A basic level of future-proof media wiring?

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by EzioSuffolk, 21 Jan 2020.

  1. EzioSuffolk

    EzioSuffolk

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    Hi,
    I'm re-wiring the house (3-bed, 2 living rooms) and although I use only a single TV in the living room, and WiFi throughout the house (from a single broadband supply in living room), I want to ensure the house has at least a minimum level of media wiring for when the house is sold in the future.
    I've read that 'CAT-6' cabling is desirable and flexible.

    I really haven't a clue, but is it reasonable to assume that a future occupant of the house might want/expect:
    HDTVs and gaming in both living rooms, and the two main bedrooms; and something in the kitchen?

    What sort of cabling & terminations would you recommend be installed in each room?
    [is more than one CAT-6 cable needed in each room? are aerial sockets needed too? Is it worth having additional CAT-6 cables installed in kitchen, both living rooms and stairs for possible future CCTV/security? I've no satellite dish, but is it worth installing a cable from the loft-space down to somewhere??]

    I really don't want to be OTT, but do want to ensure sensible provision given all the upheaval of a full house (power and electrics) re-wire.

    Thanks, Ezio
     
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  3. ktuludays

    ktuludays

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    Why go to the expense of doing work that you aren't going to benefit from?

    Not having cat-6 in every room will not stop a house sale.
     
  4. EzioSuffolk

    EzioSuffolk

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    >>Why go to the expense of doing work that you aren't going to benefit from?

    i) Because it might well add some value to the house
    ii) Because my grandkids might have 'evolving' requirements
    iii) I'll get some satisfaction from knowing it's a decent, modern house
     
  5. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    when I built a recording studio in a mate's outhouse we added loads of cables between it and the house. Hardly any were used in anger before technology replaced them.
    Cable types change as well.

    I would concentrate on routes for cables. Run strings under floors to enable new cables of any type to be pulled through, and if possible plan a route so that cables can be routed upstairs and into a garage
    If you can, a riser that allows cables to go upstairs into something like an airing cupboard is handy
     
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  6. Lucid

    Lucid

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    You asked more-or-less the same question in the Electrics forum: https://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/full-wiring-diagram-with-a-house-re-wire.537018/#post-4530516

    I say more-or-less because the impression from that thread was you were doing this for your own benefit now. In the question here though, the angle is more along the lines of adding value to a property. That's a different aspect, and it pulls in elements about knowing the housing market and who is likely to buy your house and whether they'd value structured wiring in the way you hope.

    Part of my catchment area for business includes the premium market homes in Bowden, Hale Barns, Alderley Edge, Prestbury, Mobberly, Knutsford and Didsbury. Nearly all except apartments are large detached with grounds, often with 12+ rooms plus gyms / pools / cinemas etc. Prices go from £2-million up, and higher-end home will tip the scales at £5-million or more. Since the crash in 2007, there's been and increasing trend to do extensive remodelling on these types of houses. Anything that has been reworked in the last 10 years or so will have a full structured wiring package in place. Quite a while ago (2008/2009 I think) I did come across a story from a developer where a prospective buyer dismissed one house because it wasn't fully wired. I haven't come across that since, but that's because in most cases the house has already been upgraded, or it's being bought with a view to doing major works.

    Coming more down to earth, I've got customers who have barely moved on from Sky in the lounge and the bedroom, and Freeview to the rest of the house. Their needs are more basic because they're either not so tech-savvy, or they're just not interested. Trying to get them to pay a small premium for something they either don't understand or don't value is an uphill struggle.

    You see, for the average person, they won't really appreciate the benefits of what structured wiring can bring to the gear they may own or buy after moving until they've lived with it for a while. How do you get them to do that?

    What I would suggest for you is what happens with some of the developers that I work with. Since the walls and floors will already be open, run the cabling to all the key points (I've already detailed that in your previous thread), but don't fit the socket wall plates. Use blanking plates instead. Leave the cable tails coiled up inside the pattress or back boxes.

