With Christmas right around the corner, this is the perfect time to think about whole house and multi-room music systems, which are perfect for piping all that wonderful holiday music throughout the entire home. But what kind of system should you use to convey all that good music to every room in your house? Your two basic choices are wired and wireless, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
Wired Home Network
This is by far the easiest choice of course, because it doesn't require you to do anything extra to set it up. If you've already set up a home computer network system, you won't have to bother with running wiring through walls, which is usually the most difficult and costly aspect of setting up any whole house music system.
Two-Room Music System
This is a simple wired system which makes use of the Speaker B switch on your home theater receiver or your stereo unit. The explicit purpose of the Speaker B output is to provide power to a secondary pair of speakers, so all that's really necessary is running the wiring into that second room, and connecting it to the room speakers. To set this up for more than two rooms, you would need to purchase a speaker selection switch.
Multi-Room with Multi-source
If you have a home theater receiver, it's probably capable of establishing zones throughout the home to receive output, and of accepting multiple sources as inputs, for instance CD's, mp3's, or radio. You'll have to check your specific receiver, because some of them come equipped with multi-room outputs for as many as three zones, while others provide only line-level outputs that require an amplifier in each zone.
If you don't want to go through the hassle of wiring each of the rooms where you want music piped into, the obvious choice is for a wireless system. While wireless may have gotten a bum rap in the past for being somewhat unreliable, wireless technology has improved greatly, and sound quality today is practically as good as any hard-wired system.