Cat 7 Cable worh the upgrade for new home? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 22 Old 12-28-2014, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Cat 7 Cable worth the upgrade for new home?

I am building a new home (construction should begin next January 2015). I plan to run all the low voltage wiring myself. I am trying to decide if I will use Cat 6, or Cat 7 cable. This would really just be a matter of future proofing the home, so I know it would not really be necessary to do it,. It looks like it would cost me several hundred dollars more to do it this way now, and there are no negative effects, then I will have to decide if the up-front cost is worth it.

I was considering this bulk cable:
http://www.primuscable.com/store/p/4...1000-Gray.aspx

Cat 7 - $589 per 1000 ft
Cat 6 - $287 per 1000 ft (currently on monoprice)

My new home will be about 4700 sq ft, so not sure yet how many boxes I would need, hopefully 2 or less would do it. So so that is either an extra $300 or $600 for Cat 7 depending on how much I use.

I will be pre-wiring for home automation, though I have not decided exactly what I'm using yet. I may use the new VeraEdge controller, or I might end up with Control4. I have a friend that used to be a Control4 dealer and he will help with planning my network regardless of which system I choose.

Thanks in advance for any input you may have!

Last edited by crazyfoo; 12-28-2014 at 11:23 PM. Reason: wrong spelling in title!
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-29-2014, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by crazyfoo View Post
This would really just be a matter of future proofing the home,
The electronics industry changes so fast, there is no realistic way of "future proofing" your home. This year we're talking about "future proofing" with cat7, last year it was cat6 and the year before that was cat5e. Next year it'll be cat 9 or 10.

I would go cat5e and spend your money on something else, like nice big (metal shielded) wire chases around the house so you can easily change the wire out as need be to meet future needs.

Interestingly enough though... cat5 will STILL work just fine in most circumstances today. The reason for this is that there has been very little advance in the hardwired industry for some time now because it's slowly shifting completely over to wireless technology.

Last edited by bigbarney; 12-29-2014 at 06:17 AM.
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-29-2014, 06:56 AM
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If its in the budget I'd say sure..

But personally.. rather than say 2 boxes of cat 7 I'd run twice as many drops and locations with cat 6...

Once walls are up its a lot harder.. and I always end up needing more network than I thought...
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-29-2014, 07:04 AM
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Not worth it. I'd. actually run mostly 5e and 6shielded to tv locations.
Why? 5e does GB over residential run lengths and for future I can't see point to point >gb being needed. As screen resolution increases codecs improve. H265 for example for 4k sports are currently a 40MB stream according to the BBC and that's the biggest bandwidth hog you have today. Upscale by a factor of 10 and the cable is still not the constraint.
Also it's not just the cable that costs more it is the termination and the time to do that factor all cat7 costs into your budget.

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post #5 of 22 Old 12-29-2014, 07:24 AM
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Lay the Cat 6e and use the extra cash for smurf tube or PVC. Just make sure you dont goose neck the smurf tube in the walls, it gets problematic pulling when there are multiple cables in the tube already.

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post #6 of 22 Old 01-08-2015, 04:25 PM
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Don't do it... I ran CAT6A (augmented) for my LAN and regret it. It's a pain to terminate without super expensive connectors. Regular Cat6 is ideal. I use Cat5e for things like IR connections and low bandwidth (home automation) connections.
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post #7 of 22 Old 01-08-2015, 11:23 PM
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Install nerf tube wherever possible. I would then pull STP CAT5E in the nerf. If that is too expensive, install the CAT7. 18Gb HDMI 2.0 extenders are going to be fiber anyways.
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post #8 of 22 Old 01-08-2015, 11:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyfoo View Post
I am building a new home (construction should begin next January 2015). I plan to run all the low voltage wiring myself. I am trying to decide if I will use Cat 6, or Cat 7 cable. This would really just be a matter of future proofing the home, so I know it would not really be necessary to do it,. It looks like it would cost me several hundred dollars more to do it this way now, and there are no negative effects, then I will have to decide if the up-front cost is worth it.

I was considering this bulk cable:
http://www.primuscable.com/store/p/4...1000-Gray.aspx

Cat 7 - $589 per 1000 ft
Cat 6 - $287 per 1000 ft (currently on monoprice)

My new home will be about 4700 sq ft, so not sure yet how many boxes I would need, hopefully 2 or less would do it. So so that is either an extra $300 or $600 for Cat 7 depending on how much I use.

I will be pre-wiring for home automation, though I have not decided exactly what I'm using yet. I may use the new VeraEdge controller, or I might end up with Control4. I have a friend that used to be a Control4 dealer and he will help with planning my network regardless of which system I choose.

Thanks in advance for any input you may have!

