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· Godfather
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks, I need some advice from you expert installers.

I'm under contract to start construction on a production house. The house comes with RG6 cables home-runned from the low-voltage panel to the various "TV" outlets in the house. One of the options the builder offered was a satellite pre-wire. This consists of four RG6 cables run from a to-be-determined location in the attic (one side of the house will have a clear view of the southern sky) to the low-voltage distribution panel which should be in the basement. No other hardware and no terminations.

Initially, I will probably only have two receivers, though it could expand to four down the road. One or more of the receivers will be HD DVRs (I currently have an HR21).

I will want to have OTA capability, too, because I don't get all of my locals via DirecTV. At my current house, an antenna in the attic does a fine job for that. The new house isn't far away, so I'm hoping the same antenna in the new attic will work.

Do I want to go the SWM route?

How far can the SWM be from the dish?

Is the builder's satellite pre-wire likely to be not what I need?

What other issues should I consider?

Thanks!
 

· Godfather
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bb37 said:
Do I want to go the SWM route?
Depends on if you want two lines at each outlet or three. Not every HSP is getting them yet as well. National rollout is in september.

bb37 said:
How far can the SWM be from the dish?
40 feet... and it MUST be grounded. The maximum is for signal passing is 200 feet from the dish to the FURTHEST away receiver.

bb37 said:
Is the builder's satellite pre-wire likely to be not what I need?
Pretty good chance of it. Especially if you want antenna signal at each outlet and at least one DVR. Run into a prewire I have to add onto at least once every two weeks.

bb37 said:
What other issues should I consider?
If you're not on a SWM you will need TWO lines for each dvr. Each outlet you want antenna signal on will need a THIRD line as well.

Cannot use diplexers with a swm or any HD (unless you put the b-band on before the first diplexer in line, and directv frowns upon that) And installers will automatically fail a QC if diplexers are used for off-air signal.

Phone lines. If you're doing the install yourself, don't worry about them. If you have an installer come out, do the poor schmoe a favor and have your builder run a phone line to each cable outlet. DirecTV rides us about them daily.
 

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bb37 said:
Folks, I need some advice from you expert installers.

I'm under contract to start construction on a production house. The house comes with RG6 cables home-runned from the low-voltage panel to the various "TV" outlets in the house. One of the options the builder offered was a satellite pre-wire. This consists of four RG6 cables run from a to-be-determined location in the attic (one side of the house will have a clear view of the southern sky) to the low-voltage distribution panel which should be in the basement. No other hardware and no terminations.

Initially, I will probably only have two receivers, though it could expand to four down the road. One or more of the receivers will be HD DVRs (I currently have an HR21).

I will want to have OTA capability, too, because I don't get all of my locals via DirecTV. At my current house, an antenna in the attic does a fine job for that. The new house isn't far away, so I'm hoping the same antenna in the new attic will work.

Do I want to go the SWM route?

How far can the SWM be from the dish?

Is the builder's satellite pre-wire likely to be not what I need?

What other issues should I consider?

Thanks!
Your builder will think your nuts, but...

If it were me I'd run at least
4 coax to each location. 2 for sat, 1 for OTA, 1 for cable/backup/whatever
2 cat 5/6 lines Who knows whats down the road
2 phone lines. Could also use the cat 5/6 above, then make that 3 or 4
2 fiber if you want to get really crazy.

Sure, it will cost a few bucks now, but it will be a whole hell of a lot cheaper than having to do it later after the drywall is up. You can never have too much cabling running to each room. Just make sure that whoever wires it, labels it. :)
 

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RobertE said:
Your builder will think your nuts, but...

If it were me I'd run at least
4 coax to each location. 2 for sat, 1 for OTA, 1 for cable/backup/whatever
2 cat 5/6 lines Who knows whats down the road
2 phone lines. Could also use the cat 5/6 above, then make that 3 or 4
2 fiber if you want to get really crazy.

Sure, it will cost a few bucks now, but it will be a whole hell of a lot cheaper than having to do it later after the drywall is up. You can never have too much cabling running to each room. Just make sure that whoever wires it, labels it. :)
Worst case scenario, if it were me....

3 coax
2 cat 5
1 phone

I have the SWMLine, and it's great. I even diplex my OTA into one room where I didn't have a second coax. However, you are limited to 8 tuners, which I'm up against already. It's fine for us because I don't have any more rooms to add a television to... but... if I wanted to add a TV to the refrigerator, it wouldn't be an easy addition! With the SWM-8, you have other options to expand should you need it.

