Newbie Help Please !!!!

Marcus D

Active Member
Right just moving to new house which needs a full re wire so planning to go for an av install too.

I am basicaly trying to achieve :-

SKY (eventually HD) in around 5 rooms - not sure if cloned or multi room yet
Digital TV in 5 rooms
Internet access in 5 rooms
Email access in 5 rooms
PC access in 5 rooms

and if possible access to movies and audio stored on a server pc.

My questions are
1. Is CAT5E the way to go ??
2. Is windows media the best operater for this ?
3. Will it be possible to access different movies from the PC is different rooms at the same time


Stop laughing, I said I was a newbie

:lease:
It just seems that now is the perfect time to do this as we are due to move in a 2-3 months so i want to plan this as best I can.

I have been googling this for a while and keep stumbling over a 'Abitana' home network but it looks an expensive way to achieve what I am after - Anyone have any idea on supply only costs ?

Soooo many questions, please help guys asd this is my only chance to get this right

Thanks


Marcus
 
S

Simoncwr

Guest
Hi Marcus

What were your intentions regarding the room setups? Are you intending to put in TV's and get them to run all the sources and audio, or were you thinking of amp's and seperate ceiling/wall speakers? Do you intend to run a centralised AV system, or are you intending to have your main rig in the lounge, possibly running zone 2 and 3 out to other rooms?

This is not a simple question so I need more idea of where you are going!

Anyway, some food for thought:

Cat5e is the way to distribute your PC network. I have mine centralised in a cupboard, so all the cables come back to a patch panel. My telephone point is also there, as is my wireless router. Job sorted.

Cat5e will also distribute HD, but it requires 2 runs of cable because of the bandwidth. The terminations to convert are expensive, circa £350 a set.

I use 5cv with a two core IR/control core to link my lounge and master bed. My Denon in the lounge does the switching.

Don't forget to run humble coax as well, if only for the magic eye control of your Sky boxes. Again, cat5e will do this but you are back to baluns at £100 a set.

WMP is currently the default method, and is built into my Denon, but I have been told that Apple is launching a product in the USA which will stream your audio files.

The best way to do the movies is via a dedicated server. This is seriously expensive. I looked into it for my place but decided that £10k plus was a bit excessive! A PC will do the job, but I doubt you will be watching different movies in each room (I am happy to be corrected if this situation has changed!).

Anyhows please give a clearer idea of the layout and I will try and answer your questions.

Simon
 

Paul_Maddocks

Active Member
I agree with above, CAT5e is the way to get network (and thus internet access, email access etc 2 each room).

You will need Coax to distribute the sky. If you are unsure of what you actually want sky wise in each room I would recommend running 2 coaxs to each room (then you can have RF2 out sky, sky digibox or sky+ / HD digibox.). However remember that to give you the RF2 output, you will need at least 3 coaxs in 1 location (treat this as the primary location where you will definatly have a sky box (e.g. lounge). Use a DC compitible distribution amp to replicate the RF2 out to multiple rooms.

You should try to find a location in the house that is both out of the way but also accessible (e.g part of a cupboard / loft) to have as a central cable location. All cables should run back to this point. I would also recommend running 4 cables from this point to the outside of the house where you want your sky dish to go and when installing, make sure you get a quad LNB and connect up all 4 cables (no need to go up the ladder if you want to change something!).

Regarding a media server. I run windows media centre on a PC out of the way in the wiring location, then use an Xbox360 to stream videos from there - removes the need to have the pc in the room. If you needed PC in each room, standard XP is fine if you don't worry about the TV functions / interface and then have a unit somewhere out of the way that can stay on all the time to host the videos. You could say this was a 'dedicated server' but in reality it can be any PC capable of hosting XP and large HDDs. use file sharing to control the access to the data across multiple PCs. You should not have a problems streaming videos to multiple PCs at once via this.

I have done something very similar, I have tried to answer your questions, however I am happy to post more details of my setup / thinking if that will be of any help.
 