To tell you the truth the CAT 6 will still be more than you need for home automation. I would definitely recommend the control4 system. I've done a bunch of installs with them and that system is very flexible. I would recommend Cat 5 for the lights, volume controls, thermostat, garage door openers, and alarm system. And CAT 6 for security cameras and internet connections. Keep in mind that whenever you do install your system it will already be outdated. Like I always tell my customers, even I can't "future proof" and I do this for a living. The best thing you can do is to install some pvc pipe 2" will work fine, between all of your A/V components. That way next week when they change the way we wire things, you will have no trouble running your new cable to your new devices.
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post #9 of 22 Old 01-09-2015, 08:47 AM
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I built my house 4 years ago and went with Cat6. Honestly, (it's only 4 years in, mind you...) but Cat6 is definitely more than I need so far. I think almost everything I do could have been done with Cat5e. (Considering some applications of HDMI over Cat6...so may be glad I have it soon).

That being said, you may be underestimating the cost of Cat7. (I'm not an expert here for sure, and about to talk a bit out of my element, so networking pros, feel free to correct me). What makes Cat7 what it is is partially the cable, but a lot of it's the terminations. And the terminations look like they could be much more difficult/costly. If it was just the incremental wire cost - then who cares, a couple of hundred bucks on the build of a 4100 sq ft house is basically insignificant. Termination cost may be the bigger hurdle.
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post #10 of 22 Old 01-09-2015, 09:50 PM
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Cat6 STP for the TV drops on which you intend to use extenders. Cat6 to Dmarc and cameras. Cat5e for everything else. Run extra. Run tube. Do not run your wire in the tube, save it for future runs. Don't waste your money on Cat7.

That is what we do for customers, and it is what I would do if I were building a long term home.
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post #11 of 22 Old 01-13-2015, 01:25 PM
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Just finished a 4300 sqft house and used nothing but unshielded Cat6. Has zero trouble with a C4 HDMI matrix switch, and is more than enough for the home network. Aside from slightly heavier gauge security wire, and the HVAC's thermostat control wire, it's used for everything else.

Try and estimate the length of your runs to figure out a rough ballpark for how much you'll need, then get an extra spool for good measure.
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post #12 of 22 Old 01-13-2015, 04:45 PM
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if you can afford it, buy the number of boxes based on pulls. running back and forth in the attic over the same paths is a waste of time and gives more opportunities to damage what you've already pulled.

i like to take a floor plan and then determine how many cables i can pull in one trip. i typically start at the head end and pull as many cables as possible.
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post #13 of 22 Old 01-15-2015, 07:40 PM
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Either run piping or run the cat7 if you want to future proof, the cabling everyone recommends is great for network or current hdmi baluns but expecting hdmi 2.0 baluns when developed/released over cat6 is just insane considering the bandwidth doubles for the same hdmi cable. How you run your cabling is just as important as what you run but that's a whole different topic.

I'm not sure what your budget for everything is but not having the needed cabling in place is the first and easiest way to limit your options. Run cat 7 to display locations for baluns and use cat5e for network/returning audio etc.
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post #14 of 22 Old 01-15-2015, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by knowinnothin View Post
Either run piping or run the cat7 if you want to future proof, the cabling everyone recommends is great for network or current hdmi baluns but expecting hdmi 2.0 baluns when developed/released over cat6 is just insane considering the bandwidth doubles for the same hdmi cable. How you run your cabling is just as important as what you run but that's a whole different topic.
.
18Gb HDMI 2.0 baluns will likely not run far on CAT7. This is why I am recommending piping and STP CAT5E for now. I know of no CAT extender solutions planed for HDMI 2.0. I do know of a number of fiber solutions under development.

Working on the next one...
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post #15 of 22 Old 01-18-2015, 06:35 PM
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Originally Posted by AV Hack View Post
18Gb HDMI 2.0 baluns will likely not run far on CAT7. This is why I am recommending piping and STP CAT5E for now. I know of no CAT extender solutions planed for HDMI 2.0. I do know of a number of fiber solutions under development.

Your absolutely right about the pipe, however how do you know that HDMI 2.0 Baluns wouldn't run far on CAT7A? Have you looked to see whats been accomplished with CAT7A?

I'm not aware of any baluns being announced for HDMI 2.0, however to think that they would not build something for copper is difficult. It would severely reduce there target audience and CAT7A specs make it more than capable to work.

