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Author Topic: Where to put the cable box....  (Read 785 times)

HA Dave

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Where to put the cable box....
« on: August 06, 2018, 01:01:04 PM »

None of this Home Automation, computer, or Audio-Video stuff is ever static. At least for the last 15-20 years.... progress has been exponential. Sometimes.... no, often times... it is easy to feel like we don't get our moneys worth out of a new product before it becomes outdated.

It was nice to see wireless WiFi streaming devices replacing wired-in or even DVD/Blue Ray products. But then... increase refresh rates and resolutions require gigabits of data... best transferred using CAT6. A recent Netflix movie night with a "buffering interruption" caused me to fish CAT6 to a Blue Ray player/streaming device combo unit that is the heart of my Home Theater.

Now today.... I just completed some testing on a 25ft, 16ft, 10ft, 6ft (and 57 foot) run of 4K rated HDMI on my cable box. I was kind'a impressed that the old Scientific-Atlanta set top box could move 1080i that far. So... now I could (with some cable fishing) use the cable (set top) box in the living room and redistribute a ball game or holiday parade to the Home Theater. Not something I do often (or hardly ever... so far).

Or maybe.... I should move the cable box, add a switching device, and a Roku and/or Apple TV device to a Audio/Video closet centrally located in the basement. And distribute media to any-and-everywhere in the house via hardwire HDMI cables and HDMI outlets. And remotely control the devices with remote IR devices.

Then again.... maybe around Christmas I might be able to replace the router and stream data to new streaming devices that can handle gigabit media. New apps.... even include some Cable viewing... with a cable account and password setup.

Right now... if I wanted to invite friends over to watch a big event (like the return of Last Man Standing  rofl) on the big Theater screen... I just have to move the Cable Box to the basement. So I am thinking/wondering/pondering.... how to deal with the current and advancing state of this technology.

Does anyone have any ideas and or insight as to how proceed.
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dave w

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2018, 01:48:40 PM »

$0.02
No recommendations, only general musings. Way too many unknowns.
1. If you move the cable box, spare no expense if you have to extend the coax cable. i.e. triple shield cable and gold plated "F" connectors.
2. If you did NOT see noticeable losses, pixelations, or noise with the 25 ft HDMI cable I would be tempted to go HDMI only because the cable system is higher frequency  signal which will typically be more "lossy" (digital cable channels are usually above 500mHz), where as HDMI is lower frequency clock rate (under 200mHz). The problem is; if you have to use HDMI extension cables, each connection will add loss. I'm simplifying this: for example: a 4k, high dynamic range (12 bit color) video signal with multiple stereo channels will really tax a long HDMI cable.
3. New router makes a lot of sense since cable stringing, cable losses, etc would not be a factor.
And finally, I am really disappointed that "Mandy" will not be returning to LMS. Very funny actress. 
I'm going to take a nap now.
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Tuicemen

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2018, 01:59:23 PM »

Centrally located has always been the best approach for me for most things.
However both my SAT receiver(cottage) and cable box (city) are next to the TVs.(I only have one in each place)

MY Sat company just shipped me a new fee digital box and when asked what to do with the old one they stated just recycle it. (it still feels new to me). B:(
The new one allows me to view on demand content over the net (ethernet) but my internet is to slow for it.
It does detect the internet connection and displays lots of info.

My Cable box also has a ethernet connection available but I've never even played with that.
I stream via wi-fi in the city but over wire at the cottage. Router at the cottage is right next to the TV not so for the one in the city.
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HA Dave

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2018, 04:26:18 PM »

Interestingly..... my next tests involved my streaming media devices. I should mention I have two streaming Blue Ray players, a Sony and a Samsung. Plus I have an older Roku streaming device and a 2nd generation Apple TV [streaming device].

I never thought the [HDMI] signal from the Sony was strong/bright enough to be useable with the Theater. So I am using the Samsung there. I couldn't find an app that would access my cable company in the Samsung app selection.... however I believe I need to do more searching on that subject. And... I had no better luck at finding my Cable/media service provider's app at the Apple App Store (for Apple TV). Which I wouldn't think would make good sense.

But the Spectrum (my cable company's) app on my old Roku device works so darn flawlessly.... it makes me wonder how much am I paying per month for a cable box?!?!? I can buy a new Roku Ultra 4K device for 70 bucks. At 8 bucks (US Bucks) per, I could be running free in 9 months. (I'd switched to an Internet phone some months ago... simplify because it made such good sense).

So now.... I am going to forget my considerable "wire investments" (or at least try to) and concentrate on wireless. NOT an easy concept for an old wire-twister like myself to swallow.

