Question Cabling queries - extenders, futureproofing, channelling...

Discussion in 'Cables & Switches' started by scldnuk, Jan 28, 2018.

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  1. scldnuk

    scldnuk
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    Hello all - first post - so apologies if there's anything wrong here...

    I would be really grateful of any feedback on some decisions I’ve been rushed into making much quicker than expected as building work on my flat moves quite quickly. Though I’ve had this at the back of my mind for years I only have a few days to work this out properly and I’m worried I might miss something without enough time to mull it over for a while.

    The setup is going in a cupboard a few metres away from the TV because (a) it’s close to the router/network point and (b) will mean fewer connections at the TV end - so (c) will look neater and (d) save money as I won’t need as many expensive faceplates at the TV end and I can use cheaper ones within the cupboard.

    The big issue is the floor in the room will have tiles and underfloor heating so I won’t be able to put cables underneath once it’s laid. The initial setup will have channeled some cables down there and as much as I’d like to futureproof things, without having had time to think, I’m trying to make sure I haven’t missed out anything I need to put in place now.

    The gear is Sky/NAS/Apple TV/Chromecast/Blu ray/Wii and a receiver.
    4k will be a concern in the near future though not with the current equipment.

    I am thinking of having the receiver do all the source switching and send everything out of that to the TV. Rather than doing this by long HDMI cable I have recently discovered HDMI extenders exist, and these interest me so I can send the remote control commands back to the cupboard as well.

    Questions:
    - Is this plan a sensible way of doing this? Will the picture quality suffer in any way by using HDMI extenders and would it be better to get everything cabled in?
    - Is there anything else I should be thinking of or that I can futureproof into this - 4k, I have just noticed HCDP in my early research - is there anything else coming down the line?
    - Do extenders support ARC - I want to send the audio from the TV back to the receiver in the cupboard and hope this would do it?
    - Do extenders turn on/control equipment (CEC?) in the cupboard when the TV tries to communicate with the gear in there?

    Any recommendations of extenders which tick the above boxes or have given a good experience would be welcomed!

    A few other questions that run alongside this…
    - Can any HDMI extenders run on a one-to-many setup? Could I have the setup above - a ‘transmitter’ in the cupboard, sending the signal down Cat5 to a ‘receiver’ at the living room TV - but also have another Cat5 cable running from the same ‘transmitter’ to a second (or more) ‘receiver’ in the bedroom?

    - The speaker setup is a whole other nightmare I’m considering yet. I have Q Acoustics 2010s and the TV area is open plan, meaning the rear speakers would have to be on stands in the middle of the room. This may look odd, but I’m most concerned about how can I run speaker cable to them in the middle of the room through a tiled floor. I don’t want to break through this in the middle of the room in case the layout changes in future. I’ve considered ceiling mounting but they may look too big and bulky hanging down. For all these reasons I am wondering about a wireless soundbar system like a Sonos when my bank balance recovers as something like Sonos 1’s would be much more discrete hanging from the ceiling. This introduces it’s own problems of having to get power to them while they’re up there though… This may be a question for a speaker or soundbar sub-forum, but I’d be interested to know how other people manage to cable a surround sound setup in an open plan area with solid floors? Is a wireless system really the way to go - and if so, how do you get power in the middle of a room?

    Any pointers would be really welcome!
     
  2. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Future-proofing - means installing conduit plus a pull cord.

    HD - can be sent uncompressed over a single CAT cable using suitable Extenders, ideally you choose an Extender based on the HDBT standard.

    UHD - can be sent using 'visually lossless' compression over a single CAT cable, again HDBT is the way to go though the new generation of UHD compatible Extenders are very expensive and still quite rare.

    HDMI 2.1 - is the latest hardware spec released by HDMI.org, it will be late 2018/early 2019 before you see kit offering some or all of the New Features HDMI 2.1 has to offer. Alongside the new standard is a new cable certification programme for an 'Ultra High Speed' cable. It will be a while before the certification/production of those cables happens and early indications are that copper cables which can meet the Ultra High Speed certification are going to be very short (2m).

    CAT Extenders - always use solid core, non-CCA, CAT6.

    Face plates - avoid terminated plates and use 'brush' style plates instead. Saves you money and reduces the need for unwanted terminations.

    Hybrid Fibre HDMI - are proving the most reliable option for long run cables carrying UHD.

    Control - many devices now include a control App. or you can use a third party App. For 'in-cupboard' IR control look at the likes of Harmony who offer 'RF' capable Remotes which will work through walls and allow you to bring your various devices into a single handset.

    HDMI Distribution - lots of ways to split and mirror a signal to multiple Zones (Rooms). It can get difficult if the kit in the Zones has different capabilities (Main Zone 5.1 - secondary Zone 2.0). With Source devices now so much cheaper than they were a couple of years back it may be more efficient to simply add another Source in the Secondary Zone(s).

    Open Plan - very difficult to arrive at a true 'Surround Sound' experience in open plan areas. Post up a floor plan with seating layout indicated and folk can give you some guidance.

    Joe
     

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