I'm going through the process right now of adding network and phone to different places in my house, and it's a royal PITA! If you can get that stuff all done ahead of time and run to the same panel in your basement, life will be better in the long run!
 

· Godfather
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Sharkie_Fan said:
However, you are limited to 8 tuners,
Wait for the next version to come out, they're saying 32

RobertE said:
Your builder will think your nuts, but...

If it were me I'd run at least
4 coax to each location. 2 for sat, 1 for OTA, 1 for cable/backup/whatever
2 cat 5/6 lines Who knows whats down the road
2 phone lines. Could also use the cat 5/6 above, then make that 3 or 4
2 fiber if you want to get really crazy.

Sure, it will cost a few bucks now, but it will be a whole hell of a lot cheaper than having to do it later after the drywall is up. You can never have too much cabling running to each room. Just make sure that whoever wires it, labels it. :)
Thats how i did it in my own house, minus the fiber wire.
 

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RobertE said:
Your builder will think your nuts, but...

If it were me I'd run at least
4 coax to each location. 2 for sat, 1 for OTA, 1 for cable/backup/whatever
2 cat 5/6 lines Who knows whats down the road
2 phone lines. Could also use the cat 5/6 above, then make that 3 or 4
2 fiber if you want to get really crazy.
Ahhh... someone who understands!

I would suggest a minimum of 3 solid-copper center conductor quad-shield RG6 coax and 3 CAT6 at every conceivable TV or computer location. I said MINIMUM. Certain locations, such as the primary TV location (living room? Media room?) should have a couple more of each. And NO LESS THAN 6 LINES from the outside/south side to the network box, NOT counting the cable feed from the service entrance (and there should be 2 coaxes, not 1, from the service entrance).

All of these must be HOME RUNS to the network box; no splitters anywhere. And remember, most wiring contractors will "cheat" at every possible oppertunity and use splitters. You'd be amazed, but very, very few wiring contractors have any clue about computer or satellite cabling needs. In your position, I'd probably have them run the lines but leave them unterminated, because most of the termination work I've seen is shoddy at best, unworkable at worst.

This may seem excessive today, but it will be SO much cheaper, easier, neater, and female-friendly to have all of that done during the building stage than to try to retrofit later.

Cable is CHEAP. The labor to install it is not, but it will never be cheaper than during initial construction. When it doubt, run extra. You'll never, ever hear someone complain that they have to many pre-wired cables...
 

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Johnnie5000 said:
Wait for the next version to come out, they're saying 32

Thats how i did it in my own house, minus the fiber wire.
I've not heard anything about 32... I would not count on it until I saw the whites of the connectors.

And I also ran 4+2+2 (RG4/Cat5e/fibre) except to the Home Theatre. It has double. (I had a spool of structured cable so all i had to do was run it twice.) :)

Cheers,
Tom
 

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I used to preach overkill until I came on a site; 4 rooms/20 lines quad shield cable. Dual lines were ran multiple times though out each room. His living room wall had 6 lines at various points. It took me forever trying to sort the cable.

My recommendation is running 3-4" conduit wherever you might want drops. This is the best way to really future proof your house.
 

· Godfather
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Tom Robertson said:
I've not heard anything about 32... I would not count on it until I saw the whites of the connectors.

And I also ran 4+2+2 (RG4/Cat5e/fibre) except to the Home Theatre. It has double. (I had a spool of structured cable so all i had to do was run it twice.) :)

Cheers,
Tom
Ability to double stack two swms via oldschool power pass splitters, each with 2-8 way ports
Supposedly, each port will go swm1 or swm2 regardless of receiver. These will be the swms that come out for nationwide use in late sept, early oct.

Really won't see this done very often. Our head trainer is working on a way to double that for a hotel in knoxville. I doubt it will work though, 64 channels on 1 dish. I did see it work with 32 d12s on channel 100 coming from one dish.
 

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Stacking ports is easy. MDU's do it all the time. :)

I have 4 four way splitters with 2 SWM8 and 2 WB68. One WB68 feeds 4 lines into the home theatre where I recently had to add another WB68. :)

And you should see the rig at CES! Wow, that was cool! :)

The installer who did CES tells me there really is no limit to the ports off a dish if the job is done correctly.

Cheers,
Tom
 

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RobertE said:
. . . . . . . 2 fiber if you want to get really crazy.
that would be crazy; and a complete waste of money.