Has anyone else had any luck with the Spectrum app on anything?




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SkipWX10

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2018, 08:35:45 PM »

What's a TV?
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HA Dave

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2018, 11:31:14 PM »

………..  I'm simplifying this: for example: a 4k, high dynamic range (12 bit color) video signal with multiple stereo channels will really tax a long HDMI cable.

Yeah I did an install a few years back. And the lady wanted the theater projection to also play on a bathroom TV (which was a easy install in earlier years with composite cables) . It was a major hassle and I found a solution by NOT using HDMI audio.... but instead ran a separate stereo setup from the receiver/AMP. 

New router makes a lot of sense since cable stringing, cable losses, etc would not be a factor.

Yeah.... I own my router (NOT a cable company rental) and it wasn't cheap. To currently meet my needs I am running a switch/hub.... and CAT6 to my Blue Ray/streaming device combo. But I am also using WiFi elsewhere as well.

And finally, I am really disappointed that "Mandy" will not be returning to LMS. Very funny actress.

Yes...  funny! And Molly Ephraim ain't all that awful to look at either. She is actually 32 years old.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2018, 11:40:39 PM by HA Dave »
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HA Dave

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2018, 11:48:13 PM »

What's a TV?


It's getting hard to tell anymore. Any definition I'd use would involve what a TV used to be.... or what it isn't anymore.
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brobin

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2018, 02:01:27 AM »

I use a Tivo box as a DVR, cable box and streaming device. I have no set top box from the cable provider but, as required by law, they provide me with one multicast cable CARD that plugs into the Tivo.  The Tivo has six tuners and can record from them all or just 5 if you're watching TV. It also supports Mini-Tivos ($149) that are remote units that stick on the back of other TV's and connect to the mother Tivo either via Ethernet or MOCA.  MOCA, which transmits data on the existing coax, is handy if you don't already have Ethernet at the TV. When a Mini is in use it uses one of the 6 tuners.  What all this means is that multiple TV's can be watching different shows, recordings or streaming sources throughout the house without running any new wiring. HDMI length is not an issue since the HDMI cable connects to the TIVO device right at the TV.  Since we went with Tivo's we no longer use our Roku or Amazon Fire Sticks as we get all the streaming services, including Amazon and Netflix, through the Tivo.  I've had this installed for 3 years and am very pleased with it. Tivo has added Alexa control recently and a skip feature that lets you skip commercial breaks with a single button press or by telling Alexa to "skip."
 I have 90Mbps at one home and 23 Mbps at the other and have no issues with buffering at either location. I use my own Motorola SB6141 cable modem and ASUS RT-AC66U router and a Cisco 24 port gigabit switch as well as some Tenda 5 and 8 port gigabit switches off that.
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HA Dave

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2018, 05:45:59 PM »

I use a Tivo box as a DVR, cable box and streaming device...……….

OMG... I've never Tivo'ed…. or seen a Tivo setup... or even knew someone who does/did. So the idea of using any Tivo equipment was just completely off my radar. Which is silly as your setup sounds pretty darn sharp.

I just did a quick Amazon search.... and see the DVR's are not cheap. But they do have a lot to offer. I have some research to do....
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JeffVolp

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2018, 07:59:09 PM »

OMG... I've never Tivo'ed…. or seen a Tivo setup... or even knew someone who does/did. So the idea of using any Tivo equipment was just completely off my radar. Which is silly as your setup sounds pretty darn sharp.

Our setup is similar to brobin.  We replaced our 3 Panasonic DVRs with a 6-tuner Tivo when our cable company finally killed the analog channels.  We also have Tivo Mini's to watch what is stored on the Tivo in other rooms.  And since the Tivo has become central to our media system, I added a second unit for backup and additional storage.  We also have a couple of Roku's for streaming - one in the family room and one in the theater room.  TiVo has since added streaming capability for the more popular services.

Now on your question of where to locate the cable box, ours is in the centrally located utility room.  That feeds the WiFi router and a second Ethernet router that feeds Ethernet jacks in most rooms.  Three of our computers, the Tivo, and the Roku's have direct Ethernet connections.  And obviously there is WiFi for everything else.

The Roku and Tivo feed the AV amplifier in the theater room.  From that is about a 20 foot HDMI cable to the projector.

Jeff
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HA Dave

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2018, 10:18:11 PM »


[edited by HA Dave]

Our setup is similar to brobin. ……. with a 6-tuner Tivo ….. We also have Tivo Mini's to watch what is stored on the Tivo in other rooms.  And since the Tivo has become central to our media system, I added a second unit for backup and additional storage.  We also have a couple of Roku's for streaming - one in the family room and one in the theater room. ….