    I would also wire two ways for TV, radio, satellite. The first is a multiswitch which will pull together all three services. The addition to that would be a direct connection from the dish position to the most likely location for a Sky Q main box. You want two wires for that. This covers you for Freeview, Freesat, FM, DAB and Sky Q.

    Should someone want Virgin media then the VM guys will run their own cabling. The best you can do is have trunking buried in the walls and under the floors to facilitate pulling cable with the minimum disruption.

    If this or any other reply was helpful to you, then please do the decent thing and click the T-H-A-N-K-S button. It appears when you hover the mouse pointer near the Quote Multi-quote buttons. This is the proper way to show your thanks for the time and help someone gave you
     
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  7. EzioSuffolk

    EzioSuffolk

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    Yes, thanks Lucid.
    I very much wanted to go with your suggestion, but was trying to get a little more information: specifically how many cables should be put in/between each room. ['Run the cabling to all the key points' was a little too vague for me].

    I'm really sorry, but I still don't get what you mean by 'wiring two ways'. That's two cables, presumably, but between where and where? Is that two cables to every room requiring media from a central 'hub' point, or what?


    The comments about my motivations for this are admittedly a bit muddled, but irrelevant. I shouldn't have attempted to justify my reasons for wanting it - I'd just 'liked the sound of' your earlier advice and wanted/want to implement it properly. :)

    Ezio
     
  8. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Fair point. If something isn't clear to you, then you can ask for specific clarification. Starting another thread along the same lines will, in most cases, get you the same answer as before. So if you need to know exactly what's meant by a certain phrase, then you should really ask specific questions.


    Wiring for Ethernet is like the spokes radiating out from the hub on a bicycle wheel. The hub is a central point. You decide where that central point (hub) might be e.g. the basement, the eaves cupboard in a loft extension, a cupboard under the stairs, a dedicated part of a room.

    What you need to bear in mind is that the hub will need an Ethernet connection to whatever router it is that provides Internet access. That might mean the hub point also being the point where the incoming BT or Virgin Media cable point terminates, or it might be sufficient to put in an Ethernet cable between the hub point and where the Internet Service Provider's (ISPs) router is currently (or likely to be) located. Should you forget to plan for this, and you decide the hub point is going to be somewhere buried in the middle of the house, then you ask VM or BT to wire up to that point, don't be surprised if they say no or want to charge you extra for the work involved.

    Also, their services won't include moving furniture, lifting floorboards and chasing walls plus all the making-good that goes with that afterwards. If your ISP is Virgin Media, and you ask them to install to somewhere inaccessible, then you'll end up with coax cable running along the tops of your skirting boards. It pays to plan ahead.



    For Ethernet wiring, every socket point throughout your home has a Cat cable wired back to the hub. (Spokes on a bicycle wheel concept). Ethernet cables are never looped through daisy-chain-fashion from socket to socket. Wiring a single Ethernet cable to a room that requires several devices to be hardwired isn't the end of the world, but you'll need to use a powered splitter to share the Ethernet connection between those devices. That will never look as neat as a row of Ethernet sockets on a wall panel.


    What do we mean by key points?
    Simply, the place on the wall behind any device that would benefit from a wired Ethernet connection. For example, you might want your bedroom TV wall mounting and all the cables hiding. The place behind the TV will have a power socket, and an aerial connection, maybe a satellite cable point too, and an Ethernet port. This is a key point.

    Let's say you're going to wall mount the TV for the lounge, but you also want to have a Sky or VM box for TV, and maybe the electronics for a surround system, and perhaps you'll also have a Blu-ray player and an amazon Firestick. Maybe you would prefer the various boxes to be hidden away in a cupboard which is perhaps a couple of feet below the TV, or maybe somewhere off to one side.

    In this room then, you have two key points. You would add Ethernet points along with the wall sockets for power and signal and HDMI and speaker cables.