Marcus D

Active Member
Well Im just glad I ve started to look at this now as its not as simple as I thought !!!

What I am looking to achieve (albeit cost dependant) is something along the lines of :-

SKY Box in Living room (not got HD yet but want to future proof as Im sure I will get it - once the enemy calms down a bit!).

A monitor in Kitchen, Master Bed, Office, Bed 2 and Bed 3 from which we can access SKY, 'normal' TV and Internet.

If its not tooo expensive I would like each room to be able to access files from a single PC that contains my films and audio. In addition a connection to 2no external CCTV units.

I stupidly thought that this would all be possible via CAT 5E connected back to teh central 'server ' unit to which I just add and new films or audio.

I presently have wireless net access but would rather cable it to each location if just for speed etc. I would like the option of playing a films in one room off the pc (IE Son watching kids films) me watching sky sports and the Enemy watching soaps etc in another room (seperate houses may also be an answer I suppose LOL)


Sorry for the crude descriptions but as my 1st post said Im a nervous newbie!!!!

Im my current house I have standard sky and analogue TV distributed thro coax to each room with a small dist amp in the roof space. This is limited in that the SKY broadcast is 'cloned' to each room. I would like to avoid this and am considering either SKY Plus/HD or a twin tuner PVR. This is further complicated by the fact I have a TH42PH9 panel in the living room which doesnt have its own tuner !!!!!

I really cant afford to spend to much on this but as we are planning to re-wire the new house top to bottom I want to build in as much flexibility as poss.

Is it possioble to have a PC with several hard drives in a central location witha TV card (s) and sky card?? This would then (ideally) be fed to each room / display location via the CAT 5E. Or just a big pc that is connected to the Sky and TV dish / aerial (spelling ??????) by some magic ' gizmo' that will allow it to be distributed around the house.

>>>> Or an I really way off mark here ?? <<<<<





I really appreciated the patience and response guys, thanks


Marcus
 
D

DigitalJase

Guest
The key to a successful install is getting the cabling right. Technology which change and so will the costs. But you are unlikely to re-cable your house regularly.

I would not recommend anything above CAT5e at the moment, unless you are loaded. Therefore plenty of CAT5e, Speaker Cable & CT100 ( Coax) around the house is worth while, even to points which you are not considering at the moment.

Also, think about positions of the cable runs within the rooms, don’t put all the cat5e at socket level, maybe some at light switch level and some behind TVs, especially wall mount ones, likewise for COAX. Speaker cable to different points, low, high or ceiling needs to be considered.

Think about either a centralised or decentralised cable plan or a combo.


Once you have the RIGHT cable plan in place, your choice of use is a lot more flexible and open to changes, but rarely works the other way round.
 

Marcus D

Active Member
Just a thought, but if I have a central server pc will it need a graphics card for each monitor to out put the image signal to ????
 
D

DigitalJase

Guest
Assuming you want the same image on multiple screens, you could buy a vga splitter and not multiple cards in the server as this will be a real pain and alot more time to configure. and Think about control, ie. pausing the film from multiple locations.

Just a thought, but if I have a central server pc will it need a graphics card for each monitor to out put the image signal to ????
 

vex

Well-known Member
If you are planning to diy it then the hardware and cable for the infrastructure should cost about &#163;500.00

This will give you a nice, clean, open network to be able to connect your electronics to, including PC and CCTV.

Where is the new house, it might be an idea to use an installer to design and supply the kit for you and then leave you to do it.

Chris
 

Paul_Maddocks

Active Member
Well Im just glad I ve started to look at this now as its not as simple as I thought !!!

What I am looking to achieve (albeit cost dependant) is something along the lines of :-

SKY Box in Living room (not got HD yet but want to future proof as Im sure I will get it - once the enemy calms down a bit!).

A monitor in Kitchen, Master Bed, Office, Bed 2 and Bed 3 from which we can access SKY, 'normal' TV and Internet.

If its not tooo expensive I would like each room to be able to access files from a single PC that contains my films and audio. In addition a connection to 2no external CCTV units.