IIP said:
And remember, most wiring contractors will "cheat" at every possible oppertunity and use splitters. You'd be amazed, but very, very few wiring contractors have any clue about computer or satellite cabling needs.
the blame for something like that lies on the shoulders of the GC. our goal as electrical contractors is to sell and install the most of anything we can. Its the GC's who like to get cheap and delete what they view as "unneccesary" items. i don't know what a "wiring contractor" is, but I'll assume its someone who's unlicensed and uneducated, something an electrical contractor is not.

one of the problems with selling "satellite" prewires is coincidentally the same thing that helps us sell them; the structured component manufacturers. we get nice brochures highlighting all the benefits of such a package, but everyone I have only lists three options:

schedule 1 = 1x coax, 1xcat5
schedule 2 = 2x coax, 2xcat5
schedule 3 = 3x coax, 3xcat5

most of the literature out there states that a 'schedule 2' is completely "futureproof", and as you can see from this thread, it doesn't always meet the needs of the customer. however, the builders want it as cheap as they can get it, and who can blame them?

by the way, i've only sold two structured cabling systems on spec homes. no one wants to pay for it. you get 1 coax in each room and one TP on the opposite wall. most EC's here daisy-chain the telephone drops because that's all you can get paid for.

don't blame the "clueless" electrical contractor when you show up on a job and don't find the cabling you need. most of us know it needs to be there, but we're not giving it away. also, why would the GC want to pay for it to be done right at construction when the dish companies will come in afterwards and do it for free? ;)
_____________________________________________________________

Oh and let me share this:

The last structured cabling setup I did on a spec house, the homeowner called me extremely pissed because the direct installer said it did not work, and ran coax along the exterior of the house and drilled holes through the walls to run his new cable. apparently the installer did not know that an RF splitter is not the same thing as a multi-switch. he also put the grounding block on its own shiny new ground rod, not connected to the service GEC. i know there are many extremely knowledgeable installers out there; its just a funny story to me.
 

· Godfather
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK, this thread very quickly diverged off to pre-wire from the low-voltage panel to each of the rooms. That's not what I'm talking about. That's a separate issue that I will address with the builder or on my own after I'm in the house. What I'm talking about is just the pre-wire from the location of the dish to the low-voltage panel. As I stated, this option is just four RG6 cables with no terminations.

Johnnie5000 said:
Depends on if you want two lines at each outlet or three. Not every HSP is getting them yet as well. National rollout is in september.
I won't close on the house until January, so hopefully all of the HSPs will have SWMs by then. If not, I'll buy one directly.

Johnnie5000 said:
40 feet... and it MUST be grounded.
Check. It looks like the dish and the electrical service entrance will be in roughly the same place, so we should be able to ground the dish to electrical contractor's ground rod. I'll keep an eye on how that plays out. Does the SWM need to be grounded if it's mounted inside? If the SWM is inside, then only the dish needs to be grounded, right?

Johnnie5000 said:
Cannot use diplexers with a swm or any HD (unless you put the b-band on before the first diplexer in line, and directv frowns upon that) And installers will automatically fail a QC if diplexers are used for off-air signal.
OK, now you've lost me. The SWM has an OTA port. You'll need a diplexer at the receiver to split off the OTA signal, right?

Johnnie5000 said:
Phone lines. If you're doing the install yourself, don't worry about them. If you have an installer come out, do the poor schmoe a favor and have your builder run a phone line to each cable outlet.
Good point.

Thanks!
 

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From the dish point to the low voltage panel, 4 coax is all that is necessary for any install I can think of.

The recommended maximum distance from dish to SWM is 40', tho many of us run double that (or even more) without any problems. (I have 75' going into four 4-way splitters to my SWM, very solid signals.)

Yes, OTA can be diplexed into the SWM and then out again at the receivers. I can't speak to the QC issues, tho I would be surprised if SWM installs failed on diplexers. (Use GOOD diplexers.)

If you like callerID, phone lines to the receivers are usually cheap. :)

And if its possible, pull tubes are great to have handy.

Cheers,
Tom
 

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brant said:
that would be crazy; and a complete waste of money.
....
Oh and let me share this:

The last structured cabling setup I did on a spec house, the homeowner called me extremely pissed because the direct installer said it did not work, and ran coax along the exterior of the house and drilled holes through the walls to run his new cable. apparently the installer did not know that an RF splitter is not the same thing as a multi-switch. he also put the grounding block on its own shiny new ground rod, not connected to the service GEC. i know there are many extremely knowledgeable installers out there; its just a funny story to me.
Fibre is not a complete waste of money, tho it would be a tricky cost tradeoff now vs. future. I caught a huge deal on structured cable so it was "free" for me.

