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post #1 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,

This is mainly a question about video distribution to secondary locations. Specifically what is the best way to "future proof" the wiring instillation? And a little question about the device that actually does the distribution, the AVR.

I am working on a plan to wire my existing house. Naturally, I would prefer to only have to do it one time.

From what I understand, many people put their equipment close enough to their main HDTV, or HT whatever the case may be, to connect via HDMI. They then distribute AV to their "other" rooms/locations via component or possibly cat5(e?) with baluns. I have seen recommendations to run 6 mini coax, 2 cat5e, plus fiber (for digital sound?) bundles. Some recommendations are for more of everything, especially cat5e. I also realize there are control (IR) wires needed and speaker wires. I'm a little fuzzy on how many of these various functions can be shared with a single wire.

I have seen mention of issues from "the entertainment industry" possibly interfering with component distribution. My understanding is that HDCP can not be enforced, since component is analog. So with this danger lurking in the future and with the limitations on cable lengths (and cost) of HDMI, what do you recommend?

I know there are HDCP compliant baluns. Is the solution just to run some more cat5e? I think I like the shielding of coax, what about that?

Also, a secondary question if possible. Will AVR's take HDMI inputs and distribute via component to secondary locations? For example, will my Bluray player's HDMI connection to my (future) AVR be able to be distributed via component to "Room 2 or 3"?

I hope these questions are appropriate. I really have literally spend many dozens of hours trying to figure all of this out.
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post #2 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 11:10 AM
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Nobody knows if HDCP and the 'flag' that forces downrez of component will ever come to fruition. It's been argued for years on here on both sides. The 'BEST' option you have is to run conduit so that you can pull whatever you want when you need it. Beyond that, I recommend:

1) one mini-coax bundle (5 cables) for standard component/audio

2) four cat5e/cat6 for everything else. This will cover current component and HDMI baluns and likely anything else they come up with for the forseeable future. The baluns convert the unbalanced video/audio to balanced signals, so the natural twists of catx cable will offer good protection against most noise. If you are really concerened run shielded catx, although, I've never seen a practical application for it in residential use.

3) Fiber - I wouldn't bother
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post #3 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 02:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmee View Post

Nobody knows if HDCP and the 'flag' that forces downrez of component will ever come to fruition. It's been argued for years on here on both sides. The 'BEST' option you have is to run conduit so that you can pull whatever you want when you need it. Beyond that, I recommend:

1) one mini-coax bundle (5 cables) for standard component/audio

2) four cat5e/cat6 for everything else. This will cover current component and HDMI baluns and likely anything else they come up with for the forseeable future. The baluns convert the unbalanced video/audio to balanced signals, so the natural twists of catx cable will offer good protection against most noise. If you are really concerened run shielded catx, although, I've never seen a practical application for it in residential use.

3) Fiber - I wouldn't bother

Thank you!

But, as usual, I remaini a little confused.

Re: The mini-coax bundle for component/audio: If I am sending the video via component from an AVR, don't I need to send the audio via speaker wires? (Unless of course I just plan to use the speakers in the TV.) If so, what type of wire should I use? There aren't enough mini-coax for speakers after the 3 for component.
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post #4 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 04:27 PM
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I have just been through a similar thing at my new place...trying to multi zone/ future proof a house. I admit I started with very limited knowledge and now still only have limited knowledge, but I ran 1x cat 5 for the audio, 1x cat 5 for the RGB, 1x cat 5 for the IR and 1x cat 5 for good luck (or future use) with every thing running back into my movie room.

I found that all my sources can out put optical and 2 channel audio at the same time, so I use the optical in the movie room and send the 2 channel through the matrix switcher.
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post #5 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjgarrison View Post

Thank you!

But, as usual, I remaini a little confused.

Re: The mini-coax bundle for component/audio: If I am sending the video via component from an AVR, don't I need to send the audio via speaker wires? (Unless of course I just plan to use the speakers in the TV.) If so, what type of wire should I use? There aren't enough mini-coax for speakers after the 3 for component.

If you are not using the audio in the TV (the need for two of the five coaxes of analog 2ch audio), but are using in-wall or in-ceiling speakers from your whole house audio distribution, then yes, you would need speaker wires to your speakers from your audio source/switcher. 16/2 or 14/2 awg CE2/3 rated in-wall speaker wire from Home Depot/Lowes works just fine.

I'm not a big fan of using in-ceiling speakers for both whole house audio and TV listening. Usually the geometry of the room doesn't necessarily lend itself to good placement of speakers for both functions. Plus, I like the audio coming from the TV location, not the ceiling or wall in the case of 2 ch stereo. For serious viewing, I would use a local 5.1 setup and send digital audio to your 5.1 receiver in the room and run the speaker cables from there. For casual viewing, I've always been happier using the TV speakers vs the in-ceiling. In my setup, I can do either, and I've almost never used the in-ceilings.
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post #6 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 06:32 PM
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I would also recommend the 5x precision coax (doesn't have to be mini coax, they also make precision RG-59 and precision RG-6). 3 for component video, 2 for stereo sound, or perhaps you want to send digial audio FROM the TV back to the receiver, etc. You will find a use for it, trust me.

