I am thinking at some point in the future I would like to wire my whole house for audio and video. I have not started any research yet; I thought I'd try here first.
I don't know if it is available, but if not, I have a hunch I could build it. I want to move all my audio and video media to hard drive. I'd like to put speakers and maybe a flat panel in any room with an interface on the wall that would allow me to select audio or video files from a single database or any database available. I'm thinking if I set up a PC (possibly server?) and hook each room to it, then I could play iTunes (or similar music manager) in any room at the push of a few buttons. Want radio? No problem, maybe a radio tuner card (similar to TV tuner)? Tune the station from wall control. Want to watch something off of Tivo or DVR? Pump it through the network. Then hook all possible sources through it, antenna, SAT, internet.... Each flat panel in each room could have a keyboard and in essance be a PC, access SAT or DVR or play any purchased and saved movies.
Do you catch the idea? All of this media is digital at some point or another. I would think it could be relatively inexpensive to bring it to one device so it can be accessed with the same functionality from many devices anywhere else throughout the house.
Does anyone have any leads of where to start for equipment or what format or compatibility roadblocks to be aware of?
Study Guides for VDV / Structured Cabling Installers
I am doing it with MP3s and Replay TV. All I have for the interconnect is a garden variety CAT 5 Ethernet LAN. I have one machine (PC) that is always on. That is a FAX server, hosts my weather station site on the net and acts as a file server for everything, including the MP3s. The players are DOS based MP3 players. The TV is handled by the ReplayTV DVR but D&M (the owner of ReplayTV) also sells a software solution that runs with Media Center.
You should be thinking about digital TV anyway. Analog is supposed to go away a couple weeks after the new president is inaugurated (Feb 2009)
I have the mythtv version running at my house. You have to be fairly computer savvy to use it. A friend of mine who is a programmer put it together for me so I could be a tester for him. The nice part about it is that each TV only needs a client box that is connected to the network via CAT-5. It gives you the ability to watch saved television programs from any television in the system.