Cabling basics....

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Bobby C, Jan 9, 2004.

  1. Bobby C

    Bobby C Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,
    I'm comfortable w/ speaker cables & interconnects for my 2 channel system (I use DH Labs pretty exclusively). However in the course of building a HT room in the basement, I need to start thinking about other cable issues, stuff I'm not as familiar with.

    As part of my HT project, I ripped out all the ceiling tiles that existed in my basement. I did this to have access to the ceiling for some electrical work, as well as run some telephone lines into more rooms (2 lines). I currently just use traditional broadcast TV, not cable issue as yet.

    Once I get my HT room setup, I will get either satellite or cable TV (it will be HDTV). In the meantime as I build walls, I want to run cable for either medium. While I'm at it and while the ceiling is open & I'll be drilling for phones, I'm thinking of wiring for cable or satellite TV in several other upstairs rooms.

    So my basic questions are:

    1. Are cables the same for either satellite or cable TV?

    2. What type of cables are recommended for this type of application? I'm not necessarily looking for a specific brand, but (like audio), is there some consensus that better cable leads to better viewing?

    3. How is such cable run? I know little to nothing about cable or satellite, but I assume that it will come into the house at a particular point and from a common place, I'd run the cable. Let's say I want to run for the HT room and 4 other rooms. Is video cable run like phone or electricity, where you go from box to box, like a daisy chain? Or is video cable split from a single source and separate cables are run to each location?

    4. Like electricity for outlets, should cables be terminated in a box of some sort? Face plate screwed to that? I think I've seen plates that can hold 2 phone lines and at least 1 cable line.

    5. Are terminals for video cable easy to attach? I imagine I'll end up buying in bulk so I'd need to do my own termination.

    6. Kinda of a subjective question, not doing w/ HT - while I'm doing this, I could also run a 4th cable (2 phone, 1 satellite/cable) for a home pc network. However I'm think more about wireless for that, it is not a big issue in our house.

    Thanks for any input!
    Bob
     
  2. Jason_A

    Jason_A Stunt Coordinator

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    1. Yes

    2. RG6 coax Sweeptested at 3.0 Ghz if you can. Otherwise some very good RG6.

    3. Yes your correct on the first question. You pull the cables through. They use splitters. So say a 5 way splitter. Input coming in to the splitter then splits it 5 ways. Using Coax.

    4. You could do that for asthetics but I wouldn't because the less connections the better the signal.

    5. If you can cut, strip, and crimp you can easily do it. F connectors or RCA connectors are quite easy.

    6. Yes you could.
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    1. You can still buy coax called RG59. But for the microwave satellite signals, everyone uses coax called RG6.

    2. Belden makes some good stuff, but you Sat installer guy will likely bring his own stuff. You need to determine WHERE the dish will go before you can run your own coax.

    3. Satellite dish's use a special type of splitter and I believe the splitter is placed near the dish, not yards and yards away.

    Note: Some of the Satellite systems need 2 dishes: one for the HD sat, the other for all the other channels. I believe these all feed into a combiner/splitter, then go to the recievers.

    The setup is likely different for DirectTV, Dish, Vroom. And things change as new "SuperDish's" become available.

    You really need to pick a service, then call and speak to an installer.

    You should also know that places like Dish offer 3 and 4 reciever packages with free professional installation. While I respect your DIY efforts, you might want to let the installers worry about this one.
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    3. Actually, the cable you're referring to not "video" cable, it's "coaxial" cable - typically used for RF (radio frequency) feeds from antennas, although it has other applications. It is not daisy-chained from box to box like phone line. As Jason indicated, it is split and a "home run" is sent to each location. One thing to keep in mind - if you're splitting more than three ways, you might need a signal booster.

    4. Yes, generally they are terminated into wall boxes with a face plate. Here's what one looks like:


    [​IMG]


    The plate has an "F" coupler installed in it:


    [​IMG]


    The incoming cable will have an "F" connector installed on it, and it will screw to one side of the coupler in the wall plate.

    5. Not especially. "F" connectors are done incorrectly more than any other connector type, and it requires specialized tools to install them correctly. However, a novice without the proper tools can have good success using twist-on connectors like this:


    [​IMG]


    They're expensive, but much cheaper than buying specialized tools that you might use only a few times.

    6. If you can run this cable, there's no reason you can't network your house. I did mine.
     
  5. Bobby C

    Bobby C Stunt Coordinator

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    Guys, thanks for all your input, things are getting clearer!

    Currently, I'm most likely going to buy a 500' run of Benden 1694A black RG6. Looks like I can get it for around $125 on the web. Wayne (et. al.) - the F connector you show looks like it's gold plated. I've seen cheaper ones out there but since I'm doing this once, I'd rather go w/ quality. Do you know where you can get gold plated twist-ons?

    Thanks again!
    Bob
     
  6. Bobby C

    Bobby C Stunt Coordinator

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    Never mind - I just found some gold plated crimp type connectors, I ordered them from homecontrols.com. I ordered tools from partsexpress.com. More tools!
     

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