Component Video to TV
Stereo audio out to TV
Digital sound FROM TV (or local DVD player) to receiver
Sub woofer TO room from receiver
Many other uses......

- Brian

CQC user since 2005

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post #7 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I was planning to at least run the wires wire for a secondary 5.1 audio setup. The only speakers that would be in-ceiling would be the surrounds. No real choice about that. It's starting to look like I will need about a 2" wad of wires!

What about the question about the AVR? Will a decent one ($1500 - $2500) take HDMI inputs, as in a Bluray or DirecTV DVR, and send the video via component to my secondary location(s)? Or would those inputs have to be component? I saw a post someplace that I can't remember, that an AVR will not convert HDMI to component.

And thank you sincerely for your most helpful comments. Everybody.
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post #8 of 89 Old 12-02-2007, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic0048 View Post

I would also recommend the 5x precision coax (doesn't have to be mini coax, they also make precision RG-59 and precision RG-6). 3 for component video, 2 for stereo sound, or perhaps you want to send digial audio FROM the TV back to the receiver, etc. You will find a use for it, trust me.
How would digital audio get TO the TV in the first place if I am sending stereo sound thru the two coax wires? Will the TV convert analog > digital?

Component Video to TV
Stereo audio out to TV
Digital sound FROM TV (or local DVD player) to receiver
Sub woofer TO room from receiver
Many other uses......
Are you saying to use a sub woofer along with the TV's stereo?

sorry if ?'s are dumb
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post #9 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 11:01 AM
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Hi folks.

I guess I am a little surprised at what people are suggesting for home networking here. I am having a hard time understanding the need for all these cables. I have to put in wood floors in the upstairs of my home next month and it will be time to put in new wires up there. I am planning to put in some wires to serve multimedia. But which wires, I don't know. If you guys can help me out with advice, I'd really appreciate it.

I thinking Cat6 cabling for sure. Probably one line (one cable) to one outlet upstairs and then another for a different outlet up there. I figure that will be enough bandwidth to serve to some pretty serious media.

I'm also thinking RG6 coax to at least two outlets (same two outlets noted above). I would use those for satellite connections.

I don't understand why people are running component video cables or stuff like that. What is the purpose of this?

What I foresee is streaming content from a media server in a central location in the house. I have to imagine Gigabit Ethernet is good and plenty to serve the audio and video of this content. Wouldn't that be enough?

Any TV setups in any locations would be local in the sense that each would have its own audio setup and DVD player, DVR, even VCR.

Why the need for all these extra cables?
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post #10 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradengelmann View Post

Hi folks.

I guess I am a little surprised at what people are suggesting for home networking here. I am having a hard time understanding the need for all these cables. I have to put in wood floors in the upstairs of my home next month and it will be time to put in new wires up there. I am planning to put in some wires to serve multimedia. But which wires, I don't know. If you guys can help me out with advice, I'd really appreciate it.

I thinking Cat6 cabling for sure. Probably one line (one cable) to one outlet upstairs and then another for a different outlet up there. I figure that will be enough bandwidth to serve to some pretty serious media.

I'm also thinking RG6 coax to at least two outlets (same two outlets noted above). I would use those for satellite connections.

I don't understand why people are running component video cables or stuff like that. What is the purpose of this?

What I foresee is streaming content from a media server in a central location in the house. I have to imagine Gigabit Ethernet is good and plenty to serve the audio and video of this content. Wouldn't that be enough?

Any TV setups in any locations would be local in the sense that each would have its own audio setup and DVD player, DVR, even VCR.

Why the need for all these extra cables?

Because most AREN't doing what you indicate in your next to last sentence. Instead of a DVD player, DVR, etc. at each TV, they are centrally located so that all TVs may watch them via audio/video distribution. That requires distributing either HDMI or Component to all rooms for HD content. You're not going to accomplish that with a single Cat6 or Coax to each room as the equipment at consumer grade level doesn't exist. You may think to yourself why not since obviously the signals (in the case of CATV) come into the house on a single coax. True-dat, but the signals are put there via very expensive ATSC/QAM modulation equipment that we cannot afford or likely even have access to buy.
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post #11 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kjgarrison View Post

What about the question about the AVR? Will a decent one ($1500 - $2500) take HDMI inputs, as in a Bluray or DirecTV DVR, and send the video via component to my secondary location(s)? Or would those inputs have to be component? I saw a post someplace that I can't remember, that an AVR will not convert HDMI to component.

That was probably me. I know of no AVR that will do that because IMO it would violate the licensing terms of HDMI/HDCP - it would give you an "unprotected" access point to the content that is supposedly protected by HDCP via the HDMI interconnect.

