Probably the best place to start at the beginning with a description of some of the things you can expect from a modern overall system: the electronic heart of todays luxury home is the low voltage distribution panel - this is a centralized wall casing (usually made of steel ) that holds the home run of most of the TV, phone and network cable for the house. When I say home driving, it means a group of cables that start in a single place and fans out there - this is the preferred cabling method according to current standards (although not all cables need to be at home ...). Together with the cables, this distribution panel will also contain different termination equipment for each type of signal: RG6 cables for televisions will end up with an RF splitter and / or amplifier, telephone cables (usually CAT5) will be transferred to a variety of phone blocks , and Ethernet cables (again CAT5 or CAT5e) enter a network switch or hub (in combination with the router or gateway device).
Audio / Video cables are usually home to another central point, usually near the homes premier home theater system. This includes speaker cabling to as many different rooms as you can imagine, in combination with various control cables (usually CAT5) for remote control of centralized A / V equipment. Most hemmed systems are strict for distributed audio, but todays state-of-the-art system also offers distributed video - for example, this sounds like one in one of the upstairs bedrooms to watch a DVD from the main system down and listen to the sound of in-wall / in -ceiling speakers.
Of course, the home theater system is important - the best systems will have a projection or plasma screen. If it is a projected image, the screen can either be fixed (perhaps behind a motorized curtain, like in large theaters) or one that automatically extends when the projector is turned on. Speakers can be any combination of walls, ceilings or conventional loudspeakers - this includes the latest killing subwoofers (which can also be hidden behind walls or ceilings - or under the floor ...). The audio processor should be able to decode a variety of signals, including AC3, DTS and some other less popular formats.
Remote controls have come a long way, and advanced systems should include what is now called positive control: this type of system actually receives feedback from the different system components (via a small power line, power sensing, signal detection, etc.) to determine current status , then uses / then / other conditional check logic. Heres an example: You enter the theater room to watch a movie and just press Watch DVD on the remote control. This sends the signal to a processor that detects that someone left the tuner on and the TV turned off. It compensates for this by turning on the TV, switching the tuner input to DVD and pressing Play on the DVD player. It then attenuates the illumination by 90 percent. This is what is considered a smart system, and can be found with names like Elan and Niles.
And that leads us to light control - the big name is Lutron. This company offers some different systems and methods to dynamically control the lighting of any home - the most popular that uses the RadioRA controls. These include high-end wall panels and / or desk tables remote controls that use RF (Radio Frequency) to wirelessly control light relays from a distance, and can be controlled by Audio / Video remote control for the actual theater experience. One of the other advantages of Lutron wall panels is the ability to control up to 5 switches in a one-time device.
Other features in the latest full house systems include distributed monitoring: Imagine being in the back of a very large house and the doorbell rings. Instead of releasing everything to find out that its an intrusive lawyer, just look at the 7 color wall controller in front of you and see whos there. Pick up the phone and talk with them (via a speaker in the doorbell) - without even getting up. Then touch the touch screen once to see if the child is awake on camera 2, or watch all four cameras in a single quad view!
It is obvious that we have come a long way since the rotational volume controls you on walls in many older homes - it can still be useful and save some money if you are not hungry for features.