Leave the CCTV separate for now as this is a whole new world of topic if you want the best advice.

I stupidly thought that this would all be possible via CAT 5E connected back to teh central 'server ' unit to which I just add and new films or audio.

Well you can have the server connected to the network, then use compatible media extenders to each room which act as the interface between server and TV

I presently have wireless net access but would rather cable it to each location if just for speed etc. I would like the option of playing a films in one room off the pc (IE Son watching kids films) me watching sky sports and the Enemy watching soaps etc in another room (seperate houses may also be an answer I suppose LOL)

Media in Room 1, Sky in room 2 and TV in room 3 would be possible as long as the soap is on normal freeview / analouge and goes via TV in built tuner. You would need multiple sky boxes / dish feeds / multiroom subs for Room 2 and 3 to be via sky at the same time

Sorry for the crude descriptions but as my 1st post said Im a nervous newbie!!!!

Im my current house I have standard sky and analogue TV distributed thro coax to each room with a small dist amp in the roof space. This is limited in that the SKY broadcast is 'cloned' to each room. I would like to avoid this and am considering either SKY Plus/HD or a twin tuner PVR. This is further complicated by the fact I have a TH42PH9 panel in the living room which doesnt have its own tuner !!!!!

Please bear in mind twin tuner units do not often provide separate outputs for each tuner. the 2nd tuner is usually dedicated to the recording functions (not my area so more research might prove me wrong here! Regarding connecting the panel, you could probable get a HDMI / component connection interface so you could easily connect the sky hd box via that to panel. the other method would be to use an AV amp which has the ability to 'upscale' all connections up via a hdmi output. This would also connect to the interface board in the panel.

I really cant afford to spend to much on this but as we are planning to re-wire the new house top to bottom I want to build in as much flexibility as poss.

Cabling and faceplates could be done for way less than £500. As previous people have said, look to what you might want to do in the future and plan that way. It won't be easy to change later! If you can't afford all the equipment now, the easier you make it with the cables the better things will be

Is it possioble to have a PC with several hard drives in a central location witha TV card (s) and sky card?? This would then (ideally) be fed to each room / display location via the CAT 5E. Or just a big pc that is connected to the Sky and TV dish / aerial (spelling ??????) by some magic ' gizmo' that will allow it to be distributed around the house.

I would try and separate the idea of the PC feeding all your tvs directly. This would require either a TV out split, or multiple VGA cables around the house which are not only difficult to run by expensive. Try to keep the different sources (sky / pc media server / tv) spearate in the planning becuase you will run into major issues with technology if you combine it all together

>>>> Or an I really way off mark here ?? <<<<<

I have added answers in bold above.
 

Paul_Maddocks

Active Member
I will second Vex, based on the ideas so far you might be better off to get an installer or someone to help you achive what you want / source supplies.

Bear in mind though with CAT5 and Coax there will be terminating and crimping etc involved. This is be no means rocket science but without the correct tools it is not like plug sockets where you strip the cable and screw it in though!

I was luck enough to have a friend who helped me cover all the angles, install the cabling and lend me some of the tools required (coax strippers and crimps especially!)

I would be happy to assist with a consult for the plans. Pm if you are interested.
 

Marcus D

Active Member
Once again guys thanks for all your comments and advice, it's really appreciated.

Your comments are directing me into thinking I am chasing the rainbow somewhat. At present I have TV and SKY distributed (quite easily and cheaply) via coax and a wireless router on the pc giving me net and pc access where needed. I had got it into my head that using CAT 5 would give not only the benefit of a fast, more reliable and more secure net/pc connection but the ADDED benefit of carrying the TV/SKY/Audio.

I am a Surveyor by trade and through my work most new facilities have CAT 5 E or some form of CAT cabling running here there and everywhere hence my recent interest in using it.

I am now thinking that I have over complicated this issue and perhaps what I have installed inmy present house just needs to be replicated (albeit a tad tidier !!)

