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post #1 of 19 Old 03-31-2015, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Help Me Draw on My Blank Canvas

Ok, so it's not completely blank!

My wife and I purchased a new home and we have made it to the drywall stages. Before drywall was hung, I had permission to run my own cabling so I have run cable everywhere I thought I might need it.

What I've Got:

4 Bedrooms (Master, Son's Room, Guest Room, Spare Room)
Office
Living Room
Loft (with AV Closet)
Lanai
Balcony (off of the upstairs loft)

I have run at least 3 CAT5E cables to each of the locations listed above. The living room is prewired by the builder for 5.1 surround sound as well as prewired for 2 speakers and volume control on the lanai. I ran 5.1 surround sound in the loft (which is where the movie watching/gaming will happen) and have easy access above here to add 2 more runs for 7.1/2 in the future if I decide to. I have run one speaker wire home run to the balcony for 2 speakers wired in parallel and another speaker wire home run to the master bath for 2 more speakers wired in parallel. Both of these home runs are to locations for volume controls in their respective locations.

I will have a TV in ALL of the locations above as well as a drop for hard wired data connectivity.

This is where you guys come in....

What I Want:

Essentially I don't want to pay Verizon for 9 cable boxes every month. HDMI over CAT5 is where I'm thinking I want to be. I would like to get away with only two cable boxes. I have the cables in the downstairs (guest room) bedroom and the lanai running to the A/V head end location that the builder is installing. I would like to run these three TVs off of one cable box. All of the other locations are running back to the A/V closet in the loft that will be running from the second cable box.

The audio for the lanai TV should come through the speakers prewired by the builder. I will have a multi-zone receiver in the living room to handle this. The audio for the balcony and master bath will be run from the A/V closet in the loft.

Build:

What I am looking for help on is pretty much what equipment to go with to accomplish all of my goals. How should I design the A/V closet? Is my goal even attainable?

I am attaching a pic of the A/V closet, loft and living room.

Any help you guys could give is greatly appreciated.





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post #2 of 19 Old 04-01-2015, 06:45 AM
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First upgrade to Cat 6 if you can. Wire more Cat 6 cables to each TV location too if you can. At least two for every possible TV location. I suggest you read up on HDBaseT for video distribution. The equipment are still expensive but it will achieve what you want to do video-wise.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-01-2015, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Running CAT6 at this point is not an option. Well, I guess it could be done, but drywall is up already and running cable between floors at this point would be a task I do not wish to undertake. I read up on HDBaseT and, from what I read, CAT6 is recommended but CAT5 is supported. The CAT rating is just the shielding on the cable itself though. I'm thinking as long as I ran the CAT5 as far from power wire as possibly and crossed at as close to 90 degrees as possible it should be fine. I have run 3 CAT5e cables to every location already.
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-01-2015, 09:04 AM
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The Cat5e's should be enough for most HDMI Matrices, especially 3 of them, if your runs aren't insane in length.

In counting your rooms you may run into problems down the road with an 8x8 matrix, but the cost to go above an 8x8 is is drastically higher. At that point you may want to look into a JAP (Just Add Power) setup. So be sure to sit down and think about future usage, how often will I use TV X in Room Y.

The costs of distributed video can be daunting, but there are benefits. For me, it's the ability to keep our boxes out of sight, to have TV's mounted on walls with absolutely nothing sitting underneath them and no need for a cable box, or any other device, to be located in the room. Being able to pause a movie in one room and resume it in another room, or being able to have multiple rooms share a single source. Yeah, you could buy a Roku, Blu-Ray, etc. for each room and each TV, and probably have the cost be under a Matrix, but then you've got to tie each one of those devices to each TV in each room with programmable remotes in each room. So 8 TV's, 8 Media players, 8 Blu-Ray players, 8 cable boxes, etc. A bit of a pain in the ass. This weekend I added a TV to our sitting room. Once I mounted the TV to the wall, connected the TV to the Matrix Receiver, and added it to my Control4 system, I was done and was back to watching the NCAA tourny games.

You've at least got the hard part done, wiring the house.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-01-2015, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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You've at least got the hard part done, wiring the house.
EXACTLY MY THINKING! I ran more cable than I "thought" I'd need in hopes that it would be enough for any decision I made later.

