Case Study: SINGLETON HOME

Family achieves goal of centralizing AV distribution and control, simplifying access to personalized entertainment in every room

Download the Case Study PDF

A luxury home AV installation for the Singleton family in Huntington Beach, California highlights how HDBaseT routing and distribution systems provide exceptional value and flexibility for moving audio, video and control data across multiple rooms and spaces. Installed by Long Beach-based Digital Installers, the project delivered a multi-room system with a centralized AV core into the residence of an existing client as part of a larger renovation.

A Need for Centralization

According to Esmond Duong, technology manager at Digital Installers, the lack of a centralized headend meant that connectivity between spaces was virtually absent, leaving the family to manage a hodge-podge of disparate systems by room.
 
“There were separate systems throughout the entire home, which meant that the AV equipment was local to whichever room that person happened to be in,” said Duong. “Both the Singletons and the Digital Installers team had a goal to design and deploy a centralized system that would also bring down the number of components to manage.”
 
Duong and his team set their sights on an HDBaseT matrix design that brought together new technology from Atlona, Control4, Samsung, Sonos and TruAudio. The backbone includes an extensive new cabling infrastructure as well as a centralized Middle Atlantic 19-inch rack enclosure.
 
“The headend exists in a very tight space,” said Duong. “We needed a single tall and robust rack that could slide out from the wall and support a lot of weight, particularly for the audio systems that populate most of the rack space. The enclosure was also spacious enough to accommodate our cables, which we also pull through a wall-mounted Legrand On-Q enclosure to manage the runs.”  WattBox WB-100-VPS-6 rack-mounted power strips serve as AV power management inside the rack.

AV Everywhere

The AV for the two-story house is distributed to a large and diverse group of spaces. Inside, the system reaches a foyer, wine cellar, kitchen, dining room, living room, two offices, a master bedroom and two guest bedrooms. The system also reaches outdoors and other sections of the home, including a covered patio, a trellised patio, a pool, an exterior deck, and a large garage. 
 
The backbone of the system uses HDBaseT-certified Category 6 cabling throughout, which Duong emphasizes as “mandatory” for ensuring signal integrity. “The cabling must always be HDBaseT-certified,” he said. “Otherwise, there are too many potential quality issues to troubleshoot, especially when it comes to high-resolution video transmission.”
 
Digital Installers quickly concluded that Atlona’s Opus™ Series of matrix switchers and receivers would best meet the requirements for the Singleton home, which included 4K video distribution for several rooms. Duong chose the AT-OPUS-810M HDBaseT matrix switcher for the heart of the system, which provides eight inputs for local sources and ten outputs for delivering content to the various zones.
 
The main switcher is installed in the Middle Atlantic AX-SXR-43, an in-wall rack that can be rotated once pulled out from the structure. The rack system is installed in a second-floor closet that essentially serves as the Singleton’s AV headend.
 
The 8×10 matrix capacity was a strategic choice, according to Duong. “In choosing the largest size available, the client can grow into the system,” he says. “Instead of choosing the exact fit for the time, we prefer building in extra capacity because then the client knows that they can always grow into it and continue to add new sources and destinations.”

 “They just have a few Apple TVs and DirecTV boxes that are on the Opus matrix, and then from there the signal is distributed to any room they want.”

-Esmond Duong, technology manager at Digital Installers

The matrix switcher feeds Atlona AT-OPUS-RX receivers in several rooms that are outfitted with new 4K/UHD displays for television. Digital Installers added a Samsung UN43LS03NAFXZA 43-inch “The Frame” TV to a first-floor home office where Mrs. Singleton typically works. “She enjoys interior design, so we thought that ‘The Frame’, whose bezel emulates those found in art galleries, was the perfect aesthetic choice for her space,” said Duong.
 
Sony OLED and LED 4K displays were added to the family room, master bedroom, the second office, and the outdoor patio. Several televisions from the homeowner’s previous residence were also installed, along with a number of client-furnished Apple TVs and DirectTV set-top boxes for media playout. 
 
Duong notes that the Opus system streamlined distribution between these rooms, and was supplemented with Atlona HDR-EX-70C-KIT HDBaseT extender kits in the rooms most distant from the headend. The HDBaseT connectivity in all of the Altona systems eliminated the need to integrate Apple TVs or DirecTV boxes in each space the homeowners wanted these services.
 
“They just have a few Apple TVs and DirecTV boxes that are on the Opus matrix, and then from there the signal is distributed to any room they want,” he says, emphasizing that this strategy simplified the Singleton’s video requirements.
 
A Control4 C4-4SIGHT-E solution, chosen for its ability to work well with the Atlona Opus, provides a remote connection back to the headend for control of the AV across all rooms. 
 
“Control4 simplified the entire rollout, as we did not have to build the entire control matrix from scratch,” said Duong. “It’s a simple interface for the Singletons as well, and a quick learning curve when it comes to managing video and audio playout across different rooms. This system also plays very nicely with Opus, which was important for both our team for the integration, and to the Singletons for ease of use.”

Free Flow

Communication between other devices in the system, such as control, audio, and automated home systems (including Nest temperature control) is enabled through an Araknis Networks AN-700-AP managed switch. 
“We selected a managed network switch that allows us to pull up the GUI interface, see the pathway of how the traffic flows, and label the connection points,” said Duong. “This is a robust switch that adds value by enabling control of each port, which facilitates troubleshooting.”
 
A Sonos networked audio system amplifies and delivers audio throughout the house, including surround sound in several of the rooms with TVs. Opus supplies the television audio to be played back through the speaker system. 
 
“We de-embedded the audio from the HDMI input and send it out as an analog signal,” Duong says. The speaker system is made up of a combination of six- and eight-inch TruAudio speakers powered by either Sonos amplifiers or a Sony AV receiver.
 
“We chose different TruAudio systems for each room to match the environment,” said Duong. “For simpler listening rooms, we chose their six-inch carbon fiber speakers. For surround rooms with a complete AV experience, we chose the larger format eight-inch loudspeakers with separate in-wall subwoofers. That helps to free up real estate on the floor, which especially pleased Mrs. Singleton.”
 
For the Singletons, the Atlona Opus system answered their key requirement for a system that supports 4K.
 
“As technology changes and new resolutions are introduced onto the market, the video distribution systems have to support it,” Duong says. “When 4K was introduced, there were few companies that jumped on the bandwagon right away. This system addresses the requirements for high-end AV distribution in the home that we see emerging as a common request from residential customers.”