UPDATED: June 2023
What Wire Should You Run For Video Distribution?
We recommend running (2)Cat6, (1)RG6, and (1) Fiber* to each TV.
Clients are often surprised to hear we still run Coax. It’s simply a best practice, but it’s not required.
It’s surprising how often a customer decides to put a satellite or cable receiver behind the TV, even when they’re planning on Video Distribution. It’s easier to run the Coax now.
*For Fiber, we recommend OM3 Multimode Duplex Fiber from Cleerline Fiber. Tym can drop ship all your bulk wire and fiber.
Would Cat6a or Cat7 be better than Cat6?
Cat6 is adequate for runs 150 feet or less. If your TV wire runs are longer than 150 feet, you should use Cat6a.
A few companies like Crestron, require Cat6a for all Video Distribution. To be safe, a lot of dealers run (1)Cat6a for video, and (1)Cat6 for network to all TVs.
There’s nothing wrong with Cat7, but we’ve always felt at that price point it’s better to just run Fiber.
Should you run conduit?
I know people who run Conduit standard to every TV, but I believe it’s overkill. We only run Conduit to the Primary Tv(s).
If you’re not sure, the Primary Tv is usually the room where you have a Surround Sound, it’s where you’ll watch movies or the big game.
Run 1.25″ Flexible conduit. If the longs are run, or have too many turns, break up the runs with pull boxes along the way.
Even though you’re running conduit, you still want to run the wires.
How do you wire the projector?
Wire the projector exactly like a Primary TV, minus the Coax. Run (2)Cat6, (1)Fiber, and Conduit.
Why do you need so many wires for the TV?
All Tvs (and Projectors) need three things: Video; Network; and Control.
It’s best to run wire to the TV for each of these. In the past, you regularly needed wire for control (so a 3rd Cat6), but most Smart TVs today support ‘IP Control’ (Control sent over the network). So if you’re TV is hardwired to the network, you’re likely good for control.
1. Control – There are three methods for controlling the TV: IR; IP; and Serial. Whichever method you choose for your application, the Cat6 can be terminated and used for any one of these methods. So you’re covered.
If you have an older TV (not a Smart TV), you probably want a wire for Control.
2. Network – We cover this in our Wireless Vs. Hardwired post, but you really should hardwire your TV into the network.
3. Video – If you’re new to the space, it probably seems weird to send Video over Cat6, but Cat6 is a wonder wire. You can convert it into just about any wire you want it to be. In this case, we put a small box on each end of the Cat6 called a HDMI balun. That balun converts the Cat6 into HDMI, and allows you to send Video Content over the Cat6 to the TV.
Still have questions about wiring?
If you still have questions about wiring, check out our Design Service. We’ll help you design a wiring plan, spec out and budget a system, and give you access to our DIY Videos for wiring your own home.
Named one of Technology Integrator’s Top Talent Under 40, Matt has designed systems for 20 national award-winning projects, including "Home Theater of the Year", and "Custom Smart Home of the Year" from CTA™ (Consumer Technology Association). His ebook “How To Wire Your Smart Home” is a best seller among professionals and DIY-ers alike. He has taken classes with Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). You can watch Matt share the secrets of his craft on YouTube!
Matt is a Golden State fan.