This probably isn't possible, but I thought I'd ask anyway. I'm rewiring my home for cable TV and broadband for each room, and I was wondering if there was anyway to convert standard CATV to run over Cat
5/6 cable as opposed to RG59/6. I'm not up on how the signals go over the wire, so I'm betting this isn't possible, but I thought I'd ask. If this is possible it'd sure save me a ton of money and time to just run three cat-5 or cat-6 lines (phone, LAN, and TV) to each room instead of two cat-5/6 and one Coax. Cat 5 or cat 6 is much cheaper then Coax plus I haven't spliced a connector on coax in Years :)
Thanks for any suggestions or advice. If this is possible I'd have all lines running to one central punchdown box for everything. It'd be cake to manage.
You need the coax. You can run baseband over cat5/6 with baluns but you won't save money. Coax will be the cheaper and far better alternative. Use a high quality RG6 or RG6 Quadshield. I used the same stuff Time Warner uses which is a Belden TriBond - not a quad - but a high quality cable that is performing well for me. They gave me one 1000' spool for construction and sold me more for $90 each. For terminations I use the Snap 'n Seal connectors. They have a tool that makes stripping and termination easy - no kidding!
(snip regarding using Cat 5 instead of coax for TV signals.)
Belden likes to advertise the ability of their DataTwist 350 cable to support such signal, up to at least 350MHz. Unlike regular Cat 5 cable the two wires of a pair are bonded together, sort of like a miniature version of ordinary lamp cord.
350MHz is a little low for cable TV or cable modems, though, and finding the transformers needed to get it in and out won't be easy or cheap.
Definitely be wasting your time trying. Much better off using the proper medium for the application.
For starters, twisted-pair doesn't have the shielding required for CATV. Have you ever seen any multiple images on any local VHF channels? A faint bar off-centered and ghosting? That's ingress -- broadcast signals leaking into the cable plant somewhere. The cause is a loss of shielding at some point. Eighty percent of ingress is a result of simply a loose or corroded or substandard connector, cheap epoxy-back splitter(s), or copper-braid coax. Some channels in the upper teens to lower twenties can look like crap or even be non-existent. If there are broadcast UHF channels, some cable channels from ~65 on up may have the broadcast UHF channel in the background. Not to mention that a cable modem wouldn't work. Not to mention that if the ingress is bad enough, the cable company could deny service because of the effect on the system. If all this could (and does) happen with coax, just imagine what would happen with UTP.
The linearity of twisted-pair across it's bandwidth leaves alot to be desired. It would not be surprising to see several peaks and valleys of several dB across its bandwidth.
The bandwidth of CAT5 is 100MHz. 5e is 350 or 450 depending on manufacturer, and CAT6 is 250. The bandwidth of RG6 is, depending on manufacturer, either 1000 or 2200MHz.
You can buy CommScope RG6 for mid $60s and Belden for upper $50s. Why even think of going any other route? There should be a minimum of 5 CAT5e and 2 RG6 at each outlet.
As for connectorizing RG6, go to and click on the "Drops" link. Towards the end of the article, there's a step-by-step tutorial (w/pictures) on connectorizing coax.
I found several of those baluns you guys talked about, and at $35-$50 a pop that's more then I budget allows. I didn't figure this would work unless lots of extra stuff was done, but with the signal loss and me wanting to carry digital cable over it, I'll stick with RG6.
As you've learned, what you're asking _is_ possible, but it ceartanly won't save you any money (especially if you consider your labor "free"). There are a few niche products for this purpose, but from what I've seen and heard none of them preform anywhere near as well as traditional coax -- and thats just for analog video signals.
Beverly Howard made a comment that I'd love to respond to directly-- but it hasn't shown up in Google yet so I can't-- about "Check the electronic surplus sites and stores... these were very common when computer networking was new (10mb 10bt hubs cost $700+) so sharp eyes might find some deals."
If He's referring to what I think he's refering to -- the baulns that allowed one to use twisted pair in place of coax for 10-Base2 networking, beware: 10Base2 is a 50 ohm medium (CATV is 75 ohm) with lower overall bandwidth/frequency requirements. While it may _work_ it won't be pretty, and will likely leak and pickup all kinds of "bad stuff" (The FCC, for example, really doesn't like cable TV signals leaking on the areonautical frequency range--and would pay you a visit.)
I know youi've already made the decision, but for one more ditto: Stick with coax.