Q. What Cables Should I Run for a Wall-Mounted LCD?
Three CE pros offer advice on what cables should be run in-wall for a wall-mounted LCD HDTV.
Q. What AV cables should I run in-wall for my wall-mounted LCD HDTV? I was thinking power and two HDMI. S-video and component should not be needed since I plan to use a modern HDMI-switching and upscaling receiver and a PC hooked up by DVI-HDMI. Maybe Cat6 Ethernet and USB? - Jon Graves, Seattle
A. Rob Schultz of Inspired Electronics offers these tips via CE Pro:
Assuming this wall is currently open, and will be closed up and inaccessible, here’s what I would recommend:
One good-quality HDMI. A few extra dollars today for an upgraded HDMI cable can save you hundreds later when you need the additional quality.
Two Cat5E or one Cat5E plus one Cat6. One of these is for a network connection (think connected TV) and the other is for control (think IR repeater or RF to IR system).
If possible, pull these through a preinstalled 2-inch cable conduit with a messenger line. This will enable you to pull additional cables if/as needed for future use.
If the previous option isn’t possible, throw in either 3 Cat5E/Cat6 or a bundled MiniRGB (5-conductor) with 2 -3 Cat5Es. Since you don’t know what you’re going to want in the future (Quad-HD? 3D, super-duper-deep color? Audio?), you want as many options as possible to allow you to upgrade later.
Of course, if you remodel this room every 5 years or so and don’t care about re-drywalling at that time, I’d stick with a single HDMI and 1-2 Cat5’s (depending on whether you need control, network, or both). No point in throwing in the kitchen sink if the next upgrade cycle is around the time you’ll be remodeling again anyway!
Installer Cliff Rosen offers the following nugget:
You may wish to consider running additional video cables if you plan to use the TV’s built-in capabilities for PiP (picture-in-picture). For example, if you wanted to watch a movie from the DVD player while also showing the game from your cable box as a PiP, you would need one video cable (HDMI or component) carrying the DVD signal and a separate cable (HDMI or component) carrying the cable box signal. The switching capability of your AVR wouldn’t be a substitute for multiple cables in this case (though a high end AVR with PiP built-in would.)
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If you are planning on using a scaling, up-converting AVR as you say, I would say you need no more than HDMI and a piece of Cat5 for an average installation. If this is an open wall that will become inaccessible once it is closed, I would recommend an additional 2 or 3 pieces of Cat5e or Cat6 to future-proof the installation.