I want to avoid running rca cables from my ground floor up to my loft area in my new house where I have my PC and AV unit. I need to connect my ground floor tv/dvr, etc. to my AV unit. I use my PC for mp3 audio hooked to the AV unit alot too.
I have been investigating wireless solutions and am wondering if the "video sender" components I am finding on the web are what I am looking for. I don't need to transmit the video stream... Just the audio/rca data.
If I am on the right track, can someone please suggest specifics on the brand/specs that will work best for my situation? Optimum audio quality is definitely a must!
Also, my AV units' remote will not work from the ground floor. I would like to be able to control the volume, power and switch inputs, etc. on the AV unit from the ground floor. Will the sender units do this or will I have to find an IR Extender too?
Most of the cheap senders on the market operate at the same frequency as cordless phones. They'll also pick up microwave useage. My recollection is that it affects both audio and video quality.
I'd run cable if audio quality is a big concern. I'd probably not run RCA but CAT5 with audio baluns so I could eliminate any ground loops between the PC and AV. They're likely coming off different breakers and that always seems to heighten the chance of ground loop hum, at least in my limited experience.
A single CAT5 run could also give you an IR control channel between the two floors to operate components remotely. I've found that if you need one cable, you'll need more, so I would probably fish the standard 2 RG6 satellite grade for video and two CAT5's, one for Ethernet, the other for your audio and IR control.
You can buy a very nice long drill bit and probably even a drill for what you'd spend on a wireless sender that you'd probably have to replace anyway once the buzzes, clicks and hums drove you batty. Lots of cable jockeys here that would be happy to give you all the info you need on fishing a cable.
Yep, I assumed there would be some goofies picked up through the wireless transmission. I was really hoping there would be some wireless hardware that could come close. So, if I decide to take a chance with wireless, can anyone recommend the best of the worst? I just saw the Leapfrog product at Best Buy for $100+.
Re: Wiring Cat5/Audio baluns
I think I could figure out how to fish the wire without too much trouble.
Any suggestions on where to buy the cat5 and audio baluns? It looks like the baluns are running around $60-$80/pair. Also, how will the remote channel work with this setup?
They all seem to be made by the same outfit. If it looks like a black pack of cigarettes with a rounded top, I wouldn't expect much from the unit. If they say you can get 100' "line of sight" you're really likely to get only
10' - I bought a couple from different vendors but they were all equally dismal.
I deal with Worthington and SmartHome but you'll probably find the wire locally at Home Depot and the baluns for cheap on Ebay.
The remote IR you can buy from a number of people on the net. Search on "wired IR link kit" and you'll find some sites.
IR sending circuits are very simple and extremely easy to build. A phototransistor to see the IR from the remote and a IR LED on the other end to emit the IR control signals and a few other components and you're good to go. Lots of commercial stuff like Xantech, too, if you want to spend the bucks.
FWIW, the latest Supercircuits catalog has an MVL58 5.8GHz "video link" that might offer acceptable performance and has a built in IR link as well. It doesn't appear to be on the website yet:
it sells for $159.95 and claims 300' so it's really probably only reliable up to 30' indoors. YMMV. They have a very fair return policy, so it might be worth a look. The 5.8 band should be a little less crowded than the 2.4 one.
I'd go with hardwiring for several reasons. Cheaper over all. Cheaper to operate. Those little wall warts all add up. Plus, you're polluting your own RF environment and that could be an issue with current or future phone systems and wireless LAN components.
Even better, you'll get a sense of accomplishment building your own IR system. There are lots and lots of really good sites that explain just how to build these simple systems from $10 worth of parts from Radio Shack. Guy Lavoie has a lot of great IR extender circuits and thorough documentation.