Better use of money today, might be pull tubes until the market decides how fibre in the home will be used.

Cheers,
Tom
 

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Tom Robertson said:
From the dish point to the low voltage panel, 4 coax is all that is necessary for any install I can think of.

The recommended maximum distance from dish to SWM is 40', tho many of us run double that (or even more) without any problems. (I have 75' going into four 4-way splitters to my SWM, very solid signals.)

Yes, OTA can be diplexed into the SWM and then out again at the receivers. I can't speak to the QC issues, tho I would be surprised if SWM installs failed on diplexers. (Use GOOD diplexers.)

If you like callerID, phone lines to the receivers are usually cheap. :)

And if its possible, pull tubes are great to have handy.

Cheers,
Tom
If the OTA antenna were going to be in the same area as the dish, a 5th coax to that point would make life easier.

If its going somewhere else, then just 4 coax to the dish is sufficient.
 

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One more comment on the "Satellite option" your builder offers. That gives you four coax runs from the potential dish location to your central panel. You indicate you also want OTA, so I would strongly suggest you get FIVE coax - four from the dish location and one from the OTA antenna location. That will give you all of the possible signal sources you want at the distribution panel. Also, make sure there is a coax run from the cable entrance to the house. That way you have the option of adding a cable modem, or adding/switching to cable down the road. Even if that isn't something you would consider, the next owner might feel differently.

So my recommendation would be:
4 coax from dish location to panel.
1 coax from antenna location to panel.
1 coax from cable source location to panel.
2 coax from panel to each non-DVR TV location.
3 coax from panel to each DVR TV location.
1 Cat5e or Cat6 network wire to each TV location.
1 Cat3 or higher phone wire to each TV location.

Carl
 

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Sharkie and Carl, you both picked up on my boo-boo. As I was typing, I forgot that I intended to say "and one coax from OTA..." :)

Carl, do you think very much longer we'll have a differentiation between "DVR" locations and non-DVR locations? Before sheet rock is hung, I'd run at least 3 coax to every TV location.

Cheers,
Tom
 

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Tom Robertson said:
From the dish point to the low voltage panel, 4 coax is all that is necessary for any install I can think of.

The recommended maximum distance from dish to SWM is 40', tho many of us run double that (or even more) without any problems. (I have 75' going into four 4-way splitters to my SWM, very solid signals.)

Yes, OTA can be diplexed into the SWM and then out again at the receivers. I can't speak to the QC issues, tho I would be surprised if SWM installs failed on diplexers. (Use GOOD diplexers.)

If you like callerID, phone lines to the receivers are usually cheap. :)

And if its possible, pull tubes are great to have handy.

Cheers,
Tom
Diplexers on SWM & any Ka capable setups is a auto-fail on the QC.

They have been stressing no diplexing in all the materials distributed so far. Primary reason is it can cause undesirable results if that diplexer doesn't pass that 2.3Mhz communications channel.

Yes I know it works for some, it will not work for all. Besides, who knows what else they may have up their sleeves with the SWMs that diplexing may moneky with. ;)
 

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RobertE said:
Diplexers on SWM & any Ka capable setups is a auto-fail on the QC.

They have been stressing no diplexing in all the materials distributed so far. Primary reason is it can cause undesirable results if that diplexer doesn't pass that 2.3Mhz communications channel.

Yes I know it works for some, it will not work for all. Besides, who knows what else they may have up their sleeves with the SWMs that diplexing may moneky with. ;)
Thanks RobertE.

How about this situation: SWM line split at the receiver using SWM compatible splitter. One leg to receiver, one leg to diplexer then to OTA? Shouldn't that be acceptable since the diplexer is not inline to the SWM? (And is in fact how I run things right now since my diplexers aren't passing the comm channel.)

Cheers,
Tom
 

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Tom Robertson said:
Thanks RobertE.

How about this situation: SWM line split at the receiver using SWM compatible splitter. One leg to receiver, one leg to diplexer then to OTA? Shouldn't that be acceptable since the diplexer is not inline to the SWM? (And is in fact how I run things right now since my diplexers aren't passing the comm channel.)

Cheers,
Tom
Where's the other diplexer? Since they work in pairs, the other one has to be upstream somewhere on that swm line. :scratchin :confused:
 
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