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My quick and dirty CE Labs CAT5RX/TX review - Page 2

post #31 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfdatacom View Post

I read this thread in its entirety because I will definitely be buying this product for a home I am working on right now. I was wondering why additional IR hardware was needed by the original poster, when there is an IR interface built in to the CAT5TX? Thanks in advance for an answer.

It's passive, and needs power injected into it.
post #32 of 87
Based on the excellent information in the original poster's review, I purchased the Cat5RX and TX. I completed the installation last weekend and am very pleased with the video and audio quality. I have my pair running through 100ft of Cat5e cable and it looks no different than when the source is connected directly to the TV.

However, I am having an issue related to the IR system I have connected to the devices. Whenever I use a remote, the component video on my LCD TV goes blank for a second and then comes back on. For example, when I use the TV remote to change the volume on the TV, the IR receiver picks up the IR, transmits it to the remote end. When this happens, the component video signal appears to drop or go out of sync such that the TV thinks the signal is gone so it never respond to the volume change.

The IR setup I am using is a Xantech Xtra Link 2 that I had purchased before I was aware of the Cat5RX/TX. This system is designed to inject the IR signal onto a RG6 cable, but I have made some slight modifications to it to work with the Cat5RX. I added a connector to the IR receiver cable to power the receiver and am using the provided connector to only pass the IR signal and ground into the Cat5RX. The IR setup works and I can successfully control a Tivo and HD Cable box on the remote end, but the blanking video is an issue.

The manufacturer does not provide any information regarding the IR connections with the devices or on their web site. I'm wondering if anyone can provide a little more detail on how they have been successfully able to get an IR system working through these devices. I have tried to email the manufacturer for information, but have not received a response. I will try to call there tomorrow, but thought I would also try to ask here since the forum has been so helpful so far. Thanks in advance for any reply.
post #33 of 87
SO with this you would only be able to use One source? Or use a reciever or a switcher for multiple sources but then you would be deprived of using the same source in different room correct? Ie. If you had a DVD changer, and you were using it in room 1, you couldnt use it in room 2 viewing a different dvd? so you would be limited as opposed to a distribution matrix? I do understand this is price effective.

Thanks
post #34 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Theater View Post

SO with this you would only be able to use One source? Or use a reciever or a switcher for multiple sources but then you would be deprived of using the same source in different room correct? Ie. If you had a DVD changer, and you were using it in room 1, you couldnt use it in room 2 viewing a different dvd? so you would be limited as opposed to a distribution matrix? I do understand this is price effective.

Thanks

These can be used with a matrix switch for whole house audio/video distribution. What these really buy you is the ability to distribute that audio and video over Cat5 vs running a gaggle of wires to do the same thing.

If you purchased a set of these for each A/V zone and assuming your using a matrix switch of some sort, you would still be able to watch the same source in multiple places at once.

The comment about the limitations of a DVD changer is inherent to the DVD changer and not the A/V -> Cat5 converter.

The CAT5RX/TX is really designed to make wiring simpler and easier. Other than saving you on time, materials and ease of use, I don't believe they have any additional value.
post #35 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah View Post

These can be used with a matrix switch for whole house audio/video distribution. What these really buy you is the ability to distribute that audio and video over Cat5 vs running a gaggle of wires to do the same thing.

If you purchased a set of these for each A/V zone and assuming your using a matrix switch of some sort, you would still be able to watch the same source in multiple places at once.

The comment about the limitations of a DVD changer is inherent to the DVD changer and not the A/V -> Cat5 converter.

The CAT5RX/TX is really designed to make wiring simpler and easier. Other than saving you on time, materials and ease of use, I don't believe they have any additional value.

Thanks for the reply, so this is nice. When this is such a viable option, what are the advantages of A/V distrubtion thru a Matrix (Autopatch, Neothings etc.) with RG6 over this?

Also Ive tried reading over and over again about the IR setup with a Matrix Switcher ( Audio Authority), how would that work?

Would a Touchpanel solution like the Fujitsu 3400 or other expensives work with this route?

thanks
post #36 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Theater View Post

Thanks for the reply, so this is nice. When this is such a viable option, what are the advantages of A/V distrubtion thru a Matrix (Autopatch, Neothings etc.) with RG6 over this?

Ease of installation and having Cat5 available for future use are really the only reasons I can think of for using this over RG6. You could potentially use the same wiring for HDMI distribution, etc. by simply changing the hardware at either end.

As to the IR bit, I honestly don't know. Maybe someone else can chime in with pertinent info.
post #37 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah View Post

Ease of installation and having Cat5 available for future use are really the only reasons I can think of for using this over RG6. You could potentially use the same wiring for HDMI distribution, etc. by simply changing the hardware at either end.