Of course, there are ways around this with the HDFury, for ex., but then you lose your lossless audio with the high def players. Also something to remember is the current HDMI spec adds support for higher bit depth and the strong likelihood of even greater than 1080 rez exists in the not-so-distant future.
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post #12 of 89 Old 12-04-2007, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kjgarrison View Post

How would digital audio get TO the TV in the first place if I am sending stereo sound thru the two coax wires? Will the TV convert analog > digital?

If you have your coax from your cable provider plugged straight into the TV and you're using QAM, then you're getting digi audio from that feed that can be sent to an AVR for multichannel playback.
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post #13 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by robertmee View Post

Because most AREN't doing what you indicate in your next to last sentence. Instead of a DVD player, DVR, etc. at each TV, they are centrally located so that all TVs may watch them via audio/video distribution. That requires distributing either HDMI or Component to all rooms for HD content. You're not going to accomplish that with a single Cat6 or Coax to each room as the equipment at consumer grade level doesn't exist. You may think to yourself why not since obviously the signals (in the case of CATV) come into the house on a single coax. True-dat, but the signals are put there via very expensive ATSC/QAM modulation equipment that we cannot afford or likely even have access to buy.

Thanks for posting the reply. And you completely answered my question, to boot.

I think there is an argument that it is cheaper to simply buy individual DVRs and VCRs and such media boxes for each TV setup rather than run all this cable all over the place. How is anybody guaranteeing that today's cables will serve tomorrow's content? Even if they do, is it cost effective to buy hundreds of feet of component (good stuff) and HDMI cabling? I doubt it is. A consumer grade media box is the DVR. The Cat6 will serve media from a computer, which is what I am talking about. Basically, IPTV. I would think any Cat6 cable to any localized TV setup would be perfectly capable of accepting served content over the Ethernet from a computer (media server, eventually).

But as far as accessing content from a single DVR, I think that's absurd. For one thing, is everybody going to watch the same channel? How do I control the VCR? The DVD player? I am going to have to run downstairs to put in the DVD anyhow.

I'm not sure I see the benefits of what you are talking about. While I don't have any doubt that there will be some benefit to having all those cables running around, at this point I definitely don't see the cost-benefit advantage.

All I want to do is make sure the coax can run today's satellite feeds to our local setups and the Cat6 for future content distribution. I argue that future content will be served over the Internet and every TV will have an Ethernet jack on it to accept content feeds. Why then the need for all this extra cable? So one hub can direct all audio and video? That sounds very complicated and unnecessary to me.

I think local setups is a much better route. Not only is it easier to configure in the short run, over the long run I don't have to worry about obsolete cables. And obviously the methods of distributing content will change over time. I think Cat6 will be perfectly adequate to accept content for the very foreseeable future (a Cat6 cable to every local setup).

If this sounds crazy, please by all means shoot me down. I am only trying to figure out what best to do.

Thanks for all your help.
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post #14 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 06:50 AM
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"But as far as accessing content from a single DVR, I think that's absurd."

Not really. Maybe your life is much simpler than my wife's and mine, because there have been several instances where we start playback on one set and then would like to finish up the program on a different set somewhere else in the house. Apparently the newer gen of DVR's will have some degree of home networking functionality built in. However, if you have five to ten sets throughout the home, do you really want to buy that many DVR's or pay that much in monthly rental fees when they're not in use the vast majority of time? You're gonna hit the break-even point WRT the cabling/infrastructure expense pretty quickly. The same pretty much applies to STB's. Why rent five to ten boxes for all of your TV's when you can get by with just as many as would be required for concurrent channel viewing.

Further, for your conv DVD's, you might want to pick up a DVD jukebox and stick your entire collection in that instead of having to fool around with cases, searching for the right disc, having kids scratch and destroy discs, etc.

"Why then the need for all this extra cable?"

Because we aren't there yet with the twisted pair stuff.
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post #15 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:00 AM
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Never even thought of running a few Cat5e cables.

I ran just one HDMI. Works so far.
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post #16 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by goldenear View Post

If you have your coax from your cable provider plugged straight into the TV and you're using QAM, then you're getting digi audio from that feed that can be sent to an AVR for multichannel playback.

For some reason (I am new to all of this, so if I'm way off base ...), I thought the idea was to plug all of the inputs into the AVR first. Then, as I understand it, the AVR outputs audio digitally through HDMI or optical. The other audio outputs, including component, are all analog.

Also, I thought I read someplace that when the source is directly hooked up to the TV, the audio can come from the TV is not full featured.

So either I'm totally off base, or maybe I didn't understand what you were saying, or maybe there is a reason to have the input go to the TV primarily that I am unaware of.
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post #17 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by goldenear View Post

"But as far as accessing content from a single DVR, I think that's absurd."

