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Home A/V distribution advice needed to build system - Page 6

post #151 of 194
Dear HDTV and TMcG:

Reading this thread giving me more knowledge and questions. smile.gif Thank you all.
I am total newbie for this. The most I have done before is wiring a 5.1 home theater with one TV, one receiver and batch sources.
Hope it doesn't seems too crazy for me wanting to install my home AV system on my own (Of course with the great help from the great folks on AVS. wink.gif )
As I stated in my own thread.
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1455682/new-construction-wiring-help

I want to make sure I wire it correctly before the walls are closed. I noticed you have great discussion about wiring. I still have few questions though. And hopefully those questions are not too stupid for you.
1. Do I have to use conduit for wiring? Under what situation, I might want to fish more wires to my TV or output location?

2. I noticed that HDTV normally wire 1 CAT6 and 1 HDMI to the TV location. Why is that? Isn't one CAT6 enough for the TV? What's the reason for the HDMI cable?

3. TMcG also mention wiring 2 CAT6 to one TV location. What is the reason for that? Again. isn't one enough?

Again, those questions may seem silly to you guys. But I am just trying to understand some basics here. And wish you all can help me.

Thanks a lot
Jun
post #152 of 194
Quote:
Do I have to use conduit for wiring? Under what situation, I might want to fish more wires to my TV or output location?

No, you don't. Conduit is for expanding. All the wires your run now will be outside the conduit. The conduit is in place so that in 5 years, you can easily run the next latest and greatest cables. Or you can easily feed another few runs of Cat cable if you need more.

Quote:
I noticed that HDTV normally wire 1 CAT6 and 1 HDMI to the TV location. Why is that? Isn't one CAT6 enough for the TV? What's the reason for the HDMI cable?

If you're running 1 Cat and 1 HDMI, then you're sending the TV signal over the HDMI and a network signal over the Cat. HDBaseT technology allows HD signals to be transmitted over 1 Cat 5e/6 cable. Most matrices still use the HD over 2 Cat 5e cables standard. If your run is over 35 ft, you should probably run Cat cable. If less, run HDMI. But definitely run a couple extra Cat cables to that location. Never know when you'll need it.

Quote:
TMcG also mention wiring 2 CAT6 to one TV location. What is the reason for that? Again. isn't one enough?

Same as above. 1 will only work for HDBaseT. To be honest, I'd run at least 3. It's so cheap, why not?
post #153 of 194
+1, empty conduit (1.5" or larger) and at least 3 category cables, if not 5, to each potential video location.
post #154 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I have an expensive Atlona Pro 8x8 HDMI Matrix that does not have any dropout on either the HDMI outputs or the Blauns Cat5 outputs if another user joins onto the system for the same or different source. The video dropout is from the HDCP "handshake" and is probably (don't know for sure), the way the lesser-priced products are designed / engineered where all displays attached to a particular source have to be revalidated if a new end-display joins the party.

Nice. I've got two TV's, one through a Wireless HDMI thing, and one wired, and I just know to pause and wait a good 30 seconds, as there's a bunch of cycling that happens when I switch anything on/off.

Conduit isn't a bad idea, but you should focus on not needing it. Because of the install base out there, everything in the future will adapt to CAT-5 and RG-59/RG-6. Because of this, you should upgrade to CAT-6 and RG-6QS, and run tons of those.

For those looking to get an HTPC, GO FOR IT. It's great to have a full Win7 machine available to handle whatever whacky formats you find on the internet. The streaming devices are nice too, but they don't replace an HTPC complete. I have an AppleTV, Roku, BD, Smart TV, Wii, XBOX, AND I still hugely enjoy my HTPC, which is also my cable DVR.
post #155 of 194
Regarding the above, I will simply say that for my own wiring scheme I use two SHIELDED Cat6 cables and 1 standard Cat6 cable per TV location....for ONLY the TV. My HDMI matrix uses two category cables to run video, audio and ir return. The other is for a data connection. If you have an XBOX360 underneath the TV but your receiver and all the other equipment is far away in a closet, then I would still use the same 3 Category 6 cables - two for SENDING HDMI video back to the receiver and one to receiver data.

Garmin is correct in that there are devices that can send HDMI over a single unshielded wire. However, these devices are the most expensive of the technologies. Most operate on two wires and many specifically ask for shielded wires to help eliminate any digital "sparklies" or transmission issues.

As for running conduit....I have to say that I have never done it because I simply ran an extra set of wires where I thought I might need it. And I have to say that I think we have reached the final frontier for wiring, especially with all the streaming and wireless technologies. Heck, I am about to wire our 6000+ square foot house and I have ZERO plans to wire any RG-6 whatsoever. This house will literally have all Cat6, speaker wire, a few proprietary control wires (Lutron) and that's it. I will be dropping off a number of spares in the attic for the second floor, a few spares at a couple of key locations, like my office and my main family room TV location, and only a couple of spares in the basement.....and I feel 100% comfortable that I will never have to access the walls again and that I am sufficiently future-proofed for anything I choose to buy.

I hope this adds a bit of perspective to your questions.



Now, if only HDTV Maniac would extend the courtesy of 10 minutes to post how his system derived from all of this good advice turned out.....
post #156 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Regarding the above, I will simply say that for my own wiring scheme I use two SHIELDED Cat6 cables and 1 standard Cat6 cable per TV location....for ONLY the TV. My HDMI matrix uses two category cables to run video, audio and ir return. The other is for a data connection. If you have an XBOX360 underneath the TV but your receiver and all the other equipment is far away in a closet, then I would still use the same 3 Category 6 cables - two for SENDING HDMI video back to the receiver and one to receiver data.

Garmin is correct in that there are devices that can send HDMI over a single unshielded wire. However, these devices are the most expensive of the technologies. Most operate on two wires and many specifically ask for shielded wires to help eliminate any digital "sparklies" or transmission issues.

As for running conduit....I have to say that I have never done it because I simply ran an extra set of wires where I thought I might need it. And I have to say that I think we have reached the final frontier for wiring, especially with all the streaming and wireless technologies. Heck, I am about to wire our 6000+ square foot house and I have ZERO plans to wire any RG-6 whatsoever. This house will literally have all Cat6, speaker wire, a few proprietary control wires (Lutron) and that's it. I will be dropping off a number of spares in the attic for the second floor, a few spares at a couple of key locations, like my office and my main family room TV location, and only a couple of spares in the basement.....and I feel 100% comfortable that I will never have to access the walls again and that I am sufficiently future-proofed for anything I choose to buy.

I hope this adds a bit of perspective to your questions.



Now, if only HDTV Maniac would extend the courtesy of 10 minutes to post how his system derived from all of this good advice turned out.....

What on earth is going on with people thinking they can not wire RG-6? I was just posting about this in another thread in this forum. You NEED the standard wiring, which means cable/satellite TV. You don't want to be weird and not have cable TV connections in every room. The basic, minimum wiring for a decent house these days is RG-6 to every room, and that's BEFORE you THINK about CAT cable. Once you go to multiple CAT cables per room, you're pretty much committed to 2x RG-6Q cables, although I suppose you could get away with a single RG-6, as that's standard in most homes. Don't be weird, as you don't know what's coming down the line, and the ONE connection that virtually EVERY home in the US has to each room is RG-6. Not pre-wiring every room for cable is just dumb. If you're not doing the BASIC, don't even BOTHER pre-wiring, when something new comes along, and you need a direct connection to the cable or satellite provider, you're going to have to wrap the wires on the outside of the house and drill through anyways, like has been done on millions of older houses that weren't wired for cable (since it didn't exist when they were built).
post #157 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

What on earth is going on with people thinking they can not wire RG-6? I was just posting about this in another thread in this forum. You NEED the standard wiring, which means cable/satellite TV. You don't want to be weird and not have cable TV connections in every room. The basic, minimum wiring for a decent house these days is RG-6 to every room, and that's BEFORE you THINK about CAT cable. Once you go to multiple CAT cables per room, you're pretty much committed to 2x RG-6Q cables, although I suppose you could get away with a single RG-6, as that's standard in most homes. Don't be weird, as you don't know what's coming down the line, and the ONE connection that virtually EVERY home in the US has to each room is RG-6. Not pre-wiring every room for cable is just dumb. If you're not doing the BASIC, don't even BOTHER pre-wiring, when something new comes along, and you need a direct connection to the cable or satellite provider, you're going to have to wrap the wires on the outside of the house and drill through anyways, like has been done on millions of older houses that weren't wired for cable (since it didn't exist when they were built).

I see the concept of a distributed audio / video system completely eludes you. Your electrical service comes into the house and is distributed. Your water line comes into the house and is distributed. Your HVAC returns air to the system and is distributed. Telephone, Data, Audio, Video, Antenna and Automation should be absolutely no different, so welcome to the year 2013. ALL non-IP-based phone systems use home run wiring. If you fully understood efficient network topologies you would know that data lines are best home run from a single source in a residential setting vs. a hodge-podge of switches and hubs. ALL automation systems require home run wiring. ALL distributed audio systems require home run wiring of the speaker wire and the control pads. Do you see where I am going with this??

So if you PLAN to have all of the electronic equipment for your house in one centralized location, then you can adapt the wiring to be reflective of precisely what is needed for an advanced distributed HDMI and audio system.

