Hot Product: HD Distribution via CAT-5

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jay Mitchosky, Jan 4, 2006.

  1. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Hey All

    I recently installed the Model 9871 HDTV distribution system from Audio Authority and am thrilled with the results:

    [​IMG]

    In a nutshell it allows you to distribute HDTV component video and digital audio via CAT-5 cable to dedicated wall outlets throughout your home. One CAT-5 driver (shown above) will accommodate up to two (2) wallplates:

    [​IMG]

    You can daisy chain additional drivers through the bus connection for larger systems:

    [​IMG]


    I have a HD-PVR satellite receiver for my home theater. Instead of adding another receiver for the rec room (which would be a problem as I've run out of satellite feeds) I opted for the Audio Authority solution. Installation is straightforward:
    • Run two (2) lengths of CAT-5 or CAT-5e cable from the source location to the distributed area. In my case I have a wood basement floor and was able to run the cable underneath. For new home construction you could prewire. For existing home construction you will have more challenges depending on the two locations.
    • Terminate the CAT-5 cables at either end, ensuring you mark one in advance to differentiate between A and B line.
    • Connect the CAT-5 cables to the wall plate (installed in a dual gang box).
    • Install the Model 9871 at the source component and connect component, coax digital, and CAT-5 cables.

    After powering up the 9871 everything worked perfectly. Full HD audio and video is simulataneously displayed (without delay) in both the theater and rec room. If there is any degradation in image or sound quality I can't notice it - everything seems the same as it was when directly connected. CAT-5 cable is cheap and easily available. Audio Authority claims distribution of up to 1000 feet (there is actually a cable length compensation dial on the wall plate with ten steps of 100 feet).

    If you're looking for an effective way to move HD audio and video around your house from a central location the Model 9871 is well worth a look. And don't be afraid to give them a call as their technical support was exceptional.

    Here's a few quick pictures of my installation for reference.
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    That looks really cool. Does the CAT-5 plug into the back of the wall plate from the distribution amp? I wonder how it would work with a wireless 54Mhz G system.

    Parker
     
  3. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Yep. Just like plugging a LAN cable into a wall outlet. I actually took a picture of the backside of the wall plate but don't have it handy to upload. You terminate both ends of the cables and plug them in to the driver and wall plate. Normal termination rules apply.

    Can't answer your question about the wireless system. What did you have in mind?

    Another thing I forgot to mention above is that this system also has an IR remote patch to control the source from the second location. You would connect a 1/8" plug from a repeater system into the wall unit, then an emitter from the IR output at the driver to the IR sensor of the distributed component (DVD player, HD satellite). In my installation I didn't use this feature as my sat comes with an RF remote so can't comment on performance.
     
  4. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    I was thinking that if you already have everything except the CAT5 in place that you set up a wireless hub to plug into the back of the wall plate and then have a wireless network adapter plugged into the equipment on the other end.

    In other words take CAT 5 cable out of the picture and use a wireless hub and adapter instead.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Awesome system!

    Parker, I don't think you can do HD with the current generation of wireless. Perhaps if you got one of the proprietary systems like D-Link's 108Mbps would work, but that would be pushing it. Cat5e is good up to about 1000Mbps, so there's a lot of bandwidth there that wireless just doesn't have yet.
     
  6. Adam Gregorich

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    Parker-
    In addition to bandwidth, it wouldn't work because it's not encoded as TCP/IP.
     
  7. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    That would be suh-weet if it worked. But as suggested above I imagine the bandwidth requirements would be huge. For an existing home installation this product would be difficult to incorporate as running cable through firebreaks and such is a real nightmare. Best left to a pro. I'm fortunate with my wood floor that I can crawl around under there to run new cable.
     
  8. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Seth, Adam and Jay.

    Good to know. I didn't realize the wireless routers were set to TCP/IP only. What would the bandwidth requirements for HD be anyway?
     
  9. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/bandwid.htm

    That's for video only. The other thing I wonder about is whether or not wireless could address two feeds. There is an A and B line that runs to the wallplate. I don't know if that's audio + video or just splitting up the overall data duties. Presumably there could not be any difference in the two signals; a wireless router might not send both at exactly the same time.

    Parker, this might be an interesting question to pose to the Tech Support people at Audio Authority.
     
  10. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Color me an idiot - I totally forgot about the main reason wireless won't work. This is a powered system, not passive.
     
  11. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Parker,

    I've seen a few numbers on bandwidth. Apparently when using the compression that broadcasters use, HD programming takes up about 20Mbps.

    Completely uncompressed 1080p at 60fps takes about 3Gbps at which point you have to start looking at infiniband to make that work -- which would be absurdly expensive as a home network.
     

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