Any reason to run any cable except Cat5e?


Active Member
Hey all,

I'm getting ready to start buying cable and what I've found is that everything I can think I'd want can be converted and ran over Cat5e. Here's my list of things to do:

HD Distribution
Analog/Digital Audio

With 2 Cat5e cables I can use blauns to distribute Component HD, Analog and Digital Audio as well as IR. If I toss 2-3 extra runs (in addition to a single run each for ethernet and phone connections) as well, then I should be good to go for other devices or necessities I haven't thought of yet.

I also figure that buy running Cat5e, as opposed to mini-coax, once HDMI settles down a bit I should be able to find an HDMI to Cat5e blaun and it would just be a matter of switching out hardware at both ends as opposed to having to try to rerun wire after the sheet rock is up.

Anybody have any thoughts that might make me rethink my position or is there something I may have overlooked?
I've decided to go completely Ethernet. I see no need to run audio or video in the walls.

Though there isn't that much on the market yet, I'm using uPNP over 1gig Ethernet to run audio/video around the house. There are plenty of stand alone servers around (I use Synology), just not very many clients. I like the Barix units for audio, but video is still scarce.

If I was to start over (which I will soon), I might go with CAT6, as I can anticipate moving to 10 gigabit Ethernet.
I love Cat5e too but if the house is new and the walls are open, I'd run some RG-6 in there as well since the cable is cheaper than baluns (at least the component video ones).

While wiring my new house, I ran 2 Cat5e and 2 RG-6 quad (level 2 structured wiring point) to every room, 2 locations per room on opposite walls. To media center locations, I ran 10 RG-6 and 5 Cat5e. The Cat5e is in the media locations as a backup in case I run out of RG-6 :)

I use the RG-6 for line level sub-woofer distribution, composite video, and component video. I also use the RG-6 for video distribution by modulating DVD and satellite receivers using Channel Plus modulators and combining that with an off-air antenna for local HD reception. This works great to deliver multiple channels throughout all the TV's in the house where video quality is not the primary concern.

You'll probably want to run some 14-2 cable for speakers as well since you wouldnt generally want to run speaker level audio over Cat5e.

Thanks for the responses, all.

Unfortunately this is not new construction. It's a 1960's vintage rambler. However, the previous owner never properly finished the basement (formica sheeting glued to some of the walls and ceiling do not a room make) so I have access to the underside of the sub-flooring for now.

Howard, thanks for the reminder on the speaker wire. I have a few locations that will be audio only with built-in speakers so doing a blaun setup is a bit overkill.

So the next question is, how excessive is too excessive when it comes to organizing the wiring. My original thought was to get one color for A/V, one for Ethernet, one for Phone, and another for my two Misc. Runs. I've got one of the Rhino labelers on the way but is the extra cost of buying different color wire worth it? Have any of you run into cases with your own setup where your life was made significantly more difficult as a result of all your wiring being the same color?
Shouldn't be any extra cost for different color wire. Most good supply houses will stock multiple colors, all for the same price.
I wouldn't bother with the extra color... I would just label each wire consistently on each end, and then it's multipurpose anyway.

A tone meter is so quick, half the time I just yank a half dozen at a time and worry about the labeling later when I need one. I terminate at the end and plugin the generator and then find the correct cable at the other end with the Listener. Faster than reading.
jlehnert said:
Shouldn't be any extra cost for different color wire. Most good supply houses will stock multiple colors, all for the same price.
Sorry, I don't think I was clear. It's not that the different color is extra, it's that I'd be buying 4 boxes of different colored wire vs. buying 2 boxes of a single color.

Looks like two boxes of blue it is. Thanks a ton guys.
But, if you have four boxes of wire and you are going to use it up, you can run four wires at a time, regardless of the color. I have Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange, and Purple. All Cat 6 but ranges in price from $30 to $192 per 1000'. Some are easier to butt with RJ45's than others so I choose how the wire is going to be terminated. Color hasn't been the determining factor. I use the Rhino also, the shrink tubing label is sweet.