In the case of Cable / Satellite and your argument for RG6 at every TV location...the digital cable signals and digital satellite signals REQUIRE a tuner box at every single TV location using the "old" RG6 wire homerun topology. If I have a TV in each of my four bedrooms, one in the master bathroom, one in the bonus/exercise room, one in the family room, one in my basement bar, one in my basement lounge area and one dedicated for the home theater....that means that I would have to have TEN boxes to tune signals at each TV location. Aside from the cost of the boxes (if you have satellite) you are only credited one monthly lease fee. In the case of DirecTV that means that I would have 9 boxes that I pay $6 per month in lease fee just to have a box near each TV. That's $57 per month, $684 per year in lease fees alone to have all the TVs active. And how the heck do you propose that the signals from these receivers reach any in-ceiling speakers that might be in the room? Are you going to buy a series of inline amplifiers? What about Bluray? Are you going to buy multiples upon multiples of Bluray players for the select TVs you want the ability to watch a Bluray?

The proper way to design a distributed audio / video system, especially with DirecTV, for example, is to look at the number of streams (signals) that you would possibly need at any one time. In our house that number is three. So we have three receivers that can be distributed to any one of 14 possible different TV locations. ONE Bluray player can feed any TV in the house. ONE AppleTV can feed any TV in the house. ONE streaming media player can feed any TV in the house. If I felt there was merit in adding a second Bluray player so two blurays could be viewed on different TVs simultaneously then I just add a second Bluray player to my rack and poof - it's available on every TV and speaker through the distributed audio/video system.

If you think it is necessary to have RG6 to every TV location anymore - it isn't. The cost of the wire, the time involved running the wire and the cost of the connectors is money thrown down the drain as I would not use it in my system ....and that's all that counts. And no one looking at your house if it is up for sale is going to notice if there are cable connections in every room or not. Seriously.

So if you want to waste hundreds of dollars per year in lease fees to your cable company on a monthly basis, if you want to have multiples of source equipment sprinkled around your home, if you don't want TRUE connectivity between all your electronics, if you want to complicate your overall house wiring and if you want to needlessly spend your money on wiring and connectors that would not be needed in a properly designed distributed system....then go right ahead. I personally see no point in wasting money and buying redundant equipment, but obviously you see the value in such a setup.
post #158 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I see the concept of a distributed audio / video system completely eludes you. Your electrical service comes into the house and is distributed. Your water line comes into the house and is distributed. Your HVAC returns air to the system and is distributed. Telephone, Data, Audio, Video, Antenna and Automation should be absolutely no different, so welcome to the year 2013. ALL non-IP-based phone systems use home run wiring. If you fully understood efficient network topologies you would know that data lines are best home run from a single source in a residential setting vs. a hodge-podge of switches and hubs. ALL automation systems require home run wiring. ALL distributed audio systems require home run wiring of the speaker wire and the control pads. Do you see where I am going with this??

So if you PLAN to have all of the electronic equipment for your house in one centralized location, then you can adapt the wiring to be reflective of precisely what is needed for an advanced distributed HDMI and audio system.

In the case of Cable / Satellite and your argument for RG6 at every TV location...the digital cable signals and digital satellite signals REQUIRE a tuner box at every single TV location using the "old" RG6 wire homerun topology. If I have a TV in each of my four bedrooms, one in the master bathroom, one in the bonus/exercise room, one in the family room, one in my basement bar, one in my basement lounge area and one dedicated for the home theater....that means that I would have to have TEN boxes to tune signals at each TV location. Aside from the cost of the boxes (if you have satellite) you are only credited one monthly lease fee. In the case of DirecTV that means that I would have 9 boxes that I pay $6 per month in lease fee just to have a box near each TV. That's $57 per month, $684 per year in lease fees alone to have all the TVs active. And how the heck do you propose that the signals from these receivers reach any in-ceiling speakers that might be in the room? Are you going to buy a series of inline amplifiers? What about Bluray? Are you going to buy multiples upon multiples of Bluray players for the select TVs you want the ability to watch a Bluray?

The proper way to design a distributed audio / video system, especially with DirecTV, for example, is to look at the number of streams (signals) that you would possibly need at any one time. In our house that number is three. So we have three receivers that can be distributed to any one of 14 possible different TV locations. ONE Bluray player can feed any TV in the house. ONE AppleTV can feed any TV in the house. ONE streaming media player can feed any TV in the house. If I felt there was merit in adding a second Bluray player so two blurays could be viewed on different TVs simultaneously then I just add a second Bluray player to my rack and poof - it's available on every TV and speaker through the distributed audio/video system.

If you think it is necessary to have RG6 to every TV location anymore - it isn't. The cost of the wire, the time involved running the wire and the cost of the connectors is money thrown down the drain as I would not use it in my system ....and that's all that counts. And no one looking at your house if it is up for sale is going to notice if there are cable connections in every room or not. Seriously.

So if you want to waste hundreds of dollars per year in lease fees to your cable company on a monthly basis, if you want to have multiples of source equipment sprinkled around your home, if you don't want TRUE connectivity between all your electronics, if you want to complicate your overall house wiring and if you want to needlessly spend your money on wiring and connectors that would not be needed in a properly designed distributed system....then go right ahead. I personally see no point in wasting money and buying redundant equipment, but obviously you see the value in such a setup.

There are two basic points you are making here, both of which are erroneous, so I'll take them on one at a time:

1. If you have a central A/V rack, you don't need RG-6.

WRONG. The last thing you want to do is be weird. EVERYONE else in the US has RG-6 in various rooms. EVERY service works over RG-6. You don't know what's coming next, or why you might want to have RG-6 locally. If you ever did, and you only had CAT cable, you would be effectively as well wired as a house from 1950 with no low voltage wiring at all. You don't want to be weird. A ton of stuff is being developed to work over RG-6 because that's what MOST PEOPLE already have. So you should have it too. It's just basic common sense. This has nothing to do with your current setup, it's just extremely obvious and basic future proofing. People do look at cable jacks when buying a house. It may not be a major factor, but it's better to have any good sized room and all the bedrooms wired for cable/satellite. Even if you don't plan on using it, it would be totally idiotic not to have it there just in case. If you had to pick one type of cabling to put in a house, RG-6 is the first thing that a sensible homebuyer would do, not the last. This is the same reason that fiber in residential installations doesn't really matter. Nobody else uses it. So nobody will use it. Everything out there uses RG-6 and CAT-6 (actually CAT-5e, but you may as well do 6 in-wall and patch it at 5e at this point just to future-proof).

2. Centralized A/V solutions save duplication of equipment from the MSO, and provide the ability to route anything anywhere.

First of all, your cost argument is a total absurdity. If you want to save money, go with MCE and use extenders. $180/room and you're good to go. They work over about any form of networking, and can use whatever wire you have, obviously 100/1000mbps ethernet being the preferred medium. That way you avoid the box fees without driving up the cost of the system. The cost of a distributed HDMI system is quite significant. I don't have a good handle on how much the control side of it is, but considering that an 8x8 HDBaseT switcher from Atlona is $7,500, and a 16x16 is $16,500, plus $150-$200 per TV for the HDBaseT receivers, the price can only go up from there, just on the video side. And then add audio to that, and you've built a system that might pay for itself in a millenium. Right. So it's not even remotely cost effective, so what does it offer? It offers the functionality of being able to send any source to any room and switch stuff around effortlessly to have a source "follow" you around the house with a few clicks. That's huge, but there is no argument about cost here, because the math argues against it from that perspective. If you also look at the cost of the equipment, when it costs an average of $1000 to bring a source into an HDMI matrix system, saving $100 per blu-ray player or Roku is utterly irrelevant. It has to be about functionality.

Personally, I wouldn't see the value in dropping $30-$50k in a full home HDMI distribution and control system when I could just use MCE and extenders to get a good chunk of that functionality in a much simpler setup, without flinging high-bandwidth uncompressed video all over the house, and dealing with all the HDMI locking and control issues that come along with a whole house HDMI system. You also then don't have to deal with the video game system issue of figuring out how to send the game system signals from the living area to the switching point, and back again. An MCE system saves you money on duplicating MSO fees, gets you whole-home DVR functionality, and costs less than $2k even for 5+ rooms, AND will work without any new wiring in existing installations through PowerlineAV or MoCA. On the audio side, all of that audio routing can be done with Sonos for about $500/room, and again, it will work with any existing wiring system or lack thereof.

All that being said, if I was building or renovating a house, I would definitely put 4xCAT-6 and 2xRG-6QS per room, with the assumption that 1x or 2x CAT-6 is used as a CAT-5e, and everything else is dormant for future use, with the RG-6 used in the main TV room where the HTPC is located for cable ingestion into the network with 8-12 tuners, and some speaker wiring for surround sound and outdoor speakers and the like to work in conjunction with Sonos.
post #159 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I see the concept of a distributed audio / video system completely eludes you. Your electrical service comes into the house and is distributed. Your water line comes into the house and is distributed. Your HVAC returns air to the system and is distributed. Telephone, Data, Audio, Video, Antenna and Automation should be absolutely no different, so welcome to the year 2013.

