Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question

CAT vs HDMI for wiring

Last response: in Home Theatre
Share
February 18, 2012 4:51:10 PM

I'm building a new house. My builder suggested using CAT cable and a converter. Are there any pros or cons I should know about? Unless I'm looking at the wrong converter box, they're a couple hundred or more. I don't see why I would need to use CAT since 1) it's just cheaper to get a length of HDMI 2) my runs won't be that long. Any input would be appreciated.

More about : cat hdmi wiring

February 18, 2012 10:53:23 PM

If you can go cheaper then why not? my suggestion is to run emt pipe or plastic electrical tubing to where you want the hdmi cable is going to go. then it would be easier to pull a wire later.
m
0
l
February 23, 2012 3:11:42 PM

I would suggest that if your runs are short to use HDMI cables. I would try them with the equipment you are going to connect before installation just in case. I would also run at least 2 cat5e or 6 runs since it is cheap and most TVs and other equipment is designed to connect to your network for various functions. The spare CAT cables can be converted if need be for other applications.
m
0
l
Related resources
March 31, 2012 3:00:28 PM

Trouble is HDMI cable is typically unshielded and is prone to interference. This is why you typically don't have long runs of HDMI cable.

If the HDMI cable in wall runs parallel to any electrical wire, this would likely induce unwanted interference in the HDMI. CAT would be best for longer runs and for preventing these kinds of issues. May not be an issue for you, just something to keep in mind.

Either running the HDMI through some kind of conduit, or being sure that the runs are parallel, next to the power and it would probably be okay.
m
0
l
April 10, 2012 2:22:37 PM

I fear I may be responding too late to matter, since you're probably well on your way to a finished house by now.

Structured wiring (typically 2 x CAT5e and 2 x RG-6 quad-shield) is an ok starting point, but it may not provide anywhere near enough signal routes depending on what you intend to do. You can use the RG-6 for cable and antenna (some TVs have inputs for both), 1 CAT5e for Smart TV networking, and 1 CAT5e for R/C signaling and/or sensing. But that doesn't even get your video signal to your TV.

Here's a fairly comprehensive list of what you might need:

1. Video signal:
Put at least 2 CAT 6 or CAT 6e lines to each potential TV location in your house, along with full-spec HDMI (length permitting). CAT 6e is good enough for 10Gbit ethernet (coming soon), which is nearly fast enough for full-spec 3D HDMI (10.2 Gbps). Most HDMI-ethernet converters use two ethernet cables so two is a bare minimum. HDMI standards have changed incredibly fast over the past few years, so the ethernet cables are your best bet to help "future-proof" your home for e.g. 3D, 2160p, or whatever else the manufs try to get us to buy.

1. R/F signal, return audio, and IR R/C signal:
You may want at least cable (pref. quad-shield RG-6), and also antenna (also RG-6), return audio (3.5 mm stereo and/or RCA coax digital and/or TOSLINK), and remote control signal (use either CAT 5 or better, or 3.5 mm stereo if you don't know what it will need) if you ever want to watch just the TV without using a cable box etc. TOSLINK is not very flexible and tends to be fragile, so coax digital is preferred if your intended TV supports it. You can send analog audio over RG-6 coax if that simplifies the cabling process, but be aware of possible impedance mismatch if you go from coax digital audio to RG-6. I'm not sure if that works cleanly or not. Some new devices support Audio Return Channel (ARC) over HDMI, so if you managed to get an HDMI cable from your intended receiver location to your TV, that might work to get audio from your TV back to your receiver. This can be finicky depending on your component choices, how system control works, and other factors, however.

CAT 5/5e/6/6e and HDMI are both typically unshielded twisted pair, so the same routing rules apply: keep them away from 120v line-level power runs, and also away from high-current cables such as for speakers.
m
0
l
July 17, 2012 1:06:31 PM

TeraMedia,

I'm a complete noob who's currently wiring my basement for a home theater/media room for movies and gaming. You may think it's funny, but I've been carrying around a copy of your previous posting for a couple of months now as it's the most detailed description of cable needs I could find on the web.

I'm going to wall up my cable runs and I'm very concerned that I will omit a particular cable for a need that I have not yet identified! Again, I'm a noob and I have not purchased any equiptment whatsoever. Learning about all the different types of cable is a little daunting - I even had to google what RG-6 and Cat cables were! ...And I only learned the term 'return audio' from your posting.

I'm very concerned to future-proof as much as possible. (ran empty conduit too!) Since I haven't purchased a tv or receiver yet, can I get by with three 1.4 HDMI cables, three runs of Cat 6A, three runs of Cat 5 (free cable), and three runs of RG6 coax for my tv and two? gaming systems? Thanks to your info, I found out that 1.4 HDMI has return audio and as long as you buy a compatible receiver, you're ok.

I guess I'm asking if the 1.4 HDMI really takes care of your needs if you're going to purchase all new equiptment? 3.5 mm stereo cable, RCA coax digital, etc. seem to be for older equiptment and cabling needs that the HDMI will take care of?

My run is 50 ft so I'm using this HDMI cable:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=102&...

I've spent so much on cables that I really don't want to run older/obsolete? cables that I'll never use? (And there is cable already everywhere!)

Again, thank you for your informative post and please humor my questions even though I think you already explained things pretty well - I just don't want to make a critical mistake after all my renovation efforts! Thanks in advance!


TeraMedia said:
I fear I may be responding too late to matter, since you're probably well on your way to a finished house by now.

Structured wiring (typically 2 x CAT5e and 2 x RG-6 quad-shield) is an ok starting point, but it may not provide anywhere near enough signal routes depending on what you intend to do. You can use the RG-6 for cable and antenna (some TVs have inputs for both), 1 CAT5e for Smart TV networking, and 1 CAT5e for R/C signaling and/or sensing. But that doesn't even get your video signal to your TV.

Here's a fairly comprehensive list of what you might need:

1. Video signal:
Put at least 2 CAT 6 or CAT 6e lines to each potential TV location in your house, along with full-spec HDMI (length permitting). CAT 6e is good enough for 10Gbit ethernet (coming soon), which is nearly fast enough for full-spec 3D HDMI (10.2 Gbps). Most HDMI-ethernet converters use two ethernet cables so two is a bare minimum. HDMI standards have changed incredibly fast over the past few years, so the ethernet cables are your best bet to help "future-proof" your home for e.g. 3D, 2160p, or whatever else the manufs try to get us to buy.

1. R/F signal, return audio, and IR R/C signal:
You may want at least cable (pref. quad-shield RG-6), and also antenna (also RG-6), return audio (3.5 mm stereo and/or RCA coax digital and/or TOSLINK), and remote control signal (use either CAT 5 or better, or 3.5 mm stereo if you don't know what it will need) if you ever want to watch just the TV without using a cable box etc. TOSLINK is not very flexible and tends to be fragile, so coax digital is preferred if your intended TV supports it. You can send analog audio over RG-6 coax if that simplifies the cabling process, but be aware of possible impedance mismatch if you go from coax digital audio to RG-6. I'm not sure if that works cleanly or not. Some new devices support Audio Return Channel (ARC) over HDMI, so if you managed to get an HDMI cable from your intended receiver location to your TV, that might work to get audio from your TV back to your receiver. This can be finicky depending on your component choices, how system control works, and other factors, however.

CAT 5/5e/6/6e and HDMI are both typically unshielded twisted pair, so the same routing rules apply: keep them away from 120v line-level power runs, and also away from high-current cables such as for speakers.

m
0
l
!