    Where you're perhaps planning for a future buyer, and you're looking to remove any potential obstacles and head-off any minor objections, you would want to cover the most likely options that they have for receiving TV services. Freeview is easy. That's covered simply by providing an aerial signal to any recorder box location and to the TV point (the key points).

    Freesat (TV via a satellite dish rather than the aerial) requires one cable per tuner to each key point. The position behind the TV is a key point. The TV has ONE Freesat tuner; therefore you'd wire up for one satellite signal cable to this key point.

    The place where any TV recorder might live though will need more than one satellite signal cable. Any decent Freesat recorder will need two cables. This key point then requires power, and HDMI connections, and Ethernet, and an aerial feed, and any speaker cable ends, and two satellite signal cables.

    Sky Q is satellite TV, but the Q box requires a feed from a different type of LNB (the device on the end of the arm where the cables connect for a satellite dish). The standard LNB for Freesat (and Sky before it changed to Sky Q) just won't work for Sky Q. So, if the aim is to cover as many bases as possible, then for satellite reception where you're unsure if a new owner might choose Freesat or Sky Q, then you would wire for both eventualities, i.e. you would wire up two ways.

    You would have the standard satellite wiring which would work for Freesat and ordinary Sky+HD, and then you would have two extra wires which would go to a point on the outside of the building where a satellite dish for Q might be located in the future. These wires would be just for the Sky Q signal feed because (a) it's not compatible with Freesat, and (b) it is not compatible with any signal distribution gear that might be used for Freesat. The wiring for the Q LNB signal goes point-to-point, from the dish directly to the recorder point.

    While we are on the subject of Sky Q, there is talk of Sky launching a full Sky TV service where there is no dish required. It would use the internet instead. This is another good reason to cable up for Ethernet, because - if this ever happens - the average wireless router provided by Sky would really struggle to support a main box recording a couple of channels while playing live to the main TV and serving a couple of mini players. Also, if relying on wireless for that, the signal would take a hammering as soon as some additional devices stared to access the wireless network e.g. a couple of smart phones, a tables, an Alexa or Google speaker or two, someone gaming online, someone else downloading a film or streaming from Netflix/amazon/Apple TV. You know; all the stuff that typically happens over a weekend or in an evening when the whole family is home.

    Sky originally planned for this to happen in the UK in 2018, then 2019, but now the project has been quietly sidelined. Meanwhile, the service has launched for Sky's Italian customers.



    If this or any other reply was helpful to you, then please do the decent thing and click the T-H-A-N-K-S button. It appears when you hover the mouse pointer near the Quote Multi-quote buttons. This is the proper way to show your thanks for the time and help someone gave you
     
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  9. Tigercubrider

    Tigercubrider

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    When I first had virgin installed, they were happy to drop me off a reel of cable and let me run it along the house front, into the attached garage, up into a bedroom, up into the loft, run it around the loft towards the back of the house and into a room at the rear. My loft was so messy it was easier to do that than tidy it up for an installer.
    If your hub was in the centre of the house, you might be able to go that route?
     
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  11. JBR

    JBR

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    I have a reel of Virgin cable kicking around somewhere. It has crossed my mind to use it to extend my router, presently in the back room, into the front room where it might be of more use to us.
    The only thing is, I don't know what sort of connections they use and where I can get them.
    I assume that a few yards of extra cable would not compromise the signals too much.
    Can anyone please help?
     
  12. Sureitsoff?

    Sureitsoff?

