Q: Have I thought of everything I need in home control?
Living Like Bond...James Bond
Before you lay carpet, install a pressure sensor on the floor at each side of your bed. When either sensor is stepped on, a signal can be transmitted to your control system to tell certain lights to activate. These lights could lead you to the bathroom or down a flight of stairs to the kitchen.
Kitchen: Command Central
What's the busiest area in your home? If your family is like most, the kitchen probably reigns supreme. For this reason, be sure to equip it with a device you can use to operate all the systems in your house, such as an ample-sized touch panel that can display the current status of every device as well as control your audio and video distribution systems.
Think of Your Future
Category cable, the low-voltage cabling that connects computer networks is reliable yet fairly inexpensive, which makes it an excellent choice for distributing data throughout your home. This is why we recommend threading category cable to every imaginable spot in your house during a new build or renovation. That includes the guest rooms, kids' rooms, attic and basement. With the wiring in place, it's fairly easy to add electronics to a new area. You'll be able to turn the guest bedroom into a home office without having to fish wiring behind the finished walls.
You'll need some type of device to interact with your home control systems. A popular choice is a touch panel. Custom configured by your dealer, it can display an on-screen menu of buttons for commanding the lights, thermostats, AV equipment and more. But buttons are just the beginning of a touch panel's presentation capabilities. Some touch panels can display real-time video from surveillance cameras, current weather and traffic reports, your favorite Web pages, your family calendar and even TV programs and movies.
Initially, you may be wowed by an AV distribution system's ability to treat each room as its own independent entertainment area or zone. But to preserve the quality of the media being played and to keep your budget in line, it's probably better that adjacent rooms - like a kitchen and breakfast nook or a bedroom and a bathroom - are grouped together as one zone. There's a good reason for this: When rooms are close together, it becomes audibly difficult to separate one area from another. So while it might seem like a good idea to be able to play different songs simultaneously in the kitchen and the adjacent breakfast nook, what you'll likely hear is the equivalent of musical mush.
One of the key differentiating features of a multiroom AV system is the number of sources and zones it can handle. For example, a basic system might be able to feed music and video from as many as four sources to six entertainment zones, while a more sophisticated setup might be able to handle 12 sources and 24 zones. Be sure that the system you choose offers enough growing room for your family so that new equipment and new zones can be added later. Another feature to look for is a system's ability to distribute video. Some systems can do it; others can't.