As to the IR bit, I honestly don't know. Maybe someone else can chime in with pertinent info.

I was asking about the advantages of RG6 over Cat5 but from what Im reading there isnt much? And Thanks for letting me know about the IR, I will try to search more.
post #38 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by Micah View Post

Ease of installation and having Cat5 available for future use are really the only reasons I can think of for using this over RG6. You could potentially use the same wiring for HDMI distribution, etc. by simply changing the hardware at either end.

As to the IR bit, I honestly don't know. Maybe someone else can chime in with pertinent info.

Another advantage to splitting the HDTV signal in this manner is you save a lot of money in cable box charges:

I am using an analagous system, which is the CE LABS AV501HD HDTV Distribution Amplifier (1-Input 5-Output) to distribute component video signals from a single Scientific Atlanta 8300HD PVR to multiple displays in different rooms. When I move into my new home shortly I will be using the CAT5RX/TX's as I have multiple runs of Cat5e strung from my living room (where my a/v equipment will be stored) to multiple rooms where there will be displays. I also have IR extenders on each run so that I can control the PVR from anywhere in the house.

By distributing the signal in this way I have the big cost advantage of being able to rent or buy a single source box, such as the SA 8300HD PVR and use it to serve up HDTV signals in any room (or a few sources boxes such as a satellite dish receiver). In this example it saves me the cost of buy multiple PVR's for each room. Also, even if money were no object and I didn't mind having multiple PVR's it allows me to not have to run to each PVR to record each program so that I can watch the program on any TV later (and, also, if I don't do that, I don't have to remember which PVR I recorded a program on). I just do all of my programming from the single PVR and watch it on any TV I please. If you use coax, you cannot, as far as I know, distribute HDTV signals without splitting the native coax carrying the HDTV signal fand putting a cable box at the end of each run which is then connected to the TV. For one, the coax signals coming out of the SA 8300HD PVR is dumbed down to SDTV and then there are other issues. (I know SA has a multiple room set-up now, but my cable provider here in Toronto (Rogers) does not offer it and it does not allow you to pause live TV)

If you live in a house where there are kids (or a wife) who want to record or pause something else on another TV while you watch the PVR, you would have to string coax to that room and then add a PVR there and connect it to the TV. Or, make them suffer and not be able to record or pause live TV and just split the coax signal coming out of the SA 8300HD PVR. This would allow them to watch any channel in SDTV and would cost you any more except the stringing of the coax.

For DVD's I don't bother trying to split the signal. They are so inexpensive I can afford to have one in each room if I want. But, of course, if I had an expensive video processor then I would distribute the DVD signal as I don't want to buy multiple copies of those.
post #39 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by eonibm View Post

If you use coax, you cannot, as far as I know, distribute HDTV signals without splitting the native coax carrying the HDTV signal fand putting a cable box at the end of each run which is then connected to the TV.

Sure you can. You just need three RG6's to carry the component signal. In comparison to your example instead of the cat5 baluns and two cat5's to each room you would need 5 RG6s (three for video, two for analog audio or one for digital audio) and a simple component splitter/amplifier. You can buy mini-RG6 in 5 cable bundles just for this purpose. So, it comes down to whether you feel at ease pulling 2 cat5e's or one bundle of mini-RG6, and whether you want to use the additional hardware (cat5 baluns). You still need a component splitter/amplifier regardless whether you use it with the individual balun pairs or you use an integrated solution. If I had the option (new construction, walls down) I would go the mini-RG6 route as you are keeping the signal in its native format. Anytime you convert the signal there are losses. Whether you can perceive them or not is a different story and may not matter.
post #40 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmee View Post

Sure you can. You just need three RG6's to carry the component signal. In comparison to your example instead of the cat5 baluns and two cat5's to each room you would need 5 RG6s (three for video, two for analog audio or one for digital audio) and a simple component splitter/amplifier. You can buy mini-RG6 in 5 cable bundles just for this purpose. So, it comes down to whether you feel at ease pulling 2 cat5e's or one bundle of mini-RG6, and whether you want to use the additional hardware (cat5 baluns). You still need a component splitter/amplifier regardless whether you use it with the individual balun pairs or you use an integrated solution. If I had the option (new construction, walls down) I would go the mini-RG6 route as you are keeping the signal in its native format. Anytime you convert the signal there are losses. Whether you can perceive them or not is a different story and may not matter.

