New home wiring: please help, is CAT6e necessary? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-15-2013, 07:25 PM - Thread Starter
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All I want to do is have a media room with a large scope screen and a projector in the basement and a bunch of TV's in different areas of the house. I will want to watch blu ray movies and satellite TV.

My plan was to use an AV reciever, satellite receiver and a blu ray player etc for the media room. Blu ray players for each TV and get 'whole home dvr" for satellite television.

But the media sub contractor is recommending me to wire my home with CAT6e and have one central area with separate amps, blu ray player, satellite receiver etc to be installed in one area and be able to acess it from anywhere else in the house. This way he says I don't have to have blu ray players for each TV and wouldn't need satellite boxes under each TV either (with whole home DVR I may not need a satellite box for each TV anyways).

I am not interested in storing any media in hard drives and accessing it from each room, I will have individual blu ray discs. I am not interested in using CAT6e for Internet etc, as I am fine with wireless for my needs, so the CAT6e wiring seems to ONLY help to eliminate the need for blue ray players in each room.

But the cost for this is so high, I'm considering just getting blu ray players for each room. With the whole home DVR, I will not need those bulky DVR's for each room anyways (I think ?????)

My question is, do people get CAT6e wiring just to eliminate the need for multiple blu ray players in each room?, if not what other benefits do I get from a multi media perspective in getting my house wired with CAT6e.

He also mentioned I could access music from sites like pandora and with speakers in each room ill have easy access to music as well. I don't see myself using it that much, if I want music ill just dock my iPhone and listen.

Am I missing some big advantage in having CAT6e.... I am a complete noob on this, so I'm sure I am, please let me know what I'm missing.

Thank you
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-15-2013, 09:14 PM
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What he is talking about and the need for Cat-6 kind of sits in two different areas.

He is talking about taking your A/V system and doing whole-house A/V distribution. It is expensive, and aesthetically it is great, but it carries a significant price tag.

If you are happy with a Blu-ray player and cable box under each TV location and in each room, then you will want to wire coax cable (for the cable box), and at least ONE piece of cat-5 or cat-6 for networking. YOU may be fine with wireless, but A/V gear absolutely sucks across a wireless network and you really, really, really want cat-6 in place, strictly for networking.

Now, rooms that have the TV in one location, and the equipment on the other side of the room will require a lot of in-room cabling to ensure everything will be working properly long term.

You also will want to consider if you want additional audio zones in your home and what you really want to do in your theater space as the equipment really should be put into a discrete location away from the screen.

Sit down and discuss what you just brought up, as the proposal likely given is a 'high-end' solution, and you may be very happy with something much more mid-grade.

Be realistic about this though. Separate BD players means dragging movies around your home, and you can't share audio or video anywhere in the home. Each room stands alone with it's audio and video capabilities. If this is cool with you, then by all means the installer should have no problem meeting those needs.

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post #3 of 16 Old 05-15-2013, 11:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pcarfan View Post

With the whole home DVR, I will not need those bulky DVR's for each room anyways (I think ?????)

Exactly. Not sure if you have dish or direct but there's no way around having a bulky Hopper or Genie somewhere, but Joeys and Clients are easily concealed with velcro to the back of a tv.
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Pre-wiring is essential. "Cat6" is fine, you don't need the more exotic 6a. The builder may have meant Cat-5e, which would also be fine. You absolutely want at least one, preferably two or three category cable runs to most every room.

As others have already said, hard-wired Ethernet is much more reliable and easier to use than wireless. And the cat5e / cat6 wires are useful for a ton of A/V-related purposes. Having a bunch of it in the walls to every room makes a lot of future distribution options possible.

Remember, it's not just what you're going to use today or tomorrow - but several years from now. Getting the wires in the wall now is vastly cheaper and POSSIBLE - once the drywall goes on, it gets difficult and expensive to add wires later.

Jeff

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post #5 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

What he is talking about and the need for Cat-6 kind of sits in two different areas.

He is talking about taking your A/V system and doing whole-house A/V distribution. It is expensive, and aesthetically it is great, but it carries a significant price tag.

If you are happy with a Blu-ray player and cable box under each TV location and in each room, then you will want to wire coax cable (for the cable box), and at least ONE piece of cat-5 or cat-6 for networking. YOU may be fine with wireless, but A/V gear absolutely sucks across a wireless network and you really, really, really want cat-6 in place, strictly for networking.

Now, rooms that have the TV in one location, and the equipment on the other side of the room will require a lot of in-room cabling to ensure everything will be working properly long term.