No, he gets it just fine. But the difference from all those other services you referenced is distributed video shows up in >.1% of households. The other 99.9% ALL are wired and are using cable TV / satellite service with local set-top boxes. So as "future" services come up, it is likely that those services will be built targeted to work on coax-direct-to-the-TV. Not saying that will happen, but there's certainly some movement, and if I wanted to sell a product, that's how I'd make it work. Little box, coax in, HDMI out to display. While that may work just fine in a distributed video setup, it may be complete overkill. We don't know. And since we don't know, the best hedge is not to be weird, and just have the wiring in place to look like everyone else.
Quote:
Aside from the cost of the boxes (if you have satellite) you are only credited one monthly lease fee. In the case of DirecTV that means that I would have 9 boxes that I pay $6 per month in lease fee just to have a box near each TV. That's $57 per month, $684 per year in lease fees alone to have all the TVs active.

Cost vs. price - two different things. If another provider wanted to make a splash, they'd sell their little IP-based client for $99, not charge additional fees, and really throw the guys for a loop. DirecTV, as an example, unfortunately got hooked on the "additional outlet fee", and now has to live with it - dropping the price to zero would be a huge loss of profit. But that doesn't mean some upstart has to play along (they might, since all the other kids do).
Quote:
If you think it is necessary to have RG6 to every TV location anymore - it isn't. The cost of the wire, the time involved running the wire and the cost of the connectors is money thrown down the drain as I would not use it in my system ....and that's all that counts. And no one looking at your house if it is up for sale is going to notice if there are cable connections in every room or not. Seriously.

For the cost of one spool of RG6? Why argue about it? True, the poor sap that doesn't know any better won't notice until after closing that there's "no cable TV outlets anywhere in the house", but you can bet that there was a conversation about how much of that video distribution equipment was being left behind. So yes, I'll run the <$100 of coax so that my $multi-K distributed video system won't be included in the sale price... (hey, you want to buy it, let's talk after the home price has been settled, sure.)
post #160 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

No, he gets it just fine. But the difference from all those other services you referenced is distributed video shows up in >.1% of households. The other 99.9% ALL are wired and are using cable TV / satellite service with local set-top boxes. So as "future" services come up, it is likely that those services will be built targeted to work on coax-direct-to-the-TV. Not saying that will happen, but there's certainly some movement, and if I wanted to sell a product, that's how I'd make it work. Little box, coax in, HDMI out to display. While that may work just fine in a distributed video setup, it may be complete overkill. We don't know. And since we don't know, the best hedge is not to be weird, and just have the wiring in place to look like everyone else.

Well said. That's exactly what I was getting at.
post #161 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

There are two basic points you are making here, both of which are erroneous, so I'll take them on one at a time:

1. If you have a central A/V rack, you don't need RG-6.

WRONG. The last thing you want to do is be weird. EVERYONE else in the US has RG-6 in various rooms. EVERY service works over RG-6. You don't know what's coming next, or why you might want to have RG-6 locally. If you ever did, and you only had CAT cable, you would be effectively as well wired as a house from 1950 with no low voltage wiring at all. You don't want to be weird. A ton of stuff is being developed to work over RG-6 because that's what MOST PEOPLE already have. So you should have it too. It's just basic common sense. This has nothing to do with your current setup, it's just extremely obvious and basic future proofing. People do look at cable jacks when buying a house. It may not be a major factor, but it's better to have any good sized room and all the bedrooms wired for cable/satellite. Even if you don't plan on using it, it would be totally idiotic not to have it there just in case. If you had to pick one type of cabling to put in a house, RG-6 is the first thing that a sensible homebuyer would do, not the last. This is the same reason that fiber in residential installations doesn't really matter. Nobody else uses it. So nobody will use it. Everything out there uses RG-6 and CAT-6 (actually CAT-5e, but you may as well do 6 in-wall and patch it at 5e at this point just to future-proof).

2. Centralized A/V solutions save duplication of equipment from the MSO, and provide the ability to route anything anywhere.

First of all, your cost argument is a total absurdity. If you want to save money, go with MCE and use extenders. $180/room and you're good to go. They work over about any form of networking, and can use whatever wire you have, obviously 100/1000mbps ethernet being the preferred medium. That way you avoid the box fees without driving up the cost of the system. The cost of a distributed HDMI system is quite significant. I don't have a good handle on how much the control side of it is, but considering that an 8x8 HDBaseT switcher from Atlona is $7,500, and a 16x16 is $16,500, plus $150-$200 per TV for the HDBaseT receivers, the price can only go up from there, just on the video side. And then add audio to that, and you've built a system that might pay for itself in a millenium. Right. So it's not even remotely cost effective, so what does it offer? It offers the functionality of being able to send any source to any room and switch stuff around effortlessly to have a source "follow" you around the house with a few clicks. That's huge, but there is no argument about cost here, because the math argues against it from that perspective. If you also look at the cost of the equipment, when it costs an average of $1000 to bring a source into an HDMI matrix system, saving $100 per blu-ray player or Roku is utterly irrelevant. It has to be about functionality.

Personally, I wouldn't see the value in dropping $30-$50k in a full home HDMI distribution and control system when I could just use MCE and extenders to get a good chunk of that functionality in a much simpler setup, without flinging high-bandwidth uncompressed video all over the house, and dealing with all the HDMI locking and control issues that come along with a whole house HDMI system. You also then don't have to deal with the video game system issue of figuring out how to send the game system signals from the living area to the switching point, and back again. An MCE system saves you money on duplicating MSO fees, gets you whole-home DVR functionality, and costs less than $2k even for 5+ rooms, AND will work without any new wiring in existing installations through PowerlineAV or MoCA. On the audio side, all of that audio routing can be done with Sonos for about $500/room, and again, it will work with any existing wiring system or lack thereof.

All that being said, if I was building or renovating a house, I would definitely put 4xCAT-6 and 2xRG-6QS per room, with the assumption that 1x or 2x CAT-6 is used as a CAT-5e, and everything else is dormant for future use, with the RG-6 used in the main TV room where the HTPC is located for cable ingestion into the network with 8-12 tuners, and some speaker wiring for surround sound and outdoor speakers and the like to work in conjunction with Sonos.

I can tell that the concept is still eluding you. Just because products are being developed that CAN work over coax to capture that part of the market, it doesn't mean that it is the correct way for a properly engineered system. Functional, yes. Easy to use for a larger-scale distributed system, no. Since you keep missing the point and are focused on matters of no consequence, I thought I would explicitly state it for you for the purposes of clarity. So to dumb it down even further for easier understanding...if you have just a couple of TVs and audio zones and live in a house built in the 1950s that you are unwilling to run a single new wire through, then RG6 and the associated products to make things kind-of work (because there is always a compromise) are important. If you are building a new home or are making the effort in time and money to run the OPTIMAL wires for a more sophisticated system, then RG-6 doesn't cut it, not by a long shot. If you still feel it does cut it for a larger and more sophisticated system that is easier to control, then you are mistaken and I ask that you read no further because you won't comprehend the following explanatory paragraphs.

You argue for the importance of putting $150 worth of wire into every TV location so amateurs like yourself can adapt, split, covert, transcode, diplex and distribute the crap out of all your signals and send them back and forth in a complex and twisted wiring schematic and how this is important for any future owners of my home to do the same thing. I argue that a well-planned system only uses coax to get the data signal from your ISP, the cable/satellite signal from your service demarcation to a primary equipment rack and an FM signal from a quality antenna is the only RG-6 cable that is actually needed in a sophisticated AV distribution system. I stopped running coax after running it in my last two homes in the past 14 years and not using a single RG-6 wire running to any TV was ever used. I am wiring for MY system, not somebody else's. I know I am in the minority with having a sophisticated distributed audio / video system, but so are the owners of Ferraris, Sub-Zero appliances, Runco projectors or any other high-end product. It does not mean that the system isn't worthwhile pursuing.

But your own statement above and associated math bears out the value of purchasing a distribution matrix for audio and video and the point I am trying to make. You have transcoders at $180 a per room, source equipment at $100 - $180 per room, Sonos for distributed music at $500 per room . . . the list goes on and on. And what about control? Well, now you have the cost of a programmable remote ($100 minimum), probably an IR target, a diplexer to add the IR code as another signal on a common wire, the receiver for this code, etc., etc. What's all that cost? $150 - $200 per room, including the remote? This doesn't even begin to address the complexity of controlling such a system. If you had a perfect stranger walk into your house, can they get the system in any room running perfectly without instruction? Or do you have a handful of remotes and instructions indicating what must be done if you want to watch a program recorded on an HTPC in a separate bedroom? I have seen your types of systems many, many times before and they are a mess to navigate and a bigger mess when it comes to what corrective action is needed to achieve easy and robust control.