The Roku and Tivo feed the AV amplifier in the theater room.  From that is about a 20 foot HDMI cable to the projector.

Jeff

I think you and brobin have the useful information. But admittedly I really need to learn a lot more about Tivo. But I had mentioned my earlier test/success with my old Roku device (post #4).

…........ my next tests involved my streaming media devices.……  the Spectrum (my cable company's) app on my old Roku device works so darn flawlessly.... it makes me wonder how much am I paying per month for a cable box?!?!? I can buy a new Roku Ultra 4K device for 70 bucks...…..

So after reading Jeff's, (JeffVolp) post.... I got to thinking and located the ROKU near the Theaters AMP/video switcher, which worked great. Then I tried an alternate 25ft HDMI run back to the small TV in my Man Cave. I discovered I can run either... to the Theater OR back to my man cave and in either place get a fine picture and great sound. (I do own an amplified HDMI splitter... so I might even be able to run both at the same time... I didn't test that)

In the theater I can add an X10 Powermid (PM5900) in the mix and control the ROKU with it's remote (my old theater remote doesn't seem to want to play with the ROKU). OR.... I can just use the ROKU app on my phone as a remote control.

I really think a new Roku in the Theater would be a great solution as Roku runs the Spectrum app (my cable TV) as well as the other streaming services I use..

I think the Chrome Streaming devices also run a Spectrum app. But I am not really sure. The old Roku doesn't produce the new Higher (4K)... HD. The small TV in my man cave only displays at 720 anyway. But I've setup to use the old projector in the man cave (for cycling/training videos)…. and the old Roku and old projector are perfectly matched at 1080i.

For now... the cable box will remain in the living room... while I read more about Tivo's
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brobin

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2018, 02:19:08 AM »

Have a look at their website. They often have good deals on B stock units at tivo.com/shop/outlet. You only want to consider Roamio and Bolt models. Anything older isn't current. The service fees apply only to the main units - no fees on the minis.  I did the lifetime service on mine and I've passed the break even point already.  The one button commercial skip on popular channels is fantastic. I have to watch most shows with a headset to understand the dialog and the headset jack does not cut off audio via HDMI so my wife can listen normally while I use a headset which is a nice plus.
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HA Dave

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2018, 01:39:52 PM »

It all comes full circle. I orginally bought my first X10 products to dim the lights in my Home Theater (using a palmpad HR12A remote)

That was about 15 years ago. Everything else for the Home Theater was sourced locally (Amazon was a book seller). And X10 did provide a "Wow factor".... along with 92in screen (which was huge back then). That was before flat screens and barely in the DVD era. Nobody seemed to have had heard of Home Automation... there were no LCD or LED flat screens.

There has been other upgrades to the Theater. Early on... was the CM11A, then an X10 IR543 IR to PLC converter, along with a Harmony 628 universal remote.

By then I was hooked on X10 and Home Automation and had realized I couldn't see my driveway.... and the X10 had cameras that could solve that problem. And that more lights required remote control. A guy (just a guy) named Bill introduced BVC (software) here at the forums more than a decade ago. Bill's Voice Commander used XP's SAPI5 voice recognition and the (then new) CM15A... to control X10 products.... and more. Using a Voice Command to start the Home Theater (or even the one button Harmony remote option) was almost like magic to most people who saw the setup.

So much has changed! All this stuff is so much better.... and easier to setup now-a-days. But everything changes so fast.... it's impossible to keep-up. Every new project first involves research to explore all the options. I hadn't even considered TiVo, or Sling, or AIR TV. And even though I owned a Roku... I hadn't thought of using a cable company app to function as a Cable Box would.

For now... I moved a Roku into the laundry room splitting the distance between my Man Cave TV (and the old Projector) and the new projector in the Home Thaeter. It is not "likely" I'll watch much TV in either place... but if I decide to.... I can switch the location where the Roku displays by switching HDMI cables at the Roku. A quick no-cost solution until I get another streaming device. And I've made a commitment to myself.... to stop running/fishing wire. 

All the input from here has been very helpful. And... given me plenty to read up on. Thank you all for enlightening me on these new products and sharing YOUR setup info.


« Last Edit: August 08, 2018, 01:43:52 PM by HA Dave »
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dhouston

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Tuicemen

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Re: Where to put the cable box....
« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2018, 11:46:43 AM »

 rofl Finding the sweet spot is really key!
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