Not really. Maybe your life is much simpler than my wife's and mine, because there have been several instances where we start playback on one set and then would like to finish up the program on a different set somewhere else in the house. Apparently the newer gen of DVR's will have some degree of home networking functionality built in. However, if you have five to ten sets throughout the home, do you really want to buy that many DVR's or pay that much in monthly rental fees when they're not in use the vast majority of time? You're gonna hit the break-even point WRT the cabling/infrastructure expense pretty quickly. The same pretty much applies to STB's. Why rent five to ten boxes for all of your TV's when you can get by with just as many as would be required for concurrent channel viewing.

Further, for your conv DVD's, you might want to pick up a DVD jukebox and stick your entire collection in that instead of having to fool around with cases, searching for the right disc, having kids scratch and destroy discs, etc.

"Why then the need for all this extra cable?"

Because we aren't there yet with the twisted pair stuff.

I appreciate your point of view. And your references make sense. However, I think this is heavily weighted towards a 2007-2009 point of view. I don't think it will be long and most of our content will be entirely 1s and 0s and not coming from physical media.

Already we are seeing this with Comcast. I don't use Comcast on demand at my apartment (different site than being referenced on this thread), but my sister and her boyfriend use it and I thought it looked pretty slick. I think this is a window towards what we will see in the future. Any movie, any TV show, any type of media content available on a LAN over Ethernet or some new wireless specification with the necessary bandwidth (possibly 802.11n, if and when ratified).

As far as streaming a DVD from a central location, even if from a jukebox setup, that is way overkill for us. It's just not practical for us. DVD players cost $60 and having a localized setup in each room where we will watch TV makes the most sense for us.

As far as costs, we currently pay $4.95 per month to Directv for the DVRs. We have two of those. The other two rooms have simple receivers. The first receiver comes as part of the content package. So we pay probably $15 per month extra for the local setups.

And it is absolutely not practical to watch the same channel on one DVR. We have three adults living in this house and each person watches TV independently. So it is a must to have separate receivers.

We are planning to upgrade our primary media room in the near future. As of right now, it consists of a 35" Mitsubishi SDTV, a Pro Logic speaker system setup, a DVD player, and a VCR. All of the equipment with the exception of the DVD player were installed in 1990, I believe. Either '89 or '90. We also have a CD carousel that pipes music upstairs (high-tech, I know). This entire system will be scrapped for a 5.1 system with all the new technology in the near future. Basically, I am just waiting for the price to come down on the TVs.

So that's what our setup is. As far as media content, I am convinced we will be an IPTV nation in five years. I think most content will be accessed and viewed over the Internet. Or served by a cable company over coax (if that's technically possible; don't know if it is).

We're in a rural area so we need the Directv. But that's okay since I think Directv has the best package for the money. DSL is available to us, cable Internet is not.

Do you really think physical media and traditional means of content distribution will be in place five years from now? I'm talking about DVDs, tapes, even TV. I would be willing to place a small wager that in five years, the phone company will offer a TV package over the Internet. Whether that's possible over copper wires, I don't know. Obviously, Verizon is already doing this, although their content isn't served over Ethernet in the house.
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post #18 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:21 AM
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I think there is an argument that it is cheaper to simply buy individual DVRs and VCRs and such media boxes for each TV setup rather than run all this cable all over the place. How is anybody guaranteeing that today's cables will serve tomorrow's content? Even if they do, is it cost effective to buy hundreds of feet of component (good stuff) and HDMI cabling? I doubt it is. A consumer grade media box is the DVR. The Cat6 will serve media from a computer, which is what I am talking about. Basically, IPTV. I would think any Cat6 cable to any localized TV setup would be perfectly capable of accepting served content over the Ethernet from a computer (media server, eventually).


Centralizing your components is the better design. Sharing, cost savings, viewing in multiple rooms simultaneously, etc are HUGE benifits. You cant even compare with that.

dont have cable boxes, DVRs, HTPC, CD players, MP3 players,gaming systems (PS3, XBOX 360) locally at all!! They all sit in my AV closet and I have 5 Coax cable (for component video/audio) run to all 8 zones plus Cat5e for future uses (IR, RS232, Component Baluns, HDMI).


I can watch a movie in the family room from my HTPC with 300 movies available and at the same time I can have playing pool side, bedroom or whatever.

I can watch a recorded show in ANY ROOM, Im not limited to having a DVR in one room and only watch it there. My friends have their DVR in the bedroom and they can never watch the shows in the family room.

I can play XBOX360 in my office, family room, Den or a bedroom and I dont have to move the box the wireless remote is within 30 feet still of the AV closet.

Flexibility is huge. Instead of 4 DVRs in every room for the family I can have 2 or 3. I have mp3 access throughout my house too up to 4 zones can play different music simutaneously.

In the end I have a flat panels on the walls in every bedroom and NO SILLY BOXES!!! They have access to all the house video and media. Heck my office has a 42" 1080p that I can watch HD on or play Xbox360 instead of working

I do have a local AVR 7.1 system in a couple of rooms though so there is a reciever/amp setup there just because I want great sound in those rooms but that is it, no cable box, no DVR, no CD/DVD player.