It is true that I was an early adopter of HDMI matrix switching and there is a price associated with getting in early. As an FYI, I replaced my Extron Crosspoint component video matrix switcher with the Atlona piece at a cost of $3800 three years ago. But you have your head buried deeply in the sand if you think Atlona is the only price point and that these systems cost $30,000 - $50,000. There is a very nice option from SnapAV for an 8x8 Matrix switch that is suitable for most systems: http://www.snapav.com/p-1074-b-300-hdmatrix-8x8.aspx for around $2300 street price but I have seen them sell for as little as $1500. An analog audio switch should be $500 at most. And for control systems you can do with a basic Crestron Adagio or Savant packaged system for a 2-3 thousand that can use iPads, phones, etc. and truly have world-class control over everything, less if you source used but functional components. Given that you take the time to wire properly once, for about $6k you can get yourself a very nice entry level system where you eliminate the need for all the duplicative equipment, transcoders, diplexers and other stuff you need to cobble your system into some semblance of function...though you cannot eliminate the complexity.

As a footnote . . . I have not seen a two-tuner cable or satellite box that uses two separate RG-6 runs in the last two+ years. All of them take just one input feed and internally duplicate the data stream. Why you would still run two RG-6 wires to any room is really beyond me. Probably so you can transcode data and IR onto a single RG-6 line instead of just running two category cables to do the job.rolleyes.gif
Edited by TMcG - 2/3/13 at 2:09pm
post #162 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

No, he gets it just fine. But the difference from all those other services you referenced is distributed video shows up in >.1% of households. The other 99.9% ALL are wired and are using cable TV / satellite service with local set-top boxes. So as "future" services come up, it is likely that those services will be built targeted to work on coax-direct-to-the-TV. Not saying that will happen, but there's certainly some movement, and if I wanted to sell a product, that's how I'd make it work. Little box, coax in, HDMI out to display. While that may work just fine in a distributed video setup, it may be complete overkill. We don't know. And since we don't know, the best hedge is not to be weird, and just have the wiring in place to look like everyone else.

Cost vs. price - two different things. If another provider wanted to make a splash, they'd sell their little IP-based client for $99, not charge additional fees, and really throw the guys for a loop. DirecTV, as an example, unfortunately got hooked on the "additional outlet fee", and now has to live with it - dropping the price to zero would be a huge loss of profit. But that doesn't mean some upstart has to play along (they might, since all the other kids do).

See my response above, but I haven't used any RG-6 in my walls for the last 14 years except for the input signal coming into my main rack. Any way you slice it, making things work over RG-6 is not ideal compared to a robust wiring plan. If this conversation is truly about putting $100-$150 worth of coax wiring in the walls to each TV location as the "make or break" difference, then you are not understanding my point either.

DirecTV already offers the small client boxes you speak of that nest nicely behind a flat screen and provide RG-6 in and HDMI out....at a cost of $100 each plus $6 per month lease fee. Time Warner is the only cable company here in our area. They give you out one HD box and two small "standard" tuners that can tune a QAM signal but have no DVR or interactivity with the main DVR. Any more than two boxes they charge you a lease fee of $10 per month. Plus you have HD and DVR monthly fees on top of this. Verizon Fios is even worse at $11 per month.

So if you have a better idea to avoid paying monthly fees before "another provider wanting to make a splash with an IP client", then I am willing to listen. Otherwise buying the minimum of equipment and distributing the signal is the ONLY way to avoid paying the monthly fees for every single client in your house. To me, the cost invested in the Cat6 wire and the 8x8 matrix would have an ROI of less than two years, factoring in the cost of the equipment and the avoidance of monthly fees by having the box on all TVs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

For the cost of one spool of RG6? Why argue about it? True, the poor sap that doesn't know any better won't notice until after closing that there's "no cable TV outlets anywhere in the house", but you can bet that there was a conversation about how much of that video distribution equipment was being left behind. So yes, I'll run the <$100 of coax so that my $multi-K distributed video system won't be included in the sale price... (hey, you want to buy it, let's talk after the home price has been settled, sure.)

Like I said, this house is for my family and not someone else's. I have never included my equipment in the sale, it has never been discussed and it has never affected or been included in the negotiation of the house. I have three home sales with practical experience related to this.

Look at it this way....if there are so many products built to push a signal over RG6....why is it so desperately important to have RG6 when THE SAME EXACT SIGNAL can easily be run over the many, many products designed to take the signal over Cat5? Virtually all service providers will run the cable to your intended TV locations for free as they waive installation costs to get you to their service....so let the cable or satellite company hack their way into distributed RG-6 for the house. I'm not going to have it on my dime.
Edited by TMcG - 2/3/13 at 12:17pm
post #163 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Any way you slice it, making things work over RG-6 is not ideal compared to a robust wiring plan.

Today. For HDMI-over-category. That can all change in the future.
Quote:
If this conversation is truly about putting $100-$150 worth of coax wiring in the walls to each TV location as the "make or break" difference, then you are not understanding my point either.

Yes, we're talking about pre-wiring and future flexibility. Intended use out of the gate is not the issue. It's about what the future could bring.

I've got 20+ years of experience in the computer/AV world, so I can say this with high confidence: I have no idea what the perfect wiring solution will be in 10 years. Anyone who says they do, is a fool. Therefore, my advice it to wire like crazy for the stuff we know we'll use (which is absolutely lots of category cable), but make sure your house also looks like the other 99.9% - as that's what the engineers will be designing for - I certainly would be.
Quote:
DirecTV already offers the small client boxes you speak of that nest nicely behind a flat screen and provide RG-6 in and HDMI out....at a cost of $100 each plus $6 per month lease fee. Time Warner is the only cable company here in our area. They give you out one HD box and two small "standard" tuners that can tune a QAM signal but have no DVR or interactivity with the main DVR. Any more than two boxes they charge you a lease fee of $10 per month. Plus you have HD and DVR monthly fees on top of this. Verizon Fios is even worse at $11 per month.

Yep, but I think you'll agree that the "price" of those fees have no relation to the "cost" of the boxes or the tech. So it's quite possible for things to change radically based on someone else's business model.
Quote:
Like I said, this house is for my family and not someone else's. I have never included my equipment in the sale, it has never been discussed and it has never affected or been included in the negotiation of the house. I have three home sales with practical experience related to this.

Good for you. I'm not willing to generalize that experience and risk it could mean to everyone else if you're wrong for the cost of a roll of coax.

The only RG6 I'm using in my house is the run from the satellite to the wiring closet and DirecTV receivers there for distribution over cat5e. Doing it over, I'd run the same stuff. I wouldn't fault folks for stepping back to one drop of coax per location (from the 'recommended' 2xRG6) because those use cases (primarily satellite DVR) have diminished. But again, getting rid of it is a bet on the future, that I'm not willing to take myself, nor would I recommend it to others, especially if they're less committed to a fully distributed video system.
post #164 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

I can tell that the concept is still eluding you. Just because products are being developed that CAN work over coax to capture that part of the market, it doesn't mean that it is the correct way for a properly engineered system. Functional, yes. Easy to use for a larger-scale distributed system, no. Since you keep missing the point and are focused on matters of no consequence, I thought I would explicitly state it for you for the purposes of clarity. So to dumb it down even further for easier understanding...if you have just a couple of TVs and audio zones and live in a house built in the 1950s that you are unwilling to run a single new wire through, then RG6 and the associated products to make things kind-of work (because there is always a compromise) are important. If you are building a new home or are making the effort in time and money to run the OPTIMAL wires for a more sophisticated system, then RG-6 doesn't cut it, not by a long shot. If you still feel it does cut it for a larger and more sophisticated system that is easier to control, then you are mistaken and I ask that you read no further because you won't comprehend the following explanatory paragraphs.

You argue for the importance of putting $150 worth of wire into every TV location so amateurs like yourself can adapt, split, covert, transcode, diplex and distribute the crap out of all your signals and send them back and forth in a complex and twisted wiring schematic and how this is important for any future owners of my home to do the same thing. I argue that a well-planned system only uses coax to get the data signal from your ISP, the cable/satellite signal from your service demarcation to a primary equipment rack and an FM signal from a quality antenna is the only RG-6 cable that is actually needed in a sophisticated AV distribution system. I stopped running coax after running it in my last two homes in the past 14 years and not using a single RG-6 wire running to any TV was ever used. I am wiring for MY system, not somebody else's. I know I am in the minority with having a sophisticated distributed audio / video system, but so are the owners of Ferraris, Sub-Zero appliances, Runco projectors or any other high-end product. It does not mean that the system isn't worthwhile pursuing.

But your own statement above and associated math bears out the value of purchasing a distribution matrix for audio and video and the point I am trying to make. You have transcoders at $180 a per room, source equipment at $100 - $180 per room, Sonos for distributed music at $500 per room . . . the list goes on and on. And what about control? Well, now you have the cost of a programmable remote ($100 minimum), probably an IR target, a diplexer to add the IR code as another signal on a common wire, the receiver for this code, etc., etc. What's all that cost? $150 - $200 per room, including the remote? This doesn't even begin to address the complexity of controlling such a system. If you had a perfect stranger walk into your house, can they get the system in any room running perfectly without instruction? Or do you have a handful of remotes and instructions indicating what must be done if you want to watch a program recorded on an HTPC in a separate bedroom? I have seen your types of systems many, many times before and they are a mess to navigate and a bigger mess when it comes to what corrective action is needed to achieve easy and robust control.

