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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
All the wiring is done in the new house and it will be time to connect the wires for the satellite tv (DirecTV), phone, structured wiring and the outside cameras soon. I have a few questions that I need help with. As far as satellite tv I will have about 6-8 tv's in the house when done. I keep reading about a 5x8 multi-switch, is this what I need? I would like to upgrade my tv to HDTV in the future if it matters what multi-switch I buy. The telephone I think I have under control but I will take any advice. What about the surveillance cameras 2 or 3 around the house (front door). I ran the structured wiring for these (maybe overkill). I would like to be able to tune to a channel on the tv to watch them. I read on this board about cameras with sound that I might be interested in. I also ran structured wiring from the home theater and the study (where the computer is) to the attic where all the wires terminate. I did not buy a distribution panel for all the wires, I decided on mounting all the wires and hardware to a sheet of plywood in the attic. This way I didn't have to worry about buying a panel that was too small.


Also if you mention what I need can you please point me in the direction to purchase it. On the web or a store would be fine.


Thank you for all the help

Bill Bonetto
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If you could give us a little more information, we can probably come up with some good suggestions.


First off, you say you ran structured wiring through the house - what exactly are we talking about here? For example, it sounds like the headend is in your attic - what wiring have you ran to each room?


Also, besides the video cameras, is there anything else you want to modulate onto your own channels for distribution (i.e. DVD player)? And if so, do you want to have the ability to control these devices remotely?


BTW, I have usually bought most of my components from www.hometech.com - they have a good selection, decent prices, and excellent service. Also checkout www.smarthome.com - their prices are high, so I don't usually buy a lot of stuff there, but definitely get on their mailing list - their catalogs are fantastic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
When I say structured wiring I mean 1 casing with 2 RG6 and 2 Cat5e's. I ran this wire to the home theater, study, master bedroom (which will also have 5.1 surround), game-room, front door and deck off of the game-room that will look up the street. I am the last house on a dead end street. I also ran a structured wiring from the home theater to the study to link them together for the future. (just bought a Media Center PC)

The other 2 small bedrooms have a single RG6 and a single Cat5e.


The head-end is in the attic and I have two 2" conduits running to the crawlspace. This way I could get to any room in the house.

As far as anything else distributed through the house I didn't think of it but if it was something easy to do I could do the DVD. I also wired six locations in the house for whole house audio with 14/4 and a Cat5e. But reading all the prices for these systems I think it's going to be a little while for that. I would like to get everything else up and running first.


Thank you for all the help

Bill Bonetto
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Sounds like a nice wiring setup. I would love to have a conduit/crawlspace to run everything through, but everything here is built on a concrete slab.


Anyway, sounds like we have several options here. Your original idea of using a 5x8 multiswitch will certainly work, but let me point out a couple issues. First, do you really want/need 8 separate satellite receivers? That can get a little expensive, and if you only have 4 people in the house (for example), then at most you would only ever need to tune in 4 separate channels. Also, if you ever get a taste of a Tivo/Ultimate TV system, you will never go back, and those systems require 2 satellite feeds each (they have 2 tuners), so that would use up your cables pretty quickly.


I have just moved and finished wiring my 2nd house for this stuff, so let me just tell you what I did, and what I changed the second time around, just to give you some ideas. As you start to figure out what you want to do, feel free to ask more questions and we'll help you figure out the best way to accomplish your goals.


My first house was wired very similar to yours - I had 2 RG6 cables run from each room to the headend, which was in a closet in the study. I also had 2 RG6 cables ran from the attic to each primary living area (family room and game room), and in the attic had a 3x4 multiswitch to connect them to the dish. The other RG6 runs were used in a classic upstream/downstream configuration. The family room and game room each had 2 modulators (2 SAT receivers, DVD, VCR), connected to the upstream cable. These upstream cables were mixed with regular cable TV at the headend and fed into a distribution unit, which then fed the signal out to all the rooms over the downstream cable. I chose the distribution unit because it had integrated infrared support and some nice wallplates for each room that made for a very clean installation. You can certainly do the headend yourself without a prebuilt unit, but with the IR you have to be sure to bypass any amps in your system, and it sounded like a PITA.


