One of the most often-heard concerns from homeowners when considering any new home technology system is an aversion to having holes drilled all over the house. We understand that. Unless your project is going into a home during construction, there’s always going to be some degree of mess involved. That was the concern of the owner of this 12,000-square-foot suburban home in New Jersey.
Rick Cordero of RC Integrated Systems in East Rutherford, NJ, came to the home to make some upgrades to the existing home theater. He replaced an out-of-date projector and surround sound receiver with a new Epson 6010 projector and a new Marantz SR6006 receiver. Other parts of the home had their own individual TV and video components, but nothing was integrated, and operation was all handled with a mishmash of remotes. Cordero suggested that the home could use a whole-house audio system with centralized sources. The owners were hesitant over the impact a system like that might have on their home décor, but Cordero assured them that the installation could be done with minimal drilling, and that that it would be easy to control—another important consideration.
The system Cordero recommended was Universal Remote Control’s Total Control. This system, all IP-based, lent itself perfectly to a retrofit project. He installed three URC SNP-1 streaming network players to provide individual audio streams to 10 separate zones. To power the Episode speakers (both indoor and outdoor models), Cordero used URC’s DMS-1200 multi-zone amplifiers. Three URC lighting dimmers were also added so the homeowners could adjust the lighting level depending on their moods and activity—all from either their iPhones or any of the three URC in-wall touchpanels or three URC remotes.
Other components integrated into the system, and accessed via the URC Total Control system, included a cable DVR, Samsung Blu-ray player and an Apple TV.
Keeping the installation inconvenience down to a minimum was the easy part. Most of the wiring was simply a matter of running some CAT5 and speaker wire. Cordero was also able to take advantage of existing coax lines run to different rooms by using a SnapAV 4x4 matrix switcher and SnapAV binary coax HDMI extender. That product allowed Cordero to send the HDMI signal (along with IR controls for operating a TV or components) over an existing coax line—a good solution for retrofit projects. In places where that wasn’t a solution, Cordero was able to use existing AC ducts to run wires unobtrusively.
Cordero says the homeowners love the convenience of being able to pull out their iPhones and access anything they want—music in the living room, lights in the theater, via the Total Control app without having to look for a remote. To ensure their iPhones have a constant connection to the Total Control system, wireless access points were installed in several locations throughout this very large property.
The project was done in stages, but in total it took about four weeks, including a few days of programming, at a cost of around $35,000. The homeowners are thrilled with the ease of control, and how unobtrusive the technology is.
View the home’s slideshow here.
URC Total Control Now Works with Sonos
Is IP Replacing IR Control?
Why You Want a Whole-house Audio System
Extreme Media Room Overhaul
Follow Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.