It is true that I was an early adopter of HDMI matrix switching and there is a price associated with getting in early. As an FYI, I replaced my Extron Crosspoint component video matrix switcher with the Atlona piece at a cost of $3800 three years ago. But you have your head buried deeply in the sand if you think Atlona is the only price point and that these systems cost $30,000 - $50,000. There is a very nice option from SnapAV for an 8x8 Matrix switch that is suitable for most systems: http://www.snapav.com/p-1074-b-300-hdmatrix-8x8.aspx for around $2300 street price but I have seen them sell for as little as $1500. An analog audio switch should be $500 at most. And for control systems you can do with a basic Crestron Adagio or Savant packaged system for a 2-3 thousand that can use iPads, phones, etc. and truly have world-class control over everything, less if you source used but functional components. Given that you take the time to wire properly once, for about $6k you can get yourself a very nice entry level system where you eliminate the need for all the duplicative equipment, transcoders, diplexers and other stuff you need to cobble your system into some semblance of function...though you cannot eliminate the complexity.

As a footnote . . . I have not seen a two-tuner cable or satellite box that uses two separate RG-6 runs in the last two+ years. All of them take just one input feed and internally duplicate the data stream. Why you would still run two RG-6 wires to any room is really beyond me. Probably so you can transcode data and IR onto a single RG-6 line instead of just running two category cables to do the job.rolleyes.gif

I'm not missing the point. You want a distributed system. That's fine, but you don't know what is coming down the road, and since EVERYONE in the US has RG-59/U or better (RG-6/RG-6QS) running to their TV, you should too. If you're going to use ONE THING to prewire with, it would be RG-6. THEN CAT cable, THEN anything else (speaker wiring, fiber, whatever).

I don't think that RG-6 alone is a good choice, because I like wired Ethernet, and have personally run CAT cable to get wired Ethernet connections. However, you can put Ethernet on RG-6 using MoCA, you can't put cable TV or satellite in it's raw form over Ethernet. Certainly, I'm not advocating not using CAT cable, as CAT-6 is versatile and important in the modern pre-wire, and obviously ultra-high-end setups that are HDMI matrix switching need it as well, and while doing a pre-wire, it's a good idea to wire enough CAT cable for HDBaseT in addition to 1000BaseT.

Future buyers of the house, with 99% certainty will get boxes from the MSO, and plug them in in each room. IF there is no cable wiring, because some idiot didn't install it, then they call the cable company, and they come in and start drilling and wrapping cables and making a mess. Most homes in the US weren't originally wired for cable, because they predate it, and you can see the messes that's created with RG-6 running every which way, as opposed to newer houses that have a central home-run RG-6 distribution point.

If you want to install a sophisticated system now, that's fine, but it would be utterly idiotic to not plan for the future. And the future includes RG-6, since that's what everyone else has.

$180 per room for an Echo and $500 for Sonos in each room is pennies on the dollar compared to a Crestron system with an Atlona matrix that, alone, costs more than my car is worth ('07 Civic in like-new condition in case you were wondering). If you want a matrixed system so that video sources can "follow" you around the house, then by all means, get one, they are good for that, but they are not cost-effective in any way, shape or form. They have unique functionality, and you pay a very pretty penny for that functionality. Wait... what? sending IR where? The Harmony remotes send the IR through the air to the device your'e controlling. Not through anything else. The RF ones have their own self-contained box, and they would be nice if you live in a colder climate where you're often under a quilt. A 4x4 matrix costs <$400 and carries the IR with it, although I've heard bad things about the cheaper HDMI matrices, and with a flaky system with two TVs running off of the same output (not matrixed), I have my doubts, and when I move I'll probably get rid of that split and replace the second TV HDMI with an Echo. Once you go past 4x4, the goes goes up exponentially. JustAddPower is just as expensive, although that system has it's own advantages and disadvantages. It's actually kind of sad that component was killed the studios who wouldn't allow blu-ray output on component, as it is idea for matrix switching with no format or locking issues, you just throw the signal out there and you're good to go. I've heard bad things about the cheaper HDMI matrices, but in any case, once you go past the capabilities of 8x8, or you want built-in HDBaseT, you're really in for the big bucks.

You make it sound like a multi-room DVR is the biggest kludge in the world. You've got it all backwards. A distributed HDMI system is a kludge. You're sending uncompressed video throughout your house, and now having to figure out how to remotely control the stuff on the other end, and you have to go to some central location to put a disc in the player. You also have to deal with the video game system issue, feeding the signal back to the wiring closet to then to the TV again. It's basically a big kludge. A multi-room DVR system like Windows Media Center is the cleanest, simplest way to do things, although you give up the ability to have sources follow you around the house, and you have to center your content around Windows MCE. The best system sends the video still compressed as close to the end use as possible, and THEN decodes it, and keeps everything on an IP network.

The second coax is not for antiquated DirecTV, but it would be useful for some combination of OTA, cable, and DirecTV. OTA is good to add extra tuners to MCE, and as a backup to the MSO, or if you go with DirecTV's HR44, you can add OTA to that for backup and possibly higher quality locals. Or you could have cable internet and basic cable with DirecTV as the video provider. It depends on the area and if you want to use MCE (where cable/FIOS would be the provider of choice), or if you want to go the HR44/DirecTV route, or the Hopper/DISH route. The ultimate, in areas that have it, would be FIOS and OTA.

Also, while the MCE/extender system runs best with RG-6 and ethernet to the central MCE PC location, and ethernet everywhere else, using a bunch of MoCA adapters, it will work just fine on RG-6 only for existing houses, and even with Powerline500 adapters or some combination thereof in houses that are lacking in any sort of wiring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

See my response above, but I haven't used any RG-6 in my walls for the last 14 years except for the input signal coming into my main rack. Any way you slice it, making things work over RG-6 is not ideal compared to a robust wiring plan. If this conversation is truly about putting $100-$150 worth of coax wiring in the walls to each TV location as the "make or break" difference, then you are not understanding my point either.

DirecTV already offers the small client boxes you speak of that nest nicely behind a flat screen and provide RG-6 in and HDMI out....at a cost of $100 each plus $6 per month lease fee. Time Warner is the only cable company here in our area. They give you out one HD box and two small "standard" tuners that can tune a QAM signal but have no DVR or interactivity with the main DVR. Any more than two boxes they charge you a lease fee of $10 per month. Plus you have HD and DVR monthly fees on top of this. Verizon Fios is even worse at $11 per month.

So if you have a better idea to avoid paying monthly fees before "another provider wanting to make a splash with an IP client", then I am willing to listen. Otherwise buying the minimum of equipment and distributing the signal is the ONLY way to avoid paying the monthly fees for every single client in your house. To me, the cost invested in the Cat6 wire and the 8x8 matrix would have an ROI of less than two years, factoring in the cost of the equipment and the avoidance of monthly fees by having the box on all TVs.
Like I said, this house is for my family and not someone else's. I have never included my equipment in the sale, it has never been discussed and it has never affected or been included in the negotiation of the house. I have three home sales with practical experience related to this.

Look at it this way....if there are so many products built to push a signal over RG6....why is it so desperately important to have RG6 when THE SAME EXACT SIGNAL can easily be run over the many, many products designed to take the signal over Cat5? Virtually all service providers will run the cable to your intended TV locations for free as they waive installation costs to get you to their service....so let the cable or satellite company hack their way into distributed RG-6 for the house. I'm not going to have it on my dime.

You should want to future proof. If you don't want to future proof, do the standard these days, and put one RG-6 in each room, call 1-800-DIRECTV, get an HR44 for the living room, and whatever the little box is for each other room, and be done with it. If you care about wiring and future proofing, you will put RG-6 in basically everywhere you put CAT cable in.

Cable equipment is irrelevant. MCE and even TiVo's antiquated system are so far beyond what their equipment can do. If you REALLY need On Demand, have one HD non-DVR box in the living room next to the MCE machine.

Central location of all equipment is not the ONLY way to avoid paying the fee. While TiVos each incur charges for CableCard (they will have streaming clients soon, supposedly), Windows MCE scales to 6 simultaneous users with no additional fees (4 tuners), or only one additional CableCard (8 tuners).

It's not the same signal. The ONLY service that runs the SAME signal over RG-6 and CAT cable is U-Verse, since it's IP-based. Other services need WAY MORE bandwidth than a CAT cable can carry. It's idiotic to not future proof your system. Have fun in the future when your centrally-distributed system is irrelevant for whatever reason, and you have to drill holes in the walls to install cable lines because you were too stupid to think ahead, and think what everyone else has. I have PERSONAL EXPERIENCE to know that it's a bad idea. My parents ran CAT-5 for phone lines (could be converted to Ethernet if anyone bothered to do it) to every room of the house, but cable TV only to a few rooms, because they figured the other bedrooms would never need it. Now they can't put a TV in one of the extra bedrooms, because there's no cable jack for it (well actually they could, but they refuse to do normal cable wiring practices and wrap outdoor-rated RG-6). The other extra bedroom might end up with a TV in it, but the cable will have to run along the baseboard and through a closet from another room. The one way around it would be to get them on MCE, and put the PC on the other TV, so that the big TV would only need Ethernet for the Echo.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Today. For HDMI-over-category. That can all change in the future.
Yes, we're talking about pre-wiring and future flexibility. Intended use out of the gate is not the issue. It's about what the future could bring.

