Many people find the process of pre-wiring their new house for low voltage systems to be both difficult and confusing. The best way to go about this process is to run conduit to all of your TVs, which allows you to pull whichever wire you want whenever you need it. With that said, though, this method is also the most costly and, more often than not, the least feasible. So what’s your next best bet?
In my opinion, the next best option is to run a set of 4 CAT6 wires in conjunction with 1 or 2 shielded RG6 wires. Many companies actually sell this multicable in a single jacket, which makes running the wires that much easier. And with today’s technology, it is possible to run almost anything over the CAT6 wires and the RG6. Here are a few pointers about pre-wiring that will make your life a lot easier in the long run:
1. Make sure to run speaker wire to your expected speaker locations, as well as throughout your house to bedrooms and common rooms, if you can afford it. It’s much less expensive to run the wires with the walls open than it is to run the wires once the walls are closed, so this should preferably be handled before construction on your house is finished.
2. If you’re looking for next-level sound quality, consider installing ceiling and extra wall speakers for the next wave of movie surround sound (Dolby Atmos or DTS:X are two options to choose from). With these new surround sound decoding methods, each piece of sound in a movie is encoded individually, which results in such accurate sounds for each item that the experience of listening to them becomes completely immersive. With the click of a button, you’ll be able to hear sounds, like airplanes and helicopters overhead or birds, from every direction. Each different sound is encoded separately and is rendered separately, giving you a much more holistic audio experience.
3. Finally, as of 2015, you can now run 4k video over just one CAT5e wire using the HDBASET adapters. Normally, HDMI cables will travel around 50-60ft without any issues; with the HDBASET, you’ll be able to stretch that distance to about 300ft, which should be adequate for most houses. Monoprice and other retailers sell them for a few hundred dollars, and they also sell repeaters for extended runs if 300ft isn’t enough length for you. With this exact setup, I am currently running all of my A/V gear upstairs in a closet with my AVR putting out HDMI video, then converting it using HDBASET over CAT5e about 150ft down to my TV, with no issues!
I hope this post helped demystify the process of successfully and thoroughly pre-wiring your house for low voltage systems. With new advances in technology happening every day, I am looking forward to seeing how this process becomes even more streamlined and simplified in the future.