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Hello one and all from the bustling metropolis of Wentzville, Missouri population 6000 and a dog!

Now, after my dorky introduction comes the question. I have been going back in forth in my mind about wiring my home theater (new construction) or forking out the money for a pro to do it. On the one hand, I would learn a great deal and always have the satisfaction of knowing I did it myself. On the other hand, why hassle with it? Or is it really a hassle?

My more compact version of the question is: How complex is it to wire a 7.2 home theater? Can anyone point me to a good resource for learning what cabling I will need and how to install it? For example, I know for my application that AWG 14 gauge speaker wire will work fine for my speakers. But what do I need CAT-5 for?

Any and all relevant information would be appreciated.

Thanks all!

~Matthew
 

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Cat 5 is becoming increasingly used in HT gear.
You have net enabled tv's, Receivers, Blu-Ray players, Streaming devices, PVR's etc.
We rebuilt and I thought I had put in enough cat-5 to handle everything until I got my Blu-Ray player and upgraded my PVR. :duh:
The same with 7.2, for the small outlay you may as well go 9.2
 

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The answer to DIY or pro depends on your skill (it is really not magic) and if you want to pay the $s for someone else to do it. Remember this, tho. Some "pros" don't know more than you do. Do your research. The good ones will charge a lot.
 

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The first step is to determine the location and types of equipment you will be using, along with the configuration you plan to use (i.e., a central system or distributed, HDMI splitters/routers, wall-mounted speakers/in-wall speakers, etc., etc.). The hard part is to plan for future use since that might involve additional runs, or runs to other locations apart from the first estimation.

Running the cables is not too difficult. In a new install, I would prefer conduit so additional cables could be pulled at some future time if needed. With regard to CAT, I know of one application (HDMI over CAT), and in that regard, would recommend going with shielded CAT 6 (STP) rather than CAT 5. CAT 6 has a higher data rate specification, and with unknown interference sources around, shielding is very desirable. CAT can be used to carry all sorts of data, including an HDMI signal over distances greater than can be achieved with unamplified HDMI alone. That might be a moot point, however as wireless HDMI becomes more mainstream.

I don't know of any publications that directly address home wiring, but I would recommend getting a copy of the PartsExpress catalog which has a lot of wiring items in it, including wall plates and speaker mounts. Monoprice is a good source for audio and video cabling needs, including HDMI items.

A good part of undertaking your task is knowing what you want and where you're going with it in the future so you can plan that into the design. That will also help you ask the right questions when it comes time for that. You usually don't plan a vacation without planning points along the route. The same is true here. In your case, I'm pretty much singing to the choir, since your layout looks great, and you've done most of the planning already. Congratulations - that's the hard part. With that done, the fun part begins.
 
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