Wiring a new house, need advice on heavy-duty set-up

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harv0033

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Sep 6, 2010
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I am having a new home built and we are a couple weeks away from wiring. I plan on having direcTV with many receivers across multiple locations in the house. I have a moderate amount of experience running cable for directv, so I think I know what I want to run where, but hoping others can chime in and tell me what you think.

Here's what I want to accomplish:


  • One major TV viewing area that will house my home theater, plus multiple other smaller screens (I'm a sunday ticket junkie). I'm not sure how many total screens will be in the room, but I'm planning for a maximum of 7 (which includes the large home theater screen). A closet will house all my components and DTV receivers.
  • There are apporoximately 15 other areas in the house/garage/deck that I want to wire for possible direcTV. Yeah that sounds like a lot but I am wiring every room, plus workshop, plus screen porch. Probably will never have them all running at once, but you never know.
  • I will be using an rooftop antenna for HD locals - they are not carried by DTV in my area (yet)
  • Will have one DVR (main home theater viewing area) and want to utilize DTVs whole-house access to the DVR through other receivers
  • I already own two 4x8 multiswitches, and I have run them in series before so I know that works. By "in series" I mean I had 4 coax running from dish into the first multiswitch. First multiswitch outputs ran to rooms in the house (4) and fed the other multiswitch (4). I then used the 2nd multiswitch to feed about 5 TVs

My tentative plan:



  • Run 5 coax from the dish/antenna location to a central hub in my utility room. 4 for the dish, and 1 for the antenna
  • at the hub, utilize a 4x16 multiswitch (I think these exist, never used one?)
  • run 5 coax from the hub to the Home Theater closet. One of these will be for antenna. 4 of these will be used to feed a 4x8 multiswitch in the closet. That will give me 8 DTV sources for my home theater room. 7 for the 7 max receivers, and 1 extra for the DVR. Home theater closet will also have at least 2 cat6 runs, maybe more.
  • All other non-home theater TV locations will get 2 coax and 2 cat6 runs to be used as needed down the line. extra coax can be for HD locals if desired, or redistribution of video signal. Cat6 will be use for connecting to home network, hard wired phone, or redistribution of audio/video (I think)
  • the 4x16 multiswitch in the utility room will have 12 outputs left. use these to supply DTV signals to 12 other locations in the house. This is short of my max, but if necessary down the line I'm guessing I can add another multiswitch to the hub in the utility room.

Here's my concerns and unknowns:



  • generally, will this work? I know I've done the two 4x8's to feed about 10 TVs at once, but I dont know if I'm pushing the limit. is there a better way to do this?
  • Is 5 coax from the roof enough? I know it was with my prior setup?
  • will I be able to utilize the DTV whole-house DVR with all these multiswitches in the "path"?
  • Am I right that I should be able to use extra coax/cat6 runs to redistribute audio or video (assuming I would get the correct hardware to so such a thing). By redistribute I gess I am thinking 2 main things: using one receiver to feed 2 TVs in sepearate rooms. and taking music playing on my home theater and sednign it to another room/receiver/speakers elsewhere (this is not a high priority however)

Any input would be highly appreciated.
 
dishcomm

dishcomm

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 29, 2005
10,388
553
suburbia
I am having a new home built and we are a couple weeks away from wiring. I plan on having direcTV with many receivers across multiple locations in the house. I have a moderate amount of experience running cable for directv, so I think I know what I want to run where, but hoping others can chime in and tell me what you think.

Here's what I want to accomplish:


  • One major TV viewing area that will house my home theater, plus multiple other smaller screens (I'm a sunday ticket junkie). I'm not sure how many total screens will be in the room, but I'm planning for a maximum of 7 (which includes the large home theater screen). A closet will house all my components and DTV receivers.
  • There are apporoximately 15 other areas in the house/garage/deck that I want to wire for possible direcTV. Yeah that sounds like a lot but I am wiring every room, plus workshop, plus screen porch. Probably will never have them all running at once, but you never know.
  • I will be using an rooftop antenna for HD locals - they are not carried by DTV in my area (yet)
  • Will have one DVR (main home theater viewing area) and want to utilize DTVs whole-house access to the DVR through other receivers
  • I already own two 4x8 multiswitches, and I have run them in series before so I know that works. By "in series" I mean I had 4 coax running from dish into the first multiswitch. First multiswitch outputs ran to rooms in the house (4) and fed the other multiswitch (4). I then used the 2nd multiswitch to feed about 5 TVs

My tentative plan:



  • Run 5 coax from the dish/antenna location to a central hub in my utility room. 4 for the dish, and 1 for the antenna
  • at the hub, utilize a 4x16 multiswitch (I think these exist, never used one?)
  • run 5 coax from the hub to the Home Theater closet. One of these will be for antenna. 4 of these will be used to feed a 4x8 multiswitch in the closet. That will give me 8 DTV sources for my home theater room. 7 for the 7 max receivers, and 1 extra for the DVR. Home theater closet will also have at least 2 cat6 runs, maybe more.
  • All other non-home theater TV locations will get 2 coax and 2 cat6 runs to be used as needed down the line. extra coax can be for HD locals if desired, or redistribution of video signal. Cat6 will be use for connecting to home network, hard wired phone, or redistribution of audio/video (I think)
  • the 4x16 multiswitch in the utility room will have 12 outputs left. use these to supply DTV signals to 12 other locations in the house. This is short of my max, but if necessary down the line I'm guessing I can add another multiswitch to the hub in the utility room.

Here's my concerns and unknowns:



  • generally, will this work? I know I've done the two 4x8's to feed about 10 TVs at once, but I dont know if I'm pushing the limit. is there a better way to do this?
  • Is 5 coax from the roof enough? I know it was with my prior setup?
  • will I be able to utilize the DTV whole-house DVR with all these multiswitches in the "path"?
  • Am I right that I should be able to use extra coax/cat6 runs to redistribute audio or video (assuming I would get the correct hardware to so such a thing). By redistribute I gess I am thinking 2 main things: using one receiver to feed 2 TVs in sepearate rooms. and taking music playing on my home theater and sednign it to another room/receiver/speakers elsewhere (this is not a high priority however)

Any input would be highly appreciated.
Two items..
One..Directv does not manufactrue receivers that can send two sepreate channels to two tv's( dual tuner/ dual output)
The other is your OTA...Feeding multiple tv's with one antenna is going to be difficult.
If you are going to be spending the kind of money for the setup above, perhaps you would be wise to consult a professional in the business. Do not go to a big box retailer. Their job is to sell you stuff.
An independent retailer that does higher end stuff is the way to go.
 
Liquidforce88

Liquidforce88

SatelliteGuys Pro
Feb 3, 2005
3,738
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The Land Of OZ
You can not do Whole home with the normal 6x8-4x8 switches. You have to use a SWM system. The SWM system will handel that many receivers/tuners. You only need one wire per receiver with SWM.
 
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harv0033

Thread Starter
Member
Sep 6, 2010
6
0
Minnesota
Thanks for the responses. Since I posted the OP, I've managed to educate myself a little more. I was not aware of SWM...I haven't had to delve into the newer DTV technology for a couple years now. I think I'm on the right track now.
 
jtwex

jtwex

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 25, 2008
828
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Embarrassed Bear
This will be your one time to do everything right with all the walls & ceilings exposed. Obviously use a SWM system but I would make sure to have CAT-5 inputs & phone jacks at every place a TV might be installed. Also pick a great place for your utility closet where all these wires/SWM/Routers will be easily accessible for future expansion & maintenance.
 
wen

wen

SatelliteGuys Family
May 25, 2007
67
1
Direct TV SWM system with 4 coax from antenna to central location, then 1 inch conduit to all tv locations allows a lot of versatility and can handle up to 16 dvr's. If you want 8 or less, a single coax from antenna to central location is adequate.
 
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harv0033

Thread Starter
Member
Sep 6, 2010
6
0
Minnesota
This will be your one time to do everything right with all the walls & ceilings exposed. Obviously use a SWM system but I would make sure to have CAT-5 inputs & phone jacks at every place a TV might be installed. Also pick a great place for your utility closet where all these wires/SWM/Routers will be easily accessible for future expansion & maintenance.

Yes my tentative plan is 2 coax and 2 cat6 to each room. And even more to the AV closet that feeds my multi-screen home theater room.

My understanding is that the cat6 can cover my phone as well. I wasn't planning on any separate phone jacks. Should I? I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it is needed since all the house phones can operate off of one jack (base phone plus wireless satellites). And other than that, I don't have anything else that needs a phone jack.
 
jtwex

jtwex

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jul 25, 2008
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Embarrassed Bear
Yes my tentative plan is 2 coax and 2 cat6 to each room. And even more to the AV closet that feeds my multi-screen home theater room.

My understanding is that the cat6 can cover my phone as well. I wasn't planning on any separate phone jacks. Should I? I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it is needed since all the house phones can operate off of one jack (base phone plus wireless satellites). And other than that, I don't have anything else that needs a phone jack.

Yes, I believe both Cat-5&6 can handle the phone lines but if you have them hooked up as part of your Ethernet setup or whole house DVR setup then you would lose your caller id on your screen (if you care about that at all). If it were me, I'd run RG-45 for your phones just to have everything covered or do a double run of Cat-5/6 for a few extra bucks.
 