Maybe you shouldn't offer your opinion if your not up to speed on the subject, you should seriously educate yourself on the cable your discussing because a quick read about bandwidth capabilities would change your opinion.
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post #16 of 22 Old 01-19-2015, 06:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Hack View Post
18Gb HDMI 2.0 baluns will likely not run far on CAT7. This is why I am recommending piping and STP CAT5E for now. I know of no CAT extender solutions planed for HDMI 2.0. I do know of a number of fiber solutions under development.
Yet you can send 100mbs point to point on 5e and 1000 on 6.
But won't be able to get the video frequencies of HDMI reencosed and down a copper cable.
Crestron will use tgis as a chance to promote their fiber network. Copper baluns will be created.
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post #17 of 22 Old 01-19-2015, 10:04 AM
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Eventually the technology may get there. I still believe that the good 18Gb HDMI 2.0 extenders will use fiber. CAT6A and CAT7 is only good for 10Gb at 100M. This means that any CAT extender that may be developed will be working at shorter distances, likely about half, to get to 18Gb. All of the homes I have worked with had some runs over 150 ft.
My prediction is you will see some active HDMI 2.0 cables first, before any extender.

I also think there will be some market confusion. Some 2014 4K displays have inputs labeled HDMI 2.0, but were found to only support 10Gb HDMI. We may see the same on the cables and extenders.

Working on the next one...
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post #18 of 22 Old 01-19-2015, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by SMHarman View Post
Yet you can send 100mbs point to point on 5e and 1000 on 6.
Gigabit Ethernet runs over Cat5e... (they were both designed for each other)

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But won't be able to get the video frequencies of HDMI reencosed and down a copper cable.
The future of video distribution is probably not baluns with 'exotic' cabling requirements because of the very limited market for such systems (because effectively no one has that in their home). I expect we'll see more IP-based distribution, with the decoding to HDMI occurring at the display. Blu-ray and 4K content can be easily pushed around the house while encoded - we're already seeing this (for a number of reasons) with 4K and the video providers (DirecTV, Netflix, etc.).

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post #19 of 22 Old 01-19-2015, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rfbrang View Post
Lay the Cat 6e and use the extra cash for smurf tube or PVC. Just make sure you dont goose neck the smurf tube in the walls, it gets problematic pulling when there are multiple cables in the tube already.

I admit I am a rookie here.

But what is smurf tube ? I can't even find it on the internet.



Quote:
Originally Posted by XJBaylor View Post
Cat6 STP for the TV drops on which you intend to use extenders. Cat6 to Dmarc and cameras. Cat5e for everything else. Run extra. Run tube. Do not run your wire in the tube, save it for future runs. Don't waste your money on Cat7.

That is what we do for customers, and it is what I would do if I were building a long term home.

Why wouldn't you want to run the wire in tubes ?

Isn't that how you rewire the house with new stuff ? Tie the new stuff to the old wire you want to replace and pull ? And it pulls easier through the tubing ?
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post #20 of 22 Old 01-19-2015, 08:57 PM
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But what is smurf tube ? I can't even find it on the internet.
Flexible PVC conduit, aka Electrical Non-metallic Tubing (ENT). The common stuff is blue, hence the smurf reference:



Carlon is one of the big manufacturers, and their Resi-gard orange flex conduit is probably the best stuff (but harder to find and priced accordingly)... The blue stuff tends to be smaller diameter than we'd like for future-proofing, but is readily available at Home Depot / Lowe's / etc.

Quote:
Why wouldn't you want to run the wire in tubes ?Isn't that how you rewire the house with new stuff ? Tie the new stuff to the old wire you want to replace and pull ? And it pulls easier through the tubing ?
You'll find that cable is usually added, not removed. So by doing the first install with the conduit left empty, when it comes to add wires, it's very easy to pull them through the empty conduit. There's no benefit during pre-wire to filling the conduit, so why make the future effort (the reason the conduit is there) harder?


Jeff
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post #21 of 22 Old 01-20-2015, 09:57 AM
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Sorry, Jauter got there first...

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Originally Posted by Raymond42262 View Post
Why wouldn't you want to run the wire in tubes ?
For expansion. It sounds like you are thinking you would be replacing a cable. If you fill the tube and need to run something like HDMI 2.? with a big head your screwed.

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post #22 of 22 Old 01-20-2015, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post
Flexible PVC conduit, aka Electrical Non-metallic Tubing (ENT). The common stuff is blue, hence the smurf reference:


Carlon is one of the big manufacturers, and their Resi-gard orange flex conduit is probably the best stuff (but harder to find and priced accordingly)... The blue stuff tends to be smaller diameter than we'd like for future-proofing, but is readily available at Home Depot / Lowe's / etc.



You'll find that cable is usually added, not removed. So by doing the first install with the conduit left empty, when it comes to add wires, it's very easy to pull them through the empty conduit. There's no benefit during pre-wire to filling the conduit, so why make the future effort (the reason the conduit is there) harder?


Jeff
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfbrang View Post
Sorry, Jauter got there first...



For expansion. It sounds like you are thinking you would be replacing a cable. If you fill the tube and need to run something like HDMI 2.? with a big head your screwed.


Thanks !
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