Week 4: Paul's Smart home diary

Burying the evidence

Week 4: Paul's Smart home diary
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I've done a lot of talking about wiring over the last few weeks, right? Well, the good news is that the cables are now buried. The deed is done. I've made my networking bed and now I need to lie in it.

Although that's a few weeks off yet. We need to buy a new bed and decorate the bedroom before we can even think of lying down.

Anyway, back to the cables. Let this be the last we talk of it.

You'll remember last week that I considered installing a HDBaseT matrix system but decided to instead to go for a DIY setup. Now, if you've landed on this page after searching "best home media setup" or the like... a HDBaseT matrix system is what you want... it is the best.

It's by far the most flashy way of distributing signals around your house, while at the same time keeping things simple. Everything is hidden in a server cupboard somewhere and all you need to do is point a remote at your TV to turn on whatever digital box you want. Pro footballers would have matrix systems in their faux country manors. But pro footballers also have lots of money.

So, a matrix is not quite right for me. Essentially, I want to make sure I get a great internet connection all around the house to power my connected smart tech, and I'm able to access various digital media streams on various screens, in various rooms.

To be more specific, I want wired internet in my living room for my smart TV, smart amp, Sky HD box, Apple TV, Amazon Fire Stick and Xbox One. I also want a satellite signal going in there too.

Upstairs, in the main bedroom I also want a satellite signal to go straight into the TV and I want want wired web in there too - possibly for some future connected devices, possibly to put a Wi-Fi extender on, to make sure there's good wireless coverage upstairs.

On that note, I also want a wired broadband connection going into the box room (the third, and smallest bedroom), because that may well become an office at some point.

Finally, I want the second bedroom all wired up so as any future offspring who may reside in there can have all their tech and TVs all connected.

So, that's what I've got.

The idea of the matrix system played a part in the setup that I designed, with a lot of help from the chaps at Neet cables. Essentially we (well, my electrician) ran solid copper core Cat6 Ethernet in the walls to the desired rooms. Actually, he ran two lengths... just to be super future proof, along with some dual co-axial cable.

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He also ran a long 24awg HDMI cable from the living room, up the wall and through the floorboards, to the master bedroom. That way, using a HDMI Extender, I can run up all manner of digital signals - TV, Xbox and more - up to the bedroom and access it on another TV.

Essentially, my setup will allow me to install a matrix at some point. The broadband router will be based under the stairs (the starting point for all the ethernet cables distributed in the walls) and the idea is that becomes a little hub station of its own, eventually.

The TL;DR version of these weeks of planning is essentially: Install a heck of a lot of Ethernet cables around your house. Wireless may be the future, but wired is definitely the best bet.

Next week, let's not talk about cables, eh?

The complete smart home diary

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