We are frequently asked what wiring is needed for a home cinema. This can either be relatively simple or quite complicated depending on the grade of home cinema planned, so here is a quick guide for home cinema wiring.
There are essentially 5 elements to the home cinema, all of which may have wiring requirements:
- Source (satellite / Blu-ray etc)
It is common to locate the source(s) and amplifier together, so connection between them is simple, however the source often requires one or more antenna cables, and / or access to the internet, and of course mains power.
The amplifier is going to require power, be connected to the loudspeakers, and may also require internet access depending on the amp and services. There is also going to be an HDMI connection to the projector, and there may also be a connection to the scree, if the amplifier is to trigger an electric screen to drop. There may also be connections to games consoles etc, which my require sensor bar connections (e.g. USB ).
The speakers require speaker cable back to the amplifier, and one or more sub-woofers will require mains power and an audio coax cable to the amplifier. Positioning and qualtity of loudspeakers will depend on the type of system you are installing – see our article on multi-channel audio layouts.
A projector requires mains power, and an HDMI link to the amplifier. Some projectors also have network connected management capabilites, so an Ethernet connection is also a good idea. We usually also recomment a Cat6 or Cat7 connection back to the amplifier position as futureproofing for higher bandwidth video (e.g. 4K over Cat6). It is also common for projectors to have a trigger output so an electric screen can be controlled.
The screen, if it is electrically driven, will need mains power, and a trigger of some sort to control it – either there is a built-i IR receiver, and external IR receiver, or a 12v trigger or switch, so for example when the projector is turned on, the screen automatically unfurls.
These requirements when added together give rise to the following typical schematic:
In our experience, every home cinema setup is slightly different, and no generic wiring diagram will satisfy all requirements. There are differences according to the sources (some are extensions to multi-room AV installations), the numbers of speakers (see our article on multi-channel speaker layouts), the facilities available (e.g. if internet connection is possible or not).
There are also often control systems which are integrated and have their own wiring requirements (e.g. an RS232 data link to the projector).
We are always happy to offer advice, as we strongly feel that it is better to have the correct wiring in place – even if only for future possibilities, so please contact us about your home cinema system requirements.