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Paint me a picture

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    Paint me a picture

    Hello from the newbie...

    I am looking into the audio/video distribution angle to my home automation project and would like the collective wisdom of this group. My goal is as follows:

    1) Have cable drops in 5 rooms
    2) Have one central location for all
    audio/video equipment. A/V closet or eqv.
    3) Be able to sit in any room with the cable
    drop and assuming a TV is hooked up, point a
    remote at "something" and be able to select
    from any of the following: cable TV, DrecTv
    sat, Tivo, DVD player or VCR.
    4) This must be easy and meet the WAF.
    5) Eventual goal is to be able to program VR to
    do same as in #4 or set the scene to play a
    dvd by dimming lights, powering on everything
    necessary and playing dvd (as an example).

    What would be the best/efficent/cost effective approach to this lofty goal. What equipment would you purchase and how would you set it up.

    I know this is a lot to ponder but I am hoping a few of you guru's will take a shot and paint me a picture.


    What you're wanting to do is probably something a little beyond the scope of DIY unless you just really know what you're doing and since you're fairly new at this I would suggest talking to a customer installer for all the things that you want done.
    Also, you haven't provided enough information. Do you want each TV to be able to watch a different DVD or would it be ok if they could only watch one at a time? Do you want to have surround sound in each room or only one? Do you want each TV to be able to watch something different or would it be ok if they had the same thing on each of them (or some mix in between)?
    If you don't mind every TV watching the same thing then it would be pretty easy. Get a receiver that has enough inputs for everything you want to watch to use as a switcher, hook up a modulator to a set of the outputs, combine the signal coming off of the modulator into the signal going out to each of the TV's and send down each of the 5 drops in your place. Depending on the level of stuff that you use and how you do it that scenario can be had for around $50. Not only that but if the other TV's in the house don't want to watch that they can still watch whatever is on cable TV.
    For remote control get a good multiremote (I use a Marantz rC2000MKII that you can pick up on eBay for about $60 or in my case at a garage sale for $5). You can then purchase an IR extender from Smarthome for around $50 (or eBay for around $25) and, as long as the RF doesn't have to travel too far, you can control all of your gear from anywhere in the house.
    Granted, I realize the above isn't exactly the most functional scenario one could hope for but, at least here in my 2 bedroom apartment with 2 TV's in the living room and 1 in the bedroom it works VERY well, is easy to use, and has rather high WAF because it works well and was cheap to setup.