TV & Communications Guide to Building a New House

The typical Australia new home has 2 phone points and 3 TV points. There’s a phone point in the kitchen, office and if you’re lucky master bedroom. As for TV, there’ll usually be a point in the lounge, dining room and master bedroom. For the average Australian family this is woefully inadequate! In this article I’ll outline my basic recommendations and gold standard recommendations.

(If you’re NBN connected see my NBN preparedness guide coming soon)

The Basic Minimum

Consider a typical 4 bedroom house and a family of five. Obviously you’ll need a TV point in the lounge room and at least one phone point in the kitchen. A family room is being used as a home office, so has a phone point for ADSL as well as a TV point. Mum and Dad will want one in their bedroom, usually mounted high for a wall mounted TV. When the kids get older they’ll want a TV in each of their rooms too. Later one of the kids leaves home and Dad turns that room into a new office. He moves all the computer gear into that room and he’ll need a phone socket for the ADSL modem and perhaps a fax machine.

In just this example to avoid having to add new points later the house needs 6 TV points and 6 Phone points. This is easy to do when you first build the house, but can be costly and hard later. A new TV or Phone point in an existing house will typically cost $100 to get installed. Getting it done when the house is built is far easier and far less costly.

I strongly recommend installing a TV point and a phone point in every bedroom, as you never know what you might use them for in the future. Put one of each in each living area as well. If you’re building the house for yourself, consider whether you’d prefer wall mount TVs up high, or to put them on cupboards. In this case the phone points would be mounted low on the wall and TV points up high in corners. In a rental I’d recommend all TV and phone points be installed close together down low on a wall.

Consider Satellite TV Pre-wire

Most Satellite TV setups currently use a dual RG6 cable setup. If you think there’s any chance you might get Foxtel in the future, get an extra two RG6 cables run to the same point as your lounge TV. This is particularly important in double story houses as sometimes it can be practically impossible to get to some walls when retrofitting later.

Gold Standard

If you want a real modern connected house there is only one way to go. You need a central distributor, will all cabling running back to it. This central distributor will typically be located in the garage on a wall that’s easily accessible in a dedicated cabinet. The TV Antenna will be wired to this point as well as the inbound phone or NBN connection. Every other point in the house will be wired back to this distributor and they’ll be connected there.

In main entertainment areas, run 4 RG6 and 6 Cat 5e cables back to the distributor. In bedrooms 1 RG6 and 2 Cat 5e cables will usually be sufficient. Run 1 RG6 and 6 Cat 5e cables to your home office.

This style of setup allows any room to have a TV and entertainment areas can have a Pay TV set top box. The 4th RG6 to the entertainment areas can be used for a Pay TV return signal, so you can feed your Pay TV out as a channel to every TV in the house. The Cat 5e points can be used for either phone or LAN, and with 6 at entertainment and office areas you’ll have enough for every device to have a dedicated connection.

This will be an expensive installation, but will give you the ultimate gold standard in connected homes.