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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My contractor is running the structured wiring as we speak. As a review I'm running:


Two RG6 + 2 Cat 5e to every room (including Deck and Garage)

Two additional Cat 5e for phone/data to office, family room, master bedroom

Speaker wire to every room including Garage and Deck

Two Cat-5e to 7 rooms for Keypad/IR

1 RG6 + 1 Cat 5e to all exterior doors for Video Surveillence

4 or more Cat-5e from Alarm Controller to Headend

2 Cat-5e from HVAC units to Headend for Temp Control

1 Cat-5e from water heater to Headend for moisture detection

Misc runs of Cat-5e for Sprinkler control and Low Voltage Lighting

1 RG6 to Cable demarcation

4 RG6 to Satellite location (For dual LNB HDTV)

1 RG6 to antannae location

1 Cat-5e from Doorbell xformer to Headend


Firstly, have I missed anything.


Secondly, I have some questions on video distribution:


My plan is to have a 3x8 amplified distribution block (leviton, channelplus or channel master) to service the video outlets in each room. One of the 3 inputs would be CATV. The second one will be a 4 channel mono modulator for the cameras. The third, a 4 channel MTS modulator for a 300 DVD Changer, a VCR and two Satellite receivers.


Questions:


I've never had a satellite before. With the above setup, will I need a multiswitch?


I assume the 4 Coax go from the Sat to the two receivers and RCA from the receivers to my modulator?


With upto 8 modulated channels, will I run out of available channel space? Should I use a sequencer instead for the cameras? Will I need notch filters?


What do I do with the second set of eight coax's that are the return feeds from each room to the headend? Do these go on a separate video distribution unit, but as a combiner instead of a splitter? Will these have to be modulated as well, or used as a patch system on an as needed basis?


Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.
 

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Robert: It sounds like you haven't overlooked too much. If you are worried about that, however, you may want to get your buddy to put in a pvc run so that you can run add'l wires later on. As far as the Satellite is concerned, you will need a multiswitch for 4 recievers. Are you doing elyptical? You'll need an RG-6 run to each Sat Recvr, and yes you do run RCA to the modulator from there. As far as the cameras are concerned (and it sounds like you will have 4 of them) a duplex multiplexer would be best (but more expensive). It would allow you to select a Quad screen mode or a switcher mode. The great thing about this is that regardless of what you are watching, it will record full frame on all of your cameras, assuming that you wish to record your cameras. Your decision is whether or not you want to have 4 separate dedicated modulated channels for your cameras. Or you can have 1 modulated channel off your multiplexer. At my house, I have 4 outdoor low light B/W cameras w/infrared illumination. I use a duplex multiplexer and a Sony SVL 5000 Time Lapse Recorder. I record in the 960 hr mode, which means I change tapes every 40 days! I have signs up warning potential criminals that I am recording. Trespass at your own risk. I would have liked to go to the new Dedicated Micro or ATV combination Multiplexer and Digital recorder, but its still too expensive right now. You can go with a much less expensive Quad splitter or 4 position switcher. They are a big disadvantage in my opinion, because you are recording in that format. Plus you are recording strictly what you are watching. Bummer. If you splurge on the multiplexer, you will only need a single channel modulator for your cameras. For practical purposes, lets assume someone shows up in front of one of your cameras. If you want to see him and you used a 4 channel modulator, you will have to pick up your remote and select the right modulated channel. As opposed to using a multiplexer, you go to that modulated channel number and see all 4 cameras as a Quad or in the switching mode (however you select it). The disadvantage of a Quad is that you make the picture alot smaller by splitting it up in 4's. The disadvantage of the switcher is that you only see a particular camera for as long as you set the dwell time. The disadvantage of 4 modulated camera channels is that you have to know which of the 4 channels to go to quickly to see who is there. You may need a notch filter depending on your cable system. Both Channel Plus and ChannelVision make them for each situation. Decisions, decisions, decisions. That's why Baskin Robbins makes 31 different flavors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mr. Hookup


Thanks for the reply. Yes, I will probably go with the eliptical setup as in my area, DSS offers all the local channels.


