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How Do Whole-Home Audio-Video Systems Work?

A wall-mounted tablet with the Control4 audio-video interface displaying the A Star Is Born album artwork.

How to Bring Seamless Control & Integration to Your Entertainment 

Picture this. You’re in the kitchen playing music on your voice-activated speaker while you cook dinner. Or maybe you’re listening to an episode of your favorite podcast. All is well until you walk upstairs or out to the patio. Now, you can’t hear your media anymore. 

You could wear headphones as you walk about the house to continue listening. But that puts up a barrier between you and your family. Alternatively, you could lug a speaker around with you—but is that really convenient? 

Here’s another scenario. Your family starts watching a movie in the home theater on Blu-ray. It’s gone on too long, so you have to stop for now. The next day, you want to continue watching the movie upstairs—but there’s no Blu-ray player in that room. Do you really need to install one on every TV? 

There’s an easier approach to these dilemmas, and that’s whole-home AV. With integrated audio-video systems, you can access music, movies, TV, radio, and more across multiple speakers and screens. Here’s how it works and will benefit your Truckee, CA, area home. 

SEE ALSO: Why Choose Hidden Speakers for Your Whole-Home Music System? 

The Brains of Your AV System 

To play audio and video sources across your entire house (and outdoors, too!), you’ll need a multi-source AV receiver or a smart control system like Control4. Control4 integrates all your speakers, TVs, projector systems, and media sources into one convenient system. Control4 acts like the brains of your home, communicating effortlessly with every connected device. 

Building Whole-Home AV 

How is this all going to work? There are a few ways to construct a whole-home AV network, including: 

  • With an AV receiver: A multi-source AV receiver can distribute multiple entertainment sources (streaming, CDs, DVDs, etc.) throughout your home over speaker wiring. The receiver will then connect to your Control4 control system. Some receivers include multi-room outputs for several rooms, while others use line-level outputs. 
  • With a wired network: Running network cables through your home will distribute analog and digital audio to remote zones. For video, we recommend CAT-5e or CAT-6 for short distances and fiber-optic cable for anything longer than 320 feet. Newer CAT standards bundle audio, video, and Ethernet connections for even simpler installations. 
  • With a wireless network: It’s also possible to wirelessly connect your speakers or video hardware to the control system. Wireless is typically less reliable than wired, but if it’s your only option, we can help to improve your wireless network. 

Controlling Your Audio & Video 

Now it’s all set up—how will you control it? In homes with a Control4 control system, many homeowners use the Control4 app on their phones or tablets to manage their audio and video. They’ll select which rooms they’d like media to play in, tap the source (Spotify, Netflix, Blu-ray, etc.), and press ‘Play.’ 

But a smartphone isn’t the sole option for controlling whole-home speakers and TVs. If you prefer, you can also use a handheld remote. At Sierra Integrated Systems, we also install custom wall keypads that connect to the AV system. By pressing a button labeled "Rock" or "Classical," you can instantly start playing a specific playlist throughout your entire house. 

Let the Pros Install It for You! 

If this all sounds like a hassle, you don’t have to install it on your own. Sierra Integrated Systems provides multi-room AV systems to homes in Truckee, CA, Lake Tahoe, and the High Sierras. Contact us here to get started today! 

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