Cables - Which?

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Brad-F, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi there.

    I am very new to the home theater world so forgive my very basic questions.

    I am in the process of building a new house. Work starts on it in about a months time. Part of my plan is to have a home theater room with a projector, a big screen and great surround sound.

    At this point, I have no idea what projector to get. Don't worry, that is not my question. (but it will be at some point, once I have done some homework on the matter) [​IMG]

    My plan is to mount the projector on some bracket from the roof, at an appropriate (but as yet undetermined) distance from the screen, somewhere in the middle of the room. This is where my problem starts.

    Because the house is two levels, and the home theater room is going to be downstairs, I need to get them to put in the cabling for the projector and speakers before they finish the walls and roof. Else it will be impossible to put them in later.

    My question then is this. What sort of cables do I need to get them to put in for the projector? This might be a difficult question to answer as I don't even have the projector yet but then again it might not. My current DVD player (most likely to one I'll be using to start with) has a Red, Green, Blue cable. Is this the type of cable I need to use?

    Do the projectors all have the same cable requirements?
    Are some cable types better than other? (and should this influence my search for the projector in a couple months time? Should I just get one that has inputs for the Red, Green, Blue cable I mentioned above?)
    How long can the cables be before it effects the quality of the image?

    I would be very thankful for any help in this matter.

    Thanks in advance.

    Brad-F
     
  2. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    Tough question.

    Realize that right now the standard for dvd is Component cable (the Red, Green Blue cable you mentioned). Some/many projectors accept this type of input-- but not all.

    The future for DVD might be something different however- many are already modifying DVD players to pass SDI digital directly... and of course some HD boxes and sets support a format of DVI, which might become the way to do for DVD with the advent of HD-DVD in a few years.

    In addition to component, many projectors are data grade, so they accept RGB signal on a DB-15 (the VGA connector) or on computer DVI. Many people have found that DVD players are pretty shabby to team up with front projection, so they use an outboard scaling device or HTPC- which ofen will supply signal on VGA connection...

    Without getting too far into the proejctor question- the whole issue of Digital Projectors and Native Panels means you will likely need SOME scaling device between the DVD and the projector- so it mgiht be best to do some serious research and get an idea of how your display is going to be done, before finalizing cabling.

    If nothing else, I guess you could run a good VGA cable- and that will give you 15 carrier pins, and if you decide to go component, an adapter could be fashioned to attach to both ends that would use the carrier inside the VGA line to carry component signal.

    But bottom line is, there is no absolute, and real standard, until you narrow down what projector and what scaling device you might buy-- then you will ahve a better idea of what type of runs you will need.

    -Vince
     
  3. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I would recommend at least a run of 5x high-quality video cables (or a bundled 5 cable RGB run of canare, belden, etc). This will allow you to use this one run as full RGBhv, or just 3 for component, 2 for s-video, 1 for composite, etc.

    You may also want to run DVI, though I am totally unfamiliar with DVI, so others may know better.
     
  4. Brad-F

    Brad-F Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Chris and Vince for your informative responses. You have both given my much to look up and understand before I spend my money on cables, let alone a projector.

    Brad
     
  5. Paul_C

    Paul_C Stunt Coordinator

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    The other thing you can do is to install conduit from the approximate location of the projector to your equipment area. This would be on top of any cabling you install. In other words, don't let the electrician use it for any cables he is installing. [​IMG] Make sure it is at least 2".

    I also ran conduit from the equipment cabinet into the attic so that if I have any future cabling requirements I can run stuff into the upper floor rooms.

    Good luck.

    Paul.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I agree with Chris. Places like BlueJeansCables will sell you 2 component cable sets:

    - One with RCA plugs on both ends for component
    - One made with mini-coax that has 1 cable for composite video, the other 2 terminate in a SVideo cable.

    This gives you all 3 popular connection types.

    Make sure to run AC power up there and have the AC wires flow away/perpendicular to the direction the video cables will come from.

    Leave lots of slack to start as each different projector has a different optimal projector-to-screen distance.

    Suggestion: pick several projectors in your price range. Take the min & max distance to a screen for each and find an average for each. Install the AC power and cables in the ceiling so it can reach both these Min and Max values.

    Hint: Install plastic electrical-outlet box's in the ceiling for the video cables to snake through. You can put on a blank wall-plate at first, later you drill holes through the plate to snake the cables through.

    Note: Projectors have 2 kinds of component-video jacks:

    - RCA
    - BNC

    Of the 2, the BNC are superior. See if any of your target projectors use BNC jacks. If so, order a component cable with RCA plugs on one end (for the DVD player) and BNC jacks on the other end. You can buy 3 "BNC-to-RCA-Male" adaptors if your projector takes RCA's.

    If you plan on having the projector professionally installed, just run the cable with several feet of slack to the outlet box's. Arrange with the installer to cut/install plugs onto your coax.

    The installer will love that you already have the cables in place. His boss will hate you because now he cannot charge you $200 for the cable and $200 to snake the cable through the walls.

    Check out the "HT Construction and Interiors" fourm for other people who have done similar installs.
     

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