Centralized Audio/Video & Cable Length - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-14-2013, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I want all my audio and video gear at a central location and then distribute it to individual rooms (each room with a separate and independent stream). From what I read the amps would also be at that central location. That is good as then I don't need an amp in each room and can have outlets to just connect the speakers. However, my question is regarding cable lengths. Wouldn't there be a big loss if I run speaker cables up to 100'?

Also how would this work with Video? I saw some mentioning coax cables with video modulated onto different channels. It seems an outdated and lossy method. Wouldn't HDMI cables be better which carries the video (and audio) digitally and plug right into the TV.
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-14-2013, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by mujudu View Post

I want all my audio and video gear at a central location and then distribute it to individual rooms (each room with a separate and independent stream). From what I read the amps would also be at that central location. That is good as then I don't need an amp in each room and can have outlets to just connect the speakers. However, my question is regarding cable lengths. Wouldn't there be a big loss if I run speaker cables up to 100'?

Yes, which is why for lengths like that you use large gauge (12AWG) to provide a low-resistance path for the signal.
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Also how would this work with Video? I saw some mentioning coax cables with video modulated onto different channels. It seems an outdated and lossy method. Wouldn't HDMI cables be better which carries the video (and audio) digitally and plug right into the TV.

HD modulators exist, but they're quite expensive and don't work (at the consumer level) with HDMI. For simply centralizing components, an HDBaseT extender over cat5e / cat6 would be the best bet - one per display run. Buy one with IR repeating built-in and you'll solve the remote control question at the same time.

There are long HDMI cables, but >20' should be done with an active Redmere cable these days, longer than 50-60' and you're into an extender regardless. And in that realm, you're better off with cat6 cable(s) instead of HDMI as the former will be more adaptable to future technologies.

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you. I guess I will not get around having a box in the room where the TV is. Looking at some such devices it looks like they are pretty small, though.

Btw, is there a particular box you would recommend. Is there anything important I need to look for?
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 08:38 AM
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The HDBaseT receivers are tiny (as are almost all HDMI extenders) and are easily hidden behind the TV - even a wall-mounted one (the thinnest mounts will require a recessed outlet).

Monoprice has the cheapest HDBaseT product on the market currently. MuxLab just announced their own which is worth looking at, too.

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011012&p_id=8122&seq=1&format=2

http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=109&cp_id=10914&cs_id=1091401&p_id=10225&seq=1&format=2
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post #5 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 12:27 PM
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For a cleaner look, not that you could not hide the modules behind the tv as Jeff stated, but you could always get HDBaseT receivers that go into standard wall plate as well. I think Belkin makes them......
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by M1chael View Post

For a cleaner look, not that you could not hide the modules behind the tv as Jeff stated, but you could always get HDBaseT receivers that go into standard wall plate as well. I think Belkin makes them......

Good point, Monoprice has one, too. The issue with these that I see is that it will definitely require a recessed outlet plate for a wall-mounted TV as the bend radius for the HDMI cable will become a problem. Tucking a small box in that same space gives you a lot more flexibility as to what direction the stiff HDMI cable/connector "points". Cat5 / RJ45 patch cables obviously much more forgiving in bend radius and connector depth...

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post #7 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 01:28 PM
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I will throw out that if you are building and looking at things, you want to discuss, in length, wiring and look at your wiring needs.

Video modulation of HD content over coax is great. It solves the problem of the home which is 10+ years old and ONLY has coax run to all the TVs in the place, but it comes with a huge caveat... It can't deal with HDMI. Oh, and yeah, they're expensive. They make a lot of sense when there are a bunch of TVs and not a ton of channels which need to be tuned. Until the modulators drop in price significantly, which doesn't seem to be likely, these are a pricey option. I think it's about $5,000 to get 3 encoders (3 sources).

Redmere is a BAD idea for behind walls. Period. Redmere uses active electronics, which can fail. You can't replace those active electronics, so if they do fail, the cable is dead.

I, personally, have used the 22AWG cables from Monoprice to distances up to 75 feet without a single issue. I've probably used 30+ of their cables for long haul connections. No issues at all. It's less money, but a thicker cable, but no electronics which can break and can't be replaced.

Still, for any runs of HDMI, you want to include a couple of pieces (or more) of cat-5 or cat-6 cable so that at some point you can upgrade to the 'next generation' of product, which very well may be HDBaseT or some derivative product that comes later.

Yes, with HDBaseT you have a box at the receiving point, but some boxes can receive their power from the sending point (your equipment closet) and the boxes are about 4"x4"x1" - so very easily hidden behind a typical wall mount. If you need more room behind the TV, then you can cut a hole in the wall and put a large wall plate in which can hold the devices as you need them to. Hidden - out of sight, and still working well.

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post #8 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

Redmere is a BAD idea for behind walls. Period. Redmere uses active electronics, which can fail. You can't replace those active electronics, so if they do fail, the cable is dead.

Very good point. If you run any HDMI in the walls, it should be accompanied by 2+ cat6 cables and perhaps a conduit... I could see running a Redmere cable in-wall for 50' runs, but agree, there would have to be some redundancy there, for both failures and obsolescence.

The bigger gotcha on using Redmere is the directional nature (source vs sink) of the cable - we've seen a number of postings here of folks that installed them backwards. eek.gif

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post #9 of 11 Old 10-15-2013, 03:54 PM
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Oh, and I would look at this guide as a basic reference for cable gauge size:

http://www.audioholics.com/audio-video-cables/speaker-cable-gauge

But, only as a reference. The information really refers to maintaining 100% signal at the speakers for that distance. If you are using inexpensive ceiling speakers, than using just 14 AWG cable is perfectly fine. Seriously, at 100' on typical in-wall or in-ceiling speakers, I would highly doubt that the vast majority of people could tell the difference between 10 AWG and 14 AWG cable. Certainly 14 AWG, or even 16 or 18 AWG wire will pass audio through it to the speaker just fine, so the length is not going to be an issue at all.
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-16-2013, 06:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The issue with these that I see is that it will definitely require a recessed outlet plate for a wall-mounted TV as the bend radius for the HDMI cable will become a problem. Tucking a small box in that same space gives you a lot more flexibility as to what direction the stiff HDMI cable/connector "points". Cat5 / RJ45 patch cables obviously much more forgiving in bend radius and connector depth...

Unless you were to pick up a 90 degree hdmi adapter which is what I did for my most recent install (TV in nursery). I mounted a 32 flat screen on the wall and it was so close to the wall that I was not comfortable with the bend so I picked up a 90 degree adapter from amazon and it worked out well:)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004PW3DKS/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

But yeah I also see your point about Cat cables being more forgiving when bending then hdmi cables.....
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post #11 of 11 Old 11-03-2013, 11:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I will go the HDBaseT route. I checked monoprice but unfortunately they didn't have a setup I want, i.e. switch + wall plates. However, they did take my suggestion of combining their 4x4 switch with the wall plates instead of the boxes. Of course I don't know if they do anything with this but maybe if a few other people suggest it they will push more on it...

As for the cables, it looks like this should be fine as long as I chose some 14 AWG cables.
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