Now, concerning the camera...I thought about using a QUAD multiplexer, but they are a bit more pricy than a 4 channel modulator. My home will be automated as well, so it's very likely that I'll have motion detectors at the door that could switch the TV to the appropriate channel, or switch a multiplexer to the appropriate input, depending on which route I go.


If I go with separate modulators, I would need 8 channels total for the surveillence and video distribution. My question is, can I reasonably fit 8 channels into my cable system? Since I would have SAT as well as cable, I would only need the basic channels from Time Warner, which are the lower Channel numbers I believe. The only reason I would need cable at all really is for the cable modem, and to get that reasonably priced you have to have at least basic cable. Unfortunately, DSL is not available in my area because everything is Fiber.


Anyway, will I have problems squeezing 8 channels in with the current modulators on the market. I know some of them only allow a limited range to operate in. And doesn't one modulated channel essentially take-up two or three channels due to bleed over?


Any ideas or thoughts are appreciated :)
 

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Robert: It's hard for me to answer that question because I know nothing about your cable company. Since you are determined to have cable, even though you don't need it, you probaly should use a notch filter to block out a certain part of the band in order to insert your modulated channels. Having cable for locals and getting the elyptical dish so you can have locals seems like an unneccessary duplication. Maybe you should just go with the round dish and save a little money there. Personally, I would rather go with a single channel mono modulator for the cameras. Between the two, you may save enough money to splurge on the duplex multiplexer. The multiplexer that I am using automatically goes to whatever camera is picking up action or movement anyway. So in this case you do not need the motion sensors, either which saves you money. By the way, most of the stuff I installed in my own house was bought on eBay , which saved me a lot of money. For example, my Sony SVT-5000 960 hr Recorder new would run at least $1000.00. I got several of them off eBay for between $200.00 - $300.00 and they work perfectly. I am very careful paying attention to feedback. My multiplexer is a Burle that costs over $3000.00 new. I think I paid about $250.00 for it. It works great. You have to determine the method that best suits your needs. There is no right or wrong when it comes to how you want your system to operate. Whenever I am proposing a system to a customer, I give them all the facts and explain the different ways to do it. Once they understand the different possibilities, they can hopefully make an intelligent decision as to how they wish to carry it out. Good luck.
 

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robertmee,


You might want to re-consider using a modulator to distrubute DVD and VHS. It is usually much cheaper and simpler to have a DVD/VCR with each TV that you want to have it. Not to mention you get get much better picture quality and sound. You can now buy DVD/VCR combo players for

I realize that you still will proably want to still use modulators to distrubute some things, but it wouldn't hurt to look things over again to see if it makes sense for each modulated device. This may cut down on the number of modulated channels that you will need. Good luck.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mr. Hookup,


Yes, there is duplication as far as the locals are concerned, but only to a degree. I'm thinking of going with DirectTV, although with the recent merger news, who knows what's going to happen. With DirectTV, the locals offered in my area are PBS, CBS, NBC, ABC and FOX. The basic cable would give me those plus TBS, WGN, UPN, WB, and a few independents. As far as I know, these aren't offered on DirectTV in my area (Raleigh NC).


Plus with Basic Cable, I get the high speed internet (Road Runner) at a reduced monthly rate.


If only they had DSL in my area, I wouldn't bother with cable :(


If I go with basic cable, the last channel used is 24, so I guess I can stick a low pass filter on and have plenty of room for the modulated channels. The one problem, tho, is that Time warner sticks the channel guide on channel 98 :(


Any feedback on one of my earlier questions:

What do I do with the second set of eight coax's that are the return feeds from each room to the headend? Do these go on a separate video distribution unit, but as a combiner instead of a splitter? Will these have to be modulated as well, or used as a patch system on an as needed basis?