No matter what this is the more economical and most flexible design anything else is just more limited! Running cable is cheap in a new house build and that was my situation.

I will build again in 5 years and who knows what will exist then

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post #19 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:29 AM
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Specifically what is the best way to "future proof" the wiring instillation? And a little question about the device that actually does the distribution, the AVR.

Future proofing today is pretty simple! Run as much cat5e or cat6 to all rooms from a centralized location. Seriously its not much more then that! You could also run Coax (for component if you want too) but the cat5e runs are a great future proofing method.

Your AVR is not really your distribution device to properly do house audio/video distribution you need to research video/audio switches like Neothings, Extron, autopatch, AVAtrix and so on.

Right now full house HDMI is CRAP, more problems then success stories so if you want full house HD you should use Component video. IF you really want HDMI then do it locally in the room, ie...bluray player in the family room HDMI to AVR, HDMI from AVR to TV.

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post #20 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:38 AM
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Your setup sounds awesome.

For one thing, I don't have a media server. So what you're doing isn't possible for me. I have looked at various media servers - Roku, Linksys, others - and they don't do everything I want.

There's no question that I will run speaker wire upstairs from the primary media setup. That way, I can pipe music up there. The only time this ever gets used is during the Holidays and we play the same music upstairs and down.

I admit that it is ridiculous to have to have all these stupid boxes all over the place. That's why I would like to have a media server. And if I find a media server, I would use it with my networked Ethernet. That's why I am definitely putting Gigabit Ethernet in.

We don't play video games at all, so that's a non-issue.

I don't know what you are using as a media server (Windows XP?), but I won't configure a machine to do that stuff. For one thing, I am in the process of migrating out PCs. Our house will be exclusively Macintosh when the current PCs expire.

But I am definitely following the emerging market of media servers. These are the boxes I referenced above. The theory is that they would either store the media themselves and serve over Ethernet or grab stuff on stored computers throughout the LAN, served through the server up to the TVs. It would be easy to plug such a server into the existing LAN. No need for all these ridiculous analog cables or HDMI.

I think for the short-term, I will keep the local setups and try to minimize the boxes we need. We can probably cut out VCRs. That would leave only the DVR and DVD player. As far a TV without such boxes, the only possible scenario for us would be our three-season porch or kitchen, neither of which I see us putting TVs in there. The office has a widescreen LCD monitor connected to the computer, so no need for a TV in there.
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post #21 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 07:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for posting the reply. And you completely answered my question, to boot.

I think there is an argument that it is cheaper to simply buy individual DVRs and VCRs and such media boxes for each TV setup rather than run all this cable all over the place. How is anybody guaranteeing that today's cables will serve tomorrow's content? Even if they do, is it cost effective to buy hundreds of feet of component (good stuff) and HDMI cabling? I doubt it is. A consumer grade media box is the DVR. The Cat6 will serve media from a computer, which is what I am talking about. Basically, IPTV. I would think any Cat6 cable to any localized TV setup would be perfectly capable of accepting served content over the Ethernet from a computer (media server, eventually).

But as far as accessing content from a single DVR, I think that's absurd. For one thing, is everybody going to watch the same channel? How do I control the VCR? The DVD player? I am going to have to run downstairs to put in the DVD anyhow.

I'm not sure I see the benefits of what you are talking about. While I don't have any doubt that there will be some benefit to having all those cables running around, at this point I definitely don't see the cost-benefit advantage.

All I want to do is make sure the coax can run today's satellite feeds to our local setups and the Cat6 for future content distribution. I argue that future content will be served over the Internet and every TV will have an Ethernet jack on it to accept content feeds. Why then the need for all this extra cable? So one hub can direct all audio and video? That sounds very complicated and unnecessary to me.

I think local setups is a much better route. Not only is it easier to configure in the short run, over the long run I don't have to worry about obsolete cables. And obviously the methods of distributing content will change over time. I think Cat6 will be perfectly adequate to accept content for the very foreseeable future (a Cat6 cable to every local setup).

If this sounds crazy, please by all means shoot me down. I am only trying to figure out what best to do.

Thanks for all your help.

Here is my vision of what I want and my vision of how your setup would not deliver what I want:

First, the cost "issues".

I only need one, maybe two, DVR's for my satellite feed. Why maybe 2? Because each each DVR can only record two shows at a time, and sometimes there is a third or even a fourth show that we would like to record. There is a monthly charge for each unit, plus the cost of the unit. Cabling costs are not insignificant, but as I understand it, the major cost in a retrofit situation (like mine) is labor. In new construction, or if you are a DIY'er, cost analysis is highly in favor of cabling vs. buying equipment for each TV location. Besides, with your plan to have cable/satellite feed available at each TV, you have to run your cable/satellite feed to each TV location anyway.

