Mike's Setup


Senior Member
I still have to get pictures, but I figured I'd start the description and add to it:

Inputs from the street

4 runs of RG6 from a Hi-def DirecTv dish into a Channel Vision C-0213 8 port coax termination module (update: the line from the cable company is now used for tv, the satellite feeds and dish remain though)
1 run of RG6 from the cable company into the same termination module
2 lines from the telco into an Open House 629 Data Termination Hub w/bridging
While one line was a land line previously, I switched to have one VOIP line from the cable company.

For video, I used to use DirecTV but currently use cable considering the deals they were offering. If after the first year is up and the prices change I can patch a few cables in the basement and go back to satellite (I was happy, the cable company REALLY wanted satellite customers).

Voice and Data

Cat 5e (with a few 22/4 runs that somehow I let the person helping with the wiring talk me into using for phone, which I regretted and have been re-running with cat5e) is run to typically two jacks in each room. Usually 2-4 runs of cat5e for phone or data, depending on the room and location.

These are home run to the basement and are run to a 4u rack panel mounted on the wall and are terminated to 2, 24 port cat5e patch panels.


Below the patch panels is the data networking equipment:

Linksys BEFSX41 Firewall Router (planning on replacing this at some point with a DLink gigabit gamefuel router so everything is gigabit)
2 Linksys 8-port 10/100/1000 gigabit switch SD2008 switch (this covers all connected computers in the house, all PC's have gigabit nic's)
1 Linksys SR224 24 port 10/100 switch - This is so every network jack is 'live' to avoid patching in the basement.


Above the patch panel is the voice sections (patch down to data, up to voice using the same cables, just change the jacks in the room if needs change)

Open House H629 bridging module has the telco and IP lines
Channel Plus DMT-24 4x24 Telephone hub
The IP phone is integrated into the cable modem and is patched as noted into the H629

Using this approach, the patch panel uses cat5e to patch up to the DMT-24 for voice or down to the networking equipment. I used white patch cables for networking and gray for voice patch cables.


Depending on the room, eac jack gets 1,2 or more coax runs home run to the basement.

Another 4u wall mounted rack panel is used for video. It is populated with 4 Leviton 24 port quickport patch panels.

The first row is for the typical coax run to each room so that they can be patched as needed to the required service or device.

Satellite: When I had satellite, I patched from the termination hub directly to the room as I had the recievers in room at the time. They are now disconnected.

Cable: The cable input is run to a splitter, with one path going to the cable modem, and another into a Channel Plus DA-550BID 3x8 video amplifier (apparently there was something wacky with the return channel and the phone which is why it does not all go through the amp).

From there, unused outputs are terminated with DC blockers (IR handled outside the coax to ensure satellite support under all situations) and any required connections patch to the room jacks.

Component Video: Work in progress, 5 runs of coax from the basement (f-connector male to rca female adapter on quickport f connections in the panel or jack in the room let this be used as needed (could be used for BNC as well). I have a Tivo that has component output that is patched up to the living room via this which works well.

Todo: I have 4 Audio Authority 985U Universal Distribution Amplifiers that I was planning on using to keep component video sources in the basement and allowing them to be reused and routed through the house. By hooking each piece of equipment to one of these (up to 4) and then using one of the 4 outputs to go to remote controlled component video switches, each room could switch back and forth (also solves issue of limited component inputs on some TV's). Haven't bought the switcher yet as I need to upgrade one of the TV's upstairs to take this further.

Infared: I used either the old 22/4 wiring or new cat5e connected to a 3.5mm keystone jack to allow a IR reciever to be plugged in for in-room sensors. These feed to a Xantech 79520 4 zone connecting block. I then run emitters to the two tivo's in the basement for allowing networked tivo usage between the rooms.

