For the purpose of introducing you to multimedia cables, I’ll break them down into four separate multimedia cables used in your home. In order to wire you home for telephone, data, video, and audio, these are the cables that need to be installed.
As with any connection, making a secure, solid connection is important to achieving a great signal and signal strength. Without a great connection, the signal will be poor and that leads to poor audio, video, and clarity on each of the four cables. The connection, type of cable, and connectors used to get the signal from point “A” to point “B” are the keys to success.
- Telephone Cables
Telephone cables are used for phone connections and use Cat 3 cables. To make connections, RJ-11 phone jacks are used, which sport six pins for connections. The cable itself has six wires that are not twisted, rather solid wire that is much thinner in size than Cat 6 cable used in data cables.
- Data Cable
Although data cables are used for both data and telephone signals, their primary use for signal quality is for use in data transmission. Data cables used include Cat 5e and Cat 6 cable. Although Cat 5e is acceptable, Cat 6 is the new and improved cable of choice. It is a 24-guage cable that is an unshielded twisted pair (UTP) of solid wires. Twisted wires reduce the possibility of cross talk. This means electromagnetic signals jump from wire to wire, but twisted wires make this unlikely, thus the philosophy of twisted pairs of wires. In order to make connections, a RJ-45 jack is used that sports an eight-pin jack.
- Video Cable (Coaxial Cable)
Video cable comes in two common styles, RG59 and RG6 Both are a double-shielded cable with a solid copper wire in the middle, separated by plastic and coated with a black outer sheath. RG-6 cable is ticker than RG-59, but both use F-type connectors for quick and easy connections. Professionals use crimp type connectors, although there are screw-in type connectors for the do-it-yourselfers for those without the proper tools. These cables connect you TV to the bale company’s connections. Professionals say to spend a little extra and buy watertight connections, whether you use them for inside or outside connections. It will reduce maintenance callbacks.
- Audio Cables
Audio cables are run to transmit signals from stereos, amplifiers, and other sound related equipment. Audio cables are often stranded bundles of wire between 18-and 12-gauge. These finely stranded wires within a plasticish, rubberish coated sheath, are designed for low-loss signals that achieve high quality sound. Audio cables are used to connect to speakers for such things as surround sound theater-sounding audio for you TV viewing pleasure. Connections include bare wire speaker connections and crimp-on jacks that are color coded for polarity. Red terminal jacks are used for positive terminals and black terminal jacks are used for negative terminals.
* Unlike standard household electrical wiring that runs on AC voltage, these cables are of the low voltage variety, often powered by the service companies like the cable or telephone companies.