can I make long cables, other than co-ax cables

I have co-ax cable run through my whole house, so I can watch in almost any room what is playing on the VCR in my bedroom. It works great. Can I now do the same thing with either RCA or S-video cables?

Running the cables and adding the connectors at one end after the cable is in place, so that the holes can be as small as possible?

The VCR was fine, but it seems I now have to go digital and get a digital DVD recorder with a tuner, and there is no RF output on those things, at least the ones I've seen.

It was easy to run co-ax of whatever length I wanted, and then attach a connector at the end, after I had pushed it through the holes in the floors and walls. And to have splitters whereever there was another tv, and RF amplifier-splitters whereever the signal got weak.

I don't play all the tvs at once, but I have branches now for 8 tvs. Doesn't that mean I need some "outboard" amplification, rather than trying to play 2 or 3 of them at the same time just with the output from the DVDR?

And can I make my own RCA cables or S-video cables?

I guess the longest single run is about 30 feet.

Currently I have one tv in the bedroom itself and a line going downstairs and a line into the attic.

The line into the attic has an RF-connector for a tv in the attic, a line down in the wall for the bathroom, and a line down in the wall of the office/spare bedroom.

The line going down has an a line for the living room tv, the basement tv, the laundry room tv, and up again for the kitchen tv.

I wasn't very successful soldering RCA connectors on to RCA cable, but that was a long time ago and maybe I can do a better now.

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I've done RCA-style cables out to 25 feet, and have two S-Video cables,

50 ft. in length, that I'd love to sell.

Back to your question. The RCA cable shouldn't be too much trouble. Matter of fact, I used a very small-diameter 75 ohm coax, and put Radio Shack RCA male plugs on each end, for a specialized application. The "Shack" used to have solderless RCA plugs, IIRC.

S-video might be a bit of a problem. I've never seen the little DIN plugs available for DIY cable-making. That doesn't mean they don't exist, but you would have to solder, or otherwise connect, 4 wires, I believe. Now, the actual mini-DIN plugs aren't that much larger than the plastic or rubber covered RCA plugs. That shouldn't require too big a hole.

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You can certainly run baseband analogue video over considerable distances

- after all this is how transmitters were fed at one time. However, the sort of cable used for interconnects might be quite lossy over longish distances so video co-ax designed for installation work would be a better bet. Something like RG59 is an economical solution - can be bought for approx 25 gbp per 100 mtrs.

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    Dave Plowman           London SW
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Dave Plowman (News)

Yes to both. However, there are some potential (minor pun there!) problems that can arise due to ground loops if you connect devices together that are plugged into different AC circuits in the household. The commonest symptom of such is hum in the audio.

Audio can be point-to-multipoint (one sender, multiple receivers or jacks) *if* the sending device has the ability to drive multiple loads. Don't try this with composite or S-video, though - you'll probably end up with a weak, unstable, or ghost-filled picture.

Yes, you can do this.

The other option is to install a standard-size switch/outlet box in the wall at each end, and use a wall cover plate which has the appropriate jacks on it. You can buy cover plates with such jacks pre-installed, or a cover plate which accepts two or four or more jack inserts (RCA, S-Video).

You can use an audio amplifier, isolation transformers, etc. to handle the audio distribution problem.

For baseband (composite or S-video) you'll have trouble getting away with a "branched" topology. You can't just use T-connectors or passive splitters, as these will cause either impedance mismatches or a decrease in video signal voltage which will mess up the picture.

Yup. You'll need a video distribution amplifier - one which accepts an incoming video signal, and produces independent buffered (isolated) video outputs of the correct voltage. You'll then need to run a separate cable from the distribution amplifier to each destination.

What you are considering is not a small project, I think. If you've had difficulty soldering RCA plugs successfully, you're likely to find the soldering of S-Video connectors to be a serious headache.

Dave Platt                                    AE6EO
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Dave Platt

Thanks to all who have replied.

Dave's seems like a good place to reply.

I guess I'll worry about that later. :)

So I'm going to have to have a video amp and an audio amp? Maybe more than one. Wow.


That is a problem. Not for the attic runs. The attic is unfinished, doesn't even have much of a floor, and no one lives there.

But the real problem is running through the basement ceiling. It took me two snakes, and a lot of luck to get it as quickly as I did 24 years ago.

That was maybe 35 years ago. I'm a lot better at this now. And maybe it wasn't the solder but the metal part that was supposed to be crimped around the whole cable. IIRC that was too pliable and didn't clamp well, or the housing screwed on but wouldn't stay on. But those things are probably better now too.

I think it took me years to finish this the first time when I used co-ax, first just the kitchen and the "club" room in the basement. Later the office, then the bathroom. Later the living room, laundry room, and the attic because the cable was going right by there anyhow.

On one occasion I had a party, and played the movie on the vcr while

40 people watched the movie in the living room, basement, and kitchen. But mostly I want it so that I can go from room to room and watch the same show. And now especially since I can't afford 8 digital tvs (I got all of these tv's used or off the sidewalk.

I'm only planning this because the warning for the RF modulator said picture quality would deteriorate. I guess I should wait and see how much that happens. But I should start all this planning and doing now and not wait till February.

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I saw sometjing a while back where someone claimed to have sucessfully used Cat

5 cable for S-video throughout his house... a google search should should find that information.
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Thanks a lot. I'll look for that tomorrow.

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OK, googled on cat-5 s-video . Many threads in In among others, got: This page sells adapaters, s-video to cat-5, for 27 dollars each:

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cord style
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box style 50 dollars each Send S-Video and Stereo Audio over a single Category 5e cable.

Advantages of runing S-Video over CAT5:

- Less signal loss over long runs.

- Use your building's structured cabling.

- Neater and faster cabling.

- More variety of CAT5 cable to meet your building's code. Features:

- Transmit up to 1,000 ft. via Cat 5e

- Each balun has one s-video jack for video and 2 RCA jacks for left (white) and right (red) audio signals.

- Each balun has one RJ45 jack to connect to an RJ45 plug on a Cat 5e cable. This product uses the four pairs in a CAT5 cable. If you just need to send the S-video, then consider our S-Video Balun. If the equipment at your destination only has composite video then consider our "Pro S-Video to Non-S-Video + Audio" cable.** Note: Two are required so a minimum of 2 is automatically set when you order. Availability: ships same day.

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19 dollars each

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RF cabling with F connectors is broadband, carries multiple channels, and is compatible with multiple drops and both NTSC and ATSC (digital) video + audio. Splitters are passive devices, and automatic gain control at each receiver makes it all work.

RCA usually is NTSC composite video, so you'd need three cables (stereo sound R, L, and video) to replace RF. You'll only ever have one channel on it. Splitting or multiple-room drops will probably require powered amplification (SOME systems might have switchable termination, but most don't).

S-video is usually NTSC luma (baseband analog) video and NTSC chroma on two separate wires. So, with stereo sound, it takes four cables and you only get one channel. Again, splitting requires multiple amplifier output channels.

The only one of these three options that will work for digital broadcast and tolerate single-cable runs with taps or branches is the regular old F connector RF/CATV. You're best off sticking wth it.

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Thanks for the detailed answer. I've saved it and the others here. The RF modulator arrived at my friend's office yesterday, and if that works well enough, I'll be very happy. But I won't start testing until I get the DVD recorder. I have a much better understanding of my choices now.

Thanks to all.

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