Which TV Cables for an extension?

Discussion in 'Audio Visual' started by jackg, 2 Mar 2018.

  1. jackg

    jackg

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    Just after general advice as to what cables to fix behind the plasterboard to allow for TV, PC.
    In the sticks so poor mobile signal inside, no cable TV on the street, so a satellite dish would be required for Sky or whatever?
    In the lounge I have a socket for a TV aerial and that's it. This lounge will change to a bedroom soon.
    The router is by the master socket and the Cat5 cable links the router to the PC in the office room.
    I have seen Cat5 as the cable to use for TV, is that for satellite TV or HDMI?
    I don't have a TV so I don't know, but want to future proof.
    I have a decent hi fi system with some floorstanders and a decent turntable, the CD player broke some time ago and I play the piano mostly.
     
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  3. ericmark

    ericmark

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    My house, and mother house loads of redundant cables where I tried to future proof. My son even worse, he fitted a server in the loft and took a LAN cable to every radiator with the idea of hard wiring the TRV heads however you can only buy wireless heads.

    I got a repeater for mothers house, the router is in the front of house and it is hard wired to repeater in the rear of house so good wifi where ever I am in the house, found TV works better with hard wired LAN so TV plugged into repeater.

    I routed coax cables to rooms, however coax analogue output from sky box is rubbish, and it interferes with the digital freeview, so in the main use satellite boxes as the HDMI HD connection to the free to air satellite box is so much better than freeview or analogue signal from sky box.

    So in real terms you can't future proof, there are phone sockets throughout the house, only two used, one for router and one for cordless phones. I find I watch U-tube a lot, old films often mono-chrome not used freeview in nearly a year. We have it connected up, but satellite has so many more programs (not sky) but it is personal preference.
     
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  4. Lucid

    Lucid

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    The first Golden Rule is "You can never future-proof". It's a contradiction in terms. Nobody has the foresight to accurately predict what might happen in the AV market in the next 10 years let alone for 25+ years. What you can do though is make it easier to cope with change when the time comes. That means burying mini-trunking as cable tunnels in wall and under floors so that old cable can be pulled out and new cable pulled through.

    In the short term your signal cabling choices break down like this:

    Freeview/Freeview HD
    - aerial coax cable from a roof/loft aerial to a central distribution point (most likely an amplified splitter) then more aerial coax radiating out to the TV points in your home. The nation's primary TV service is Freeview/Freeview HD. The geographic coverage means it reaches something like like 98% of the UK population with at least the basic Public Service Broadcasting minimum number of channels. Aerial cable: Webro WF100, Triax TX100, Labgear PF100. Do not buy generic RG6 TV/Satellite coax or anything sold as "Low Loss" coax.

    Satellite (Freesat or Sky's subscription service) - the same WF100/TX100/PF100 cable in two runs from an outside wall position. The dish needs to face South South East at roughly 141-142 degrees compass bearing and with a clear line of sight to a patch of sky at an elevation of approx 24-25 degrees up from horizontal. Basically it's the same satellite for Freesat as for Sky and it sits quite low on the horizon. The dish position has to be considered carefully. Anything blocking the line of sight now or potentially in the future (trees growing for example) needs to be factored in otherwise you won't get a signal.

    The cable runs go direct from the dish to the receiver/recorder position. 1x cable for a simple satellite receiver (live viewing only), and 2x cables for SkyHD/Q or any Freesat recorder. The satellite signals from the LNB receiver on the dish cannot be distributed, so don't plan to put them with the the aerial signals even if your chosen aerial amp has a SAT input. Trust me on this, it will make your life very complicated if you ignore this advice. If you want multiple recorders then run another pair of cables from the dish to the recorder point. The exception is Sky Q. The main recorder has 2x cables, any subsequent additional boxes work from Wi-Fi or network cables.

    Enabling the streaming/download/on-demand services of any Freeview Plus/Freesat/Sky boxes - simplest way it to provide a network point and then hook up with some Ethernet cable (Cat5/Cat6).

