wiring for the future

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I'm building a house and would like to prewire, or at least provide
adequate conduit for running cable later with regards to routing audio
and video to most rooms in the house.  HD will be a factor at some
point in time, but wiring for that now wont accomodate current
equipment.
So I'm wondering what is recommended as far as pre-wiring a house in
construction.  Do I run one conduit with RG6 for current equipment (as
far as video), and then have an empty conduit for the future, and if
so, what size?

I know this doesn't even address audio, which I also plan on piping to
the rooms.

All of this will be homed  to one room where I'll also have network
equipment and at least one server.  I'll be running network to most
rooms too, but I'm pretty sure I know how to take care of that.  I
just want to make sure that I cover audio/video needs (current and
future).

I'm also looking at matrix switches, although I know that up front,
because they're expensive, I probably can't afford one, but I'd like
to be able to use one later.

I'm planning on using some kind of structured cabling panel as well
and looking to hear what some other people are using and are happy
with.


Re: wiring for the future
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Actually, you can wire for HDTV but
use the same cables for standard
definition until you're ready to upgrade
your gear.  The sameRG6 that the
cable and satellite companies use to
carry HDTV will do just as well carrying
regular channels.

You should also pull three "RCA" cables
for component video to distribute
media from common sources such as
a DVD player, PC, etc., to various
rooms.  Any one of the component
cables will carry composite video
(standard TV) around the house so that
won't be wasted or redundant.

For audio distribution you need several
types of cables.  CAT5 goes to each
room for remote control station (touch
screens, etc.).  14/2 or 14/4 goes to
a volume control at the same location
as the touchpad and grom there to
the speakers.

Those few cables are pretty much all
you'll need for current and future
technology.  You could get fancy and
run fiberoptic cables but there's no
real nead for tham now or in the
near future.

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Empty conduit is handy for runs that you
will be unable to access later.  However, if
the home is wood frame and there's a
basement, you should be able to access
most places for retrofit if needed.  Run
conduit where you know it will be a PITA
running cable later.

At most I would run cables through the
walls and run a single, 2" conduit as well.
If you have an attic or basement do run
at least two 3" conduits between them
and the wiring closet, wherever that will
be.

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See comments above but the formula is
simple.  This is what I instruct my DIY
customers to do.  From the entertainment
rack or wherever your gear is, run video,
speaker level audio and CAT5 to a volume
control location in each room.  At the
V/C location make an 18" loop of extra
video cable and continue the wire over
to wherever you might someday want to
put a TV set, projector or whatever.

Do the same thing with the speaker cable.
Make an 18" loop at the V/C and continue
across the ceiling and over to the planned
speaker locations.

Once again with the CAT5, make an 18"
service loop and continue over to one of
the speakers.  It makes no difference if
it's the left or right speaker but be
consistent from room to room.  CAT5
can be used for a remote station to run a
multi-zone system such as Russound,
an A-BUS type system or a simple IR
repeating system such as Xantech.  The
CAT5 at the speaker can be connected
to an IR receiver hidden behind the grill.
This makes it easy to control your gear
with a remote, by touchpad or whatever
your heart desires and budget (or wife)
will permit.

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Standard LAN cabling, CAT5e or CAT6,
will be fine for PC-based media distribution.
This is in addition to the cables already
described.

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No problem.  If you would like to discuss
this stuff at greater length, feel free to
give me a call.  I'm usually around.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: wiring for the future
Robert L Bass wrote:

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Aren't these very susceptible to noise? What would be the maximum
run length that you'd recommend?

--
Reg


Re: wiring for the future

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Good questions.  Everything is susceptible
to noise.  The real issue is how much so.
I've run component video over 30 meters
with no visible loss.  DVI/HDMI cables
start to show sparkles (pixel drop-outs)
beyond ~15 meters.  S-Video is *supposed*
to max out at 12 feet but it works fine in
HT systems up to around 25 feet.  It might
go farther but I haven't tried.  Composite
(plain old TV) can run 100m easily.

Try to keep your HD runs under 100 feet
and you should be fine.  If the home is
too large for that, you could limit HDTV to
the home theater room and run composite
everywhere else.  When you think about
it though, how much difference will it
make to you if the 13" set on the kitchen
counter is HD?  TVs used for gaming
get their signals locally so that's not an
issue.

Here's my personal solution.  YMMV.
The 50" Mitsubishi in the family room
is HDTV.  The 32" sets in the guest room
and the lanai are normal TV.  I don't care
about HD in those rooms.

OTOH, I do care about stereo audio
in *every* room.  That means I'm willing
to spend more on the multi-room system
than on the TV sets.  Again, YMMV.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: wiring for the future
Robert L Bass wrote:

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Excellent. Thank you, Mr Bass.

I'm going to try and run some composite video between
floors over some RG6 quad, about 25 ft. What the heck,
sounds like it can't hurt to try.

--
Reg


Re: wiring for the future
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You're most welcome.

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That should work just fine.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: wiring for the future
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Or, you may carry component NTSC on them.

