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Please review my HTPC/network scheme

brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
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We are doing a home remodel project and i am planning on having cat6 and coax pulled during this mess. I would appreciate any feedback to the basic schematic i have worked up. This is my first foray into HTPC's and ethernet networks. The HTPC is actually built and running...thanks to Assassin's guides.

We do not have cable or satellite - only internet and a decent OTA antenna. We will mainly be using the HTPC for DVR-ing OTA broadcasts and streaming Netflix, Hulu, etc.

Thx!!

 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
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Get yourself something like 1/2' PVC pipe and run all the cables through it. Then get yourself a couple hundred feet of twine and run through it. Now, when your Cat6 goes bad, or in 5 years when we all start to upgrade to fiber or something else new, you can run cable with no hassle.
 

brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
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Thx for the replies so far. So overall the schematic seems like it would work?
I like the conduit idea for future-proofing. I will be asking the contractors how doable it is to install such.
 

tydas

Golden Member
Mar 10, 2000
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If your hanging TV's from a wall, also take a look at options to get back to your HTPC in a closet or such...I have used the monoprice wall plate with built in IR passthru and it works great...that wall plate requires dual cat 6 between closet and tv
 

brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
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It should interesting as my bedroom tv will be wall-mounted on an outside wall that is mostly windows. I plan on hanging it at the 'intersection' of 4 large picture windows.
Hopefully I can run some conduit thru the narrow wall portions separating these windows. That way the TV will just be floating in front of the windows with no visible cabling hanging down. I hope to put the power outlet in the wall right above the hanger bracket.
 

Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
8,533
2,397
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How close are the windows together? Each window should have two 2x4s right next to it. So if the windows are 6" or less apart there will be no gaps in the structure to run anything, or room to install an electrical box. If there is more than 6" you will likely be just fine, except sometimes 16" on center falls between the window studs, so you could end up with 5 studs between the windows. Easiest way to know for sure is to use a stud finder.
 
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brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
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Thanks Zorba,
I will know exactly since this will be new framing and new windows.

How about my network overall schematic? I would like to feel confident in it before we start stringing cable and buying hardware.
 

Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
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I completely missed that this was a remodel.

The schematic looks good to me, fairly similar to my setup. If you are running the cat 6 yourself, I would put it in every room you have access to now, while you have the access. The conduit is also a very good idea if you have a two story house, or no access to the top/bottom of the walls after the remodel is complete.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
29,788
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I was really confused when I saw that you had a tuner hooked up to Ethernet, but it appears that I am out of the loop! (*snicker*) How good is the HDHR3? The idea of being able to toss it onto my network and watch my OTA signal on any PC actually sounds pretty sweet! :)

EDIT:

Oh, apparently they have one for use with a CableCard as well! My apartment comes with cable for "free", but it would be much more useful if I didn't only have it on the TV downstairs.
 
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brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
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Zorba - Thanks for the feedback on the schematic. We have always just had a simple wi-fi setup that just won't cut it for HTPC use. We have fiddled with powerline adaptors a bit but this has been only somewhat successful.

Aikouka - I have not actually hooked up my HDHR3 yet, but it does get decent reviews. I chose it for its networking capability and to keep the internals of the HTPC to a minimum.
 

LowTech

Member
May 22, 2009
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Just a thought, I see that you have the HTPC server HDMI to your TV2 in the bedroom. Since you are also using the TV Tuner HDR3 (isn't this a network TV card interface?), would it be redundant run a coax to the TV2 in the bedroom? Unless, the 2 tuners are reserved only for the laptop at all time.
 

Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
8,533
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I am personally a strong believer in running cable every where you think you could ever want it, when you have the access to do it. You never know in 5 years you may hate your HTPC and get dish.

brywisco: Are you an engineer? Seems like a pretty anal diagram and a lot of worrying from a non-engineer ;).
 
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brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
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LowTech - I was waiting for someone to ask why I have coax running from the OTA antenna directly to the 2 TV's. I am planning this for those times when we just want to turn on the TV and watch a live show without any HTPC hassle. It also makes it baby-sitter friendly etc.
This plan is also in case (as Zorba just suggested) I ever want to go back to satellite or cable - the coax will be in place.

Zorba - I agree with you. Our house is really getting a make-over and now is the time to get the cabling done. Yes, I am a mechanical engineer and like to have everything planned out and documented. I have never built a PC and attempted to network my house etc.

I am in the process of setting up my newly-assembled HTPC. I am just hooking it up to my TV and running a temporary cat6 cable to it from the router. I have a lot to learn about configuring WMC and Media Browser etc. I am using Assassin's guides to walk me thru this steep learning curve.
 

mercedesman

Junior Member
Sep 1, 2012
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Bry,
Watch out for cabling called "Cat 6", they are not all created equal. We have been using cat 5e for higher bandwidth.