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Skyboss

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 9, 2005
182
0
Yes my tentative plan is 2 coax and 2 cat6 to each room. And even more to the AV closet that feeds my multi-screen home theater room.

My understanding is that the cat6 can cover my phone as well. I wasn't planning on any separate phone jacks. Should I? I'm having a hard time convincing myself that it is needed since all the house phones can operate off of one jack (base phone plus wireless satellites). And other than that, I don't have anything else that needs a phone jack.

Use single CAT 6 and two lines to the locati0n of the base station. If you have to expand the ethernet network in a given room, then just add a 5 or 10-port switch at that location and one port becomes 4 or 9.

On the cables, you do have an option now with the SWM - fro one RG-6 line vs 2. You can also use RG-11, but its a little cumbersome. I used this for the extra life on our OTA feed from the tower. If you have a basement or crawlspace, use them vs. the attic. Your runs will be shorter and easier to replace. You may want 3 RG-6's to some key areas. One for Satellite/Cable, One for UHF/VHF Antenna and another for an AM/FM antenna - all a personal preference. If you only expect to have TV, then you can drop the others. Just don't forget everything has to come into the house from the outside, choose a logical location for this.

Decide early where you want your dish with a clear line of sight to the South.... Nothing worse than being that guy on the street with a dish on the front of his house. If you're doing stucco, decide where you want it and use a block of wood where you'd like to mount it so they don't affix it to the stucco. Also run your cable line from the curb and your expected TV locations to the same spot so if you sell and someone wants cable, the option is there. Put an access box about 18" off the ground for easy access, probably on a garage wall and make sure a power outlet is located within a few feed in case you need a powered ampllifier. The other option is to use an indoor hub (ensure the box has power) two feeds from the point of entry for cable (1 spare), two for the point of entry for the Satellite as a spare, then one to each location.

There are really a ton of options on a new build. Sit down and decide what you want and where. That will lead you to a list. Bundled wires are nice, but keep in mind they're a pain in a re-route later.
 
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harv0033

Thread Starter
Member
Sep 6, 2010
6
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Minnesota
Yes, I believe both Cat-5&6 can handle the phone lines but if you have them hooked up as part of your Ethernet setup or whole house DVR setup then you would lose your caller id on your screen (if you care about that at all). If it were me, I'd run RG-45 for your phones just to have everything covered or do a double run of Cat-5/6 for a few extra bucks.

Can you please clarify what you mean here...sorry this is new ground for me. If I used a few of the cat6 runs in the house for my phone(s), couldn't I connect DirecTV receivers to cat6 jacks that are part of the phone "bundle" back at my utility hub? I'd obviously be eating up that jack so it cant be used as internet access, but I would have at least 2 Cat6's at each location in the house.

Actually while I am on the subject, how would my "cat6's used for phones" arrangement even look like at the hub in the utility room? Would I have the master phone line coming in from the outside into my utility room, and then into some sort of hub/router..and that router/hub in turn would feed whatever jacks I want in the house based on what I plug into the thing? Sorry my prior home had all the old school fragile 4-wire phone cable that was just manually split at various locations.

I guess I am getting off track here as far as satellite wiring. Oh well.
 
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harv0033

Thread Starter
Member
Sep 6, 2010
6
0
Minnesota
All right, after doing a lot of internet research and hitting several forums, here is where I am at. I know not all of this is DirecTV related, but I thought I would include it all:

  • Master hub in basement utility area. Will be the house distribution center of all the RG6 coax, and cat6 networking cable. No phone cable - Cat6 will cover this.
  • At coax Hub will be a SWM16 for my DirecTV receivers (eliminates need for my old multiswitches)
  • Entering utility room from outside will be 6 RG6 coax leading to roof location. 4 for DirecTV dish, 1 for OTA antenna, and 1 spare.
  • "Standard" media drops of 2 RG6 and 2 Cat6 to nearly every room. Some rooms will get two of these placed on opposite ends of the room for additional flexibility in arranging the room (for example, the office). Media drops include garage/workshop, deck, and screen porch.
  • Larger drop running to Home theater media closet. 10 RG6 Coax and 4 Cat6. 10 coax will cover my maximum Sunday Ticket needs with 7 DirecTV receivers for 7 screens. That will eat up 7 of the RG6. 1 RG6 will be for OTA antenna. 2 spares.
  • Conduit run from utility room hub to key locations in the basement, and up to the attic. This includes most rooms, and of course the media closet. Attic run should cover anything upstairs as I could drop down through any wall (I think). Conduit also run from Media closet to Home Theater TV wall as means to connect TVs to anything in the closet.
  • Will plan ahead to allow a single DirecTV receiver to share signal with multiple TVs at key locations. For example, run connection between master bedroom and master bath to share one signal. Not quite sure how I want to do this.
  • Home theater room speakers will be wired to the media closet and to a 7.1 wall plate. Sub will get wired to media closet with RG6. Upstairs living room will have 2 ceiling speakers with speaker wire running to built-in cabinets in the room (the location of that room's media drop). I'm not sure what I want to do with these speakers yet. At a basic level, I'd just have a radio/mp3 shelf unit on the cabinets and have that be the source through the speaker wires. I'm guessing since I have a media drop there, that should cover anything I come up with as far as accessing music remotely from elsewhere in the house?
  • All RG6 will be solid copper core quad shield 3GHz. Cat6 specs are unknown. Speaker wire I figure I should just go 12 gauge (I wont be the one running it, so not concerned with ease, just performance).