I've got 20+ years of experience in the computer/AV world, so I can say this with high confidence: I have no idea what the perfect wiring solution will be in 10 years. Anyone who says they do, is a fool. Therefore, my advice it to wire like crazy for the stuff we know we'll use (which is absolutely lots of category cable), but make sure your house also looks like the other 99.9% - as that's what the engineers will be designing for - I certainly would be.
Yep, but I think you'll agree that the "price" of those fees have no relation to the "cost" of the boxes or the tech. So it's quite possible for things to change radically based on someone else's business model.
Good for you. I'm not willing to generalize that experience and risk it could mean to everyone else if you're wrong for the cost of a roll of coax.

The only RG6 I'm using in my house is the run from the satellite to the wiring closet and DirecTV receivers there for distribution over cat5e. Doing it over, I'd run the same stuff. I wouldn't fault folks for stepping back to one drop of coax per location (from the 'recommended' 2xRG6) because those use cases (primarily satellite DVR) have diminished. But again, getting rid of it is a bet on the future, that I'm not willing to take myself, nor would I recommend it to others, especially if they're less committed to a fully distributed video system.

Agreed. Of course 1 RG-6 is the standard in most houses, so you're being weird by only running one, but I would argue that since you can't diplex on a DECA/SWiM setup, you might want satellite and OTA or cable and OTA or satellite and basic cable/ cable internet, so it's worth putting two per room. Also, if you have a location (i.e. main location), where you have several things that run off of cable, it might be easier to balance the power on the system with two drops of the same thing coming from the splitter or amp. If you're pre-wiring, you may as well do two per room while you're at it. I could see a 1RG-6/2CAT setup, but once you're looking at 4CAT, you should do 2 RG-6.
post #165 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

Agreed. Of course 1 RG-6 is the standard in most houses, so you're being weird by only running one, but I would argue that since you can't diplex on a DECA/SWiM setup, you might want satellite and OTA or cable and OTA or satellite and basic cable/ cable internet, so it's worth putting two per room. Also, if you have a location (i.e. main location), where you have several things that run off of cable, it might be easier to balance the power on the system with two drops of the same thing coming from the splitter or amp. If you're pre-wiring, you may as well do two per room while you're at it. I could see a 1RG-6/2CAT setup, but once you're looking at 4CAT, you should do 2 RG-6.

Well, I'm not weird in that way... smile.gif I've got 2x RG6 to all the display locations, I'm just not using any of it currently. But if we're going to argue about the absolute usefulness of RG6 - my point was at least run ONE!

But the dual-tuner boxes were what drove the move to two RG6 cables - and with that effectively out of the mix, the utilization of that second RG6 is probably declining. While it's still useful, if someone is going to complain about "wasting money on cable", I wouldn't argue if they wanted to add one more cat6 run instead of the 2nd RG6...
post #166 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Well, I'm not weird in that way... smile.gif I've got 2x RG6 to all the display locations, I'm just not using any of it currently. But if we're going to argue about the absolute usefulness of RG6 - my point was at least run ONE!

But the dual-tuner boxes were what drove the move to two RG6 cables - and with that effectively out of the mix, the utilization of that second RG6 is probably declining. While it's still useful, if someone is going to complain about "wasting money on cable", I wouldn't argue if they wanted to add one more cat6 run instead of the 2nd RG6...

That should say *not* being weird by running one. Agreed. At least with one, they'd be on par with average america and could get service with any ONE service provider just fine.
post #167 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

What on earth is going on with people thinking they can not wire RG-6? I was just posting about this in another thread in this forum. You NEED the standard wiring, which means cable/satellite TV. You don't want to be weird and not have cable TV connections in every room. The basic, minimum wiring for a decent house these days is RG-6 to every room, and that's BEFORE you THINK about CAT cable. Once you go to multiple CAT cables per room, you're pretty much committed to 2x RG-6Q cables, although I suppose you could get away with a single RG-6, as that's standard in most homes. Don't be weird, as you don't know what's coming down the line, and the ONE connection that virtually EVERY home in the US has to each room is RG-6. Not pre-wiring every room for cable is just dumb. If you're not doing the BASIC, don't even BOTHER pre-wiring, when something new comes along, and you need a direct connection to the cable or satellite provider, you're going to have to wrap the wires on the outside of the house and drill through anyways, like has been done on millions of older houses that weren't wired for cable (since it didn't exist when they were built).

I totally disagree.

Sure, run a single RG6 to each room if you want. That way you can plug in your cable/satellite box if that is your direction. Two is complete overkill except potentially at the home theatre.

But to say that RG6 is more important than CAT5/6 is not good advice. RG6 and analog transmission has great bandwidth, but suffers terribly for distribution due to attenuation and noise. Splitting RG6 destroys signal, but a simple mini-switch is a perfect fidelity switcher for Ethernet. Betting on RG6 over IP based distribution is not a smart gamble.

Every consumer device of any complexity that you buy 5-8 years from now will be connected, many wirelessly, but anything with sound and video will benefit from a hard wire. Those connections ain't going to be RG6 and analog. They will be digital. If we did not have cable/satellite content monopolies, RG6 would be as relevant as Blue-ray today.
post #168 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by ildo View Post

TMcG also mention wiring 2 CAT6 to one TV location. What is the reason for that? Again. isn't one enough?

For actual Internet networking, you only need one CAT6 port. If you have many internet devices in a given location, a $50 miniswitch will allow you to turn that port into as many as you need - I have 6 Internet connected devices in my media cabinet all switched off a single port:
1. Sonos
2. IP2IR iTach
3. Denon AVR3311ci
4. Samsung LED
5. XBox
6. Mac Mini

So why two CAT6 drops? Well, sometimes you need a non-network signal wire. In my case, I use the second jack to connect my DirectTV box to the phone (what is this, 1997...?). You can also use a pair of CAT6 cables to carry video signal, so you really are talking about having extra plumbing to carry whatever digital signal comes around.
post #169 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Today. For HDMI-over-category. That can all change in the future.
Things are going to progress toward networking technologies that require twisted pair wiring, not regressing toward technologies based on RG6. I can say this with absolute 100% certainty that "the future" will not involve coax beyond initial signal into the home (and maybe not even that at some point). Everything will be wireless or twisted pair technologies for data, video, audio signals and control communications
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Yes, we're talking about pre-wiring and future flexibility. Intended use out of the gate is not the issue. It's about what the future could bring.
Again, the future will not be developing with RG6-based distribution systems, only wireless and twisted pair. Future-proofing with RG6 cable is akin to saying I am going to prepare for tomorrow's computing technologies by making sure I have a modem connection available at every potential computer location.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I've got 20+ years of experience in the computer/AV world, so I can say this with high confidence: I have no idea what the perfect wiring solution will be in 10 years. Anyone who says they do, is a fool. Therefore, my advice it to wire like crazy for the stuff we know we'll use (which is absolutely lots of category cable), but make sure your house also looks like the other 99.9% - as that's what the engineers will be designing for - I certainly would be.

I have slightly more years of experience in this area than you, but before we compare credentials and Microsoft CNE certifications I can also say with high confidence that the future is here now - and it ALL runs on twisted pair wiring or standard 802.11"x" wireless protocols. The entire world's infrastructure is built around this standard. Any product development efforts that use RG6 are for RETROFITTING today's technologies into yesterday's wire and wire topologies, plain and simple. Any future technologies use wireless and/or twisted pair wiring using standard industry networking protocols. No one knows the perfect wiring solution because you can never guess how many wires are needed at a particularly location. But the future is now and that is Category 6 wiring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Yep, but I think you'll agree that the "price" of those fees have no relation to the "cost" of the boxes or the tech. So it's quite possible for things to change radically based on someone else's business model.
Good for you. I'm not willing to generalize that experience and risk it could mean to everyone else if you're wrong for the cost of a roll of coax.

While it is true that streaming services and subscription technologies are available now (Apple TV, Google TV, Sony TV, etc.), their ultimate picture quality still leaves something to be desired vs. traditional HD DVRs and BluRays. So this is one area that I will not be an early adopter until the technology has developed to the point that it provides the same or better quality than full 1080p 30fps / 24fps. So as of today, the boxes do have a cost (in the case of satellite) and the monthly fees associated with each box also have a cost. Would I prefer one network wire coming into my house that carries everything directly to the TV over standard networking wire? Absolutely. But for the moment we have to have satellite / digital cable receivers to do the job. I'll wait for the radical change to happen, but you and I both know that any future solution will be over twisted pair wiring.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

The only RG6 I'm using in my house is the run from the satellite to the wiring closet and DirecTV receivers there for distribution over cat5e. Doing it over, I'd run the same stuff. I wouldn't fault folks for stepping back to one drop of coax per location (from the 'recommended' 2xRG6) because those use cases (primarily satellite DVR) have diminished. But again, getting rid of it is a bet on the future, that I'm not willing to take myself, nor would I recommend it to others, especially if they're less committed to a fully distributed video system.

