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Total solution ideas for absolute beginner??

Paddy!

Active Member
Hi guys, firstly thanks for looking and thank you in advance for any advice or guidance you have the time to spare!

We were looking to move but the wife has decided she can't move away from our street so we're currently getting plans drawn up for a double storey extension [currently 3 bed semi, 60s brick built so you know the type!].

As part of the rebuild I'm looking to go as eco and low maintenance cost friendly as possible [Solar PVs, UF heating etc.] and part of this is to incorporate as much home automation as possible... but I've spent a few weeks researching on here and other places and I am floundering! I've very little idea what I need so would appreciate any input.

I'd like to install and control:

  • Heating [UF on ground floor in 4 zones plus 2 x UF in Bathrooms on First floor plus radiators on first floor in 4 bedrooms. We will be relocating and installing a new boiler so suggestions for that would be great!]
  • Lighting [multizone LEDs including garden]
  • Home Alarm System [we've not got one installed as yet so am open to suggestions regarding entry camera/CCTV etc. and sensors inside which I understand can control macros for lighting/heating etc.?]
  • Audio [Ceiling speakers in 4 zones for stored music/radio, maybe SONOS but I don't really understand it!]
  • Audio/Visual [initially 3 TV Zones, We currently have Sky Multiroom but are fine with a single box if it can be fed to all zones, I have a lot of ripped films/TV Shows so would like to incorporate a new upgraded NAS, I currently have 6TB on 3 HDDs through an iOmega Wireless network thing, which we watch through a boxee in the living 'space', I will replace TVs with SMART TVs, You can see my current set-up in my signature or old build thread but I would like to dispense of all the massive speakers for a neater, more child friendly version]
  • Air Conditioning [Not 100% decided on this yet but open to suggestions]
  • Energy Consumption Monitors/Control [I don't understand the minefield of what's available!]

We are also planning on rebuilding most of the rest of the house and I understand the benefits of CAT6 so will run this to every room bar the bathrooms during renovations. Reading through the advice in other threads, 5 cables per access point?

I've read a bit about Control4 systems which seem to tick a lot of boxes, what sort of system would we need? We could incorporate a couple of iPads for control if these are the standard now but I'd really like to make control as easy as possible as my wife is only marginally more of an idiot than me... hope she doesn't read this...

My mate is a qualified electrician and deals with CAT6 installations. He'll be rewiring the old part of the house and doing everything on the extension but am I right in understanding the Control4 systems need to be built and installed by a qualified specific engineer?

I know someone will ask about budget and I'd like to think that for the home automation part that £15-20k should cover it including hardware [TVs, NAS etc.], software and installation or am I wrong there as well?

I realise this is a big ask but would appreciate any advice anyone has time to provide!
 

sonice1

Active Member
Hi paddy,

All that you ask for can be done and with not to much trouble.

What I think you will have to decide is how do you want to control your home. If you don't mind using different apps on iPads for different things like. 1 for lighting 1 for heating 1 for AV etc then that's fine. But if your looking to integrate all your systems into one app then really you need a control system like. Amx, control4, elan g to name a few.

We tend to use elan g as the front end and use KNX as the building control as it gives great flexibility and they integrate better then control4 to KNX.

You could go for Lutron ligitng with Elan g front end or AMX front end.

There's lots to look into and choose from.

Also I would have a good think on smart tvs. Do you really need them if you have sky?
Sky have all the features of what a smart tv can offer as for on demand services. If you use the smart tv for i player etc and have ceiling speakers how do you get sound from the tv to these if these are also used for music like Sonos.

It can be done but like anything the more you want the more the price goes up the more equipment and programming needed.

Quick spec for you could look like this.

Lighting, heating, blinds etc controlled by KNX

Alarm and CCTV integrated into system

Elan G front end for ipad control of lighting,blinds, heating, CCTV, AV.


A rack which would house:

Router and switch, POE for cameras
2 sky boxes into a HDbaseT matrix
1 Apple TV into matrix to stream video from idevices to tvs
1 Blu-ray or media player into matrix
2 airport expresses to stream music from idevices to multiple rooms
1 media server or nas drive

Wireless network with a few access points

The best systems are the simple ones.

Any other questions just ask.
 

Paddy!

Active Member
Many thanks for taking the time to reply!

I definitely want to go with a single interface/control like you suggested as it really needs to be simple for the family to use! I've bookmarked ElanG, AMX + KNX and will have a proper read through them, thanks for that.

As I said, total newb with most of this but the reason I said SMART TV is because we currently stream via the boxee. From what I understand this type of TV has the software inbuilt for file access to view our library and access it directly from the network. I'm guessing by your reply that the Apple TV in the matrix negates the need for this, can they run multi-zone accessing different files to play at the same time?

I was planning the ceiling speakers to be just for music/radio and seperate sound for the TVs. I've heard one of the soundbars and they are more than ample for TV in the Kitchen/Snug/master bedroom. I was thinking of a smaller 5.1 than we currently have, for the living room. Is that all a bit overkill or am I living in the past? Loads has changed in the few short years since I ws chuffed with my false chimney breast build...

