :)
     
  6. gavvet

    gavvet
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    Thanks guys

    Neil, could you expand on the Hometronic system a bit - which lighting systems can it integrate with? Am I right in saying the CM system is more for whole house control whereas the Hometronic can be room by room + integration with other systems?

    I see it is radio controlled does this mean it won't work with universal remotes such as Pronto etc. It looks like it can be controlled via the internet so does this mean local access via IP tablet, Ipod Touch or Wifi enabled mobile is possible?

    MAW - ther eseems to be no Digilinx installers in Scotland - on Googling heavily anyway.

    I actually think concentrating on getting the room right is prob more important with a decent amp with more than one output we should be able to send Sky, PS3 DVD etc down below into our bedroom - I guess 1 HDMI cable would do the trick, not sure about remote control for all items though

    Andy
     
  7. MAW

    MAW
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    Control of the sources in the bedroom has so many solutions, least of your worries. It's dependent on what other systems you choose to have installed. Digilinx in Scotland, I don't know who, Neil might of course! My suggestion I am fully prepared to support if digilinx should prove to be the way to go and he does not sell it. If you use Digilinx and hometronic, then quite a few lighting systems can be added. Top of my list would be Rako, due to ease of retro fitting, but if that's not an issue, Lutron, iLight, several others too, could fit the bill.
     
  8. neilball

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    Hometronic has it's own range of simple dimmers & relay units for lighting control but does not do scene setting. As you will be retro-fitting then Rako would be a good choice, it gets used alot by some Hometronic suppliers as both are wireless and can be retrofitted easily without much disruption.

    Hometronic cna do simple electrical integration using volt-free inputs/outputs which allows scenes to be triggered by Hometroinc and heating events to be triggered by other systems (could use the alarm system to set the heating to unnoccupied when alarm is fully st for example).

    CM Zone can do room by room zoning although of radiator systems providing you use enough wireless boiler relays, upto 4 CM67/CM927 units can be registered to a single boiler relay. It does not allow any integration or a single , central user interface.

    Both CM Zone & Hometronic usea proprietry RF protocol and cannot be operated by IR unfortunately. Hometronic does have a webserver module that means any browser-based device can be used to access the system.

    If you want more info or brochures then please drop me a PM :)
     
  9. MAW

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    Though integration with Digilinx gives you browser control of the whole lot, individual ones would be unnecessary in that case. Very useful if it's a stand alone system of course.
     

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