when the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) published the ANSI/CEA-2030 Multiroom Audio Cabling Standard last year, it brought welcome conformity to an industry that had been patched together by disparate wiring solutions.

Meant to complement TIA-570-B, the Telecommunications Industry Association's Residential Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard, the new standard provides a uniform method “for installing cable for use in residences being prewired for multi-room audio,” says Megan Hayes, CEA's manager of standards development. “If a builder uses ANSI/CEA-2030, the cables and connectors will be in the appropriate places for hooking up a multiroom audio system, no matter which system a homeowner decides to use.”

For manufacturers and installers, ANSI/CEA-2030 “provides a clear path for determining what an appropriate distributed media backbone is,” says Russound's Jeff Kussard. “If audio/video or low-voltage contractors comply with the standard, the wires and connectors will support not only current multimedia needs but future ones as well.” That's good news for builders and homeowners, who can be assured that a home's wiring won't be obsolete as new technologies emerge. “The standard bridges the gap,” he adds, “between legacy multiroom systems and newer systems like A-BUS that are digital.”

The standard also moves the industry one step closer to achieving what CEA and the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) call “fourth trade status.” Their goal is to see consumers, architects, builders, and government regulators view an electronic systems contractor as being as essential and integral to new-home construction as a plumber, electrician, or HVAC contractor.