Can you share a link to the Matrix and Control4 you are using? I don't really know what a Control4 is.

And as far as needing more than an 8x8 matrix, not all TVs will be run from the same location. 3 from one location and 5 from another.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-01-2015, 11:27 AM
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Control4 is an automation system that ties together multiple systems (HVAC, security, Audio, Video, etc). They sell their own 8x8 Matrix that integrates with their control system, or you can use other Matrices from other manufacturers.

While you don't necessarily need a control system to operate some Matrices, they do make operation more simple. So whether it be Control4, Crestron, etc. it helps to have things tied together.

http://www.control4.com/
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post #7 of 19 Old 04-01-2015, 05:19 PM
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Consider TiVo on Verizon.
You connect the TiVo Roamio to the main TV and TiVo mini to the other ones.

Both will get you most streaming sources you want and the Verizon channels. The Roamio needs a Verizon coax the rest Work perfectly on CAT5e.

Get a great switch. I have a Planet 24 port one it is great. This much data needs prosumer grade switching.

Any yes consider control4 to join it all together.
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-02-2015, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Consider TiVo on Verizon.
You connect the TiVo Roamio to the main TV and TiVo mini to the other ones.

Both will get you most streaming sources you want and the Verizon channels. The Roamio needs a Verizon coax the rest Work perfectly on CAT5e.

Get a great switch. I have a Planet 24 port one it is great. This much data needs prosumer grade switching.

Any yes consider control4 to join it all together.
This sounds like a great option for getting TV service in all the rooms. Looking at HDBaseT matrix options, it looks like I'm going to have to spend roughly 2 grand... a little further down the line in my career this might be an option, but there's no way I can spend that amount of money on this. The TiVo mini boxes are $150 a piece plus the cost of the Main DVR and a monthly fee. $15 per month is better than $10 x 9 cable boxes!

So if I understood your post correctly (and the little I just read online), the switch actually handles the data and only 1 Cat5e wire is required. If that's the case, then this is an easily solution. For my switch, I have a Cisco 3560 gigabit PoE switch. I'm sure this will handle the load.

Also, this solution is not a "true" distributed video solution in that, my XBOX and BluRay player will only be watchable on the TV they are physically connected to correct?
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-02-2015, 07:34 AM
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So first up you buy lifetime for the TiVo main box. It pays off over about 3 years and when you upgrade your box with lifetime is worth money on eBay.

The way I see it is most tv's in the house will get by fine on a TiVo mini offering up.
Live cable
Recorded cable
And depending on subscription
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Vudu
Hulu

And music sources like Pandora.

Then you figure out how to deal with the outliers usually a dedicated theater room / den / living room.

You can then often use a decent AVR with 2 Or 3 zones instead of a matrix.

Also think of your realistic use cases and daily use scenarios. Are you really playing Xbox on all those screens. Especially if you are needing to move controllers and have the controllers connect to the machine.

Also where do you want your DVD/bd. Do you want to go to the central media closet to load a disc or is a local machine better. Or are you nearly done with physical media anyway and just buy on VUDU instead. Most BD bought now come with a UV licence you can redeem and then stream from Vudu to your TiVo mini equipped tv's.

Last edited by SMHarman; 04-02-2015 at 07:40 AM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
So first up you buy lifetime for the TiVo main box. It pays off over about 3 years and when you upgrade your box with lifetime is worth money on eBay.

The way I see it is most tv's in the house will get by fine on a TiVo mini offering up.
Live cable
Recorded cable
And depending on subscription
Netflix
Amazon Prime
Vudu
Hulu

And music sources like Pandora.

Then you figure out how to deal with the outliers usually a dedicated theater room / den / living room.

You can then often use a decent AVR with 2 Or 3 zones instead of a matrix.

Also think of your realistic use cases and daily use scenarios. Are you really playing Xbox on all those screens. Especially if you are needing to move controllers and have the controllers connect to the machine.