I only need one Bluray and/or HD DVD player for everything. Perhaps 2 if there would be much of a chance of people wanting to watch 2 different DVD's at the same time in the house (there isn't in my case, TV yes, DVD's not likely). You, on the other hand, either need to have a separate HD DVD/Bluray player at each TV location, or you just have to designate your TV locations where DVD watching is available (see convenience issues, below).

Second, the convenience issues.

This is the biggie for me. I want to watch what I want where I want, no matter where it is recorded. And I have to be able to control the source no matter where it is, no matter where I am. So I need to both run cabling to get the HD video and audio information from any source to every TV in the house, and I need to run control cables back to the source (usually IR) from every TV to be able to control my viewing. On the other hand, you can only watch what is recorded or available at each TV location.

Also, beyond TV and DVD's there are things like streaming home video, CD collections (whole house audio from, perhaps, a big CD changer (or a computer of course)), and family digital (still) pictures that I want to be available to anybody anyplace in the house. In a nutshell, I want anybody anyplace with control.

Your system does have one advantage, sort of. You can just have your remotes in the room where your equipment is. I have only looked at this superficially, but I think I will need some sort of programmable expen$ive remote at each location. Oh yes, lest I forget, whatever the remote solution is, it has to be useable for my wife, who apparently like many wives, is "remote challenged". So there is a HUGE WAF factor with all of this. No way would she be happy with having to decide where she would need to go to set up the recording and subsequent viewing of something.

Now I could be way out in the fog here, and if so, I'm sure all our helpful experts will set me straight. That and/or add other benefits I overlooked
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post #22 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 08:09 AM
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Yeah, your system definitely has more flexibility and more advantages right now. There's no question about that.

One thing I should have mentioned is that this is an existing house. We are putting in wood floors upstairs, hence the opportunity to put in new wires.

But my argument is that you are talking about legacy equipment and legacy means of content distribution. Like I said above, I don't think physical media is going to be an issue five years from now. Heck, if I went with Netflix, right now I could have some sort of IPTV system going. Netflix of course offers downloadable content.

For now, I am willing to put up with DVD players in different locations. As far as DVRs, it would be nice to network them but I don't know if it's feasible for me since like I said, we have three people who watch independently. And almost always, watch in the same locations of this house. That will probably change when our primary media room is configured in a couple years, when we have the huge TV in there and all the bells and whistles.

So in my mind, my biggest problem is that I might have a show on one DVR that I can't watch in a different room.

I don't see DVR makers implementing home networking due to DRM issues. Definitely Directv and Dish and Comcast will not put home networking into their DVRs any time soon. With Tivos you can do this, but obviously with Tivo there is a lot of hassle with connecting to sources, etc.

Again, what I see coming down the pike is IPTV over Ethernet. And if a media server that does everything I want comes on the market, I can plug that into my existing LAN and pipe photos, music, movies, and TV across the network and into every TV over the Ethernet. That's really what I am looking at.

I don't see much use for analog cables beyond five years from now.
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post #23 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 08:50 AM
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For some reason (I am new to all of this, so if I'm way off base ...), I thought the idea was to plug all of the inputs into the AVR first. Then, as I understand it, the AVR outputs audio digitally through HDMI or optical. The other audio outputs, including component, are all analog.

Also, I thought I read someplace that when the source is directly hooked up to the TV, the audio can come from the TV is not full featured.

What I'm talking about is the simplest method of watching digital television, either via QAM from your cable provider or OTA. You don't run your coax into your AVR - you go straight to your TV. Regardless of whether it's OTA or QAM content you're viewing, the content will most likely possess some type of digital audio and that's why there's a digi audio out on most modern sets. Some sets may also pass through audio from the HDMI port over this SPDIF connection, though I'm guessing most won't from the anecdotal reports I've read to date. SPDIF was developed by both Sony & Philips as a digital audio interconnect specifically for two channel PCM material, not high res or lossless multichannel audio, so it's bandwidth limited; and this is why HDMI is required for these updated CODEC's.

Now, if you're talking digital scrambled cable content or DBS stuff, then yes, you're going to need their boxes which you would take either component or HDMI out and go to your AVR.

Regarding full featured audio from the TV, I assume you mean the TV is not decoding any of the variants of Dolby or DTS surround codec's. Yes, you're right. That's the purpose of your AVR or a separate decoder. And, again, that's why your modern TV's have the digi audio out so you can get that data to your AVR/decoder for proper playback. This mostly applies to OTA or QAM stuff where no STB is required.
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post #24 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 09:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, your system definitely has more flexibility and more advantages right now. There's no question about that.

One thing I should have mentioned is that this is an existing house. We are putting in wood floors upstairs, hence the opportunity to put in new wires.

key word: opportunity

But my argument is that you are talking about legacy equipment and legacy means of content distribution. Like I said above, I don't think physical media is going to be an issue five years from now. Heck, if I went with Netflix, right now I could have some sort of IPTV system going. Netflix of course offers downloadable content.

