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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

We are doing an involved renovation of our home and plan to completely rewire for A/V/D. The AV sub-contractor recommended by our GC is proposing running CAT6, RG6, speaker, and some HDMI (mostly Panduit and Tributaries cabling). My primary question is whether these cable manufacturers represent a good value. I don't mind paying for quality, but I would be interested if there are alternative manufacturers or suppliers that will provide great results while avoiding the premium price that seems to exist on these products ($.40/ft for CAT6, $.38/ft for RG6, $1.25/ft for 2-wire 16-gauge speaker wire, and $279 for a 50' HDMI cable). Also, does it really make sense to do long runs of HDMI - seems like HDBaseT is starting to emerge for mainstream applications. Finally, should I switch to CAT7 from CAT6 to be more future-proof?

Thanks in advance!
 

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Monoprice cable is as good as any and well priced.
HDMI will / should work up to 50ft. You can pull that and a cat6. If the HDMI works you save $$ over the hdbaset baluns. I used HDMI that cost $40 on Amazon for 50ft.
Cat7 is not necessary. Cat6 is not necessary for most situations. I ran one 6 to each tv location and the rest as 5. Enough bandwidth in 5 for most all home uses.
 

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The speaker wiring is typically to small of a gauge for most runs. I would be looking at 14AWG minimum in most homes. The price is also, flat out, ridiculous. It represents over 100% markup at that materials cost.

At 50% markup, you are often far closer to what should be expected. I typically just budget for 'X' rolls of the different cables, mark things up about 50% or so, then bill as such.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The price is also, flat out, ridiculous. It represents over 100% markup at that materials cost.
Thanks - that was my thought as well. I am sure Panduit and Tributaries make nice cables, but it is hard for me to believe that there are not suitable alternatives for a significant savings. It seems that I need to find a new integration sub-contractor. Do you ever make it down to central Virginia?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Monoprice cable is as good as any and well priced.
Thanks - I have always had good luck with Monoprice products as well. I did read about one issue on some of their UTP cabling where the jacket was not up to the code standards, because one of their overseas suppliers cut some corners. I assume they have corrected the issue, but given it is going behind walls I don't mind paying up a bit for certainty.
 

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Installers sometimes mark up their prices extravagantly to keep labor costs down. Unlike electricians and other subs, the typical AV installation company can't keep their guys busy every day, all week. And, they/he didn't charge for the spec/plan work, which eats up time. Training eats up time, too. Lots of hidden costs with AV that they need to cover. I'm not saying all aren't busy, but there is a lot of leg work done outside the home. Even though this is a prewire, they need to cover costs elsewhere.

Keep in mind the better companies can often charge what they want, as it's hard to find good subcontractors. Anyone can prewire, but not all have experience and take the time to do a good job. They may do a better job if they know they'll be doing the install, and not just the trim-out (adding wallplates and connectors).

Panduit and Tributaries are quality manufacturers. Their products and cables are higher quality than others, and they do cost more than other manufacturers. I don't think it makes much of a difference for speaker cable in general, but it may be a lot easier to work with (better jacket, easier pulling). For HDMI, installed in a wall, I'd probably pay a premium to get the better cable. Consider Redmere-chip HDMI cables for runs over 30 feet.

Running 1-2 category cables next to a long HDMI cable makes perfect sense. That HDMI cable will need to be replaced some day, when new tech arrives, and an HDMI 2.0-over-category cable solution will be a fine cushion. An empty 2" conduit run from attic to TV locations would be even better.

I haven't had any issues with my Monoprice cat6, but you're kind of stuck using what the installer uses. If you hand him boxes of cable, he could blame your cable if there are any issues.

I say talk to 1 or 2 other installation companies. Find out what products they use, maybe talk to some references. Hard to find quality subs.
 
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