But, analog component video may not be around for HDTV in the future if
the DRM folks get their way.  Or, equipment may be required to fuzz the
analog component output in order to block the "analog hole".  I don't
know what length restrictions there are on HDMI cables, but that seems
to be the currently preferred interconnect mechanism, since it allows
the content to be encrypted over the cable.

Of course, consumers may (hopefully) balk at the DRM vision of the future...

marcus hall

Re: wiring for the future
I'm pretty sure I wont be running anything more than 80 feet.  Will
this be a problem?


Re: wiring for the future
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No.  However, another poster's comments
give pause for thought.  Just for the sake of
future changes though you may want to
consider adding one fiber or an extra UTP.
Fiber itself is cheap.  Connectors and the
(current) tools to hook them up are not.
However, inexpensive DIY fiber connector
kits are starting to appear at reasonable
prices.  This is just something to consider --
far from a mandate.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>





Re: wiring for the future
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Actually, the spec doesn't say what the
maximum length is.  Rather, it requires
products to meet a minimum.  Most
companies rate their HDMI products for
under 15m (~50ft).

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For use in a typical HT room, yes it is.
But for whole-house distribution it's
too short.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: wiring for the future

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I was looking at the price of HDMI extenders, splitters, amps, etc. and
there are devices that will go 200' on CAT5, but they were many hundreds of
dollars.

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future...

It's already here and no one's really made a peep that's made a difference,
as far as I can tell.  People won't tolerate Sony putting rootkits on their
PCs but they seem to have swallowed all the other DRM BS.  Hollywood has
succeeded in changing the model of copyright law to say that *any* copying
is illegal, not just taking someone else's work and selling it as your own.
There's a world of difference between copying a movie or song for a friend
who would never have bought the packaged version and setting up a website to
hawk pirate DVDs by the busload.

I rarely buy CDs anymore.  Not because I DL music but because I'm unwilling
to listen to announcers on FM radio and the endless patter of commercials to
hear songs I might want to buy.  Perhaps 50 years from now the RIAA will
realize that Napster was as good for them in the long run as VCRs were.
Now, the only way new music finds its way to me is if I hear something in a
TV or movie soundtrack.  When I was searching through Napster, I'd sample
stuff (without all the commercials), listen, then buy a legit CD so I could
hear it without artifacts from bad MP3 compression.  In my case Napster
helped the music industry, not hurt it.  I know from others that my story is
not a unique case.

--
Bobby G.




Re: wiring for the future
What type of wire should I run for the RCA lines?  Do I run CAT5 or
something else?


Re: wiring for the future
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No.  Don't run video over CAT5 if you have the opportunity to run coax.  While
it is possible to run it through UTP cable, you'd
need to add BALUNS at each end.  That adds to the overall cost of the job with
no added benefit.

I use the expression "RCA cables" only because it is in common use.
Technically, they're just 75-Ohm shielded cables with RCA
connectors on the ends.  Any decent 22-gauge, shielded cable will carry video or
audio hundreds of feet with no perceptible
degradation.  I've even used 2-conductor shielded in a pinch and it worked fine
at over 300 feet.

Component video calls for the exact same thing -- 75-Ohm coaxial cable.  Because
it is high definition, you should use only 75-Ohm
coax (rather than just any old shielded stuff).

Do NOT believe any of the hype from Monster or any of the other cable rip-offs.
As long as it has a good shield and the connections
are secure, there is zero difference between cable that costs $0.20 a foot and
that which costs $50+ / foot.

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: wiring for the future
As I've been finishing off my basement I've just been pulling what I need
now, using 3/4" flexible plastic conduit "blue pipe" to go into finished
areas. Too hard to anticipate what you might want in the future, and a cable
you might want five years from now might not exist today. If you have
conduit you can easily change stuff as needed. I wonder how many people
prewired houses with 10 meg ethernet cables a while ago and are wishing it
was gigabit now?



Re: wiring for the future

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Very few.

Cat3 had a very short life as the preferred wire for computer
networking. Cat5 was specified for the first twisted-pair network I
installed almost 15 years ago. Before that coax ethernet and token ring
networks were all the rage.

BTW, you have to be very careful with flexible plastic conduit (smurf
tube) since wiring tends to jamb in it. I have gone to installations
where it was used and been unable to remove the existing wires to
replace them. The rule with rigid conduit is no more than 360 degrees of
bend with out a pull box. I venture to say most flexible plastic conduit
installations have more bends than that. Anyway 1" is a decent minimum
size for HA conduit. You can barely get 3 RG6 and 2 cat5 through a
installed 3/4" conduit, not to mention getting them out in the future.
Since smurf tube is not very sturdy there a limit to how much force you
can apply to the old wiring before the tubing pulls out of box
connectors, support fasteners or is otherwise damaged.

While it is true the future will bring all sorts of wonderful new wiring
technologies the installed base of cat5 will create a market for ways to
run new technologies over existing cat5 for quite some time to come.

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