    Virgin Cable - if your road is wired for Virgin media then the installers will take care of running the cable from the outside box to the Virgin router and TV recorder boxes. They're fussy about using cable installed by others. However, the cable to use if you do fancy pre-wiring is Webro HD100. This triple-shielded cable exceeds VM spec triple-shielded coax so as long as it hasn't been kinked or damaged during install then it should be more than acceptable. VM cable (your or theirs) mustn't go through any splitters or amps unless fitted by the VM installer.


    Ethernet cables for TV/Video/HDMI etc - at the moment you should restrict your plan for network cable to two functions: (1) Networking, which is IP data network connections for web and local server connections. (2) Point-to-Point replacement/alternative for long HDMI cables. This function does not involve any IP networking. The Cat cable carries a modified HDMI signal that is not IP compatible.

    Cat5 will support Gigabit networking (1000Mb) up to approx 100m so long at the environment isn't electronically too noisy. It is also a reasonable choice if your plan to use HDBaseT HDMI extenders. It is less successful with the later generation HDMI Balun systems as they tend to require Cat6 in single or dual run configuration if some significant distance is involved. Shorter runs on dual cable should be okay though. Check the specs of any Balun system and plan your wiring backbone accordingly.

    For live TV it's much simpler and cheaper to distribute via aerial coax and use each TV/recorder's Freeview tuner. It is possible to house several receiver/recorders in a comms room and then IP-ise the signals and distribute via a matrix system, but you'd be mad to do that unless money is no object and you insist on having a very minimalist-style installation.


    Trends in the TV market - Whilst it's not possible to predict with complete accuracy for the coming 5-10 year window, what we can do is look at current trends and make some educated guesses where things might head in some very general terms.

    - Streaming will continue to grow in importance and in take-up. For that reason networking will become central to the functionality of TVs and media boxes/recorders

    - Although linear television will decline in relevance to younger generations, Freeview will remain at the Governments choice for a national TV service. As such then, distributed TV signals via coax from a TV aerial is probably going to be around for the foreseeable future

    - Due to the increasing reliance on downloading and streaming there will be more pressure on home networks to support multiple connected devices at the same time. ISP-supplied wireless routers have generally been poor in this respect and so after-market routers are likely to remain important, as will wired networking for those devices that have the opport as way to make room for tablets and phones that can only connect via wireless
     
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  5. jackg

    jackg

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    Thanks to both of you.
    I live at the end of the phone line, literally, three miles to the exchange and fibre was enabled six months ago to the cabinet in the village, I have not upgraded so it is usually 1.25 -1.5meg download and 0.25 upload.
    Say I watch the three minute weather report on BBC or metoffice, often it stops without enough bandwidth, it depends on who is watching youtube next door, two hundred yards away.
    If I upgrade I might get 4-5meg at a guess, they quote 17 but that is a max.
    So I am not sure if this is good enough for video streaming?
    There are ten houses on this road of which this is the tenth from the centre of the village.

    So from what you say. Co ax from the aerial to the splitter in the loft and then to the room sockets.
    Two coax from the satellite to the hub, in the loft ?
    Then I stick cat 5 cable in for the PC and put in a couple more sockets for the TV in the lounge to link the router to the tv?
     
  6. Lucid

    Lucid

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    The TV aerial cable to the loft or wherever you plan to house the distribution amp - YES

    Satellite cable to the loft "hub" - No!! Where the hell did you get that idea? :confused:
    When I wrote "The cable runs go direct from the dish to the receiver/recorder position " I meant exactly that....... Most people have the Sky box or Freesat recorder under the main lounge TV, so that's where the satellite cables go to direct from the dish.

    Network points (Ethernet) - I'd wire at least one to every point that will have a TV or a recorder located. So, just to be absolutely bloody crystal clear... in the living room if you have a telly and a TV recorder of some description, then you put one Ethernet point behind the TV, and you put another one behind the recorder position.

