Structured Media Center

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Old 01-09-05, 03:42 AM
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Structured Media Center

Does anyone have any experiance with designing / installing a media center? I'm working on a design to finish off my basement for a "Home Office" and want to structure the phone and cable wiring. I want to avoid a dozen seperate cable and phone splitters. I've got some info for "Levitron" Structure Media Center and "Pass & Seymore" Network Solutions.

My incoming phone and cable lines are all in one spot now with 3 cable company splitters and 1 phone juction in a open wall. To do what I want, I will have a total of 8 cable outlets and 15 phone ports. On the cable side I'll be running a computer modem and Digital/HD interacive cable TV and standard cable TV. On the phone side just normal 1 line phone service. I also want to leave room to expand in the future, computer network, security system etc.

I've still got questions and hope someone here will have some suggestions. Which brand / set-up is better? Are ther other systems out there? For the cable do I need a enhanced RF distribution module or will a standard 1x8 splitter do? How will adding more lines affect my service / signal? On the phone side should I use the board /modules with individual wire connections, or put RJ-45 connecters on each phone line and use that type? Are there other questions I need to ask?

David
 
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Old 01-13-05, 01:00 PM
VooDooATL
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Think ahead

Good idea. I would run at a min. 2 CAT 5 and 1 coax to each room. You don't need to actually connect the rooms not in use. Actually I would avoid attaching the coax to the splitter if there is nothing on the other end.

Run everything back to a central location. You can connect you phone lines together with a "66 block" other called a punch down block. Use 2 different colors of CAT 5 if possible are wire one for phone, if not mark the "phone" ones.

In the future you can change the end and take it off the punch down if you want 2 ethernet ports in one room and no phone. Actually as I run a DIY DVR I have more need for ethernet then cable and phones are moving to IP. It may take some time, but your house should last a long time as well.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 08:04 PM
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I almost agree with everything VooDoo stated, with a couple of exceptions:
1) Run 2 coax, not 1 - this gives you several additional options that you wouldn't have with just 1 coax (video output from DVD players to the rest of the house, cable modem in the office and not in the panel, cameras, additional satellite feeds for DVR, additional cable/satellite feeds for PIP, etc.)
2) Don't use a 66 block for the phones, use a 110 block - it's much easier to install and punch down

And one additional comment - be sure to mark your wires clearly. You don't want to be tracing down wires in the future, mark them when you run them. Also, if you're not sure about whether to run a wire or not - RUN IT! You'll regret it later if you don't.

Good luck!
 
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Old 02-02-05, 12:33 AM
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Thanx for the input, but still have questions

Thanx guys for the input. The 110 block is what I was thinking for the phones and I'm going to run 3 coax to my new Home Office, 1 for modem, 1 for TV & 1 for future use and 2 to other new room and leave the existing 3 lines/rooms as is, for now. Good point to permantly lable the runs on install!

One thing I'm still not sure of is: "For the cable do I need a enhanced RF distribution module (Boost/Amplfier) or will a standard 1x8 splitter do? How will adding more lines affect my service / signal? " Especialy running Broadband modem and HD/digital TV with standard tv cable 8 ways. From the info I've found so far on the subject I'm thinking just a 1x8 2ghz splitter will do. Looks like more people have more problems with to much power/gain than low signal.

Also, SafeWatch "..., if you're not sure about whether to run a wire or not - RUN IT! You'll regret it later if you don't." NOW you've done it!

I was'nt sure if I should run Ithernet cable at the same time, I might just have to do that too. I was thinking I would just expand my wireless network but I'm now thinking of a hard wired system might be better and it sure would be a lot easyier to run the cables now.

Wireless or hard wired network (The network would be on 3 differant floors/levels) Any thoughts? Maybe a question for the computer forum?

Thanx again,
David
 
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Old 02-02-05, 09:05 AM
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One thing I'm still not sure of is: "For the cable do I need a enhanced RF distribution module (Boost/Amplfier) or will a standard 1x8 splitter do? How will adding more lines affect my service / signal? " Especialy running Broadband modem and HD/digital TV with standard tv cable 8 ways. From the info I've found so far on the subject I'm thinking just a 1x8 2ghz splitter will do. Looks like more people have more problems with to much power/gain than low signal.
Just a splitter should do. One note on that: get a 2-way splitter and an 8-way splitter - split the cable modem off <i>before</i> the TVs are split. This will give you optimum signal to your modem.

Wireless or hard wired network (The network would be on 3 differant floors/levels) Any thoughts? Maybe a question for the computer forum?
Simply put - both. It's a pretty safe bet to say hardwired is always to be faster than wireless. But, it's definitely safe to say that wireless is always going to be more convenient than hardwired. Do both. Even if you don't actually install the network and the jacks, make sure you've wired for them. In the future, if you want jacks in, it's easy enough to do. In the meantime, just use wireless for laptops, etc. IMO, desktops should always be hardwired - but I use my desktops for more than just surfing the internet too.

Good luck!
 
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Old 02-02-05, 09:59 AM
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SafeWatch, Another great idea "...to split the cable modem off before the TVs are split...." Thank you again for the suggestions. Now I think I'm ready to go purchase the stuff I'll need and start running cables. I will be running Ethernet cables too! Thanks for the insight.

David
 
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