Sorry, you misunderstood what I am saying. Of course, coax cable itself is capable of carrying an HDTV signal (3 for video, 2 for audio). I actually make my own component video cables using Belden 1694A cable and and Canare RCA plugs and and am splitting and distributing an HDTV signal this way right now.

The problem is that your HDTV signal comes into your house through RG6 coax. This RG6 coax signal needs to be processed in order to provide an HDTV signal that can be used by a TV. This is done by the cable box (like the SA 8300HD PVR I have). Sure you can run 5 RG6's to each room, but you have to run the RG6 signal coming into your house first through a cable box, then a splitter then run 5 component cables (made of RG6) to each room. This is what I am doing with my AV901COMP from cable-electronics. Or you have to, as I said "[split] the native coax carrying the HDTV signal fand [put] a cable box at the end of each run which is then connected to the TV."
post #41 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by eonibm View Post

The problem is that your HDTV signal comes into your house through RG6 coax. This RG6 coax signal needs to be processed in order to provide an HDTV signal that can be used by a TV. This is done by the cable box (like the SA 8300HD PVR I have). Sure you can run 5 RG6's to each room, but you have to run the RG6 signal coming into your house first through a cable box, then a splitter then run 5 component cables (made of RG6) to each room. This is what I am doing with my AV901COMP from cable-electronics. Or you have to, as I said "[split] the native coax carrying the HDTV signal fand [put] a cable box at the end of each run which is then connected to the TV."

Right...In both scenarios you need a single RG6 to your demarkation for the cable, and you need a HDTV cable tuner box. What I was referring to is that you aren't limited to running 2 Cat5e's to every room and using baluns to distribute the signal from there. In your scenario you are converting the analog component signal to a signal that must traverse an unshielded cat5 cable. The twisted pair offers no noise immunity as you aren't sending packetized info like on a TCP/IP network. You are also converting/deconverting the signal which will always result in some loss.

My arguement is that if it is new construction and you have the choice, the 5RG6 is a better solution. You are keeping the video in its original format (analog component) and you are sending it down the proper cable (75Ohm shielded coax). You also don't need baluns. In both scenarios you need a switch/amplifer, whether it is one that splits analog component (common) or one that splits it and then provides the baluns.
post #42 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertmee View Post

Right...In both scenarios you need a single RG6 to your demarkation for the cable, and you need a HDTV cable tuner box. What I was referring to is that you aren't limited to running 2 Cat5e's to every room and using baluns to distribute the signal from there. In your scenario you are converting the analog component signal to a signal that must traverse an unshielded cat5 cable. The twisted pair offers no noise immunity as you aren't sending packetized info like on a TCP/IP network. You are also converting/deconverting the signal which will always result in some loss.

My arguement is that if it is new construction and you have the choice, the 5RG6 is a better solution. You are keeping the video in its original format (analog component) and you are sending it down the proper cable (75Ohm shielded coax). You also don't need baluns. In both scenarios you need a switch/amplifer, whether it is one that splits analog component (common) or one that splits it and then provides the baluns.

No argument either cable can be used. My point was that you can't split the single RG6 cable and run it to each room without a cable box at the termination point in each room, which results in buying or renting such a box for each room (very expensive, but gives you the ability to watch different shows in different rooms).

I am forced to go with cat5e to split my hdtv signal since that's all I have going to the second floor. I am going to use the AV501HD to split the component video out of the SA8300HD PVR on the first floor, but cat5e to get it to the second.

But I do wonder about what you said about signal degradation. Is it really that noticeable? I thought that twisted pair was not affected by noise even if the info wasn't being sent in packets. It seems that the people on here are quite happy with the quality of the Cat5rx/tx.

But you are right. The purest method, with the least degradation would be 5 RG6's, plus a wire to each room for the IR receiver. No need to buy those expensive baluns for each end, and, for me, I can just make the cables with the highest grade cable and rca plugs that money can buy (rather than pay ridiculous prices for those custom made cables that use the exact same RCA plugs and cable that I do).

My only fear, though, is that eventually cable boxes will not have component video outputs. Already, the component video outputs on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players only output 1080i not 1080p, even though component video is more than capable of carrying a 1080p signal. Maybe other source devices will follow and we'll be forced to attempt to run HDMI through the house (which is VERY expensive), or buy mutiple source devices.
post #43 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by eonibm View Post

My only fear, though, is that eventually cable boxes will not have component video outputs. Already, the component video outputs on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD players only output 1080i not 1080p, even though component video is more than capable of carrying a 1080p signal. Maybe other source devices will follow and we'll be forced to attempt to run HDMI through the house (which is VERY expensive), or buy mutiple source devices.

