Installations: The House That Jim Built - Part Two Page 4


Route and About

For the master bedroom, my wife and I splurged on a 42-inch NEC HD plasma monitor ($2,799), which is mounted about 53 inches off the floor on the wall directly across from the bed. While that might seem a bit high, it's actually perfect for watching TV from our bed, which is 34 inches high and 20 feet away from the TV wall.

Zvox's all-in-one powered speaker systems offer surprisingly robust, encompassing sound from a single enclosure, so I knew I wanted one in the bedroom. I chose the Zvox 315, which houses three speakers plus a 5.25-inch woofer in an enclosure the size of an A/V receiver. While the 315 sounds remarkably full - a PhaseCue knob lets you widen the sound field to create virtual surround sound without rear speakers - if the source you're using doesn't have a variable audio output, you have to use the Zvox's rear-mounted volume knob, which means getting up out of bed. So I'm considering replacing the 315 with the new 325, which has better bass response, additional front-panel inputs, and a remote volume control.

I wanted to make sure the new kitchen, living room, and bedroom were wired for Internet and telecommunications access, since my wife (who's a banker) and I both frequently work from home. So the installers ran multiple Cat-5e wires to the new rooms, including "his and her" RG-45 jacks on either side of the bed. They also wired our 2-year-old son Tyler's new bedroom for TV, phone, and Internet.

Although there's really no place we can't conveniently jack into an outlet, I wanted a wireless network so we could work anywhere in the house - or out on the deck - without a telltale trail of cables. Belkin's N1 wireless router system uses the new, higher-bandwidth 802.11n technology, rather than the more common 802.11g, to distribute Internet access around the home (see Wireless to the Nth Degree). The N1 router was installed in the primary demarcation area (the place where the external network and A/V wires connect to the in-home wiring) in the basement, where a Belkin 8-port wired router was already in service.