Video Distribution is a popular method for sending your favorite shows to TVs throughout your home.

We’re going to look at three things:

    1. What Is Video Distribution?
    2. What does Video Distribution Cost?
    3. And most importantly, do you need Video Distribution?

What Is Video Distribution

Video Distribution is kind of like Sonos for your TVs.  You can send your favorite TV show or movie from a single Roku to every TV in your home.

So let’s say you have 4 TVs in your home and a Roku.  With Video Distribution, you can watch the Roku on all 4 TVs at the same time.

Say you add in a second video source like cable.  You can choose to watch the Roku on 2 TVs, and cable on the other 2 TVs.

An original draw to Video Distribution was eliminating the need for Media Cabinets. You could install TVs without wires and clutter like the image below.

TV Install With Video Distribution

How Much Does Video Distribution Cost?

Video Distribution may be the most expensive ‘per unit’ item in a Smart Home.  A simple rule of thumb is $1,500 per TV.  If you use Fiber, it can exceed $2,000 per TV.

There are a number of variables:

  • What Control System are you using, Savant, Control4, Crestron?
  • Did you run Cat6 or Fiber to the TVs?
  • Are your TVs 4K, 8K? Do you have some old HD TVs still?
  • Are your video Sources 4K, 8k?
  • Do you have a dedicated Theater?
  • Are there rooms where you want speakers beyond the TVs built in audio?

We’re not going to deep dive into the hardware, or ‘how to design video distribution’ here, but each of these things impacts the final design and cost.

Do You Need Video Distribution?

In the past there were three reasons to use Video Distribution:

  1. Live TV
  2. Hiding Components, Wiring, and clutter in one centralized location.
  3. For ‘Audio Downmixing’

We can now watch Live TV from Hulu, Youtube, Apple+, Peacock and any other number of streaming services, either from apps directly on the TV, or devices like a Roku.

It’s easier than ever to Hide Devices behind the TV, even your Cable Receiver, and flush mount your TV. I posted a 30 second video about it here on Pinterest

Audio Downmixing helps you use the ‘Home Audio’ speakers for your TV.  It’s still a thing, but there are less expensive ways to address it.

What’s more? Video Distribution is the number one service ticket issue, and it’s not even close.  If you use Video Distribution, plan on regular service trips from your dealer.

Would I Use Video Distribution?

For years, Video Distribution was my favorite part of any system, and it can create a really cool user experience, but a lot has changed with Video.

It’s hard to justify paying $1,500-2,000+ per TV, when the three reasons to justify Video Distribution are no longer critical.  And we know it’s a serivce nightmare.  But… there are elements of Video Distribution we still incorporate.

Video Tiling, Video Walls, or hiding components in a separate room from the Tv or Theater.

Any of these applications would require elements of Video Distribution like Video Baluns, but we try and avoid a traditional Video Distribution System.

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Matt Montgomery, TYM, Salt Lake City, Ut

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.




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