    Given the speed of your ISP's current service, or what you might get if you upgrade the package, then providing network sockets behind every TV and any hardware locations (think: music system and games console as well as video/TV device) might seem overkill at this stage, but here's the thing.
    (1) Network speeds and the backbone infrastructure under ground and in exchanges is being upgraded continually. The services will catch up for live streaming speeds at some point. In the meantime, your current speed will support download video and definitely listen live music streaming.
    (2) Streaming in its various forms is only going to increase in importance, and not every device accessing the web can all co-exist happily on wireless. There are lots of reasons for that, but chief among them is that even with a dual band Wi-Fi router everything on fast 5GHz works at the speed of the slowest item.

    I've been to homes where there are three kids all using the web almost constantly with gaming, social media, streaming/catch-up TV, web surfing etc. Then mum and dad dip in too. Its just a huge traffic jam if everything tries to connect over Wi-Fi. Running stuff over Ethernet that can hard-wire
    relieves some of that congestion.

    When you wire back from all those Ethernet ports you're going to have a bundle of cables and more plugs that there are ports on the router. Don't worry about that at this stage. A decent router will support 4 or 5 Ethernet connections, so you can hook up the essentials immediately. At some point you'll need a bigger network switch, and they come in 8- 12- and 24- port versions. Just make sure you label your cable ends so you know which go to what sockets as you install.
     
    Last edited: 4 Mar 2018
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  8. flameport

    flameport

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    Check what the price of 'fibre' is with your provider (or others) - it may not be any more than you are paying now.
    I live in a rural area, and when fibre was available, upgrading to that with a significant increase in speed ended up with monthly payments £1 less.
     
  9. plugwash

    plugwash

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    Well they can but you need four lines from the dish and a device known of as a multiswitch to send the right signals to the right boxes. Afaict it's only worth it if you want more than 8 satellite tuners (4 twin tuner boxes) off a single dish.
     
  10. aptsys

    aptsys

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    Depending on the distribution amp, the LNBs can connect straight to the amplifier and be distributed from there, or even better through a multiswitch so that multiple receivers can be connected to the same dish.
     
  11. Lucid

    Lucid

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    Okay guys, this is getting a bit like splitting hairs, but here goes...

    1) Yes, multi-switches are a way to distribute the signals from an LNB. However, I try to keep advice limited to the context of the OPs enquiry, and here we have a fella who doesn't even own a TV.

    For the sort of gear he's likely to use in a simple domestic install then one has to think how a layman might interpret the basic information. One common point of confusion for the general public is that LNB aren't the same as the signal for terrestrial TV. So, where a TV signal can be split, an LNB one can't - well, not if you want to hang two satellite receivers off the two legs and use them independently, which would have been the whole point of splitting or distributing in the first place.

    Technically, two satellite receivers can work from the signal from one LNB if split, but only if both receivers are working from the same polarity and voltage feed. As soon as one of the receivers calls for a different combination then one or the other will get a signal loss.

    2) (This relates to point 1) Domestic aerial amplifiers/splitters with Sat 1 / Sat 2 inputs are a menace. They encourage the idea that LNB signals can be treated just the same as terrestrial TV.

    I've been called in to troubleshoot installs on more than one occasion where either a DIYer or a well-meaning electrician has installed something like a Labgear HDU681 as part of a major house refurb' and then been left scratching their head why Sky multi-room no longer works. Believe me, standing there telling the home owner that their single coax feed to each room isn't enough to provide two sat feeds and TV and radio no matter what it says on the sockets of the multiplexer plate isn't a comfortable conversation. It doesn't matter if "someone on the internet said it would work". That someone isn't going to come out and put things right nor pay for the extra gear and cabling.

    The bottom line is that the average person enquiring isn't tremendously technical, and all they want in the vast majority of cases is a simple solution that isn't going to cost them the earth. At the same time though that person needs enough information to avoid the major common mistakes; the biggest one being that Sat signals can be distributed just like TV signals simply because the amp has Sat 1 / Sat 2 inputs. It's not that cut and dried. There's a very specific set of circumstances where routing the Sat signals via a distribution amp works, but very few people fall in to that category.

    It's very easy to take a point out of context and pick it to bits. What I would ask is that you take a look at the whole picture and put yourself in the shoes of someone asking about solutions but without any great technical knowledge.
     
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