Originally Posted by rivertwice
I can run cat5 I haven't worked with cat6 before. What's your thoughts?
The cheapest, most labor intensive setup will be using a component video matrix switch and using 5-wire mini-HR cable as I provided links above for. Under $1,000 in materials to do everything.
Labor Effort: Significant - Needs mini-HR cable run to each display, needs the wire terminated using mini-HR cable ends which are pricey and require a special tool and take quite a while to properly terminate or must be soldered. Should pull cat-5e/6 at the same time!
Advantages: Inexpensive, expandable to the size of the switcher, reliable, required by law to work with cable/Dish/DirecTV boxes with HD, will work with all HDTV sources up to 1080i resolution
Disadvantages: Not compatible with HDMI/HDCP restricted content, not digital, can get noise on the line in a noisy environment, labor intensive to install, expensive cable compared to cat-x solutions, not very future proof should component video disappear.
Cost - around $1,000 - $1,500 in materials + a fair bit of labor
The next most expensive is a modulation setup.
Labor Effort: Very low - You already have the cable run to all the TVs that you need. This is basically a HD upgrade one-for-one of what you already are using, so once the TVs are all setup, and the sources are all configured, then you just change channels on the TVs like you are doing already. ASSUMPTION: TVs have QAM tuners built in (very likely).
Advantages: Lowest labor involvement (you already have coax run to the TVs!), reliable, HD resolutions at various levels are available, works with all component HD video sources (up to the resolution of the encoders), extremely expandable, very easy to use once setup
Disadvantages: Not compatible with HDMI/HDCP restricted content, not digital, not very future proof should component video disappear
Cost - around $4,000 or so (it appears)
The most expensive is a HDMI matrix solution
Labor Effort: Medium on this one. You will need to pull cat-5e/6 cable to all the displays and terminate those cables, but cat cabling is relatively straightforward to terminate and tools and connectors are readily available. Technically, this may be the most troubling, and you may spend a lot more time getting it all working properly, especially with lower tier equipment. The expensive HD over Cat-x solutions are typically far more reliable than cheaper solutions.
Advantages: Digital, compliant with HDMI, expandable to the size of the switcher, best video quality possible up to 1080p and beyond, works with Blu-ray and other sources which may be HDCP encrypted, uses extremely inexpensive cat-x cable, most future-proof as digital will likely be around for a long time.
Disadvantages: Digital copyright protection is extremely complex and can be buggy, very techie to setup, issues during and after setup can be very difficult to diagnose, slow switching speeds typically (this shouldn't matter).
Cost: Around $3,000 without full discrete switching to 10 displays, but well over $5,000 and perhaps more than $10,000 for 10 separate outputs to be available.