So you are doing exactly what I have argued for all along - that the only coax used in the house is to get the signal from the service provider to your main equipment closet for distribution. Knowing your passion for RG6, I assume that means you have coax in the walls (maybe even dual coax) that is sitting completely idle and unused. This is the way all of my coax has sat in my homes the past 14 years - completely unused. That is why I am arguing that I do not need any RG6 in the walls, especially now that more devices run over standard network wire. I know you see this as a risk by not having it in the home if you go to sell, but I don't. BigAww has argued that it becomes messy when the cable is run outside the house or if you have to make holes in the interior to fish wires through. I agree, it is a mess but at that point it is not my house anyhow and the buyers wouldn't have paid me extra for the few hundred dollars I had invested in wire and connectors, not to mention my time. People renovate all the time to make your house their home - adding structured wiring is no different than tackling another home renovation project. I'll have plenty of spare Cat6 wires at key locations but you can bet I won't be wasting money on RG6 again.
post #170 of 194
I have 3 RG-6 (3 Gig) going to my Home Theater. Direct TV used to use 2. The other is for the OTA antenna. I can't see anyone not running at least 2 RG-6. My receiver also needs it for FM, because of reception issues where I live. 4 Cat 5 E also live there, 2 in use. The Dish Network Hopper- Joey System freed up 3 Cat 5E connections in my other rooms because of MOCA. Run RG-6,people.
post #171 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skytrooper View Post

I have 3 RG-6 (3 Gig) going to my Home Theater. Direct TV used to use 2. The other is for the OTA antenna. I can't see anyone not running at least 2 RG-6. My receiver also needs it for FM, because of reception issues where I live. 4 Cat 5 E also live there, 2 in use. The Dish Network Hopper- Joey System freed up 3 Cat 5E connections in my other rooms because of MOCA. Run RG-6,people.

I have Coax running from my DirecTV Satellite dish to my equipment rack which is then distributed via coax to my receivers in the same equipment rack. I also have a high-quality Terk FM Pro antenna in my attic that has coax bringing the signal to the equipment rack which is then properly split for all sources requiring an antenna. If I decided to go with an OTA antenna, that signal would travel by coax to the equipment closet and get plugged into a DirecTV AM-21 OTA receiver which then connects to my HR-34 (Genie) via USB for access and distribution to the whole house through the Genie system. There is no need for coax runs in a distributed system beyond that needed to get the signal into the equipment rack and distributed within the equipment rack. For the next person - maybe....but they can deal with that on their own. We plan to stay put for a while so it is expected the technologies will continue to migrate to a network-based interconnected topology.
post #172 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

So you are doing exactly what I have argued for all along - that the only coax used in the house is to get the signal from the service provider to your main equipment closet for distribution. Knowing your passion for RG6, I assume that means you have coax in the walls (maybe even dual coax) that is sitting completely idle and unused. This is the way all of my coax has sat in my homes the past 14 years - completely unused. That is why I am arguing that I do not need any RG6 in the walls, especially now that more devices run over standard network wire. I know you see this as a risk by not having it in the home if you go to sell, but I don't. BigAww has argued that it becomes messy when the cable is run outside the house or if you have to make holes in the interior to fish wires through. I agree, it is a mess but at that point it is not my house anyhow and the buyers wouldn't have paid me extra for the few hundred dollars I had invested in wire and connectors, not to mention my time. People renovate all the time to make your house their home - adding structured wiring is no different than tackling another home renovation project. I'll have plenty of spare Cat6 wires at key locations but you can bet I won't be wasting money on RG6 again.

I have no love for RG6. But going against the 'normal' 99.9% is just silly for the cost of a coax spool. Yes, I also believe that category cable is the future for all residential A/V distribution (I'd argue it's cat5e not cat6, because, again, that's what's in the vast majority of home, and still being put in...), and while you and I are not using it, I know better than to assume I'm going to be 100% right about the future. Too many times the "best" technology has lost out to something inferior for business reasons, rumors, regulations, legal battles, or just bad luck.

For <$100 I can hedge and have both of the normal distribution types available, so I just don't see why you want to debate this over and over. We will apparently have to agree to disagree.

Jeff
post #173 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

For <$100 I can hedge and have both of the normal distribution types available, so I just don't see why you want to debate this over and over. We will apparently have to agree to disagree.

Jeff

Agreed. But one point of note - to "do it right" I would need 1000 feet of dual Quad shield at $267 plus $47 shipping and $24 tax = $338. A single RG6 deducts $118 from this number. Compression F connectors, wall f connectors, wall plates and low voltage plaster rings, etc. adds another $112. So at its least expensive we are talking $333 for single quad shield and $450 for dual quad shield at its most expensive with me doing the labor. If the wire was run but not terminated at any location you are still looking at $221 minimum for single quad shield. For wire I will never use it is hard to justify throwing money the equivalent of an Oppo Bluray down the drain. Maybe I'm just weird that way....rolleyes.gif
post #174 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Agreed. But one point of note - to "do it right" I would need 1000 feet of dual Quad shield at $267 plus $47 shipping and $24 tax = $338. A single RG6 deducts $118 from this number. Compression F connectors, wall f connectors, wall plates and low voltage plaster rings, etc. adds another $112. So at its least expensive we are talking $333 for single quad shield and $450 for dual quad shield at its most expensive with me doing the labor. If the wire was run but not terminated at any location you are still looking at $221 minimum for single quad shield. For wire I will never use it is hard to justify throwing money the equivalent of an Oppo Bluray down the drain. Maybe I'm just weird that way....rolleyes.gif

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10216&cs_id=1021604&p_id=7483&seq=1&format=2

I suggest you shop at cheaper stores... biggrin.gif

Yeah, I wouldn't blame anyone for just running a single RG6 line instead of the 'recommended' two lines, assuming they didn't have a use for it in mind. That additional run is a fairly recent addition, and lacking it certainly doesn't count as "being weird".

And hey, if anyone out there would rather spend that $100-ish bucks on flex conduit runs to all those display locations instead - I don't think you'd get an argument from either of us.
post #175 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&cp_id=10216&cs_id=1021604&p_id=7483&seq=1&format=2

I suggest you shop at cheaper stores... biggrin.gif

Yeah, I wouldn't blame anyone for just running a single RG6 line instead of the 'recommended' two lines, assuming they didn't have a use for it in mind. That additional run is a fairly recent addition, and lacking it certainly doesn't count as "being weird".

And hey, if anyone out there would rather spend that $100-ish bucks on flex conduit runs to all those display locations instead - I don't think you'd get an argument from either of us.

That's the price I was referencing . . . $149 for single quad shield, $267 for dual which gives the $118 difference between the two prices...
post #176 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

That's the price I was referencing . . . $149 for single quad shield, $267 for dual which gives the $118 difference between the two prices...

Ah, good - sorry, I didn't follow the 'dual' math right... You shouldn't count the rings and boxes, as you'd need those regardless, but now we're really getting into the round-off.
post #177 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by archbid View Post

I totally disagree.

Sure, run a single RG6 to each room if you want. That way you can plug in your cable/satellite box if that is your direction. Two is complete overkill except potentially at the home theatre.

But to say that RG6 is more important than CAT5/6 is not good advice. RG6 and analog transmission has great bandwidth, but suffers terribly for distribution due to attenuation and noise. Splitting RG6 destroys signal, but a simple mini-switch is a perfect fidelity switcher for Ethernet. Betting on RG6 over IP based distribution is not a smart gamble.

Every consumer device of any complexity that you buy 5-8 years from now will be connected, many wirelessly, but anything with sound and video will benefit from a hard wire. Those connections ain't going to be RG6 and analog. They will be digital. If we did not have cable/satellite content monopolies, RG6 would be as relevant as Blue-ray today.

RG6 is the most important, because it's what others have. You can run Ethernet over RG-6 using MoCA, but you can't run cable TV over CAT-5. Mass-market IP-connected devices of the present and future are and will be based on MoCA. DirecTV has it's DECA variant, because that way they can reuse the existing wiring to get data networking out to every room. The devices of the future won't use CAT-5, as very few people have it in their houses. The ones that have Ethernet options, like media streamers, are and will be primarily wireless. Heck, I'm even thinking on my next HT setup, I might get rid of some of the Ethernet cabling, as it would save me a lot of time wiring the entertainment center. The Wii, XBOX, Roku, Apple TV, and possibly the Blu-Ray player and TV have wifi.
Quote:
Originally Posted by archbid View Post

For actual Internet networking, you only need one CAT6 port. If you have many internet devices in a given location, a $50 miniswitch will allow you to turn that port into as many as you need - I have 6 Internet connected devices in my media cabinet all switched off a single port:
1. Sonos
2. IP2IR iTach
3. Denon AVR3311ci
4. Samsung LED
5. XBox
6. Mac Mini

So why two CAT6 drops? Well, sometimes you need a non-network signal wire. In my case, I use the second jack to connect my DirectTV box to the phone (what is this, 1997...?). You can also use a pair of CAT6 cables to carry video signal, so you really are talking about having extra plumbing to carry whatever digital signal comes around.