That's the 800 lb gorilla right now....What will happen with DRM and the HDCP flag. Forget about distributing HDMI. 19 conductors, limited distance and handshaking between source and display almost certainly precludes it from being a distributed friendly medium anytime soon if ever. My guess is that there will yet be another digital standard that evolves that will hopefully utilize the cat5e backbone everyone has...It won't be HDMI.

If it were my new home I would run a what Fletch suggested in another thread...A 6 RG6 bundle + 2 Cat5e to every video location. That will carry current analog component distribution, analog audio and/or digital audio, plus a composite RF feed for surveillance or other low grade modulated channels. The two Cat5e's will hopefully pickup new technology down the road.

BTW, I didn't quote it, but you had a question about the noise immunity issue....I think there's another thread on the first page where a user is experiencing noise on a set of video baluns. I did see where I perhaps misspoke and the twisted pair may offer noise immunity if the baluns convert the signal to a balanced 100 ohm signal. That's good to know.
post #44 of 87
Ordered my CAT5 RX/TX setup.
post #45 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by mleineke View Post

Thanks for the review.

I see that 2 cat-5 cables are needed for these. Is that a requirement for any configuration? For instance, I just want to run component video and digital audio. Can this be done with just one cat-5 cable or are both always needed? Does anyone have a link to the installation instructions and/or the pinout?

You CAN do this using just one cable.

Received my CAT5RX/TX from Worthington, great service.
post #46 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Willis View Post

You CAN do this using just one cable.

Received my CAT5RX/TX from Worthington, great service.

But the pictures of the unit on cable-electronics.com clearly show 2 cat5 cables are required. What feature(s) do you lose if you use only one cable? Also, if you use only one cable do you plus it into the A or B port?
post #47 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by eonibm View Post

But the pictures of the unit on cable-electronics.com clearly show 2 cat5 cables are required. What feature(s) do you lose if you use only one cable? Also, if you use only one cable do you plus it into the A or B port?

Sent you a personal message with more details.

Basically, your using one CAT5 cable from the RX to the TX, but your splitting it on both ends into two RJ45 connectors. So, your plugging into both A & B still, just using one cable.
post #48 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by R_Willis View Post

Sent you a personal message with more details.

Basically, your using one CAT5 cable from the RX to the TX, but your splitting it on both ends into two RJ45 connectors. So, your plugging into both A & B still, just using one cable.

I've done just that with my setup. Works great.
post #49 of 87
Sorry for being a total newb here but you gotta start somewhere. My question is and I think I know the answer is that the 9870 system will allow you to have all your components in one location of the house and you are able to run cat5 cable to the plates anywhere in the house and control those pieces from that room even though its elsewhere? Say I can have one dvd player running to two different tvs? Sharing equipment etc???
post #50 of 87
Can you please post the details of using one cable for Component + Digital Audio over one run of Cat5.

I'm actually interested in using the system to do composite video + analog audio + IR over one cable. I suppose I could use the component Y for composite video and the Pb and Pr for Left and Right analog and then would need only the "A" cable.

Magnus
post #51 of 87
PINS_____CABLE"A"________CABLE"B"________WIRE COLOR (568A)
1...............Video PR+...............Audio Left+.............Green/White
2...............Video PR-................Audio Left-..............Green
3...............Video PB+...............Audio Right+...........Orange/White
4...............Video Y+.................IR Ring....................Blue
5...............Video Y-..................Ground....................Blue/White
6...............Video PB-................Audio Right-............Orange
7...............IR Sleeve................Digital Audio+..........Brown/White
8...............IR Tip......................Digital Audio-...........Brown

You can use one cable for digital audio and component video.

You would still need to breakout two cables from the receiver to the TV though, but only one cable from the unit/unit. Your basically splitting the CAT5 cable at both ends and using a few of the wires to another plug. Kind of rude/crude, but it'll work.

You split out the last pair (pins 7 & 8 [brown & brown white]) of CableA and connect them to a second RJ45 connector (once again in positions 7 & 8). This second RJ45 connector would need to be plugged into the cable B RJ45 input jack on both the RX and TX ends of system. Hope this makes sense.

Also, you can use a CAT5 cable of either 568A or 568B standards, just make sure to keep it the same and use a straight-thru cable, not a crossover.
post #52 of 87
R_Willis,

Thanks for the explanation! I'm building a new home at the moment and have been contemplating this solution for component distribution.

What, if anything, are you doing for IR distribution? That's the last piece to my puzzle right now.

Thanks,

Tommy
post #53 of 87
R_Willis - thanks - this was exactly the information I needed.