Also where do you want your DVD/bd. Do you want to go to the central media closet to load a disc or is a local machine better. Or are you nearly done with physical media anyway and just buy on VUDU instead. Most BD bought now come with a UV licence you can redeem and then stream from Vudu to your TiVo mini equipped tv's.
This makes a lot of sense. I will have to sit down and think about how exactly I want to go about this. A question I have about the TiVo... if I tune in a channel on the main box, do the minis have the ability to sync up with the main box and play the same thing? For instance; if I purchase a PPV boxing match in HD and tune to the HD channel on the main box, will I be able to play the fight on all of the mini boxes as well?
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post #11 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 08:58 AM
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If you do Verizon PPV a lot this could be a problem.
TiVo only support Comcast PPV.
Hmm though maybe not as PPV for fights is a locked channel just say HBO that is unlocked. So once unlocked any mini could tune to it.

Looks like the only drawback is you would need to call in to order it not press buy on the remote.

PPV being a different beast to VOD.

Last edited by SMHarman; 04-09-2015 at 09:05 AM.
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post #12 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
If you do Verizon PPV a lot this could be a problem.
TiVo only support Comcast PPV.
Hmm though maybe not as PPV for fights is a locked channel just say HBO that is unlocked. So once unlocked any mini could tune to it.

Looks like the only drawback is you would need to call in to order it not press buy on the remote.

PPV being a different beast to VOD.
Ok. So would this be like I tune the channel on the main TiVo, then the minis "sync" to this box or do each of the minis tune to the channel on their own in the same way the main box does? This would be much like regular cable boxes.
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post #13 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 09:29 AM
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I think.

The fight would be on channel (say) 953 PPV EVT 1.
The box cable card is 'hit' by fios to authorize that channel.
You tune any mini or the box to 953 and there the show is.
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post #14 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 09:32 AM
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Allow me to enthusiastically second the Tivo proposal.

I recently replaced my 6 verizon DVRs (and multi-room video distribution over matrix switch) with 2 roamio pros and 7, soon to be 8, minis. Could not be more pleased with the setup. I had Cat6 to every TV location, so I just mounted a mini behind each TV on the wall. We get a great physical remote in each room, every needed streaming service everywhere, etc.

Best $2000 I've spent yet. For me, this option is vastly superior to the distributed audio/video setup I replaced.
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post #15 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 10:22 AM
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I had Cat6 to every TV location, so I just mounted a mini behind each TV on the wall. We get a great physical remote in each room, every needed streaming service everywhere, etc.
Are you able to get enough IR bounce to reach the hidden TiVo mini, or are you using another (RF?) solution for the remote?

Quote:
Best $2000 I've spent yet. For me, this option is vastly superior to the distributed audio/video setup I replaced.
TiVo dropping the monthly fee on the Mini was the best thing they could have done, competitively. The cableco's will have to break their crack habit to match that model! It makes for a very compelling cost story. So now it's better AND cheaper than the set-top box (or distributed video) routes...

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post #16 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 10:26 AM
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Are you able to get enough IR bounce to reach the hidden TiVo mini, or are you using another (RF?) solution for the remote?

The new-model mini comes with an RF remote, making it perfect for this application.


TiVo dropping the monthly fee on the Mini was the best thing they could have done, competitively. The cableco's will have to break their crack habit to match that model! It makes for a very compelling cost story. So now it's better AND cheaper than the set-top box (or distributed video) routes...
Entirely agree with respect to my setup. I don't PPV at all, so am not concerned with that potential loss of functionality.
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post #17 of 19 Old 04-09-2015, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southlakedad View Post
The new-model mini comes with an RF remote, making it perfect for this application.
Didn't know that - perfect! That makes it truly simple then...

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post #18 of 19 Old 04-10-2015, 04:49 AM
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And if you only have a single cat at the wall as the mini uses 10/100 you can split it and use the other two pair to fold back audio into a distributed audio matrix for ceiling / better speakers.
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post #19 of 19 Old 05-21-2015, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
Consider TiVo on Verizon.
You connect the TiVo Roamio to the main TV and TiVo mini to the other ones.

Both will get you most streaming sources you want and the Verizon channels. The Roamio needs a Verizon coax the rest Work perfectly on CAT5e.

Get a great switch. I have a Planet 24 port one it is great. This much data needs prosumer grade switching.

Any yes consider control4 to join it all together.
Still about a month away from closing... but I did pick up my Roamio DVR today. Finishing the setup process now. Didn't pick up a mini yet because really have no use for it until we move in. But at least I'll have a little bit of time to get acclimated to the TiVo interface before we ditch all of the cable boxes. Will let you guys know what I think!
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