Paul your advice to treat all systems seperatley has now been taken - thanks for directing mo on this one. Like I say I wrongly assumed that CAT 5E would be able to manage TV/SKY/PC. Is there another cable option which would lend itself to carrying theses various types of signal or shall I keep them seperate? I just feel that not only will a single cable system be easier to install it will be cheaper too ???

Again thanks for your comments and keep them coming.

Marcus

PS : Any budget costs for a scheme design guys - I can provide plans and elevations in auto cad 2007.

PPS : The property is in Oxfordshire
 

Paul_Maddocks

Active Member
Hi,

I think further up someone mentioned that you get various converter systems to change cat5e to various outputs but I don't think they will offer you everything you need and also they will have high costs (due to complexity of components!)

I would agree that a replication of the sort of system you have at the moment (with the addition on CAT5 cabling maybe to support media extenders / PCs) is the way to go. Obviously with a blank canvass you can plan better + use the experience from before to install the new system.

In terms of single cable solutions, nothing springs to mind to do both, although I have not looked into this beyond my own experience from installing last year. however in terms of ease of install - when pulling 1 cable it is no problem to tape additional cables on in to pull at the same time. During my install for each set of sockets I pulled 2 coax and 2 cat5e at the same time (helped that they were all going to the same place). This sped up the process no end!

I can't read autocad files, can you do a couple of jpegs of the plans (e.g. 1 of each top level floor plan and 1 of the elevation) and post them on here. also can you provide any suggestions for where you would want all the cables to end up (I guess this could be trickey with you not acutally being in the house yet!)
 
S

Simoncwr

Guest
Remember that if you go Sky+ or HD you will need two dish feeds to the central location. My lounge has 4 coax feeds to cope with this, two for the box, one back into the loft to a distribution amp (make sure it allows the 9v pass through for the remote eyes), and one for my FM aerial.

I strongly suggest you put in a 5cv to your master bed as then you can watch HD from the remote location (I wrongly stated that it has a 2 core control feed, it is of course 4 core)
 

Marcus D

Active Member
Once again guys thanks for all the help and suggestions, top bunch here.


Has anyone heard of or installed a 'Abitana' home network ??? I have found these from googling and it appears to be ideal. Any advice as to suitability and costs would be great.

Failing this it looks like it will be similar to existing install but with addition of CAT5E to each location.

Do I need two CAT5E feeds to each room or am I reading this wrong -and if it is suggested...why so??? SUrely one will suffice for PC distribution around home (working on new MOD facility that has data, comms,alarms etc etc etc etc etc all running through one)

Forgetting about distributing TV/Sat via the CAT 5E and using coax (any spec advice for coax??) could I easily watch a movie stored on the server pc in any location, assuming this is carried by the CAT5E as a standard network would ? And would the same follow for audio stored on the server PC ?

Last question (for now !!!!) what is " 5cv "

Thanks


Marcus
 
D

DigitalJase

Guest
There are a few systems like Abitana around, this one uses a unqiue cable ( cat5 & cat7 combo ).

I personally wouldn't worry about if its one cable or two, some people sell systems based on one cable, which turns out to be mulitple cables in one insulated cover. The above cable will be more expensive than Cat5E.

As for coax, I would say CT100, but others prefer WF100 as it is less likley to kink then CT100, so depends on your skills and cable routes.

I got a bit lost on your last paragraph, are you asking about running video & audio over Coax ?
 

Paul_Maddocks

Active Member
The thing with CAT5e is that only some of the wires are used for data transmission. In theory, if you used a breakout you could use some of the wires for other things. You can use the physical cat5 cable for a number of functions. Do you mean all functions run down 1 single cable or that all the different functions run over CAT5 cable (I use some of the cat5 ports in the house to run my normal telephones. took a bit of fiddling in the loft with the BT phone point and some 'mod-tap' adaptors but now it works really well, as I can technically location a phone anywhere I have a patch port on the wall (after a bit of re-patching in the loft to a spare phone socket!))

I would not recommend this however but thats more becuase I have no experience of it.

