Join Date: May 2003
Location: Dublin, Ireland
There are plenty of knowledgeable folks here to advise on the Sky/Coax side of things, so I'll leave it to the experts.
On the CAT5 side, ideally you want to run at least two CAT5 cables (or better again, CAT6) to everywhere you intend to have a network point. Only slightly more work, and gives you a lot more flexibility, especially if a cable gets damaged down the road. Two wall sockets take up the same amount of space as a single socket in terms of wall space. As you guessed, you can use one of the CAT5 sockets as a phone point if needed. Also, if you start piping HDMI video around the house, a lot of the better quality HDMI-over-CAT5/CAT6 encoders need two cables for a full feed of audio + video. I'd definitely go with four rather than two network points beside wherever your main TV point will be.
For the Sonos system, you can in principle use wireless but I would highly recommend putting in a dedicated CAT5 connection point for everywhere you expect to have a Sonos amplifier -- much more reliable and hassle free than wireless, especially since you'll probably have a normal Wifi network operating as well that will compete with the Sonos for bandwidth. I installed a Sonos setup about six months ago and ran it on wireless for the first couple of months; it worked pretty well, but streaming an audio source from one room to another was flakey using uncompressed audio (constant interruptions). Using compressed audio, which is lower bandwidth, was glitch-free but introduced a 1-second delay on the sound, which was a pain when feeding TV from one room to another.
You need to think carefully about how you will position Sonos amplifiers. There are two approaches (or you can use a mixture). One is to have the amplifiers in the same room as the speakers. You then need a CAT5 to each room, and speaker points beside it feeding to ceiling speakers (or wall mounted speakers, depending what type you are going for). Use decent quality cable for the speakers (at least 16 or 14 gauge). Benefit here is that you can feed a local source input (e.g. TV, CD player, or whatever) into the Sonos in that room and pipe it around the house; you also have a convenient box to adjust the volume on if you don't have one of the wireless controllers to hand.
(For the bigger living room spaces, you may want to add a sub-woofer somewhere as well; if you're using ceiling speakers, run an extra co-ax cable from the Sonos location to wherever a sub could be hidden, to keep your options open.)
Alternatively, run all the speaker cables from each room back to a central point (e.g. under the stairs, but make sure there is some ventilation there), and locate all the Sonos amplifiers there. Simplifies the CAT5 cabling a bit, since you can daisychain all the Sonos units together, and is less clutter in each room, but you're more reliant on the wireless controllers.
We ended up putting individual amplifiers in the living room, kitchen and master bedroom, and putting all the others together in the attic, i.e. best of both worlds. Kitchen is particularly useful for when we have baby sitters etc. since they can easily turn on/off the music using the front panel on the amp without needing to have a lesson in how the controller works. Living room Sonos and bedroom amps are useful for feeding TV into adjacent rooms.
If you want to play it safe, I would run speaker cable from ALL rooms back to one central point, even if you do a second (independent) run of speaker cable from the same speakers back to a wall location where you might want to put an in-room amplifier. Then you have the flexibility of going with either approach.
(I didn't do this, and ended up having to rewire about four bedrooms after all our main building work was finished, in order to get the setup I wanted -- would have been far, far easier to do it at the time.)
Probably more information than you really wanted... :-)
Last edited by Tenshot; 13-01-2011 at 21:43.