Modulated Sources: These two tivo's are modulated onto two channels using a Channel Plus 3015 two input video distribution unit. I'd like to get one of the straight modulators but have not gotten around to it (and the two tivo's are my primary need until I do cameras and such). These are either patched to the room wiring itself, or could be merged on the Channel Plus DA550BID if needed. Concept here is every room can use the two tivo's and as a result two cable/satellite boxes as well.


An APC Back-UPS HS is mounted on the wall and provides surge protection and backup power to the cable modem, and networking equipment to ensure phone service stays on in the event of a power outage (for awhile at least).

Living Room Patch

Wiring behind the TV is run to 2, 4 gang panels:

Panel 1
Slot 1 - IR keystone (also was playing with additional 2 conductor jacks for emitters to come from the basement but could not get this to work and didn't need it so dropped it)
Slot 2 - 2 cat5e networking, 2 cat5e phone, 2 coax (for Tivo, sat box, audiotron, etc)
Slot 3 - 4 coax, 1 phone, 1 networking (1 for cable connection, 1 for modulated input, 2 for l/r audio to hook modulated input to stereo)
Slot 4 - 5 coax (for component video and l/r audio)

Panel 2
Slot 1 - 4 pair 5-way jack speaker connections (4 zone multi-room setup comes to the reciever in this room, this one covers zones 1 and 2)
Slot 2 - 4 pair 5-way speaker jack connections (zones 3 and 4)
Slot 3 - 4 cat5e for keypads for multizone audio and 2 cat5e for phone/networking
Slot 4 - 4 pair 5-way speaker jack connections (for in wall wiring to home theater speakers in living room that are on stands, which I already had otherwise I probably would have looked to do in wall speakers like I did for the multi-zone).

Harman Kardon AVR520 Reciever
Harman Kardon PA4000 multichannel amp (for multizone)

Samsung 61" DLP HLN6163
Harman Kardon DVD50 5 disc changer
Home built MCE machine (P4, Asus Mobo, 750GB storage)
Scientific Atlanta HD cable box
2 Scientific Atlanta standard cable boxes

Remote: Harmony 880

Work in progress, most of the first floor is done and is using SwitchLinc decora dimmers, working on the upstairs (and of course Smarthome didn't make the insteon ones consistent with the old ones meaning my wife will not like a change in switches...). Provides x10 control to the loads for lighting or house fan and outside lights. Planning on incorporating scenes into future control work.

(Update: Switchlinc's and standard switches being replaced with Insteon Switches)

Items to add:

1. Security System/HA controller (Elk M1G seems to be the recommendation)
2. Media center pc of some sort
3. External cameras modulated internally

Picture is old, I need to get a new one. Channel Plus Amp not shown, neither is xantech IR, etc. Should give the idea (now comes the fun part with HA/etc/). Still a mess...

Panel to the far right will contain the alarm/ha controller (currently looking to be Elk M1G) the space below the patch panel on the far left will have the component video distribution pieces as well as the component switchers (if the concept is taken further to the other rooms).


Added Elk M1 Gold panel, Ethernet expansion, serial expander for HAI thermostats, data bus expander, etc.
More to come...


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A shot of the component distribution amplifiers for clarification (the inputs are actually on the sides, and chain out on the opposite end to connect multiple units). These are not yet installed.:


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Nice stuff Mike. Pictures will definitely help ;)

You mention Component video several times but I'm not clear what you are running. I assume you are running Component video for high-def video... but (unless I read it wrong), you are only running 1 coax to your TV for it? That mean you are doing the "conversion" at the TV or at your homerun? If you are doing it at the homerun, how are you getting the video signal to the TV over 1 coax?

(This is one of my upcoming projects - I'm currently not running HDTV from my homerun... using modulators and running an analog picture over coax).
Sorry, let me clarify:

I run one run of coax into the TV into multiple rooms in the traditional manner for modulated signals.

