Building new home - Wiring for whole home shared DVR / HTPC solution? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-11-2012, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm building a new home, and am at the point of specifying the Coax / Cat-6A / other low voltage cabling configuration. I have the ability to wire the house however I want, and have a decent budget ($7-10k) for a centralized network solution, cable management, etc.

Here's what I'd like to do in Rainbow Pony land. Digital cable provider is Cox (San Diego).
  • Have some type of centralized DVR solution. I want to be able to record shows in the living room, and then watch them from the master bedroom, home theater, or office. I can buy Tivo + cable card, or put the DVR files on a server (encryption issues?) or some other option.
  • Have some type of centralized HTPC/Media server solution. I want to rip my Blu-rays to MKV's and watch from any room. Was looking at Synology for the media server aspect, but I can also build a Linux Plex/XBMC server or something.
  • Have some type of universal remote so I can click a button to turn on the TV, browse my media/DVR shows, and click "play".

(It seems like this is what many people want, but it's surprisingly difficult to do.)

Anyway, what I really need help with at this point is the cabling aspect.

I'm thinking of running (1) Coax and (3) Cat-6A connections to each room. Then, an additional bank of Cat-6A at the main TV locations in the living room and theater. (The coax is mainly a backup plan so that I can install a Cox set-top box at each location if the centralized thing doesn't work.)

Should I also run in-wall HDMI? Or will pushing HD video over Cat-6A work? I've seen products like this for HDMI->Cat-6->HDMI: Moniprice HDMI to Cat-6 wall plate.

Any other cables I should run? Am I on the right track? This seems like a really confusing topic, much more so than "normal" networking frown.gif
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-11-2012, 10:11 AM
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For your video distribution, I would consider a Ceton Infinitv 4 tuner cablecard tuner in a central HTPC. Then use the new Ceton Echo WMC extender in all locations where you want access to recorded TV. There will be no encryption issues with this setup.
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-11-2012, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the Ceton InfiniTV tip, that looks like an awesome product.

Reading the Amazon reviews, it seems like I just need the InfiniTV 4 + Windows 7 PC + CableCard and that handles the central server.

Then, all TV's can consume shows over Cat-6 IP networking, via the WMC extenders. I'll need 1 WMC Echo located at each TV. Are there any TV's natively that can function as WMC clients? (not crucial)

Is that it? Seems easy and serviceable - just what I was looking for.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-11-2012, 01:46 PM
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You pretty much have it. You may want a WMC remote; I just use a Logitech wireless keyboard. The extenders come with remotes but you can also use the Ceton app on your phone or Ipad as a remote.

I don't know of any TVs that can serve as extenders. The only other device that can act as an extender currently is the Xbox. The Xbox works well as an extender but it is rather loud.

BTW, I have the Ceton InfiniTV 4 and it works flawlessly. You may need a Tuning adapter from your cable company if they use SDV (switched digital video) technology. If they do, they should provide it to you for free; the FCC forbids them from charging for it I think. A cablecard should probably be around $2 per month rental if not free as well.

Your cabling sounds adequate. When we built our house about 5 years ago, I pulled (2) Cat5e and (1) RG6 cable to each room. I ran double that to my media center wall. I also installed a whole house sound system by Nuvo Technologies. I installed their mid priced Essentia system but they have a beefier system called the Grand Concerto. This coupled with their MPS4 music server makes a great whole house sound system.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-11-2012, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, and will check out the Nuvo too.

So I'm adding up the Ceton components and it seems I would need (4) Echo's at $179/ea, plus (1) InfiniTV at $199, plus Windows 7 at $99, plus drives (I'm all Mac now). Call it $1200 total.

Any reason not to just get 4 Tivo Premiere's at $249/ea ($1000), use the "multi-room streaming" capabilities of Tivo, and avoid the HTPC hassles? Documents on Tivo Multi-room Streaming

Edit: Actually, found this post that does a good job of describing the advantages of an HTPC: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1314035/tivo-premiere-vs-htpc#post_19985335
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post #6 of 7 Old 12-17-2012, 02:13 PM
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Tivo also has monthly fees unless you buy the lifetime activation.

I'm running Ceton in my HTPC on Cox and I love it! I can't imagine ever going back to a cablebox/DVR. I use an XBOX as my extender which works flawlessly. I'd opt for an Echo if it were cheaper; I really like how little power it uses.
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post #7 of 7 Old 12-18-2012, 11:08 AM
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I would say that 1x coax + 3x Cat6 would be the minimum wiring for each drop. With this you could do:

- Direct TV cable connection for ClearQAM
- 1x Cat6 for HDBaseT (HDMI link) back to central HTPC / receiver etc if you're doing surround sound
- 1x Cat6 for ethernet for smart TV, Ceton Echo etc. Only 1 is needed as you could always put a small switch at the TV end as well if there were multiple devices needing ethernet.
- 1x Cat6 for IR over Cat5/6 if you want IR remote control over central media closet

If you add a 4th Cat6 (or eliminate one of the above uses) you can also put a USB receiver and a USB over Cat6 balun to control wireless PC gamepads or other controllers for gaming on a central PC.

Now you would have local access to everything via the Ceton as well as remote access to a central PC, game console and any other component in any room. Keep in mind that if you have a mix of surround sound and stereo at different drops, you'll have to account for the highest common denominator issue with distributing HDMI. The solution could be to have multiple A/V receivers, one for each TV in a media closet that sit between the components and the TVs.
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