Yup. HDMI can run over 1, but the HDBaseT gear costs more than the 2-cable solution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Things are going to progress toward networking technologies that require twisted pair wiring, not regressing toward technologies based on RG6. I can say this with absolute 100% certainty that "the future" will not involve coax beyond initial signal into the home (and maybe not even that at some point). Everything will be wireless or twisted pair technologies for data, video, audio signals and control communications
Again, the future will not be developing with RG6-based distribution systems, only wireless and twisted pair. Future-proofing with RG6 cable is akin to saying I am going to prepare for tomorrow's computing technologies by making sure I have a modem connection available at every potential computer location.
I have slightly more years of experience in this area than you, but before we compare credentials and Microsoft CNE certifications I can also say with high confidence that the future is here now - and it ALL runs on twisted pair wiring or standard 802.11"x" wireless protocols. The entire world's infrastructure is built around this standard. Any product development efforts that use RG6 are for RETROFITTING today's technologies into yesterday's wire and wire topologies, plain and simple. Any future technologies use wireless and/or twisted pair wiring using standard industry networking protocols. No one knows the perfect wiring solution because you can never guess how many wires are needed at a particularly location. But the future is now and that is Category 6 wiring.
While it is true that streaming services and subscription technologies are available now (Apple TV, Google TV, Sony TV, etc.), their ultimate picture quality still leaves something to be desired vs. traditional HD DVRs and BluRays. So this is one area that I will not be an early adopter until the technology has developed to the point that it provides the same or better quality than full 1080p 30fps / 24fps. So as of today, the boxes do have a cost (in the case of satellite) and the monthly fees associated with each box also have a cost. Would I prefer one network wire coming into my house that carries everything directly to the TV over standard networking wire? Absolutely. But for the moment we have to have satellite / digital cable receivers to do the job. I'll wait for the radical change to happen, but you and I both know that any future solution will be over twisted pair wiring.
So you are doing exactly what I have argued for all along - that the only coax used in the house is to get the signal from the service provider to your main equipment closet for distribution. Knowing your passion for RG6, I assume that means you have coax in the walls (maybe even dual coax) that is sitting completely idle and unused. This is the way all of my coax has sat in my homes the past 14 years - completely unused. That is why I am arguing that I do not need any RG6 in the walls, especially now that more devices run over standard network wire. I know you see this as a risk by not having it in the home if you go to sell, but I don't. BigAww has argued that it becomes messy when the cable is run outside the house or if you have to make holes in the interior to fish wires through. I agree, it is a mess but at that point it is not my house anyhow and the buyers wouldn't have paid me extra for the few hundred dollars I had invested in wire and connectors, not to mention my time. People renovate all the time to make your house their home - adding structured wiring is no different than tackling another home renovation project. I'll have plenty of spare Cat6 wires at key locations but you can bet I won't be wasting money on RG6 again.

Don't be so sure. The only high-bandwidth cabling that most people have to work with is RG-6, and you can be sure that the MSOs aren't going to come in to someone's house and start running miles of CAT-5. RG-6 has enough bandwidth times several hundred for anything that most average people will use for quite some time. That brings us back to pre-wiring. What are you going to do when there's an XBOX 1440 that has integrated cable TV and Kinect, has to be in the room you're using it, and requires RG-6? Or anything else that requires RG-6 be delivered to the end-use location? Or when the content providers figure out how to f*ck up HDMI even more and you have to roll boxes out to the individual TVs? You're going to be drilling holes in the walls and fishing cable in because you were too cheap to pre-wire the right way in the first place.

You seem to dismiss retrofitting to RG-6 so quickly. But that's reality. That's what going to happen. That's what the MSOs are going to do. They've got a lot invested in RG-6, and they are going to keep using it. Also, RG-6 has a metric crap-ton of bandwidth. The cable plant alone has over 6gbps, and then you add MoCA channels on top of that, and in the future you could add gbps more. So what's the need for millions of existing homeowners to retrofit CAT cable again? Right, they're not going to.

We DON'T know that the future systems are going to run over CAT cable. In fact, about the only thing that we DO know is that RG-6 will be king for decades to come, because that's the only thing that's installed in millions of homes. Also, what is so wrong with at least putting in the basic wiring to be NORMAL? You don't have to use it now, but if you ever want it, then it will be there, ready to go.

You're looking at future owners completely backwards. They wouldn't be adding some fancy structured wiring system, they would have to go in and wire the BASIC, STANDARD wiring that you didn't bother to do because you were too cheap to do it. If you're not going to do it right, don't bother. If you're not going to run both RG-6 and CAT cable to every room, forget the structured wiring, and have your regular electrician run one RG-6 to each room. You'll have what virtually everyone else in the country has. People look at how many rooms have cable, as that's a standard thing for houses to have. If no rooms have cable, they're going to be like, WTF? Would you want to lose a potential buyer because you were too cheap to do the pre-wire correctly? People who have nice houses don't want to have Larry the Cable guy haphazardly drilling holes in their walls and running cables all over the place just because the previous owner screwed up bigtime and didn't put cable in all the rooms, or anywhere.
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

I have no love for RG6. But going against the 'normal' 99.9% is just silly for the cost of a coax spool. Yes, I also believe that category cable is the future for all residential A/V distribution (I'd argue it's cat5e not cat6, because, again, that's what's in the vast majority of home, and still being put in...), and while you and I are not using it, I know better than to assume I'm going to be 100% right about the future. Too many times the "best" technology has lost out to something inferior for business reasons, rumors, regulations, legal battles, or just bad luck.

For <$100 I can hedge and have both of the normal distribution types available, so I just don't see why you want to debate this over and over. We will apparently have to agree to disagree.

Jeff

Exactly. I'm not convinced that category cable will take over for home installations, since most houses still only have RG-59/6 and quad-pair or cat-3, either of which is useless other than for phone wires. The big advancement we just came through is the whole-home DVR, which took 10ish years to go from an extreme niche of a few TiVo owners to mass-market from MSOs, so we'll have to see what's next. I just can't envision most homes ever getting retrofitted with CAT cable, especially with more people than ever renting, and people moving around a lot. I see wireless and no-new-wires systems dominating (MoCA, Powerline, maybe HPNA). Which brings us back to that RG-6! But either way, you've got your bases covered.
post #178 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

If I decided to go with an OTA antenna, that signal would travel by coax to the equipment closet and get plugged into a DirecTV AM-21 OTA receiver which then connects to my HR-34 (Genie) via USB for access and distribution to the whole house through the Genie system.

Just as an aside - unless things have changed recently DirecTV will ONLY support the Genie whole home DVR using MoCA on coax. Yes, it can and does work on 100BaseT, but they haven't "officially" supported it.

Jeff
post #179 of 194
Why can't we all just get along?smile.gif You need RG-6 and CAT 5E at all your locations.
post #180 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

Well said. That's exactly what I was getting at.

Thank you for responding to my post. No snark, I like that this conversation is happening. Let me try to parse what I am hearing:

Side 1 (RG6): Cable, Satellite, and most commercial video distribution in 99.9% of American households presumes RG6 near the TV. Leave it out and people will sit there with a cable box in their hands in their daughter's room going "WTF!". In addition, the vast number of homes with RG6 will drive investment in RG6 as the transport layer for new devices and distribution.

Side 2 (CAT6): RG6 is an analog relic. We should respect those engineers who figured out how to get signals in everyone's home, but we should also respect that it is 20th century tech and is going nowhere but out. There is simply too much advantage in terms of control, distribution, signal routing and integration to a layered topology like TCP/IP over any purpose-built networks (and yes, this also includes IR and serial, BTW).

So, where you stand on this one depends on where you are sitting. If you are an installer, or if you give a darn about a subsequent owner, you really should install one RG6 to the main rooms where it is likely you will have a TV. Maybe two if you have a fetish for old devices with two inputs, if you want OTA and pay, or if you want FM and pay. But do it understanding fully that for all the reasons above, most of that RG6 cable you install will only serve to weigh your house down in the event of a tornado. But sometimes courtesy has a cost.

If it is your home, take it from TmcG and I, running RG6 is a waste unless you plan to use it NOW. It is not a future tech, and building a distribution system using it is ridiculous - if you are affording thousands in equipment, you can afford baluns. I have run 1000s of feet of RG6 that has no value at all, largely because there is zero odds that I am leasing 5-7 set top boxes from comcast and paying a per-screen fee. That game is over.

My only real beef with biggAW is referring to RG6 as the most important. I understand the argument that there is a lot of coax in people's houses, but why does that matter for a homeowner? Obviously, if they are wiring, they don't have the coax legacy, so that can't be the issue. The only other effect would be the the presence of coax in American homes will drive investment decisions on the part of consumer electronics companies and force TCP/IP over RG6. That analysis is not borne out in the market:

1. Most cable is not installed in a way that will support networking - Lots of daisy chain and splitters means a lot of useless cable for networking
2. Amazon, Google and Apple are driving this, not random small companies or niche players. And not one of their devices has a coax input. Microsoft is the only one that even considers it, with TV tuner integration in MCE, but the rest ignore it. If there were not a federal mandate, the coax would disappear from Samsung and the others overnight.
3. Consumer electronics companies know that virtually no houses are wired with CAT5/6, but they are dealing with that by supporting Wifi, not Coax. No serious player is leading with coax networking.
4. The satellite vendors squeezed out all of the independent set top box players, so there is nobody left to give a s**t about coax, and I would not hold my breath waiting for Directv to lead the market. Their only move is to delay

The installed base of coax, as a result, is irrelevant to anyone who is wiring their own home, and is largely irrelevant to the major players.
Edited by archbid - 2/5/13 at 6:36pm
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