But you still have to send it to where you'll be viewing it, unless you will be viewing from your computer screen only

For now, I am willing to put up with DVD players in different locations. As far as DVRs, it would be nice to network them but I don't know if it's feasible for me since like I said, we have three people who watch independently. And almost always, watch in the same locations of this house. That will probably change when our primary media room is configured in a couple years, when we have the huge TV in there and all the bells and whistles.

So you are adding locations and you are looking at the future. We do not differ in that way. Which is why I named this thread that way when I started it. I'm looking for answers too. Trying to understand.

So in my mind, my biggest problem is that I might have a show on one DVR that I can't watch in a different room.

That and a DVR for every room, and the need to run cable to the DVR anyway. And the need to phyically go to each room to record what you want recorded. What about DVD? Will they be high def (BR or HD DVD?) expensive.

I don't see DVR makers implementing home networking due to DRM issues. Definitely Directv and Dish and Comcast will not put home networking into their DVRs any time soon. With Tivos you can do this, but obviously with Tivo there is a lot of hassle with connecting to sources, etc.

Actually DirecTV HD DVR's already do let you send over ethernet and you can send over component. Both. Right now. I have one. But you're right to worry about DRM. Even now HDMI connections are HDCP compliant, and there is apparently concern that component (analog) can't have this protection. I see that there has been talk for awhile about defeating that ability of component distribution. Hasn't happened. Yet. Also there are ethernet cat5e with baluns solutions that enable using cat 5e wires.

Again, what I see coming down the pike is IPTV over Ethernet. And if a media server that does everything I want comes on the market, I can plug that into my existing LAN and pipe photos, music, movies, and TV across the network and into every TV over the Ethernet. That's really what I am looking at.

Ah! So you are going to install ethernet cables while you are doing this construction to be ready for when "the day" gets here? IPTV will only be an new way to get the signal to your house. This whole thread is how to distribute it inside, which is something that applies to both now and the future. Doesn't it?

As I see it, component cabling (and maybe HDMI over fiber which IS HDCP compliant) takes care of now and maybe 5-10 years into the future, and cat 5e or cat6? takes care of both now and the future most likely. I wonder about fiber.


I don't see much use for analog cables beyond five years from now.

I have seen other estimates of up to 10 years, but even 5 is far enough into the future that planning both for "now" and "then" seems like a good idea, hence ... this thread.

!
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post #25 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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What I'm talking about is the simplest method of watching digital television, either via QAM from your cable provider or OTA. You don't run your coax into your AVR - you go straight to your TV. Regardless of whether it's OTA or QAM content you're viewing, the content will most likely possess some type of digital audio and that's why there's a digi audio out on most modern sets. Some sets may also pass through audio from the HDMI port over this SPDIF connection, though I'm guessing most won't from the anecdotal reports I've read to date. SPDIF was developed by both Sony & Philips as a digital audio interconnect specifically for two channel PCM material, not high res or lossless multichannel audio, so it's bandwidth limited; and this is why HDMI is required for these updated CODEC's.

Now, if you're talking digital scrambled cable content or DBS stuff, then yes, you're going to need their boxes which you would take either component or HDMI out and go to your AVR.

Regarding full featured audio from the TV, I assume you mean the TV is not decoding any of the variants of Dolby or DTS surround codec's. Yes, you're right. That's the purpose of your AVR or a separate decoder. And, again, that's why your modern TV's have the digi audio out so you can get that data to your AVR/decoder for proper playback. This mostly applies to OTA or QAM stuff where no STB is required.

Ah! I'm beginning to understand. Yes, I was talking about higher level Dolby, etc CODEC's. I thought I saw someplace that the output from the TV back to the AVR was no better than 5.1. That wouldn't be a problem with TV shows, since they only go to 5.1 anyway. Then I could watch a TV show with or without the whole sound system bazing away.

I don't have OTA. Only DirecTV HD.

One (at least) remaining point of confusion. By bypassing the AVR and going straight to the TV with the video, don't I lose some potentially useful processing and scaling functionality the AVR provides? Or at the very least don't I lose the ability to compare which one does better, the AVR or the TV, and choose whether to just pass it through the AVR or process it?
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Again, what I see coming down the pike is IPTV over Ethernet. And if a media server that does everything I want comes on the market, I can plug that into my existing LAN and pipe photos, music, movies, and TV across the network and into every TV over the Ethernet. That's really what I am looking at.

I don't see much use for analog cables beyond five years from now.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. I've been doing structured cabling in one capacity or another for almost 15 years. I've personally watched the industry (i.e., ethernet) move from shared bus coax model to distributed cat 3/5 UTP, then 5e, and now 6 and 6 "augmented." Even 6 is only "officially" sweep tested to 250MHz. That is nowhere near enough bandwidth to support broadband video (e.g., CATV) over UTP. If you want that, you're looking at class F augmented - potentially sweeped out to 1GHz - based upon my research. That standard does not even exist today. heck, they're having enough problems with 10GigE at this point over 6 augmented.

