My wife and I bought a house a few months ago, and it needs some renovation work (read: holy crap, we’re practically gutting the place, what the heck were we thinking???). One aspect of said work is redoing the entire electrical system, which gives me the opportunity to put in all sorts of cool new tech.
Things I know I want for sure:
- Sonos as my distributed audio system of choice. We’ll be putting in-ceiling speakers in a few rooms, and they’ll be wired to Sonos units which we’ll have clustered in two locations. I debated putting iPod docks in the walls, but they’re pricey, we don’t currently use iPods, and don’t allow for multi-room distribution. Plus this’ll give me a chance to check out their new hardware!
- NETGEAR/Infrant NV NAS to serve media (this replaces my Maxtor Shared Storage Plus which appears to have just died, gah!). In my current apartment I’m a bit leery of the NV as it’s loud and we don’t have a place to hide it away, but this won’t be a problem in the new spot.
- Current Panasonic plasma + Xbox + Pioneer receiver all move into “JT’s Cool Room (no girls allowed!)”. But the Bose speakers go “buh-bye” and my Definitive towers return! FTW. I’ll probably also hook up a Mac Mini with Boxee on it for photo/Internet streaming. The only other TV in the house will be a smaller (25″-32″) flat-screen in one of the sitting rooms – yes, we’re actually going to make the living room a place where people don’t watch television!
Things I know I don’t want for sure:
- Central Vacuum. We thought this would be great, but after a little digging in, seems like they are consistently underpowered poorly designed products. Pass.
- Video Intercom Front Door System. The day I move into my 15,000 square foot mansion I’ll consider it, but until then, I can run down the stairs to see who’s there. Plus I’m going to try to jury-rig something myself with a Bug Labs setup.
Things I am on the fence about:
- RJ45 (Ethernet) outlets in every room. Seems like a waste. When I ask my friends, the overwhelming reason for it is “to stream 1080p video around your house”. Now that is really just not a good reason in my opinion, but I do like the idea of future-proofing. Plus I guess it’ll be easier for hooking up printers or other networked devices where wireless is not built-in… ?
- Insteon (or other) smart lighting systems. I’m not a fan of home automation systems (wait, for only $50K I can have my lights turn on and off and I don’t even have to get off the couch? where do I sign up?), but Insteon is fairly inexpensive and the platform is open enough to hack around with. From what I’ve read, however, I can always add it after-the-fact, so I’ll probably save the $ now, then do some tinkering down the road.
Anyone have any recommendations here, or notice anything I’m missing? Would love some thoughts ASAP as wiring starts in ~2 weeks!