If there ever was a backbone for what we do in the home, this would be it. Structured cabling addresses the availability of telephone, networking/data, and video throughout your home. The essence of structured cabling is defined by the quality and capacity of the cabling, the architecture of the wiring, the use of a central distribution panel, and the quantity and type of terminations used at outlets and at the distribution panel. All these elements play a hand in the functionality and versatility of your structured cabling application.
We know that wireless solutions exist in both the telephone (cellular phones & cordless phone systems) and networking/data (wireless networking capability) so we definitely are not advocates of "contigency cabling" every location in the home but we do advocate putting a wire where you know you will have a device that would use it. A wire is still the most reliable, highest speed solution, particularly in the case of networking/data.
Structured cabling also includes the use of in-wall conduits or "video bundles" to provide a pathway from outlets to television or other audio/video component locations. For HDTV, as an example, it is generally not as simple as just attaching a coax cable to the rear of your television. Your structured cabling "backbone" even plays a role in sophisticated distributed audio & video systems.
The central distribution panel is generally located in your mechanical room. Every outlet in the home is pulled directly back to this panel (no daisy chaining!). The panel might be a stand alone enclosure with modules to split a video and telephone signal and also play home to your broadband router, or in larger, more sophisticated homes it might be integrated into an equipment rack and resemble a commercial installation.
A final point on structured cabling...look at category 5e and 6 cable as a utility cable of sorts. It is by far the most versatile cable in our inventory. You can send IR signals, HDMI, component video, analog and digital audio, telephone and IP networking over these cables. We highly recommend including one (ideally two) to ANY television location, whether that be a wall outlet or video bundle.