Explain my pre-wiring please - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 06-04-2012, 03:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I recently bought a new construction house. I don't think the builder was that experienced with structured wiring, but then again I'm not either, so maybe I'm just missing the genius of his wiring plan. Either way, I was hoping someone could help explain to me why he may have wired the house the way he did and also answer a few questions about the best way to fix (what I believe) are some wiring errors.

Wiring Summary
- The vast majority of the wiring terminates in the utility room (UR) where the cabling from outside enters the house.
- In the family room, there is a wiring box (FAM1) above the fireplace that appears to have been wired for a wall-mounted TV and in-wall speakers. Speaker wires run from FAM1 back to UR suggesting to me that the plan was for the AVR driving the family room speakers to be located in UR.
- Coax cables (x2) run from a second wiring box (FAM2) near the floor next to the fireplace back to UR. This suggests to me that the plan was for the DTV/cable set-top box (STB) to be located next to the fireplace (i.e., not in UR with the AVR).
- There are also coax cables (x3) connecting FAM2 (where STB will be located) to FAM1 (where the TV will be mounted). My only guess is that these are for component video from STB to TV. Unfortunately, no HDMI cable between FAM2 and FAM1 (or between UR and FAM1).

In summary, the wiring is:
UR --COAX(x2)--> FAM2/STB --COAX(x3)--> FAM1/TV; and
UR --speaker wires--> FAM1/speakers.

So, it looks like the wiring was designed for the AVR to sit in a different room from the STB, meaning I'd have to either (1) route audio from the STB at FAM2 back to UR then out to the speakers at FAM1, or (2) use 2 STBs for the one TV, one for video in FAM and one for audio in UR. Both seem ridiculous to me, and I think the builder made a huge wiring mistake.

Does this configuration seem normal/correct or is this clearly a screw-up?

Either way, what would be the best way to proceed?

FYI - it's a big room and I think I need something more than the TV's speakers to make TV audible. However, I don't need surround sound in this room. We just want to be able to hear dialog clearly. Also, if useful, there is a CAT5e line running from the UR to FAM2 and another from FAM2 to FAM1.

So, which of these options (or any write-in candidates) would be best:
1. Use the in-wall speakers for WHA only and use an AVR co-located with the STB to power 2 or 3 external speakers mounted near the TV.
2. Same as #1, but use the local AVR to feed R/L line level outputs to the TV speakers as well as to drive an external center channel speaker (is this possible with most AVRsoutputting line-out L/R signals and a center-channel speaker signal simultaneously?)
3. I do have a spare STB, so as ridiculous as it sounds I could use two STBs for the TV, one in UR for audio, another at FAM2 for video. I'd always have to change channels/programs on them both in unison, which seems like a major pain.
4. Use an HDMI extender to tx HDMI signals from UR to fireplace (~ 40 ft) and place STB and AVR both in UR. This would mean I'd have to tackle all the issues that come with HDMI extenders.
5. Write off the in-wall wiring and just use a wireless HDMI solution set up in the UR with both the AVR and STB.

I'd appreciate any input, even if it's just to tell me they screwed up. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 3 Old 06-06-2012, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tcason View Post

UR --COAX(x2)--> FAM2/STB --COAX(x3)--> FAM1/TV; and
UR --speaker wires--> FAM1/speakers.

So, it looks like the wiring was designed for the AVR to sit in a different room from the STB, meaning I'd have to either (1) route audio from the STB at FAM2 back to UR then out to the speakers at FAM1, or (2) use 2 STBs for the one TV, one for video in FAM and one for audio in UR. Both seem ridiculous to me, and I think the builder made a huge wiring mistake.
Quote:
Does this configuration seem normal/correct or is this clearly a screw-up?

Hmmm... Yeah, seems like they got kinda halfway there but didn't get it quite right. Are there three speaker wires (Left/Center/Right) at least?

You could place the AVR in the utility room, and the set-top box in the family room. Run component video from the set-top to the TV. Run digital audio from the set-top on one of the coax lines back to the AVR. If you want other sources in the family room, like a BD player, pick up a 2010 model player (used/eBay or an Oppo BD93) that has component video outputs. Add a component video switch there, audio back to the AVR, video to the TV.

Remote control of the AVR can be done with a Xantech XtraLink2 laid on top of the incoming coax feed. Unless you're using a non-SWM satellite setup (just don't do that - use SWM if you're going with DirecTV).
Quote:
Also, if useful, there is a CAT5e line running from the UR to FAM2 and another from FAM2 to FAM1.

Oh, you've got cat5e... That's the most useful cable in the whole mix! You should have said that earlier. . With one cat5 from the utility room to FAM2 and then to FAM1, you can just place everything in the utility room, and use an HDBaseT solution to get HDMI from the AVR (all sources switched through the AVR) to the TV. Get the ~$200 version from Monoprice and that will give you an IR solution and Ethernet in that room as well...


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post #3 of 3 Old 06-18-2012, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Jeff. I really appreciate the input . . .
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

. . .
Hmmm... Yeah, seems like they got kinda halfway there but didn't get it quite right. Are there three speaker wires (Left/Center/Right) at least?
You could place the AVR in the utility room, and the set-top box in the family room. Run component video from the set-top to the TV. Run digital audio from the set-top on one of the coax lines back to the AVR. If you want other sources in the family room, like a BD player, pick up a 2010 model player (used/eBay or an Oppo BD93) that has component video outputs. Add a component video switch there, audio back to the AVR, video to the TV.

Glad to see I wasn't just missing the point on their wiring plan.

I've never used coax for audo before, so I didn't realize running digital audio back to UR over the coax was even an option. Thanks for the suggestion that may be the way I go now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Oh, you've got cat5e... That's the most useful cable in the whole mix! You should have said that earlier. . With one cat5 from the utility room to FAM2 and then to FAM1, you can just place everything in the utility room, and use an HDBaseT solution to get HDMI from the AVR (all sources switched through the AVR) to the TV. Get the ~$200 version from Monoprice and that will give you an IR solution and Ethernet in that room as well...

Sorry for leaving that to the end. smile.gif Since this is the daily TV, I'd like a stable solution. I've read through the CAT5-extender sticky-thread and have seen how hit-or-miss CAT5 solutions can be. I've tried some of the cheaper Amazon solutions myself on other TVs in the house with very limited success. I know the HDBaseT solutions are supposed to be more stable but, at $200 per TV, I was hoping to use the pre-wired component video solution for this TV if possible. I have a number of TVs in the house that I will definitely have to use CAT5 extenders on, and the $200 per TV will really start to add up.

After reading your reply, however, I checked monoprice again and found they have a ~$90 HDBaseT solution that includes a splitter and 2 receivers. $45 per TV is much easier to swallow than $200 per TV. I'm planning to use iRule for my remote solution so I should be able to do without the IR.

Thanks again, Jeff. Both suggestions are useable solutions for me, so you were a big help.
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