How to run coaxial cable for TV

tooskinneejsApril 14, 2010

I'm building a new house and considering running coaxial cable for television myself (rather than having the electrician do it) prior to drywall installation. I plan to have coaxial cable run to 9 different locations within the house.

My question is what is the best way to do this: (a) 9 individual runs from the TV locations back to the equipment room (i.e., 9 "home runs"), (b) a lesser number of runs with some splits for adjacent rooms, or (c) some other way? I ask this question in part over concern about signal loss.

Also, if I do 9 individual home runs, what do I use to connect all of those coaxial lines together with the line coming into the house from my cable provider?

Thanks in advance. Hope i'm not about to get in over my head.

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I always run phone and CATV home runs.
You (or the cable company) will just install a splitter at the main incoming point.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:43PM
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Since I have a weak signal from the cableco, I find that having all RG-6 home-runs to a common location to be preferable to a series of splitters that attenuate the signal at each step, and switching to digital has demanded a stronger signal.
I've seen amplified 8 way and 16 way splitters that you could use in your equipment room, but have no experience with them.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:52PM
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I would also suggest home runs to whatever point the CATV will be coming into the home. While you're running COAX you might want to run CAT5 to whatever rooms you're likely to have a computer or TV in as well.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2010 at 10:58PM
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YES! Run coax AND Cat5 to all the locations you want originating from a central point.

Think of an octopus where the tentacles end and each room you want your connections.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 1:43AM
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Home runs for sure. Because if you ever switch to satellite TV you MUST have home runs. IF you get a dual tuner satellite boxes you need two home runs at each location.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:23AM
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Thanks for all the fast answers. Home runs it is.

Mike - I'm planning to run CAT5e to several rooms for a home audio system (from the head end to the wall control panel). In addition, I think I'll be running CAT5e to some rooms for "baluns" which will let me connect TV's and other sources into the home audio system. Are you suggesting additional CAT5's beyond those and, if so, what would they be used for (computer hookups?, something else?)

joed - My TV service will be Verizon Fios. Verizon told me I only need one coax line to each TV location (hopefully that is correct). Do you think it makes sense to just go ahead and run two lines together to each room while I'm at?

If anyone has a recommendation for an amplified coax splitter for all of these lines, I'd really appreciate it.

Again, thanks to everyone for your responses.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 9:21AM
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Just a word of advice......

Test everything before the drywall goes up. It is really easy to fix mistakes when the walls are open. Once everything is closed up....not so much.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 11:43AM
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Might want to run CAT6 actually.
More future proof.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 7:45PM
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Or run RG6 quad cable with Cat 5e all in a single cable to each location as a home run.

A conduit drop (or two or three) from attic to basement is also useful.

Not just Smurf tube but real non-metallic rigid conduit.

2 inch or so is a useful size.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Without knowing the exact signals, configurations, and products you plan on for Cat-5 whole house distribution of audio and video, you should plan on 2 Cat-5e cables from each room to your head end for A/V alone. Then 2 RG6 cables for RF distribution. One for cable and the other for either a two tuner option, other RF feed, or MoCA (multimedia over coax alliance). I added a link on MoCA.

MoCA is really poised to become the new standard for home distribution. A good analogy to describe MoCA is a "wired wireless network." It's multichannel and can even ride over the top of your existing cable or DBS distribution. STB (set top box) manufactures and system operators are really backing this since they can distribute multiple signals, including HD video, through the whole house with an often already existing coax.

Finally, you may need another Cat-5e for Ethernet distribution to each room. Also you may run to run good old telephone lines as well (or you could use another Cat-5).

One thing to remember is that while Cat-5 has 4 twisted pairs, adapters to break them out are difficult to find and generally discouraged due to potential crosstalk issues.

Also, for whole house audio I don't know if you were thinking of amplified controls in each room or just line level with separate amplifiers and speakers. If the former is the case you also have in wall speaker wiring and low voltage supplies in each room to consider (some mfgs run power over the Cat-5).

I guess minimum I would suggest 2) RG6, 3) Cat-5e, and 1) 4 conductor telephone line (if you want phone jacks).

Here is a link that might be useful: MoCA

    Bookmark   April 15, 2010 at 8:47PM
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I have about the same number of home runs in my basement from all the rooms in the house. Instead of worrying about how to split them all, since I don't use them all simultaneously, I simply let the unused ones dangle. They are all labeled, of course. Less worry about how to split them if only the ones in use are hooked up.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 2:22PM
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