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    for anyone thinking of fitting tv/sat/data outlets and /or power in one location ie behind tv this might be useful
    https://www.cef.co.uk/catalogue/products/175117-12-module-enclosure

    i wish this had been available when I fitted all the relevant sockets in my house, would have made it neater

    the catalogue also suggests using in a kitchen enviroment with switches labelled for hob/washing machine/etc
     
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  13. Lucid

    Lucid

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    I tend not to fit AV wall panels with sockets any more, or certainly not behind TVs. I use brush plates instead. LINK

    There are three main reasons for this:

    #1. The plug ends with the cable tails stick out from the wall too far. This kind of thing is okay at skirting board level with aerial and satellite plugs, or with banana plugs for speakers. The chances are you're going to have some space for the cable tails and plug length. Up on a wall though, especially where the TV is wafer thin and you're aiming for that 'floating TV' look and using the typical slim wall bracket that leaves very little space behind the telly, then a bunch of plugs sticking out ruins the effect. (Yes, 90 degree / right-angle plugs and adapters are availablei, but it still looks ugly and now theres an added point of potential failure with the extra joints)

    #2. Trying to fit the wires and plug ends in behind the panel is a colossal PITA. Take HDMI for example; the wall socket is effectively a back-to-back connector, so you have the same plug length issues as the front, but now compounded by even less space and a whole bunch of other cables in the way too. Euro modules ping out, or something gets crushed and broken. A deep box like the one @Sureitsoff? linked to is a big help if there's space for it.

    #3. When fitting the first TV, you'll often find that the cables sold in packets are too long; so now you need to bundle them up some way and try to make it look... well... not too messy.

    Then theres changing the TV. The new one is likely to be bigger, and maybe the sockets are in a new position, so you go through all this hassle again, except this time it's harder to reach behind because the screen is so big.


    I do a couple of things. First I make sure any wall chase is deep enough to fit some decent-sized trunking. After all, if we're future-proofing then I will need space to pull new cable at some point. Next, I install cables long enough that they cab reach the telly sockets. That actually gives me better sinal integrity too because there are no joints in the cable chain.

    Here's the really good bit. With the cable loose in the trunking, I can pull out just enough to reach the socket. There's no more bundles of surplus cable to deal with. If the TV changes, and I need more or less cable to reach a socket, I pull it through or push the surplus back in to the wall. The cables also lay flat against the wall.

    I make an exception for power and Ethernet cables. There are TVs with captive mains leads, so either way, they'll need a power socket on the wall. as for Ethernet, I might have two cables in the wall but only need one socket live for a device.


    If this or any other reply was helpful to you, then please do the decent thing and click the T-H-A-N-K-S button. It appears when you hover the mouse pointer near the Quote Multi-quote buttons. This is the proper way to show your thanks for the time and help someone gave you
     
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  14. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Triax make multiswitches that can support SKY Q. So it is possible to have it as part of an integrated system. Whether it is worthwhile is another matter.
     
  15. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Yep, you're right. I did think about adding that info. It's a tricky one. Just how far do you go?

    Where someone is looking to wire up for their own benefit, then I could make a case for talking about the different types of multiswitches. In this case though, the OP calls for some basic future-proofing, and it turns out this isn't even for their own benefit. They're trying to second-guess what the next house buyer might want at some unspecified point in the future. Talk about crystal ball gazing :LOL:

    To compound things, the owner was struggling with the concept of wiring up Ethernet to each point that requires it. It can be tricky-enough to pick up new ideas when you've got some of the gear already such as Sky Q. But it's far more difficult for novices when we're talking about gear in theory, and maybe the extent of their knowledge is an 8-way aerial amp and Wi-Fi/Internet/Broadband all mean the same thing. :whistle: I hate the idea of just throwing product numbers at an enquiry and hoping for the best that the person asking can pick their way through all the technicalities.

    On top of this, I've had tech-savvy homeowners who have had structured cabling done, then sold their house at some point and passed on my details to the new owners who really haven't a clue and, more to the point, aren't that interested. Like I said, tricky all round, so I treat each enquiry here on its own merits. By all means though feel free to chip in if you feel that something essential is missing (y)
     
  16. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Overall you are probably right.

    I did notice though, that as well as full dSCR multiswitches, TRIAX also do an "add on switch", designed to allow SKY Q boxes to be fed from existing setups, without major re-egineering.
     
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  17. Sureitsoff?

    Sureitsoff?

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    sorry to but in plugwash but do you have a link for the triax add-on?
     
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