Outstanding questions and lingering thoughts:

  • Unsure at specs I should be insisting on for the cat6 cable
  • How to handle the DirecTV receiver sharing. I'm torn between running HDMI vs Component between the locations. DirecTV receivers have both outputs, both active, but only one of each. Running component in-wall I *think* might be more reliable to run, but requires big ugly wall plate with 5 jacks on either end, and may be obsolete down the road due to copyright technology. HDMI is a more elegant solution, but requires either (a) using component for the local TV near the receiver or b) utilizing an HDMI splitter in order to feed both TVs. From what I've read HDMI splitters are mini-landmines as far as reliability. If I knew I could reliably split the HDMI signal (even if it was spendy) I'd go ahead with running HDMI in the walls for signal sharing. Thoughts???
  • Sort of related to the prior bullet, two locations I am running media drops to are the deck and screen porch...both obviously exposed to the elements (I am in Minnesota). How is this typically done? With the media drop I'd have 2 RG6 and 2 Cat6. Plus these are locations that I may just share a signal from a inside receiver, so they may have a Component or HDMI run as well. Is there outdoor rated jacks and cables?
  • Should I run more than 4 Cat6 to media closet? With the ever-growing list of internet capable devices, who knows how many of these I need. Is there any disadvantage of just planning to put a small cat6 hub in the media closet if I ever need more than 4 jacks?
 
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harv0033

Thread Starter
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Sep 6, 2010
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Minnesota
OK, it was pointed out to me on another forum that I could just do one of my 1x8 splits in the media closet itself..although that would commit 8 of my SWM16 slots to just that closet, which only feeds one room. That would leave 8 for the rest of the house from the other side of the SWM16.

My current plan sketched in my head has potentially 10 active receivers in the house. Not sure I will get that many, but its possible. 3 of those would permanently reside in the media closet feeding the home theater/sunday ticket room. That leaves 7 receivers scattered about the rest of the house... which means the 8 remaining runs from the other half of the SWM16 can feed the rest of the house.

(on football sundays I just would move whatever extra receivers I need from various house locations to the media closet)

SO yes I think I can cut down the runs to the media closet. perhaps 1 for direcTV, one for OTA antenna, and 2 spares is enough. I'd probably go with 6 just for the heck of it.

Only issue would arise is if I ever exceed 8 active receivers in non-media-closet locations. Then Id have to completely split the SWM to 16 at the hub on "standard" days, and move some wiring around and split at the media closet on "sunday ticket days"

My hub in the utility room (with the SWM16) as about 50 feet away from the media closet. Will that be a problem with that long of run prior to the splitter?
 
jtwex

jtwex

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Jul 25, 2008
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RJ-45 is the connector used with CAT5/6 twisted pair cable, mainly used for networking.

I could test this by climbing up into my attic where my "utility closet" had to be (pick a better location for your new home) but are the pin assignments "mix & match" regardless of whether you use it for phone or Ethernet. I believe the Ethernet has more pins connected but can you simply use the same configured cable for phone if desired?
 
HeavyC

HeavyC

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Apr 20, 2004
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As was stated above. I'd only run one Cat6 cable to each room. Then you can just place a 1 Gig Ethernet Swtich in any of the rooms where you have more then one connected device. There's certainly nothing wrong with multiple drops to each room, but it's just a bit of an overkill.
 
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egnlsn

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Sep 22, 2007
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Taylorsville, UT
I could test this by climbing up into my attic where my "utility closet" had to be (pick a better location for your new home) but are the pin assignments "mix & match" regardless of whether you use it for phone or Ethernet. I believe the Ethernet has more pins connected but can you simply use the same configured cable for phone if desired?
The inside two pins (blue pair) are the only ones that are consistent through each wiring scheme, whether it be a phone jack or a network jack. In a network jack, pins 4/5 and 7/8 (blue and brown pairs) are the ones consistent. The orange and green pairs (pins 1/2 and 3/6) swap places. In residential settings, ANSI/TIA/EIA calls for pinout 568A, which has the blue pair on pins 4/5 and the orange pair on pins 3/6, the same as a regular phone jack.
 
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