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VikingDinKC 11-30-2013 12:07 PM

Electrical / Ethernet / Surround Sound Setup for Home Theater area
Hello all

I am in the process of refinishing my basement and have completed studding all the walls. I am currently planning out my electrical setup, Ethernet setup and surround sound for my home theater area. Technically its not a formal theater area but I am going to have a 70 inch TV with a gaming system
(either PS4 or Xbox to stream movies and football games) along with surround sound and a DVR box. Here is what my current plan is but I am looking for feedback to make sure I am not approaching this incorrectly.

Have 3 total outlets 1 outlet in the middle of the wall for the TV, have 2 outlets (4 total plugs) in a shelving area for the components all running on 1 20 amp circuit using 12 gauge wire. With all this equipment, I thought it should be on its own circuit, so its dedicated to this area, would you agree?

For Ethernet, I was going to run 2 cat 5e lines that support gigabit connections. I was going to use 2 Ethernet keystone jacks and mount them in a keystone wall plate. Is this a good approach or are there better options? I was also going to keep these wires at least 6 inches away from the electrical wires to prevent interference.

For running the component cables, I was thinking of just running some PVC in the wall. This way, if I add new components and need to run more cable in the future or cable changes from HDMI to something else, I can easily make the change. Is this what others are doing? My wife likes a finished look and we are going to build a formal built in entertainment center so I can hide the whole in the wall for the PVC pipe and the TV will hide the whole where the TV is hung. Is there a better way to run component cables? For example, is there a kit someone can buy which is mounted on the wall that has all the necessary connections?

For surround sound, I could really use some feedback. I have never had surround sound before so I think anything I get will sound nice to me. Doing Goggle searches, I could spend a fortune on the different systems available. What would others recommend? 5 channel, 7 channel? Do you mount the speakers in the ceiling or mount them on the wall? Any advice in this area is appreciated.

Also, if you have included other options in your entertainment area, please let me know. Since the wall is open I want to explore options that are available.

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

gregzoll 11-30-2013 12:20 PM

Component if you really need it, use RG-6, otherwise use Cat-6 with Baluns on the ends. As for HDMI, use Cat-6 again with baluns on both end.

You really only need two Cat-6 runs to the tv. One for Ethernet, the other for HDMI over Ethernet wiring.

Run everything to a central closet, with the AV receiver doing all of the switching.

One 20 amp will work fine for your setup. If you do not plan on using Surround Sound all of the time, get a 2.1 Sound Bar setup, with a wireless sub, connected to the tv.

For controlling everything, most stuff you can do through IP control over your network, some RF, other IR. Best to get a control setup, that will allow this kind of control.

VikingDinKC 12-01-2013 10:14 AM

Thank you for the feedback and I hope my follow up questions are not silly but this is an area where I have very little knowledge. Your recommendation for me is to purchase an AV receiver and I should hook up all my components to this such as my DVR/cable box, PS4, DVD player, etc. I can then run 1 cat-6 line with baluns with an HDMI splitter to the TV from the AV receiver. Is this URL a good example of what you are thinkig?

Is below a good example of the AV receiver you are thinking?

I will then run 1 cat-6 line with baluns to the TV for internet and a 2nd cat-6 line with baluns to the PS4. Is this correct?

I can then use a control system such as the example below to control all the components. Is this correct?


So, in order to make this happen, should I run 1 PVC pipe in the wall and run the cables thru there or would you purchase wall plates for the HDML plugins, etc. The advantage I see with the PVC pipe is if anything changes in the coming years, I can easily run it through the pipe. On the other hand, I will probably just hook everything up to the AV receiver so unless than changes, I should be ok. I am getting close to putting sheetrock on the walls so I just want to make sure I have the wall complete before I move forward. Sorry for so many questions, I just want to do the right thing and not kick myself later.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

gregzoll 12-01-2013 01:20 PM

The Ps4 and everything else would connect to the AV receiver. If you have a "Smart Tv", you need an Ethernet run for it, from your network switch or Router.

You really only need one Cat-6, to handle hdmi from the av receiver, to the tv.

I use a Harmony 650 remote for daily tasks, my AB receiver is a Denon AVR-1612; daily tv viewing, I use a Vizio E Series 2.1
Soundbar, with wireless sub connected to my tv.

I am able to control my DirecTV dvr, the Sony Blu-Ray if I wish, through a IP remote, or in the case of the DirecTV dvr, can control it through

I looked at the Harmony Ultimate Hub, too many problems with it communicating through blu-ray, from what the small majority is stating.

