Wiring For 21st Century Multimedia – The Smart Home

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Most of us use 21st century technology in homes which were wired in the 20th century. Surely that’s not right.

We have the perfect opportunity to bring our late 19th century home bang up to date in terms of wiring whilst the house is being re-built.

We all take it for granted that any decent home will have properly installed power and lighting cables, all hidden from view and with the appropriate outlets at various points on walls across the home. We had already spent several hours with our architect agreeing a detailed layout for the location of all our power outlets, light fittings and switches. That had been a pretty simple task of just deciding the positions we would like in each room. The electrician started work on those cables today and seemed very comfortable to progress based on the drawings supplied by the architect.

However, when it comes to multimedia many of us end up wiring our homes in-front of the walls. With data as important as lighting and power nowadays, we felt it was equally important to design and install a good quality data wiring infrastructure with appropriate outlets, in just the same way as we all take for granted with power and lighting.

So one thing was clear: we should wire our house for power, lighting and data – so that it is a ‘Smart Home’. But exactly how ‘Smart’ should our home be?

Well, we quickly found that there is a plethora of options available:

  • Telephone – traditional cabling for telephone services sometimes required by newer services such as satellite TV
  • TV & Radio – easy access points in walls around the house for accessing digital TV and radio services
  • Wired Broadband – easy access points in walls around the house to allow devices to be connected directly to the internet for a very fast, interference free, wired connection
  • WiFi – a robust and secure wireless internet network all around the house for use with portable devices such as mobile phones and tablets
  • Multi-Room Audio – cabling for speakers (such as ceiling speakers) wired to a central location from which music and other audio can be distributed to various rooms around the house
  • Multi-Room Video – cabling to allow high definition (HD) streaming of video sources from a central location to also be distributed around the house
  • Home Cinema – a dedicated system for watching movies on a large screen with surround sound
  • Home Automation – systems such as remotely controlled lighting, curtains and front gates and doors
  • CCTV & Security – live video monitoring/recording and entry systems for the home

We pretty much immediately decided that we needed everything except for Home Automation and CCTV. Whilst no doubt nice to have, they were a step further than we would likely use and benefit from in our day to day living.

Telephone, TV & Radio

Telephone and TV/Radio are pretty standard installations that have been around for a few years. We would simply ensure appropriate quality cables were run from the outdoor telephone line entry point, roof aerial and external satellite/cable connection points to our central location indoors, from where it could then be fed to each room as required.

The Rest

We felt less sure about the rest of the list and decided to search for an expert to advise us…watch this space!

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