So at this point in time, you can't even wire for this stuff because the twisted pair products to support what you're talking about do not exist. Someone mentioned Verizon's FIOS product. Yes, they're providing those capabilities, but they're also running FTTH. AT&T's UVerse product is severely limited in bandwidth (by choice if not necessity) because they're relying on that last bit of copper into your home. So you can either run fiber to every equipment location in the home, or you can simply rely on the content provider's equipment to manage your limited bandwidth infrastructure inside your home.

The latter is what everyone has decided to do. There is no way a content provider's business plan would ever fly if it required every customer to tear open their walls and re-cable with structured cabling that doesn't even exist at this point. No one would ever do that when all they need to do is swing by their local cableco and pick up a STB (connected to their sets via component or HDMI) that would use their existing cabling plant inside their home. I don't see this model ever going away. Yes, there will be products out there that do distribute over structured cabling - I know of one already. My point is that is not broadcast television. It's downloaded DVD equivalent content that really is no different than distributing over structured cabling via component or HDMI at this point. You still have to interface with a physical box that you pay $400 or whatever for. All you're doing is leveraging your existing structured cabling infrastructure that you may already have in place. Other than that, VOD from your cable co/DBS is pretty much identical.
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post #27 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 09:38 AM
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One (at least) remaining point of confusion. By bypassing the AVR and going straight to the TV with the video, don't I lose some potentially useful processing and scaling functionality the AVR provides? Or at the very least don't I lose the ability to compare which one does better, the AVR or the TV, and choose whether to just pass it through the AVR or process it?

absolutely. but you've now disclosed that you're using DTV's boxes, so that means component, composite, or HDMI, not ONLY coax as in QAM & OTA.

It's not only the scaling potential of the AVR vs. TV, but most AVRs with HDMI will also cross-convert HD component content (as well as upconvert composite) to HDMI to simplify cabling to the TV. Now how well all of this works is a function of the technology inside the AVR. It seems like the Yamaha RX-V3800 and some of the higher end Denon and Pioneer (IIRC) models do a really good job at this.
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post #28 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 10:05 AM
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This has been a very interesting thread for me. When I built my house distributed audio and video from one location was a complete no brainer for me. It is interesting to see another view that maybe distribution isn't all its cracked up to be.
I worried about the cost of the wire but I ended up spending considerably more on components such as TV's and touch screens to control everything that I did on the wire itself. I agree that the age of analog transmission of video is nearing its end but I don't think the final nail will come for another decade. Frankly any wire you run now has a very good chance of being obsolete in the next 10 to 15 years. That includes Cat 5/6. My dad still has rolls of Cat3 wire and rolls of unshielded RG59 (I think) from houses and apartments he built in the 90's. That was the in stuff then and you really can't use it for anything now.
Best bet IMHO is to run conduit everywhere you can now. Even planning on having everything locally may not work as the Cat5/6 may have no chance of carrying the bandwidth of the future.
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As I see it, component cabling (and maybe HDMI over fiber which IS HDCP compliant) takes care of now and maybe 5-10 years into the future, and cat 5e or cat6? takes care of both now and the future most likely. I wonder about fiber

There is no doubt in my mind that HDMI is the future. The problem is the freakin' idiots behind the spec keep changing it because they pump more features into the spec that should have been put in at the inception. What a piss poor job of planning and implementing this company has done with this interconnect. Of course their defense is going to be, "Well, technology is constantly changing and we can't predict where the industry is going to go with all of this stuff, etc."

The end result of all of these changes is the bandwidth requirements keep escalating. And that may not be much of an issue for 6' of cable, but it certainly is for 50'! I'm confident the HDCP stuff will work itself out in the marketplace because the incentive is definitely there. But it's this bandwidth issue that is going to come back and haunt the distributed A/V folks. I'm pretty sure that HDMI 1.3 throughput exceeds 1Gb/s TODAY!, so there goes your cat 6 generic cabling for HDMI 1.3 baluns. You better hope that the stuff you put in is at least close to 10GigE capable, otherwise it ain't gonna work. For me, I'm sticking with the highest grade cat 6 Panduit cable. I'm betting it's capable of 10GigE using their 10GigE termination components combined with the distances I'm working with.

Edit: just read one of their white papers and yes, their TX6000 UTP is verified to be 10GigE capable at distances of 37 meters or less. Any distance greater than that and you need to step up to their 6 augmented product.
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post #30 of 89 Old 12-05-2007, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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.......... Best bet IMHO is to run conduit everywhere you can now.........

Do you know of any conduit that can be used in retrofitting an existing house? (Without, that is, completely tearing up all the walls and/or floors and/or ceilings involved.)
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