Most of everything has been covered, but 2 more cents may not hurt.
if we were to get Alien Bees SB800ís will we need to have sync cords, or can a remote transmitter trigger both at the same time?
://You would use one transmitter plugged into the back of one of the AB lights. When you press your shutter the transmittier will make that one light go off and all of the other lights will go off due to the 'eye' on the back of the lights. When they 'see' a flash, they also go off. So, only one wireless transmitter is needed. As for the 'eye' not seeing the main light go off, there are ways around this. (you can buy those little 'eye' sensors on the end of a cable and plug it into your light and put the eye where you would like to)
Like someone else said, the AB lights come with a sync cable where you can plug it into your camera (if it supports flash sync) and then to to one light Then you are hardwired to that one light.
If so, what kind of transmitter do we need?
://SOmeone said the AB one isn't that great, which I have heard myself before. I bought one from our local store, it was about $180.
Do we need receivers for the strobes, or is it built in?
://Again, All AB lights have an 'eye' sensor on the back to when they 'see' light they also go off. But, you have to have one light go off to trigger them all either by remote or a sync cable, again which comes with the lights.
I guess I am looking for a breakdown on how strobes work, and how to get them to work from your camera. Can you guys help or know where I can look?
://I use 2 AB B800's and love them. Never had any problem what-so-ever.