In addition, I ran 5 runs of coax to be able to distribute component video through the house. I put a Tivo that has component output in the basement and then can use the distribution amps to make lossless copies for the multiple rooms. The amps are not hooked up as I don't have the TV's upstairs yet that take component, plus I wanted to make sure everything worked on the living room tv (which it did). The quality is much better than the modulated signal.

DVI is much more expensive to try the amp and switcher approach and I heard the DVI spec only calls for runs up to 30 feet (not sure where I heard that).

One thing I haven't looked at is how to get the media PC onto this (or use extenders) once I get it setup. I suppose the VGA signal could be transcoded to component, but then keyboard/mouse needs to be handled but I think at worst case there are baluns for that type of stuff too.

The one drawback is I've heard that some of the newer equipment wont send 1080p over anything but DVI/HDMI and will stop at 480p. I suppose if the DVD's are ripped that issue goes away though. When HD DVD's come out this might be an issue though (which the component setup but over dvi would be required assuming you can make copies of the signal). Not worried about this scenario at the moment and 480p is much better than coax modulated signals (and avoid the issue of multiple devices being fed to a TV and can use one set of cables for all of them).
that makes a lot more sense and is the approach I planned as well. For now, I'm sitting tight since as you described, the standards are still changing and I don't want to do it multiple times. Besides, I have enough other projects to keep me busy! ;)
I finally took some newer pictures. Still somewhat a mess and the Elk is still a work in progress.


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And the video board.

Top right is the inputs to the house for video. Top right on the module is cable input, the four to the left are satellite inputs. Originally this was setup with Directv, cable had a deal and I tried them. Once that deal is up, who knows maybe I'll patch it back.

Top row of patch modules is for coax to outlets in each room. Had used 3.5mm plugs for patching the IR to the Xantech, but later hardwired them.

Second row is the start of component video distribution. This patches component video and LR audio upstairs to the living room over RG6 and adapters.

Top left is a channelvision distribution amp (3x8).

Bottom is a 4-zone Xantech IR module.

Below that (allowing room for the 6 zone addition if needed later) would go the distribution amps for component video distribution)


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Voice and Data Board.

Need to get rid of the phone system (OpenHouse version) would have been a nice addition (came with an auction) but it wont pass caller ID so I had to kill it. Just havent taken it off the board.

Patching up for telephone and patching down for data (firewall router, 2 gigabit switches and a 24 port 10/100 so every port in every room is live).

Cablemodem with builtin VOIP module is on lower left.


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And the alarm board.

The unit underneath is the wall mounted UPS (HS500 was the model I think).


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And two tivos and cable boxes which are modulated over the coax. Will eventually get a better rack and tie in the MCE machine possibly (was thinking about taking the composite output and modulating it as well (the output may not be that great), but once I get a new TV upstairs it will motivate me to pursue using component video and/or extenders).

A series 2 expanded to over 320GB and a Pioneer DVD burner expanded to 200GB tied to Scientific Atlanta cable boxes (non-hd). The Pioneer Tivo is the one that is patching to the living room via component and l/r audio.


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first thing that jumps out at me (actually two things)
1) sweet. You've got lots of open options with this setup. I'm going to have to do the hi-def signal distribution real soon as well... a project on my horizon as well.

2) your electronics - it appears they don't have any surge protection? My wife would kill me if something happened to her TiVo ;)
You are absolutely right. I intended to do that when I moved equipment from upstairs (which has one of the clunky monster units) but never did.

While there is a small whole house surge protector wired in at the panel, my intention was to use this:


which you can see to the right of the equipment (behind the small can of paint).

I needed to mount it a little differently and must have gotten distracted as I never did so. In fact I probably need another one of those.

Thanks for the comment, Some may be plugged into now, but I definitely did not finish that and much is clearly in the wall. Perhaps it will help motivate me to get it in final resting order and clean up the cables.

And you are right on track: My wife would kill me. I have an old PC setup just to repair/replace Tivo drives as it was not a pretty sight when Tivo was down...