What is Whole House Audio/Video?

Imagine having hi-fi music in every room of your home with nothing more than an elegant Wall-Mounted Keypad and virtually invisible in-wall or in-ceiling Speakers showing. This is the dream system of interior decorators and is typically only found in multi-million dollar homes. We can show you how this can be done in your home with your existing equipment and at a reasonable cost.

Whole house audio/video refers to a centralized audio/video system that pipes music and video/cable signals throughout the home. Because the system is centralized, the only components present in each room are speakers and TV screens. Control of the system is made through a handheld remote or wall mounted control panels. The centralized components can either be hidden away in a closet, or if you prefer, mounted in an impressive Rack System array in your living room. (Some systems may have additional VCRs and CD players located locally in various rooms for convenience. If correctly configured, these VCRs and CD players can be viewed or listened to in the room they are located as well as any other room.)

There are many ways of configuring a whole house A/V system. We will describe the basic methods below. Choose the method that best suits your requirements and budget.

Single Amplifier/Receiver Driving Speakers in Multiple Rooms

This is the simplest and lowest cost method. The output from a single amplifier or receiver is split amongst several rooms. All rooms will receive the same music. Volume Controls can be located in each room to adjust listening levels (or a centralized volume controller can be used if preferred). Whenever the output from a single amp/receiver is split between 2 or more speakers, an impedance matching system must be used. To control the master volume and source (CD, tuner, tape, etc.) from each room an Infrared (IR) Distribution system can be added.

Multiple Amplifiers/Receivers Sharing Sources

If different rooms need to listen to different sources at the same time, multiple amps/receivers are required. Use one amp/receiver for each listening (a zone refers to one or more rooms that listen to the same source simultaneously). The amp - receivers can be stacked together and the source inputs can be shared (ie. 1 CD, 1 tape, 1 DSS shared amongst 2 or more amp/receivers). To control the volume and source from each zone a zoned Infrared (IR) Distribution system can be added.

Purpose Made Multiple Zone Amplifier Systems

Many higher end amp/receivers now come with a built-in second discrete amplifier for a second zone. If your needs do not require more than 2 zones, this may be a cost effective solution. For a larger number of zones consider the NUVO 6-Source/6-Zone System which has six discrete amplifiers and a volume/source distribution system built-in.

What is Whole House Audio/Video?

Elements from the 3 methods described previously can be combined to customize the system for your requirements (eg. use a high power surround sound receiver for your home theater zone 1, add the NUVO 6-Source/6-Zone System system for the other listening areas).

The key to a successful whole house A/V system is making it possible to control the centralized equipment from each remote listening location. Without this you will have to run back to the equipment closet everytime you want to adjust the volume or change source. With the systems below, you can use remotes in each listening location to transmit commands back to the A/V equipment, just as if you were standing in front of the A/V equipment. There are several ways that this can be done:

Wireless RF - For Single Zone Systems

The easiest and lowest cost solution is to use wireless RF control systems. This can be done using the 8210 Powermid or 8220A IR Remote Extender. These devices convert IR signals to RF that transmit through walls back to your equipment. These devices can typically only be used for single zone systems.

Coax Video Signal Transmission

If the coax video transmission system to your TVs is laid out in the same pattern as your A/V zoning, you can use this same cable to transmit IR commands back to your system. You must have a coax cable system that is home run back to the A/V equipment location to do this. See 8195 IR Signal Coax Splitter/Injector, 8197 Xtralink 2, and 7717 Multiroom Video Distribution System. This method provides zoning capability and has better signal reliability than the RF method.

Hardwired Signal Transmission

This is the preferred method for new construction and retrofitting if it is possible to easily run Cable from each zone back to your equipment. Hardwired IR signal transmission provides the greatest system design flexibility and the greatest signal transmission reliability.

X10 and Home Automation Control

Computers, X10 Tabletop, Wallmount and Wireless RF transmitters can also be used to control A/V equipment. For more sophisticated control that can include macros, use an intelligent home automation controller. See 1132CUP PowerLinc Controller, 1350 HomeVision, or 1240 JDS TimeCommander/Stargate + 1232 IR Xpander for some of the home automation controllers and software that support IR A/V control.

The use of an intelligent home automation controller opens up many amazing possibilities. One touch can turn on a complex array of A/V equipment. You can simplify control of your equipment so that every member of your family can easily choose the music or video source they want without juggling a handful of remotes. Or, how about having music follow you around your home (as in Bill Gates home). Motion detectors can be used to automatically turn on music in different zones.