That can probably be attributd to them teying to control it too far from the unit, or having it behind a door with a metal plate, that could be the issue.

You really need to figure a budget on equipment, and build the system as you go.

I am not changing my set-up at this point, since I have all of the gear I need for it. If anything gets swapped out next, it will be the 42" PanSonic Plasma, for a 60" LED.

iminaquagmire 12-01-2013 06:58 PM

For power, you can run a separate circuit or combined with another really as your components will draw very little power. I would run one cat6 for your ethernet from your router to wherever your TV is. Also two Cat5e to the TV from your component area to use as an HDMI. Alternatively you could run an actual HDMI cable as long it is in-wall rated. They have come down in price considerably and length only becomes an issue after 50ft what what I've seen. Also run an RG6 line from your component area to wherever your subwoofer will be. Make sure you plan out your remote setup ahead of time. You'll either need baluns with IR extenders or another method.

I ran 7.1 for audio but I've seen setups up to 12.2 though I don't think there really is anything out there coded to be used beyond 7 channels.

I don't know if you've ever seen, but they have the best prices on cables, keystones (their ethernet keystones are junk though IMO), and wall mounts. Their speakers are pretty decent starter speakers at a good price too.

VikingDinKC 12-01-2013 10:15 PM

I have had many people tell me about monoprice and looking at at site, I can see why... great prices.

One item is still not clear to me. For the cable runs (2 cat5e wires and 1 HDMI wire) from the component area to the TV... do I run this thru a PVC pipe in the wall or are there wall mounted plates that I should purchase? For me, the cabinet is right under the TV so the run is very short (half a wall in length).

VikingDinKC 12-01-2013 10:41 PM

Looking at monoprice, if I get the below 100 foot cable, I hook one end into my router and then run it through the wall. Once I get to the wall where the TV is... what do I hook the cable into? I assume there is some sort of keystone jack that lets me plug into it. The reason I ask is that both ends of this cable already have a plastic clips so it appears I do not need a keystone jack. I also assume I don;t leave a little hole in the wall to run thru. Is there a wall cover that works for cables like this or is there another cable I should get? Sorry for so many questions... obviously I have not done this before.

gregzoll 12-01-2013 11:21 PM

Go to your local Low's, Home Depot or Menard's hardware store if you have one, and just purchase the bulk Cat-6 and Keystones there. The price is going to be no different that if you got through

I have stopped buying from monoprice, everything, since their quality on everything just plain sucks these days. If I do purchase anything, it is either for Cables2go HDMI or other cables, or

All I use for Keystones, is Pass/Seymour & LeGrand, nothing else. Do not buy Cat-6 jumper cable, with the males attached.

When I rewired my place with all new Cat-5e, I used 200' all together. I am down from six runs, to only using three, since I have switched from U-Verse, to Direct, but the three I am not using, are there in case one goes out, or I decide to needing them for POE or HDMI over Ethernet.

The Baluns just attach like plugging in any other network device. Really again, you just need one to the tv, maybe six RG-6 if you plan on Antenna and Component with audio direct to the TV.

As for running from the equipment space to the tv, Smurf tube is what is used, not PVC or Schedule 40, but that is really up to you.

I would say at this point, you are really putting more thought into it, then you should, since you need to first figure out a budget, what equipment, how many channels for audio, etc.

I built my system up over time. I got the Dwnon AVR-1612 through Crutchfield, purchased my speakers locally. Started out with two sets of RB-41 II's for front and rear, a RC-42 II for the center. The fronts have now been swapped for RB-81 II's, which I purchased those through Crutchfield, since I could not get a break on trading in the set of rb-41's that I had purchased prev. for the front, so I just bit the bullet.

I still have the extra set, in case I ever decide to use them for the two channel stereo receiver I have downstairs, or for rear backs, to fill in for rear surround.

Speaker wire, just go with a bulk roll of CL-2 16ga, you will be fine. As for a sub-woofwr, that really depends on your speakers. I do not need one for my Klipsch set, but the sound bad, I wanted one, since the previous Vizio 2 channel I had, lacked in that dept. The E-seriesmrocks, especially when watching Amazon OnDemand or Netflix streaming through it, such as I am doing now, with "The Big Red One" on.

If I had to place a price on my setup with labor, I would probably say all together, it is close to $10k, with all of the time planning and the equipment. I got a great deal on !y Sony bdp-s590, along with the demon.