When we moved, I changed things around a bit. First of all, it wasn't a new house this time, so I couldn't get in and prewire anything. Luckily, it's a 1 story house, so I have attic access to most of the house and was able to run cabling to the couple rooms that needed it. I also made the decision to put all the AV equipment in the family room this time. Main reason for this is that I wanted the best connection from all the AV components to my home theater system. Before, if I wanted to view the upstairs satellite receiver in the family room (which always happened, because the kids had all their stuff on the main unit :D ), it was going through the modulator, so no stereo, lower quality video, etc. With the new setup, I no longer have that problem. Also, having all the components in one area simplified things a lot - I run outputs from everything to a 4 channel modulator right there in the living room, and then run the modulator output back up the wall and split it between the other rooms. It's very easy and straightforward, and this time around the whole setup only cost me around $350.


BTW - I had my last house wired for audio too, and never got around to setting it up, due to the cost. For the current house, I just put the CD changer on an extra modulator channel - not perfect, but it's good enough for listening to a CD while on the treadmill, etc., and it only cost me $40.
 

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As for DirecTV and multi switch issues I also used modulators instead of separate DSS boxes at every location but I did use a 5x8 multiswitch (amplified) to distribute my signals.



My solution (for the satellite part)



From the Dish to distribution area 4 RG6 (for future HD DirecTV).


Distribution Area -- 5 by 8 multiswitch (TRDS8) with 4 satellite in lines

attached and the antenna input is fed by the output of my modulator combined with my antenna input(optional). The 8 output lines feed to 6 rooms (3 lines to one room, 5 more to 5 other rooms. Six TV locations total that potentially could have DSS receivers. I have 5 extra RG6 lines running to my main viewing area for some future options.


3 of the 8 out lines all go to my main viewing location where I have two DSS receivers (one is a Tivo taking two lines) -- they are modulated onto two channels and fed back via one coax to the distribution area. I dedicated my modulator's first input to the standalone DSS so that any group of tvs could watch any one live DSS channel at once. My modulators second channel is fed from an JVC AV switch which can allow my Tivo, DVD, LD, or VCR programming to be viewed on the second modulated channel (most of the time it is left on the Tivo).


I use cat5 to distribute infrared control back to my main viewing location (where most equipment is housed).


This allows all of the following scenarios.


Any of the six tvs can always watch:

any local channels (because of the antenna input).

any of one DSS channel and one one device from the AV switch which

could be either live or recorded DSS or DVD, LD, tape, etc.


In addition at our main viewing area we can always watch

any of the above on the modulator or direct via S-video (slightly better picture) or even a third device that is fed locally without going thru the modulator.


If we ever wanted we still can put DTV or DTivo receivers in the other rooms but since most of the time two (or more with locals) tv sources handle my house and I save the extra DTV receiver fees beyond the first one for my Tivo.


For HD issues I am waiting to see what happens with home distribution but I have partially hedged my bets with many extra runs of coax and Cat5e to locations likely to be HD in the forseeable future.


Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Can you please explain the difference of a modulator and a multi-switch? Does anyone have any info on hooking up the surveillance cameras so I can view them on any tv?


Thank you for all the help

Bill Bonetto
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A multiswitch is essentially a splitter that sends the satellite signal to multiple satellite receivers. You still need a receiver in each location, which costs money for the receiver AND that $5 a month charge from Directv for each additional receiver.


A modulator takes the output of a satellite receiver (or security camera, VCR, DVD, etc.) and puts it on it's own channel for distribution. Typically, you would take the outputs from all the modulators (each on different channels) and combine them at the headend, then (typically) amplify the signal and split it out to multiple rooms. Using this setup, you would typically just have a couple satellite recievers in the main rooms, and then the other rooms would watch the satellite on the cable (it's kind of like having your own cable TV created inhouse).


Here are a couple articles explaining each option:

http://www.hometech.com/learn/video.html
http://www.hometech.com/learn/dss.html


Since you want to modulate the video cameras anyway, the modulator route would probably make the most sense. Plus, if you are doing 8 rooms, the multiswitch route would get expensive - 8 x $100 for the receivers, plus $35 a month on top of your regular Directv bill for extra receiver charges. If there is the potential for 8 different people to be in different rooms and want to watch different channels at the same time, then that's the way to go, but otherwise the modulated route is cheapest and most flexible.
 
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