What Cables and How Long?

StevieB

Active Member
Hi Guys, I'm hoping someone can help.

I wasn't sure which section to post this thread, so I've put it here and in the Cables section, so Moderators please forgive me for repeating myself.

I am in the process of refurbing a room in my house and have the oportunity to insert all my cabling into the stud wall that will connect to my new 32" LCD when I get it (Not decided on which one yet).

Here is my dilemna.

At the moment, I have Sky Digital in the room, which has to be connected to the screen (It's the Panasonic box and only has Scart and Rf outputs), but I will also be connecting my new HTPC to this screen as well which will be playing all my DVD's, CD's, games, internet etc.

What I need to know is, what cables do I need to insert into my wall and how long can I make them?

The LCD will be HD Ready, so it should have DVI/HDMI connectors, but I also need to make allowances for if/when I decide to upgrade my Sky to the new HD version if/when it comes out.

The reason why I need to know how long I can make them, is that it is not ideal to have the boxes near where the screen is, and there could well be 10-12 feet between them.

Will I lose any picture quality if I have a Scart lead that long?
What if I connected my Sky box to my HTPC through an analogue tuner, will I lose quality of picture that way?

Can anyone help me please?

Thanks in advance.
 

Harryo

Active Member
I have found Mark Grant Cables very helpful, try contacting him via the "Cables and Interconnects" forum.

Cheers - Harryo
 

David PluggedIn

Active Member
Hi Steve

It is tricky trying to decide which cables to put in. DVI is a fairly safe bet, as is HDMI, but there are restrictions on the lengths of the cables , e.g. around 7.5 to 10m max with DVI (and there may be issues at that length). If you plan to do everything through your PC, then you can get away with just the DVI. If you want to be able to connect your Sky HD box in the future or any other HDMI box, then you need to either invest in a switcher in front of your cable, or run multiple cables. I would also advise that for the costs involved, that you run some CAT5 cable in there as well, they mean that should you need to you can run pretty much any other signal type up there as well (VGA for example, useful if your display has a poor HDMI or DVI implementation that wont support its native resolution)

so, if it were me I would put in a DVI, and HDMI and a couple of CAT5 cables, and you should be pretty much covered..

hope that helps
 

StevieB

Active Member
Thanks for that Dave, really helpful.

Just one question though, if I do run everything through my PC, including Sky at the moment, will I lose any picture quality, rather that connecting my Sky box directly to the screen.

The reason I ask, is all I have read on the LCD section, is how poor the picture quality is on most LCD's when using analogue signals, so if I'm making it worse by putting it through my PC, then the pictures are going to be even worse aren't they?
 

David PluggedIn

Active Member
Hi Steve
As always in all things AV, there are lots of 'yes-but-maybe' type issues to contend with. In general, feeding a standard definition video signal out of a DVD player or set top box to an LCD or any other digital display, results in an inferior picture. The solution is to give the best picture quality to the display, and minimise the amount of work that the display is doing. To do this you need a device that will output a decent HD type signal, so for that you either need a PC, a HD sky box or an upscaling DVD player.
At the moment, the best picture quality you can get from sky and a PC is using the SweetSpot video processors, this takes your analogue RGB video from the SCART on the back of the sky box and scales it up to HD resolution using your PCs video card. The results are certain to be better than feeding the RGB video direct to a SCART input on a TV type display. Drop me a line if you need more information

cheers
 

StevieB

Active Member
Thanks Dave, that sound great.

Does that work with Microsoft MCE 2005 as well, as that is what my PC runs?
 

David PluggedIn

Active Member
The card for Sky doesnt (ie the SweetSpot Video Processor). Basically if picture quality is your prime concern then any external set top box in to MCE is a compromise, as the cards supported within MCE lose a lot of picture quality. For the best performance you need to use the SweetSpot MCE, which is an internal freeview card, or run the regular SweetSpot outside of the MCE application , starting from within the XP desktop using DScaler. ... or use a different frontend than MCE!

cheers
 

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