Neat-O: IP-Based Control, MoCA Make Retrofit Easier

A 12,000-square-foot home is retrofitted with URC’s Total Control to provide audio to 10 separate zones lighting and control the audio/video. All this was done while maintaining the home’s aesthetics, which was a major concern for the homeowners.


One of the most often-heard concerns from homeowners when considering any new home technology system is an aversion to having holes drilled all over the house. That was the concern of the owner of this 12,000-square-foot suburban home in New Jersey.

Rick Cordero of RC Integrated Systems in East Rutherford, N.J., was brought in to make some upgrades to the existing home theater. He replaced an out-of-date projector and surround-sound receiver with a new Epson 6010 projector and a new Marantz SR6006 receiver. Other parts of the home had their own individual TV and video components, but nothing was integrated, and operation was handled by a mishmash of remotes.

Cordero suggested that the home could use a whole-house audio system with centralized sources. The owners were worried about the potential impact a system like that might have on their home décor, but Cordero assured them that the installation could be done with minimal drilling, and that that it would be easy to control – another important consideration.

Cordero recommended URC’s Total Control, an all IP-based system that lends itself perfectly to a retrofit project. He installed three URC SNP-1 streaming network players to provide individual audio streams to 10 separate zones. To power the Episode speakers (both indoor and outdoor models), Cordero used URC’s DMS-1200 multi-zone amplifiers. Three URC lighting dimmers were also added so the homeowners could adjust the lighting level depending on their moods and activity – all from either their iPhones or any of the three URC in-wall touchpanels or three URC remotes.

Other components integrated into the system, and accessed via the URC Total Control system, included a cable DVR, Samsung Blu-ray player and an Apple TV.

Keeping the installation inconvenience down to a minimum was the easy part. Most of the wiring required only running some Cat 5 and speaker wire. Cordero was also able to take advantage of existing coax lines run to different rooms by using a SnapAV 4×4 matrix switcher and SnapAV Binary coax HDMI extender. That product allowed Cordero to send the HDMI signal (along with IR controls for operating a TV or components) over the existing coax line using the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) standard – a good solution for retrofit projects. In places where that wasn’t a solution, Cordero was able to use existing HVAC ducts to run wires unobtrusively.

To ensure the homeowners’ iPhones have a constant connection to the Total Control system, wireless access points were installed in several locations throughout this very large property. The project took about four weeks, including a few days of programming, at a cost of around $35,000. The homeowners are thrilled with the ease of control, and how unobtrusive the technology is.

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