Thanks for all your ideas and thoughts. I'll definitely check out E-bay for some of the equipment I have in mind, and maybe if I'm lucky, I'll score a QUAD camera multiplexer for $200 bucks ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by jerndl
robertmee,


You might want to re-consider using a modulator to distrubute DVD and VHS. It is usually much cheaper and simpler to have a DVD/VCR with each TV that you want to have it. Not to mention you get get much better picture quality and sound. You can now buy DVD/VCR combo players for

I realize that you still will proably want to still use modulators to distrubute some things, but it wouldn't hurt to look things over again to see if it makes sense for each modulated device. This may cut down on the number of modulated channels that you will need. Good luck.


Jay
Thanks Jay for the thoughts. I've gone back and forth on that decision before. I already have a 300 DVD Pioneer Elite Jukebox, so I think it makes sense to distribute this throughout the house. The VCR I already have, so I'll throw this one there as well, although, truthfully, it will probably never get used. I have 8 video locations throughout the house, so it's not practical to have 8 VCR's, 8 DVD's and 8 Sat receivers.


You suggested that the picture quality or sound will not be as good? Sound wise, I have distributed audio to in-wall speakers (albeit not 5.1) and I'll use MTS modulators for the case where the sound will come from various stereo TV's.


For video, where will the picture degredation come from? From the modulator itself, or from the conductors (RG6 vs S or component)? And how much should I expect?


Of course the DVD and Sat's will also feed into a dedicated HT system for the real viewing. The video distribution is more for the kids and when we want to watch movies in bed or while preparing dinner. It's much easier to hang a 13" TV in the kitchen that has full Sat, DVD, VCR capability versus having all these components local.
 

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Quote:
For video, where will the picture degredation come from? From the modulator itself, or from the conductors (RG6 vs S or component)? And how much should I expect?
I am using a Channelplus All in one 2 channel modulator/distribution amp/IR repeater with 5 TV outputs (Sony OEM version). With my 20" bedroom TV the picture is pretty good, although it does vary from time to time with some faint diagonal lines. On my 32" TV you can easliy tell the difference between the direct s-video feed from the DSS receiver and the modulated signal. It is roughly comparable to regular CATV.


One other idea I have to keep down the number of modulators/channels that you need is to use the room2-out feature of your AV receiver to connect to a single modulator. Then use your receiver to switch the appropriate source to your room2-out. With my 2-channel modulator, I use one input dedcated to a DSS receiver. The second input comes from my AV receiver and I can switch it bewteen DVD,VCR,DSS. In my house channel 86 is the family room DSS receiver and channel 80 is from my HT room AV receiver (usually DVD or 2nd DSS receiver). Also are you going to have remote control capabilites from all 8 locations? If so what will you be using. Good luck.


Jay
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by jerndl
Also are you going to have remote control capabilites from all 8 locations? If so what will you be using. Good luck.


Jay
Yes, I will have remote control capabilities...I have a Kustom 6640 (6 zone, 6 source) amplifier for the audio. Each zone has a combination keypad/IR receiver that communicates through a Cat-5 cable. The Kustom has IR emitter ports for hooking emitter/blasters to equipment that pass the IR signals received from the keypads. There are zone outputs as well as combined outputs for alot of flexibility. I also plan on having a Homevision controller that also uses X10 and has zoned IR outputs for further scheduled control, scene lighting and other automation purposes. My only limitation is that I have 8 video "zones" but 6 audio "zones" with keypads, although there is a 7th master keypad. But I can parallel keypads if needed, or use a nearby keypad for smaller use areas such as the kitchen and Dining Room.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by jerndl


One other idea I have to keep down the number of modulators/channels that you need is to use the room2-out feature of your AV receiver to connect to a single modulator. Then use your receiver to switch the appropriate source to your room2-out. With my 2-channel modulator, I use one input dedcated to a DSS receiver. The second input comes from my AV receiver and I can switch it bewteen DVD,VCR,DSS. In my house channel 86 is the family room DSS receiver and channel 80 is from my HT room AV receiver (usually DVD or 2nd DSS receiver). Also are you going to have remote control capabilites from all 8 locations? If so what will you be using. Good luck.


Jay
That's a good idea, but in my case my current A/V unit (Sony) has video switching, but it's RCA not S-Video. Of course I will be upgrading to a DD receiver (Denon or Outlaw), but I had planned on having this really dedicated to the HT. Maybe I'll relook at the video switching capabilities when buying the receiver as I already have heard some rumblings about Outlaw's S-Video switching problems.
 