You also will want to consider if you want additional audio zones in your home and what you really want to do in your theater space as the equipment really should be put into a discrete location away from the screen.

Sit down and discuss what you just brought up, as the proposal likely given is a 'high-end' solution, and you may be very happy with something much more mid-grade.

Be realistic about this though. Separate BD players means dragging movies around your home, and you can't share audio or video anywhere in the home. Each room stands alone with it's audio and video capabilities. If this is cool with you, then by all means the installer should have no problem meeting those needs.

Thank you. It makes sense now that I see CAT5/6 and being able to access A/V in each room are different set ups.

Also, I see you are recommending at least one Cat5/6 in place for A/V networking, but what is the need for the A/V network. What equipment will be connected via this network? I am missing a huge piece of the picture.

I will think about the convenience factor, but as I will almost always watch my movies in the media room and the rest of the BD players will only get very little action, I may just go with a basic set up.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by acesat View Post

Exactly. Not sure if you have dish or direct but there's no way around having a bulky Hopper or Genie somewhere, but Joeys and Clients are easily concealed with velcro to the back of a tv.

The house is still under construction and I will most likely have DirectTV. As long as it;s hidden behind the TV that will definitely be less clutter. I am ok with the blu ray player being under the TV.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by pcarfan View Post

Thank you. It m akes sense now that I see CAT5/6 and the A/V in each room are different set ups.

Also, I see you are recommending at least one Cat5/6 in place for A/V networking, but what is the need for the A/V network. What equipment will be connected via this network? I am missing a huge piece of the picture.

A/V distribution has rapidly moved to cat5e/cat6-based technology. Search for HDBaseT and you'll see the best implementations available today. More generally, because so much category cable has been installed for Ethernet networking purposes, the manufacturers have targeted their distribution products to use the same wire type - because it's installed in new home construction!

In those cases, they use the same type of wire, but for a completely different purpose. So it's not "networking" in the Ethernet / computer sense. The two don't mix at all.
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Originally Posted by pcarfan View Post

The house is still under construction and I will most likely have DirectTV. As long as it;s hidden behind the TV that will definitely be less clutter. I am ok with the blu ray player being under the TV.

"most likely". Which is why you want to wire for the general solution - you may change your mind. If not now, a year or two later... (Note: I'm a long-time DirecTV customer, too)

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post #8 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Pre-wiring is essential. "Cat6" is fine, you don't need the more exotic 6a. The builder may have meant Cat-5e, which would also be fine. You absolutely want at least one, preferably two or three category cable runs to most every room.

As others have already said, hard-wired Ethernet is much more reliable and easier to use than wireless. And the cat5e / cat6 wires are useful for a ton of A/V-related purposes. Having a bunch of it in the walls to every room makes a lot of future distribution options possible.

Remember, it's not just what you're going to use today or tomorrow - but several years from now. Getting the wires in the wall now is vastly cheaper and POSSIBLE - once the drywall goes on, it gets difficult and expensive to add wires later.

Jeff

But wouldn't CAT6 and 6e be redundant after a few years too? that's my biggest worry ahve in all hard wired and then find it obsolete in a decade.

But it also looks like CAT5/6 are related to phones and TV cables too, and as those will be be included in a build out and if CAT6e is just an upgrade to those, then I'll rather pay for the upgrade and get CAT6e (If it can do the job of a phone line and cable)
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 10:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

A/V distribution has rapidly moved to cat5e/cat6-based technology. Search for HDBaseT and you'll see the best implementations available today. More generally, because so much category cable has been installed for Ethernet networking purposes, the manufacturers have targeted their distribution products to use the same wire type - because it's installed in new home construction!

In those cases, they use the same type of wire, but for a completely different purpose. So it's not "networking" in the Ethernet / computer sense. The two don't mix at all.
"most likely". Which is why you want to wire for the general solution - you may change your mind. If not now, a year or two later... (Note: I'm a long-time DirecTV customer, too)

Jeff

Jeff, if you don't mind a quick question....Will the CAT6e wiring also help me access all my media files form a single location? so one blu ray player and one satellite receiver etc in the basement and I can access it from anywhere in the house? Can I also link to music programs like Pandora
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 10:21 AM
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But wouldn't CAT6 and 6e be redundant after a few years too? that's my biggest worry ahve in all hard wired and then find it obsolete in a decade.

The only truly future-proof solution is empty conduit that allows you to run any type of cable in the future. Highly recommend you get some flex conduit run to the "key" or "primary" A/V locations and your wiring center - so that you can pull new wires from an attic or other accessible space to and from those locations.