As for you going with that Onkyo, a lot of people have been having issues with the Onkyo. If I got anything from them, it would be an Integra. If you can afford it, go with separate s, not a single AV receiver. That way you can always swap out the processor later, if you want multi-room, along with more than 7 channels. Your room size, will determine how many channels.

As for two sub's, unless you have a huge space, or want a front sub and rear sub, you may find that to be over powering.

Sit down with a dollar amount, start with TV, the blu-ray, then sound-bar, then other components. AV equipment, everyone has their own personal tastes for that. I did not want the same features my blu-ray had already, so went with a non-network capable avrs.

ktkelly 12-08-2013 12:12 PM

I know it's not all that important, but the correct terminology is not "baluns". What you need is HDMI "extenders". Baluns are a completly different thing.

I strongly recommend HDBT HDMI extenders such as these from Monoprice:

As to the audio, it really depends on the room size, shape, etc, etc. Room acoustics play a HUGE part in how a system is designed and installed.

System control is an entirely different matter as well.

VikingDinKC 12-09-2013 08:49 AM

I think I may have confused the situation so I would like to provide more detail. I have the basement fully framed. On one end of the basement is my home office where I already have internet ran and hooked up to my router. On the other end of the basement (about 1000 square feet basement), I have the entertainment area framed and built something similar to this ( In the picture, I am going to have the center cabinets be open which is where all my components are going to be such as my cable box/DVR, PS4 and AV receiver. Based on this design, I want to run 2 wired internet connections from the home office to this area. 1 connection is for my PS4 since I stream NFL football games and a wired connection works better than wireless. I would than like a 2nd wired connection so the TV can have internet as well. For these I was going to run either cat 5e or cat 6 Ethernet. For the TV, I already have a coaxial cable line ran to this area so I was going to get an HD DVR box from the cable company. I was going to then run a HDMI cable from the cable box to the TV from the cabinets. As you can see, this is a very short distance. For surround sound, I am going to purchase an AV receiver. I apologize for my lack of knowledge but I have never had all these components before. I am guessing this is probably what I will do. Instead of running a line for each component to the TV (cable box/DVR, PS4, etc), I will run them all to the AV receiver and control the single from there. Based on this design, I do not think I need an HDBaseT extender. Do you agree? Also, does my setup sound correct? I agree, that I will build the system over time and want the flexibility to improve. That is why I was asking if I should run a PVC pipe in the wall from the built-in cabinets to the TV. This way if cables changed or I did want to run a wire directly, I could. Any feedback is appreciated.

ktkelly 12-09-2013 09:45 AM

No extenders needed doing this as you described.

Not sure what router you're currently using but I can highly recommend this one:

Add a gigabit switch if you need more connections (sounds like you may not initially need one though) at the equipment location down the road.

I think you'll find that you won't use the ethernet connection on the TV, but will rather use the ethernet connection on a BluRay, Roku, or other streaming device, as these tend to be more user friendly.

JKeefe 12-18-2013 04:24 PM


Originally Posted by gregzoll (Post 1273614)
Go to your local Low's, Home Depot or Menard's hardware store if you have one, and just purchase the bulk Cat-6 and Keystones there. The price is going to be no different that if you got through

That's almost never true. Local brick & mortar home improvement store will generally be 200-400% higher prices than monoprice for home theater cables and wall plates.


I have stopped buying from monoprice, everything, since their quality on everything just plain sucks these days. If I do purchase anything, it is either for Cables2go HDMI or other cables, or
VikingDinKC, don't let gregzoll's opinion dissuade you. We are all entitled to our own opinions of course. I love monoprice and swear by their products and prices.


Originally Posted by VikingDinKC (Post 1273604)
For me, the cabinet is right under the TV so the run is very short (half a wall in length).

You don't need PVC or any sort of conduit / pseudo-conduit at all, then. A PVC run is useful for running future cable if necessary, by providing a path through studs. In your case you can pull any new cable you want vertically while remaining inside a single stud bay. You've got it easy.

VikingDinKC 12-18-2013 10:27 PM

Thank you again for all the feedback. Just curious, when running all this wire, do I have to worry about electrical interference just near the wall plates or should I avoid having data/surround sound wire from being any where close to the electrical wire? I heard 6 inches is a safe distance.

JKeefe 12-18-2013 10:59 PM

Interference can happen anywhere, so always maintain a clearance or cross cables at 90-degree angles.

VikingDinKC 12-22-2013 10:56 PM


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