RG-6 A/V Distribution Network in New Home

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Jon_S, Apr 26, 2004.

  1. Jon_S

    Jon_S Extra

    Oct 28, 2000
    Likes Received:
    My wife and I are purchasing a our first home that is being built and will be done in a bit less than two months, we'll plan to move cross-country just afterwards. The builder was building the house to sell (it's basically a custom home, but he's building it to sell) and most of the plans are in place, the drywall is going in probably this coming week, so there's not much we can change for wiring at the moment, though it does have a crawlspace, so there are possibilities. Here's the dilemma I'm facing:
    • The house is going to come with "structured wiring". According to my builder that means a single Cat5e run going from a central point in the house in a cabinet to all the rooms and RG-6 coax cable going from an adjacent cabinet to each of those rooms at the same junction box (to me that would mean a WHOLE lot more cabling, though this is structured, it's not enough, but will be great for our 1st house). Each bedroom will get 2 of these, the kitchen gets one, the office gets two (I had him add one there) and the great room will get 3 (I had him add one there as well so I have two on the wall where I have my "entertainment center": http://www.schalliol.com/property/electronics/ht/).
    • Because each box only gets one Cat5e and one RG-6, I'll have to choose which I want to run data to and which I want to run a couple of phone lines to (not a biiig problem and another story for another day).
    • With respect to A/V, I'm trying to decide how to go for the RG-6. I really like satellite and I have been really happy with it, but there are issues with viewing in multiple locations. While we only have 2 TVs right now, my expectation is that we'll have more in the future. Furthermore, I would love to be able to watch any content in any location.
    • Here's my first idea: Mount a 2-3 LNB dish on the roof and run the cables into the distribution box, somehow connect it to one of the cable jacks in the great room where it receives the signal for the DSS box to decode into video and audio via S-Video & RCA or digital output to the entertainment center. Then I could send output of the entertainment system back through the other RG-6 cable (perhaps the VCR would convert it from whatever it's fed via composite & R/L audio out to the cable) and then distributed to the rest of the house. Pros of this method (if it works):
      1. I get high quality signal to the entertainment center
      2. The TiVo that's right there has no trouble outputting IR to the DSS box via the Xantech IR emitter that's right there
      3. everyone gets to watch and hear what's going in the main system in any room in the house without the need for special equipment on the client end (you could pop in a DVD in the living room and watch it in any other room, or a pre-recorded TiVo show)[/list=1]
      4. Cons of this method:
        1. might not even work.
        2. I'll need to figure out the appropriate amplification in any of these setups.
        3. I get mono audio on the other TVs/systems besides the home theater.
        4. I have no way of controlling the main setup from the other rooms (I do have a full Xantech system for actuating all from a single sensor now, but do not as far as from another room).
        5. How can I utilize multiple channels at once on any TV?[/list=1]
        6. Second idea: Put all DSS and DVR from wiring hub and distribute out to all cable jacks via 3 cable channels (i.e. tune to channel 1,2,3 and see what's showing on each of those DSS/DVR setups. Pros:
          1. Everything's in one location from a management point of view
          2. Seems like minimum signal path overall, as these devices are just added like the cable company would add their cable, and the rest of the RG-6 network remains the same in the house.
          3. You can watch any live tv source from each TV without messing with someone else's setup (though you'd have to make sure you don't override what someone is watching - right now it's just my wife and I so we should be able to keep it straight).[/list=1]
          4. Cons:
            1. I have no idea what product I'd need to convert this stuff to channels I can view (though I heard something on this board about such a thing 8/01 when I was considering helping my dad do something like this (he has 10 TVs and we couldn't figure out a way to handle that).
            2. Mono audio signal to all TVs.
            3. Is the quality good? Uncertain.
            4. All my DSS controllers I currently have are IR controlled (I can cancel my current contract when I move, perhaps what I can get free when getting a new contract has RF remote) and my TiVo is the same way.
            5. The garage contains the structured wiring panel boxes, and they're recessed into the wall there I believe, sot they receive the cable from between drywall, so there is some sensitivity to heat and cold for electronics there, but anything in the walls there shouldn't reach extremes in either direction, but that might be an issue for other things that would be mounted in the garage.
            6. Right now there isn't a larger rack-type enclosure, I would need to mount something on the wall for larger items like satellite boxes, and also develop a way to deliver power and cable to that location.
              Third idea (combination of the 1st two): Use the "loop" in the great room, but convert that out to a channel that people could tune to and combined with the other systems.[/list=1]

            Here are some images to help you understand how things are run:
            Structured wiring boxes:

            Floor plan:
            There are two larger floor plans at the following directory that you can see to get an idea of what I'm doing. TC represents a Cat5e and Cable run, while S indicates speaker cable to go to the rear speakers. Note the dedicated 20 AMP circuit for the home theater.

            Gallery of house construction:
            96 pictures, which should include pictures of basically all the walls.
            Are there other options, other suggestions? I really appreciate your help, I'm trying to make all of this as flexible as possible and I'm sure it will be great info!!
  2. Brian Corr

    Brian Corr Supporting Actor

    May 10, 1999
    Likes Received:
    I'm not totally sure I understand your situation but here goes.

    1. I'd really, really suggest having at least 2 cat5 and 2 coax at any and every wall plate. I'd suggest 3 or 4 coax in the locations where a majority of equipment will be located. Things like Tivo have dual tuners and require 2 feeds from the sat dish to function. Sending out a modulated signal will require another coax. How about a rooftop antenna for HD. That's 4 coax needed at this particular location. (you could diplex the antenna and sat feeds onto a single coax, dropping the count to 3) This is just to give you an idea of how quick the feeds get used up.

    2. You're limited to the number of different channels you can view by the number of sat receivers in the house. If you want to be able to watch 4 different shows at once, then you have to have 4 sat receivers. Perhaps consider having 2 sat receivers, and send a RF signal back out from each to other tv's. This gives you 2 independent sources to watch throughout the house. Since it's just you and the wife, you should be able to watch different shows in different parts of the house. If you go with cable, then this isn't an issue.

    3. You can simply use the RF output on the back of the sat receiver to send that signal to other tv's. The signal is modulated with audio and video on a single coax. You can send this back to the main panel and then split that out to all the other tv's. But all will have to watch the same channel as the main source. And the audio will come from the tv.

    4. You can use an RF remote control to change channels on a sat receiver that is in one room when you are watching on a tv that is in another room. Or you can set up an IR repeater system using either connecting blocks, emiiters and receivers over Cat5 or over the coax using IR injectors.

    Let me know if there are specific area's I didn't touch on that you'd like addressed.
  3. Steve::Weaver

    Jan 27, 2004
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    I know this doesn't answer what you asked (I don't know much about satellite) but you can run 2 ethernet or 4 phone lines (or one ethernet and 2 phone lines) over each cat5 cable. Ethernet uses only 2 of the 4 pair, and phone lines use one pair each.

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