But of all the cable types around, category cable is the most useful, and the most likely to be usable for decades - if not for "every" purpose, at least the majority of them. As we move to more true "networked" solutions (Ethernet), that wire become essential.
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But it also looks like CAT5/6 are related to phones and TV cables too, and as those will be be included in a build out and if CAT6e is just an upgrade to those, then I'll rather pay for the upgrade and get CAT6e (If it can do the job of a phone line and cable)

First, there's no such thing as a real "Cat6e" - anyone selling that is making up a marketing name. Cat6 is as good as you need. There are Cat6A wires, but that's overkill and may cause you more problems than it helps. Cat5e is what has been mostly installed, and if that's what the builder means, you're also fine. If you add more wires as "an upgrade", running some cat6 in addition to the cat5e lines isn't a bad idea, either. The price difference between cat5e and cat6 is very small now - but the builder may charge a big premium, so investigate that and go from there.

And category cable comes from the phone industry - and cat5e is so cheap now that it's typically run for phone drops as well. And you want that, as the wire can be repurposed for all the stuff we've mentioned - if those lines aren't needed for phones.

Jeff

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post #11 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, very helpful...the sub contractor definitely mentioned CAT6e not CAT5e, I'll talk to him about the advantage.

Also, I was considering getting the JVC X-35 with lens zoom. He recommends a much higher priced WOLF projector which he says is much better with blacks and motion. However I have no reviews of these. He also claims using a panamorphic lens is much better, as it is the only one to display a full resolution of 1080p. But from what I understand that's not the whole story. His speech on things for which I have some understanding, didn't sound complete to me, and thus my pessimism.
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-16-2013, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pcarfan View Post

Thanks, very helpful...the sub contractor definitely mentioned CAT6e not CAT5e, I'll talk to him about the advantage.

Also, I was considering getting the JVC X-35 with lens zoom. He recommends a much higher priced WOLF projector which he says is much better with blacks and motion. However I have no reviews of these. He also claims using a panamorphic lens is much better, as it is the only one to display a full resolution of 1080p. But from what I understand that's not the whole story. His speech on things for which I have some understanding, didn't sound complete to me, and thus my pessimism.
Whomever you are talking to is a high-dollar sales guy.

Wolf Projectors have been reported as being rebadged JVC models...
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1339874/wolf-cinema-downsizes-prices-to-15k-for-3d-d-ila-projector

I have heard from more than a few people about how much 'better' some projectors are, but at the end of the day, if you want about a 3% improvement for thousands of dollars, then you are certainly in the minority. JVC and Sony are both excellent models for image quality and product reliability.

Now, back to your home A/V system.

1. Don't plan on putting a DirecTV receiver behind your TV. They are electronics and must have proper ventilation. It will be right there on the shelf with your Blu-ray player in every room. If you want it somewhere else in the room, then run conduit or several pieces of cat-5/6 along with HDMI between it and your TV, and put your Blu-ray player there as well.

2. You do NOT use 1 piece of wire and magically get all your sources across it. You need equipment in-between, and that equipment is necessary to make things work.

3. Wiring your home is really, really inexpensive. It may be a few thousand dollars to do it, but the FIRST time you realize that you are missing one wire, and you have to rip open your walls to get that wire in place, you will spend several thousand dollars to get it there - and live with the headache of the work being done. Run your wires now, don't be thrifty on it, and run extras. DEMAND that they are all properly labeled.

4. If you haven't yet, pick a main location in your home where your network and all the cables will be run to. This location should have enough room for some equipment to live should you want to make changes or upgrade later on.

5. Cat-6 is better than cat-5e and should cost you no more than about 100 bucks more to use for your home... Use it.

6. Multiple runs of cat-6 cabling aren't a bad thing. Even if you don't use them, you will likely find that you do end up using one or two of them over the years.

7. Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Prime, AppleTV, Roku, PS3, Blu-ray Players, etc. are ALL using networking connections to get you content from the Internet or from your home PCs. That gear should all be hard-wired, not wireless, and now is the time to run those cables.

8. HDMI video can be carried over Cat-6 cabling, but not over your network. If you end up wanting to remote locate some gear, then you would need HDMI over Cat-6 converters, typically called HD-Base-T, to get the HDMI video from the remote location to your televisions.

9. If you don't run the wires now, and you change your mind later, it will cost 3 times as much to run the wire, and will cost even more for walls that need to be repaired.