Magnus
post #54 of 87
I've bought and installed the CE Labs units and find that anytime there is a strong "white' element to the picture the units loose the picture for a couple of seconds. I though perhaps the two units were too close to each other as they were only 50 feet apart (media (bedroom was right above the sending media room) and overpowering the system. So, I added 100 feet of Cat 5 in a spool at the receiving end, but no affect.

I sent back the first set and they sent me another but same issue.

Anyone else seeing these symptoms? Any solutions?

--Steve
post #55 of 87
Excellent review and info. Thanks Ix.
post #56 of 87
At $90 for each end, this is very expensive. How about a much cheaper alternative; CCTV type cat5 baluns for example?
Or are they too bandwidth restrictive?
post #57 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbm911 View Post

I've bought and installed the CE Labs units and find that anytime there is a strong "white' element to the picture the units loose the picture for a couple of seconds.

Anyone else seeing these symptoms? Any solutions?

No problems here as of yet. I went to a couple of the directv stations that don't have channels and just play a graphic with a lot of white and directv on the page. Didn't affect it at all.

I'd suggest re-crimping all your RJ45s just in case.
post #58 of 87
Just a clarification of your comment
Quote:


My point was that you can't split the single RG6 cable and run it to each room without a cable box at the termination point in each room, which results in buying or renting such a box for each room (very expensive, but gives you the ability to watch different shows in different rooms).

Yes, you can and I am doing this in my house. There are really two options that allow you to do this (at least for cable tv) in either free or cheap mode: Free is if your tv's in each room are QAM-tuner equipped, and cheap is cable card (~1.75/month per card from my cable service), again dependent upon whether your tv's are cc-equipped. Obviously, you lose two way communication either way, so no ppv or guide, you lose premium channels with only QAM tuner, and cablecard slots are not prevalent on many tv's now (which drives me nuts, as I have one tv so equipped and it is great for the manner I use it).

I'm kinda overkill on my config, as I've got distributed a/v over cat5 planned (including my SA 8300HD), plus 2 runs of coax to each tv location--one for cable distribution and one for OTA antenna distribution (in case cable goes bellyup during "24"--my "disaster recovery plan"). Certain of the tv's will have cablecard so that I can get all the premiums I subscribe to, while others (kids/guest room) will only have basic QAM tuner access. But this way, if I'm watching a recording of "24" on the dvr over cat5 in the family room and the wife wants to watch something live, she can goto the bedroom with a tv with QAM or cablecard and have at it.

I realize the thread isn't really focused on this part, but I wanted to clarify that part of your statement. We now return you to the CE Labs review. . .
post #59 of 87
Nice job and thanks for sharing.
post #60 of 87
Quote:
Originally Posted by mike1812 View Post

Just a clarification of your comment

Yes, you can and I am doing this in my house. There are really two options that allow you to do this (at least for cable tv) in either free or cheap mode: Free is if your tv's in each room are QAM-tuner equipped, and cheap is cable card (~1.75/month per card from my cable service), again dependent upon whether your tv's are cc-equipped. Obviously, you lose two way communication either way, so no ppv or guide, you lose premium channels with only QAM tuner, and cablecard slots are not prevalent on many tv's now (which drives me nuts, as I have one tv so equipped and it is great for the manner I use it).

I'm kinda overkill on my config, as I've got distributed a/v over cat5 planned (including my SA 8300HD), plus 2 runs of coax to each tv location--one for cable distribution and one for OTA antenna distribution (in case cable goes bellyup during "24"--my "disaster recovery plan"). Certain of the tv's will have cablecard so that I can get all the premiums I subscribe to, while others (kids/guest room) will only have basic QAM tuner access. But this way, if I'm watching a recording of "24" on the dvr over cat5 in the family room and the wife wants to watch something live, she can goto the bedroom with a tv with QAM or cablecard and have at it.

I realize the thread isn't really focused on this part, but I wanted to clarify that part of your statement. We now return you to the CE Labs review. . .

Well there are quite a few if's in your statement. Just to clarify, what I was actually talking about was splitting the HDTV signal that comes into your home from the cable company, not setting up an antenna system, so my statement is correct. Also, as you say, since cablecards are not prevalent on many TV's and are disappearing in new models, that is disappearing as an option.

What I am doing is operating one 8300HD PVR from multiple rooms through the use of a matrix switcher, component/cat-5 video baluns and cat-5e wiring to control the PVR from any room. That allows me to record only one one PVR from anywhere and watch an SDTV or HDTV program from any display. If I want to watch 2 different shows in 2 different rooms then I can always add a 2nd PVR at the switcher location and so on.
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