Nice to hear Lutron recommended as that's exactly what my mate the sparks suggested!

Not sure I 100% understand where the airport expresses fit in. Are you suggesting to keep everything as wireless as possible or are they CAT6'd in rooms then used to transmit to wireless speakers? What wiring would I need to ensure gets put in during the first/second fit of rebuild?

Thanks again, I really do appreciate your response.
 

sonice1

Active Member
On the smart tvs you find they won't play all file types. So depending on what you have ripped your films in will be a factor. I personally use a PC built as a media server with Plex server installed and then use the plex app on my samsung smart tv. The reason for this is that if anything needs transcoding for the tv the plex server does it. So I can play any format.

You could still use your boxee and play it though the matrix if you preferred keeping it.

The Apple TV will give you the ability to stream films or music (but tv will have to be on for music) from Idevices to any tv. So if you have films on your ipad you can just airplay them to your tv. This is good if you don't have a media server.

The airport express gives you a wireless input to the system so you can stream music and radio from idevices. Now you could say just get Sonos then. Great you think but Sonos is about £250 per zone and an airport is £80. With airport express any one can come in to your house and if they are on the network would be able to stream music in any room. Great for when friends come over for partys. It also saves on having a nas drive full with music that Sonos just looks at.

I see the industry going away from people having hard drives full of music and films. It's moving to everything being streamed. Iplayer, Netflix etc etc

Behind any tv you are going to need 3x cat6
2xct100 (aerial) you can do one but a lot of tvs come with freesat and freeview now (duel tuner).
A cat6 anywhere you want access point.
Speaker cables in rooms

I personally like the 5.1 route rather then sound bars. If you only have small rooms and its for the kids the sound bars will be fine.

That's just a small list as I havnt for much time. But anything else just ask and ill answer later.
 
If using 5.1 audio in one TV room and other rooms are only stereo capable be aware that if watching the same source via the HDMI Matrix that HDMI cant carry two type of audio stream at the same time.

This could mean if your source, eg Sky, is outputting 5.1 via HDMI for your 5.1 room then another room may not get any sound as it can only accept stereo.

Lots of ways around this, the easiest is probably to have 5.1 capable soundbars in every room, or ensure that the TV can downscale the audio (not many do)
 

Paddy!

Active Member
On the smart tvs you find they won't play all file types. So depending on what you have ripped your films in will be a factor. I personally use a PC built as a media server with Plex server installed and then use the plex app on my samsung smart tv. The reason for this is that if anything needs transcoding for the tv the plex server does it. So I can play any format.

This part of the AV is all very important to me and something I really need to research more.

I know most SMART TVs struggle with mkv containers for example, so have always avoided them knowing in the future we'd go the SMART route.

You could still use your boxee and play it though the matrix if you preferred keeping it

To be honest, I'm looking forward to getting rid of the Boxee, it's always been a bit problematic with crashing and accessing the in situ "NAS".

The airport express gives you a wireless input to the system ...Great for when friends come over for partys.

This is the first time someone has mentioned future proofing... I'm looking forward to this "friends" and "parties" thing you mention, instead of stressful baby bathtimes and nighttime puke cleaning!!!
:facepalm:


I see the industry going away from people having hard drives full of music and films. It's moving to everything being streamed. Iplayer, Netflix etc etc

You know, that's a really interesting insight and an excellent point! I just wish you'd prophecied that that 7 years ago before we wasted months of our lives ripping an expansive DVD/BR collection :eek:

2xct100 (aerial) you can do one but a lot of tvs come with freesat and freeview now (duel tuner).

Is this co-ax used for anything other than TV aerial because I took the house aerial down about 5 years ago and rely solely on the Sky for "live" TV :blush:

I personally like the 5.1 route rather then sound bars. If you only have small rooms and its for the kids the sound bars will be fine

I think going on your advice, 5.1 sound bars [as mentioned by subsequent poster] will be ample for all bedrooms and the kitchen/snug as I don't want the TV to be the focus of the rooms. As you say, seperates will be best for the living room as that's where we'll do most of our viewing. I'll cross that minefield of choice later but good to know to get the right cabling installed!

That's just a small list as I havnt for much time. But anything else just ask and ill answer later.

I really appreciate your help and time!

....if your source, eg Sky, is outputting 5.1 via HDMI for your 5.1 room then another room may not get any sound as it can only accept stereo.

Lots of ways around this, the easiest is probably to have 5.1 capable soundbars in every room, or ensure that the TV can downscale the audio (not many do)

Great advice, thank you!
 
Thanks

I'd still run Coax as you may sell the house one day and having the flexibility is always useful for a new owner.

If Smart Tvs aren't doing it for you either have good Media Players at each TV location or a couple at the matrix so you can use them for .mkv files or any other format the Smart Tv doesn't support.
 

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