You don't have to run 2 cat5 cables but its the thinking about the future. I needed at least 2 to some places in other locations I put 4 (pc intensive places like the office / study for example!)

I would say if you can afford 2 boxes of cable, run 2 as you can tape them together and pull them as once. So there is no real time impact.

Also single faceplates have enough space to accept 2 CAT5 modules so you would not be saving on space or anything by adding an additional cable to the wallbox.
 

Marcus D

Active Member
Sorry Jase I was not being very clear.

My initial thoughts were that I would distribute TV/SAT/PC/AUDIO(from pc)/MOVIES(from pc) all over CAT5E. I have been getting some good advice from the guys here and now feel that I will have to distribute the TV/SAT via coax, using a pair to each location and the PC/AUDIO/MOVIES via CAT5E to each location, again installing a pair.

Am I correct in that I should run all CAT5E back to a central location where I will have a server PC which contains the music and films to share along with moden for net access and run the coax pairs back to the living room where the sky box will be located.????

Are there any issues in running a pair of Coax and a pair if CAT5E quite close together?

Whats is 5cv that people kep suggesting... I know what a 2 CV is :D

Finally (for now) I am looking to have 2 cctv cam externally, how shoudl this signal be carried ??? Coax or CAT5E - I assume if coax then I will need to modulate this to RF as the cams Ive seen are composite video.


Thanks all, espicially Paul - You're one switched on cookie - Thanks mate
 

Paul_Maddocks

Active Member
Firstly no idea what 5cv is. It could mean 5vc (5 volts??).

What I would suggest is run all the cat5e and coax back to a central location. To be the neatest possible, use a patch panel to terminate all the cat5e and sat cables. For sat I did the following

4 feeds from sky dish run back to central location (terminate into 'F' patch panel)
all coax to different rooms run back to same location (terminate into 'F 'patch panel)
Use short F (male) - F (male) leads to link dish feeds to rooms. Use same to link RF distribution amp for cloning the RF2 to other rooms. Link amp to other rooms as needed.

Terminate CAT5 into patch panel, get a switch with necessary number of ports. Connect all patch ports you need to switch. Connect server to switch

In terms of running cables together, I have 18 coax and 16 cat5e all squeezed into 1 piece of 25mm x 25mm trunking going up 1 wall - had to use a cable tie at the top / bottom to keep the lids tight - no interfearance at all from end (although not all cables are used all the time (e.g. a few spare coax / cat5 not patched!)

CCTV - did this as well. I used the same coax as for the rest of the house (since I had loads!). I also run some 12v capable cable along with it for the power for the cameras. I purchased a 12v dc 3amp supply to put in the loft to power the cameras (inlcudeds battery backup options!). Personally I found it easiest to terminate the Coax with the same F connectors I used everywhere else and then use an adaptor to change the F to a suitable connector (in my case BNC). This obviously meant a small cost increase, however I can be confident that if I replace the cameras with new ones with different connections, I will just have to get different adaptors. You should not have to modulate for RF as the cable is quite happy just carring the video signal. However it depends what you will be watching the cameras on (most installs like this use either a standalone or PC based DVR system to display and record the cameras. Both can be picked up on ebay at reasonable prices. However if you go down the PC DVR route be very careful about the cards you get. some sport up to 16 camera connections, but can actually only handle 1 or 2 streams at 30fps (full record) so its worth paying out a bit more if you want the functionality. Also the same goes for cameras, avoid cheap ones like the plague!)
 
S

Simoncwr

Guest
Sorry, installer speak there. 5cv is 5 core component video. 2 for stereo sound, 3 for RGB. The stuff we use is from QED and comes with a seperate small 4 core in the centre for remote IR control. It's a neat solution in one cable to carry HD, but not very cheap, which is why I suggest only running it to important zones, and flood wiring coax to carry composite video and audio to less important areas (secondary beds etc.).

On another note I quite like the look of Hewlett Packards new media server solution with built in streaming. Check it out at CNet.

Simon
 

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