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robertmee- re camera runs- cameras may need DC power wires heavier than CAT5- you should run RG-6 with power wires (16 ga I think)- this is a single jacketed cable commonly used by surveilance installers



IMO- too many cameras for modulators- I use a multiplexer and then put a limited number of views on 3 modulator channels -one view has 4 screens that can be programmed to switch between 8 cameras-
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by markrubin
robertmee- re camera runs- cameras may need DC power wires heavier than CAT5- you should run RG-6 with power wires (16 ga I think)- this is a single jacketed cable commonly used by surveilance installers



IMO- too many cameras for modulators- I use a multiplexer and then put a limited number of views on 3 modulator channels -one view has 4 screens that can be programmed to switch between 8 cameras-
Mark, I can double up on the conductors in the Cat-5 to get to 18 awg needed for power for the cameras. With RG6 and Cat-5 it gives me the most flexibility for using any type camera including future pan/tilt control.


If I can find a multiplexer fairly inexpensively I would rather go this route too.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by robertmee
That's a good idea, but in my case my current A/V unit (Sony) has video switching, but it's RCA not S-Video. Of course I will be upgrading to a DD receiver (Denon or Outlaw), but I had planned on having this really dedicated to the HT.
I'm no expert on modulators but the ones I have seen use only composite inputs not s-video. I'd be skeptical that s-video would be any better anyway due to the limitations of the modulator. Also if you use the room 2 or zone 2 output of your receiver it would not interfere in any way with your dedicated HT. The second zone operates totally independant of your main HT zone. With the amount of money you are spending on distribution you should definitely step up to a new good receiver. I recommend Onkyo, Denon or Yamaha in the $1000-$2000 range.


Jay
 

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There is a mention here about snowy pictures when modulating video sources and combining them with cable. You can prevent this from happening by adhering to the following: 1. Use only splitters/combiners from CP or CV that are 1 gHz or 2 gHz frequency response. 2. You must measure the signal strength (dbmv) on the cable side and the modulated output. We use a Sencore SL-754D Digital Signal Level meter. If you do not know the signal strength and characteristics (such as hum, tilt, etc) you are just winging it. If the signal strength varies between the two by 5 dB or more, you will have snow on modulated channels or cable (depending on which side is higher or lower). Once the signal strength is determined on both sides, a fix can be implemented. An amplifier can be used to boost a signal when necessary (cable side , use 1 gHz amp with appropriate dB of boost), use attenuators with the proper values to decrease signal strength.

Also, there is mention here about buying a multitude of combination DVD/VCR combos, and TV/VCR or TV/DVD combos because of their low price, as apposed to modulating their signals. I strongly disagree with this philosophy for the following reasons. The manufacturers of the DVD/VHS combo players (GoVideo, Samsung) are of inferior quality to many other brands of separate components. They also have a poor repair record, parts are not readily available, and often the repair costs exceed their value after a short period of time. The same has proven to be true of the TV/VCR combos. They are no bargain compared to a separate TV & VCR, they only have one tuner, repair costs are too high, quality is low. I foresee the same problems with the TV/DVD combos now on the market. Steer clear of this Taiwanese & Korean invasion.
 

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robertmee- I saw the posts about doubling up CAT5 18 ga to power the camera- this may work but it is risky- do not expect to use extra Cat5 wires in same cable for low level if other conductors have 12VDC- there will be severe noise/hum pickup


If one of the conductors tied together at the ends breaks or comes loose, you will have low voltage/ erratic camera operation which will be hard to locate- especially if it happens over the years


obviously if you do that- do not use Cat5 connectors- they are not rated for that service


if you use the siamese RG-6 (with power wires) you will have a much better installation
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Hookup
2. You must measure the signal strength (dbmv) on the cable side and the modulated output. We use a Sencore SL-754D Digital Signal Level meter. If you do not know the signal strength and characteristics (such as hum, tilt, etc) you are just winging it.
Would you recommend purchasing such a device, or will the cable companies rent them out? Do you have a good source for purchasing, and what's the approximate price? I'll do some research of my own in the meantime.