Watch for the lips inside plastic pipe, the contractors may not run it for you and insist on using metal conduit as per your local building codes - otherwise a good idea including running computer cable to any or all rooms, run the conduit ant angles less than 90 degrees - makes cable pulling easier.
 

Zorba

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 1999
8,533
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I'm a mechanical engineer also ;). I was thinking this thread was similar to something I would worry about and over analyze.
 

Plugers

Senior member
Mar 22, 2002
547
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If you are remodeling the house, 2 cat6 (or5e) and 2 coax to all rooms + your extras.

In the event you sell you house it will be a plus.

Also if for any reason you ever decide to do cable, satellite or u verse you will have zero wiring issues. Terminate all connections near the circuit breaker panel as most utilities enter there.

Also, keystone plates and jacks are nice to get all the connections you want and have it look nice.

I rewired my living room a while back and located all my A/V stuff in a basement closet through an 1 1/2" conduit.
 
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nusyo

Member
Feb 27, 2011
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As Plugers sugested, run 2 cat5e/6 per location (one can be used for VOIP).

Running all the wires through conduit can be difficult because you have to take in consideration all the corners and such (depending on the framing, it can be done).

I got one question for you: have you considered using a video security system (CCTV) in the future? if yes, it is better to run extra HDMI/VGA to your tvs before everything is done. Most cameras use BNC connectors, but they can be wired with CAT5e to their locations. (hearing noises at 2AM and being able to see whats going on outside without getting of the bed .... priceless :>)
 

velillen

Platinum Member
Jul 12, 2006
2,120
1
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Id personally run 4 cat5e/cat6 cables to the main tv. I was planning on doing two but am glad i went with four. But right by my tv is my htpc, ps3, and tv. All three are hooked up to the internet (though i could disconnect the tv...i never use it's apps). But right there between the ps3 and htpc im maxed if i only went for two. New recievers can be networked and you never know you might get a roku down the road. So id recommend four for the main. Just two for the bedroom

Otherwise its a very similar setup to mine (though i have two htpcs...one at each location) an
 

Plugers

Senior member
Mar 22, 2002
547
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Id personally run 4 cat5e/cat6 cables to the main tv. I was planning on doing two but am glad i went with four. But right by my tv is my htpc, ps3, and tv. All three are hooked up to the internet (though i could disconnect the tv...i never use it's apps). But right there between the ps3 and htpc im maxed if i only went for two. New recievers can be networked and you never know you might get a roku down the road. So id recommend four for the main. Just two for the bedroom

Otherwise its a very similar setup to mine (though i have two htpcs...one at each location) an
You can always add a 5 port switch by your TV if you needed, but it's nice to have everything run to a switch in the basement if you can.

More than likely only one of those 5 would be used at one time so bandwith wouldn't be a problem.

Also rj11 fit into the rj45 jacks, so if one is free and you have a patch panel in the basement just patch the appropriate ports over to phone if you need one at that location.
 

lotus503

Diamond Member
Feb 12, 2005
6,502
1
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Some great advice in this thread.
Splitting the server/HTPC roles and putting the server in the closet would make it near perfect.
 

brywisco

Member
Jul 9, 2012
29
0
61
I have been busy doing mind-numbing stuff like spec-ing all the windows and choosing carpet, paint, fixtures, light switch locations... ugh. Anyway, the plan is to run cat6 + coax lines to every bedroom and the new loft/workout room.

I was wondering about something but am not sure it will actually be required in my system. Is it feasible to run a cat6 line from the main switch then add another switch to branch to a couple devices? I hope that makes sense...
Like this: Router->Switch1->Room1->Switch2->PC1 + Device1 + Device2 + ....
 

SMOGZINN

Lifer
Jun 17, 2005
13,156
2,732
136
I have been busy doing mind-numbing stuff like spec-ing all the windows and choosing carpet, paint, fixtures, light switch locations... ugh. Anyway, the plan is to run cat6 + coax lines to every bedroom and the new loft/workout room.

I was wondering about something but am not sure it will actually be required in my system. Is it feasible to run a cat6 line from the main switch then add another switch to branch to a couple devices? I hope that makes sense...
Like this: Router->Switch1->Room1->Switch2->PC1 + Device1 + Device2 + ....
Yes, you can. A network can branch off into a different subnet masks per router (allowing you to divide your network up) or you can configure a second downline router as a switch that will be transparent to the network (which is probably the best choice if your needs are pretty basic.)
 

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