Ran into an interesting design problem the other day. The house we moved into (it was a flip, old house/new wiring) has one of those iPod docks in the front room. Pop in the iPod, play though speakers built in through the whole house. The CD player and AV receiver running the system are tucked away in a nook, on a shelf just above the stacked washer/dryer units. The wires for the system run from a hole in the wall behind them, into the back of the receiver.
Now of course, you don't need to do a hard-wire hookup anymore -- just connect your A/V receiver up to an Airport Express and stream your music. Which is what I was intending on doing last weekend ...
... until I discovered that the power outlet running the AV receiver was behind the washer dryer stack. No way I'm pulling down a half-ton of machinery to plug in an Airport Express that probably won't fit back there anyway when you replace the washer/dryer. By hiding the power outlets behind the appliances, the designer made the wiring cleaner, simpler -- and utterly un-upgradable. Of course, why would you upgrade? You can hook up your speakers to your iPod! When will we ever invent anything cooler than that?
I theory, I can't even unplug and replace the AV receiver without pulling out those appliances. Remember, when installing anything in your house:
a.) Assume it will break, or you will need to remove it at some point.
b.) Remember you will be pissed off and impatient when doing so. Design backwards, to minimize your own frustration. The longer it takes to make it pretty, the longer it'll take to tear it out it when you need to. When, not if. When.
Actually, let's make this more than a grouse. Your entertainment setup, in the Comments.
Mine is very simple:
-- Sharp Aquos 42'
-- Tivo Series 3 HD (with those accursed Time Warner cable cards that reset themselves every three months). When I moved back to LA, went with Time Warner Cable after years of satellite for the Tivo interface. I have experienced a DVR without the Tivo interface. We will never speak of it.
-- Xbox 360
-- Apple 1Tb Time Capsule/Router
Both the Tivo and Xbox have access to Netflix Streaming, the Tivo also gives access to Amazon VOD and now Blockbuster streaming. The Xbox also plays my ripped media stored on my Time Machine (it's connected by an ethernet cable) through Rivet. Apparently Orb, the stream-everywhere program is now available on Mac, so I'll download it just to give it a try and report back.
Considering getting an OPPO region-free DVD player, but to tell the truth I usually just rip my (personal, legally purchased) foreign DVD's with Mac the Ripper and then convert them to mp4 with Handbrake . *
You can use just Handbrake now, apparently, but I got into the habit of the two step process and some irrational part of me likes breaking the task down into specialized programs for each step. If you have any settings you like for Handbrake, toss 'em in. Tuning Handbrake is a sub-hobby all its own.
No, no Blu-ray. Regular old HD is just fine, thanks. I don't upgrade often, or go for the biggest/most expensive. My fetish for one-bag travelling extends all the way down through my life.