If I were you - I would run 2 Cat-6 wires (minimum) from your main location (head end location) to each room as well as 2-pieces of RG6 coaxial cable. This is a pretty standard multi-media drop and should serve you fine.

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post #13 of 16 Old 05-17-2013, 06:39 AM
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"Cat 6e" doesn't actually exist as a specification. There's Cat 6 and Cat 6a. The benefit of Cat6a is that its rated to work at 10Gb at 100m. Cat6 will still hit 10Gb but only up to 55m. Unless you have a giant home or expect a lot of interference, 6 should be fine.
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-17-2013, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by pcarfan View Post

Jeff, if you don't mind a quick question....Will the CAT6e wiring also help me access all my media files form a single location? so one blu ray player and one satellite receiver etc in the basement and I can access it from anywhere in the house? Can I also link to music programs like Pandora

Uh... Well, it's likely that the products that would provide those capabilities would either be Ethernet-based at some point, or could utilize the cat6 cabling via HDBaseT. So yes, but it's just a wire. There's the question of the expensive boxes at both ends that's the real question... smile.gif

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post #15 of 16 Old 05-17-2013, 06:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

Whomever you are talking to is a high-dollar sales guy.

Wolf Projectors have been reported as being rebadged JVC models...
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1339874/wolf-cinema-downsizes-prices-to-15k-for-3d-d-ila-projector

I have heard from more than a few people about how much 'better' some projectors are, but at the end of the day, if you want about a 3% improvement for thousands of dollars, then you are certainly in the minority. JVC and Sony are both excellent models for image quality and product reliability.

Now, back to your home A/V system.

1. Don't plan on putting a DirecTV receiver behind your TV. They are electronics and must have proper ventilation. It will be right there on the shelf with your Blu-ray player in every room. If you want it somewhere else in the room, then run conduit or several pieces of cat-5/6 along with HDMI between it and your TV, and put your Blu-ray player there as well.

2. You do NOT use 1 piece of wire and magically get all your sources across it. You need equipment in-between, and that equipment is necessary to make things work.

3. Wiring your home is really, really inexpensive. It may be a few thousand dollars to do it, but the FIRST time you realize that you are missing one wire, and you have to rip open your walls to get that wire in place, you will spend several thousand dollars to get it there - and live with the headache of the work being done. Run your wires now, don't be thrifty on it, and run extras. DEMAND that they are all properly labeled.

4. If you haven't yet, pick a main location in your home where your network and all the cables will be run to. This location should have enough room for some equipment to live should you want to make changes or upgrade later on.

5. Cat-6 is better than cat-5e and should cost you no more than about 100 bucks more to use for your home... Use it.

6. Multiple runs of cat-6 cabling aren't a bad thing. Even if you don't use them, you will likely find that you do end up using one or two of them over the years.

7. Pandora, Netflix, Amazon Prime, AppleTV, Roku, PS3, Blu-ray Players, etc. are ALL using networking connections to get you content from the Internet or from your home PCs. That gear should all be hard-wired, not wireless, and now is the time to run those cables.

8. HDMI video can be carried over Cat-6 cabling, but not over your network. If you end up wanting to remote locate some gear, then you would need HDMI over Cat-6 converters, typically called HD-Base-T, to get the HDMI video from the remote location to your televisions.

9. If you don't run the wires now, and you change your mind later, it will cost 3 times as much to run the wire, and will cost even more for walls that need to be repaired.

If I were you - I would run 2 Cat-6 wires (minimum) from your main location (head end location) to each room as well as 2-pieces of RG6 coaxial cable. This is a pretty standard multi-media drop and should serve you fine.

Thank you very much. I spoke to the lighting and electric guy and he also sets up media rooms (did it for my builder). He will intsall what ever I get, an it looks like we will run two CAT6 to each room.
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-18-2013, 09:14 PM - Thread Starter
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My plan
Two CAT6 (or 6a) to each room or may be even three as I hear I need two just for hdmi over cat6????
My media room is adjacent to where all the AV equipment is, so my projector will be directly connected and will be via a conduit
I will get direct tv genie to access directTV DVR from each room
Sonos for whole home audio
For now, i Will have separate BD players for great room and bedroom where we may watch movies or where ever I need one

Later on, I will have a raid media server with all my bluray collections and access it from every TV via cat6

May even get an HDMI matrix switch and connect various sources for whole home AV (deal with all the problems this may throw when I get to it.... Not spending the money for a crestron )

With all this, I think I have a vague idea of how all this fits together, and thanks for all the help
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