Thanks for the response! :)


Edited:


Okay, so the Sencore's are about 1200 bucks. I'll definitely have to borrow one from somewhere.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mr. Hookup
There is a mention here about snowy pictures when modulating video sources and combining them with cable. You can prevent this from happening ... If you do not know the signal strength and characteristics (such as hum, tilt, etc) you are just winging it.
I have searched this thread to find any references of "snowy pictures" and found none. If you are referring to one of my posts then I don't appreciate the inference that I don't know what I am talking about and am just "winging" it. I am providing some of my personal experiences in response to questions from another forum member. Also I think you are mistaken if you are implying that if you install and configure modulators "professionally" taking into consideration "signal strength and characteristics (such as hum, tilt, etc) " that they will provide a picture quality equal to that of a high quality source with a direct s-video feed.


Mr Hookup also said.
Quote:
Also, there is mention here about buying a multitude of combination DVD/VCR combos, and TV/VCR or TV/DVD combos because of their low price, as apposed to modulating their signals. I strongly disagree with this philosophy for the following reasons. The manufacturers of the DVD/VHS combo players (GoVideo, Samsung) are of inferior quality to many other brands of separate components. They also have a poor repair record, parts are not readily available, and often the repair costs exceed their value after a short period of time. The same has proven to be true of the TV/VCR combos. They are no bargain compared to a separate TV & VCR, they only have one tuner, repair costs are too high, quality is low. I foresee the same problems with the TV/DVD combos now on the market. Steer clear of this Taiwanese & Korean invasion.
Again I must disagree. There are many of these types of products available from high quality name brand manufacturers. Here is a link to some Panasonic TV/DVD/VCR combos and DVD/VCR combos: http://www.panasonic.com/consumer_el.../dvd_combo.asp http://www.panasonic.com/consumer_el...os/dvd_vcr.asp


As you can see these TV/DVD/VCR products DO include advanced features such dual tuner, PIP, etc. Basically they include nearly every faeature that seperates do. Also the VCR/DVD players have advanced features such such as component outputs and optical digital for DTS/Dolby Digital. Although I certainly don't think these are a perfect fit for every circumstance, I was merely stating that robertmee might not be aware of these products (like Mr. Hookup) and might want to consider them for his application.


I stand by my previous comments that there are many situations where it is less costly and much simpler to have the proper equipment at some locations rather than using a modulated distribution system. I also stand by my previous comment regarding the superior picture and sound quality of "local" equipment over a modulated signal, especially for TVs with a 20" or larger screen. The whole point of this is to point out there usually viable alternatives when considering a project like this. Make sure you understand the underlying technology and it's limitations and then make an informed decision. Sorry for the rant.


Jay
 

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I also stand by my statements regarding snowy pictures on modulated channels and combo TV/VCR/DVD's. etc. So long as the signal strength on the cable side and the modulator side are within 5 dB of each other, and there are no extenuating circumstances such as unacceptable hum on the line, you should be able to obtain a very nice picture on a modulated channel. I'm not telling you to run out and buy the Sencore SL 754D, especially if you are a homeowner. $1200.00 is a bit much just to check your system. If you can borrow one, great. Don't count on the cable company to lend you one, either. Most of those guys don't carry them around with them, anyway.

Regarding the combo units, I stand by my statements. The TV/VCR combos, especially have proven to be less reliable, less features (single tuners), too expensive to repair, or not worth repairing. The DVD/VCR combos are GoVIdeo & Samsung. I have never seen one made by Panasonic, Sony, etc. These units are a nightmare to repair, obtain parts. Mostly disposable units. Better off with separates, unless you like replacing hardware often. The newer TV/DVD combos are too new on the market to predict, but I am pessimistic about the ones I've seen. I'll stick to modulating quality components, rather then fill the house with disposable combos. I respect anyone's opinions; have the courtesy to repect mine.Thank you.
 

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OK Guys, please do not let this helpful thread get out of control here. We all have our experiences. Please keep it helpful.
 
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