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In laws have asked for advise, please help (1 Viewer)


Jan 6, 2003
Hi all,

This is not the first time I have posted something like this but this time it is for real. My in-laws new home will be done this November and they are bringing in the electrician very soon to wire it. Here is what I know, help me put this living room together:

20' by 18' room with 10' ceilings. It has a very large opening (8') into the kitchen. Lighting isn't perfect but not terrible. They will be getting HD through Directv...it is their only option where they will be living.

Here is the advise we are seeking:
1) What do they need to tell the electrician regarding wiring. They want to have it wired before the dry-wall goes on. What will they need?

2) TV advise: We went to home theater store and we loved the Pioneer Kuro HD's but not really in the budget they are looking for. Viewing area will be about 15 feet so I advised 50-52" tv. My guess is $2,500 is a lot for them (they keep talking about how broke they are gonna be when the house is done) but doable. Definitely must be good quality...they want it to last for a while.

3) Speakers (including sub) and Receiver advise: They definitely want surround sound. I am guessing about $2,500 for both of these.

4) DVD Player/BluRay: Is there one that plays both? Im thinking $300 here

5) Will a power conditioner really be necessary for this type of system? If so, what is suitable?

6) Anything else?

Please let me know what you think I should suggest to him regarding each area. Thank you for your help


Senior HTF Member
Aug 22, 2000
Real Name
1. For DirecTV, they need 4 runs of RG-6 coax from the dish location to an area (preferrably in the attic) that is centrally located for the rest of the house. That is where the multi-switch will be located. Add another run of RG-6 from an antenna location to the same spot. From there, three runs of RG-6 to the living room as well as two runs of CAT-5e or CAT-6. This supports a dual tuner DVR as well as OTA. Repeat for each room with a TV even if that location will not use a DVR. You want to wire for the future. The CAT cable will be used to connect the receiver to the home network/internet.

For the rest of the living room wiring, speaker wire from the speaker locations to the location of where the receiver will be. If the receiver/equipment location is a distance from the TV, you need to run at least 1 HMDI (2 or 3 would be better) as well as component video, s-video and composite video. If you have to run the cables in-wall, then you need in-wall rated cables. Mono-price is a great source.

2. There are hundreds of options for TV's. We even have a section dedicated to them here. Panasonic, Samsung, Vizio, etc will all be less expensive than Pioneer and Sony.

3. SVS, Axiom, AV123, etc for speakers. Hey, we have a section for them as well. Receiver - pick one that has the features you need. 7.1, HDMI switching, satellite radio, etc are all different things you want to consider. Hey, we have a section for these things as well.

4. Blu-Ray are all backward compatible and will play a regular DVD. Check out the video source section for different ones.

5. A good surge protector will be all you need. I use brands like Panamax (I think that's the name). Don't use Monster.

6. That's way too open. We could spend days on this.


Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Run phone line and Cat5 computer network behind where the receiver/dvd player will be. Things like DirecTV want a phone line and Fios/Uverse with down-loadable content will want Cat5 network.

Run CL2 or CL3 12 ga speaker wire to the speaker locations. Pull enough wire to create un-broken runs from amp to speakers. Run through plastic electrical outlet box's and drill holes in blank wall-plates. Do not spend the $65 each for the wall plates with the binding posts. You can buy a spool of "Carol" 12 ga in wall wire from Home Depot or order from Parts-Express.com - Speakers, Speaker Building, Home Audio and Video, Pro Audio, Electronic Parts & Accessories

Measure the in-wall distance to the TV from the receiver/DVD player. Order a "Belden" HDMI cable and a component cable from Blue Jeans Cable -- Broadcast-Quality Cables at Reasonable Prices

If the electrical guy does not have in-wall 12 ga, use 4-conductor, 16 ga wires and twist two of the wires together for "+" and two for "-". Many high-end installs use this.

Have the electrical guy zig-zag the wire between the studs and tack in place with insulated staples pounded in HALF WAY. Years from now the ends of the wire will become oxidized and you simply tug the wires to pop the first staple to give yourself some slack.

Run speaker wires like this:

- 3 to the front
- 3 to the rear
- 2 to the sides

This way you are ready for a 7.1 system if you want.

Run ordinary RG6 CATV coax to the location where the subwoofer will live. You can install "F" connectors and some "F-to-RCA-Male" adapters from Radio Shack.

Try to have the electrical guy install all the AC wall outlets from the same "leg" of power and only power the plugs in that room from that run. Lights and other things should go through some other wires.


Skip this for the moment. You can always add it later. Usually only people living in inner-city where there is lots of AC activity notice improvement with a power conditioner.


Jan 6, 2005
If you want satellite radio or plain AM/FM, make sure you run these antenna as well. Ther are many cables that could be used for AM/FM but XM and Sirius have specific home kits with the proper connector.

Kevin Stewart

Second Unit
Oct 7, 2003
Real Name
Kevin Stewart

Do you mean the seating distance will be 15 feet from the screen? If so, you need to go larger than 52". You don't even get the full benefit of 720p from that distance unless you're over 60", let alone 1080p. I sit 14' away from my 126" screen and sometimes think it's too small. Any options for front projector? If not, you should seriously consider RPTV and go with 65" or more (Mits makes a good 73").

To answer a couple of your other questions, all Blu Ray players also play SD DVD's. I'd get a UPS instead of a power conditioner.

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