How to Run Composite Video and Network Data Through an Ethernet Cable

Picture of How to Run Composite Video and Network Data Through an Ethernet Cable
I needed to run Video and Audio to another part of my house. Problem was, I didn't have that much AV cable, nor the time and money to do a good installation. However I did have plenty of Cat 5 Ethernet Cable lying around. This is what I came up with, Cethernet (pronounced Seethernet) or Composite-Ethernet.

Warning This will not work with Gigabit networks, however if its for home use you probably don't need to worry.

(Bear with me this is my first instructible)

Other than video and audio you can adapt this to run a number of things. When used with a telephone line, it may be referred to as a 3 pair or 4 pair Voice/Data cable.

Now about the parts you'll need. You can of course throw something together by splicing wires, but i decided to go for a cleaner look. As you can see from the pictures below.

I used these items which can be purchased at your local Radioshack or parts store

(Note: this is just for one end of the cable)

1. Project box from Radioshack (Altoids tins work as well, its easy just to ground everything to the case)
2. 3 Phono Jacks (They come in packs of 4)
3. Ethernet Cable
4. Soldering Iron
5. Solder
6. RJ45 Crimp tool (optional)
7. RJ45 Jacks (optional)
8. Housing of some sort (I used a "Shack" project box on one end and metal mint tin on the other)

6 and 7 are only if your making the cable, you can also just cut a cable near the end and use that. It would probably be easier for most people. However this project is geared toward people who have a crimping tool, because I used one. I will do my best to describe what non-crimpers should do, I'll try to do one without crimping soon so I can get some pics.

Just letting you know you might have to improvise some on the box, but I have found that just wrapping it all in electrical tape will work. Just make sure the wires and Jacks are insulated.

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hi! is it possible to use a network switch to multiply the video source ? or is it possible to send the signal through a WIFI access point ?

hi! is it possible to use a network switch to multiply the video source ? or is it possible to send the signal through a WIFI access point ?

corbin.sl3 years ago
I see a few overlooked details and major misconception! First, THIS WILL NOT STREAM AUDIO OR VIDEO OVER LAN! All this does is allow you to send LAN signals side by side with audio video signals! robhybrid is absolutely correct. Commercial cables do give each signal its own pair for one main reason: Unbalanced signals do not propagate well over long distances and generally limits signals(of any kind) to 10 Meters or less. To combat this commercial cables use what is called a balun transformer to convert the unbalanced signal of the A/V equipment to a balanced signal suitable for twisted pair.  Otherwise your signals are very susceptible to interference.  Now that being said, will this work, absolutely!  Will it work well, maybe!  It depends on your environment, and your idea of 'working well'. If all you do on the connected machine is light web browsing, you may never realize there is a problem.  But if you do any streaming or gaming, you will likely encounter problems.  IF you were to check the ethernet cable with a certification meter(very expensive) you will undoubtedly see a dramatic decrease in speed capabilities and an increase in interference and error rates, although many peoples normal browsing habits would not reveal any issues. Also sending an unbalanced signal side by side with a balanced signal(ethernet) would definitely cause interference in your ethernet portion of the cable, but may also likely go unnoticed by the average home user.  This is a very common practice in the home integration field, that I just happen to know a bit about, so I thought I would offer my advice to help clear some things up. Hope this helps.
masonboi134 years ago
Does anyone know if you can plug your xbox/ps3 video and audio phonos into this and view the video on your pc via the connected ethernet?
xagop4 years ago
WHat kind of work is this? nonsense. less in details.
xdrone xagop4 years ago
Man, it is all wrong, there is not way for the hub, switch or router to make sense of the signal coming in, let alone the voltages to run a signal. Composite video is only 2 V max DC. Ethernet data is at 5 VDC square wave. There is nothing similar between the 2 signals and no circuit to convert the composite video+audio to digital signal and envelope it with a header for the Ethernet device for direction.
It is very complicated to create a device for such an instructable title. Thinking about the design alone gives me a nose bleed.
Rhamkota xdrone4 years ago
The Ethernet data is only run through a few wires, that leaves some that are being unused. That is why it works.
xdrone4 years ago
This is as bad as designing a 220V mains outlet with male plug rather a socket.
Walendas4 years ago
Instead of ethernet cables, can you use telephone cables?
E_MAN Walendas4 years ago
you could.... but the whole point of this is to run both the network capability and the audio/video signal. I would work on the phone cable, but you would only be able to run the audio/video. it would also be possible to run just one channel of sound over a telephone cable with the telephone line. there might be some interference thought..... have fun!
E_MAN E_MAN4 years ago
No problem. I just used a similar hack to run two network connections over one cat5e cable. Works great!
Walendas E_MAN4 years ago
Thanks! Great explanation!
arbarbarb6 years ago
I'm intruiged. So is this simply a cable extender for a point to point connection? If you plug the Ethernet jack (connected to the video-out source) into a hub which connects to another hub, which you then connect the TV, will you get the signal on the TV? This could be useful for broadcasting the signal from my set top box over my network so I can just connect TV's in other rooms to watch the same show without having to use one of those horrible wireless extenders. And thinking further ahead, if you used it as a USB extender for a cheap webcam rather than an IPCam would it work? Great idea! Thanks.
mixadj (author)  arbarbarb6 years ago
Whoops, did you mean a digital network hub, or a 1 port splitting into 4. You could split the signal but I don't know how much your signal would degrade. I mainly use these cables for audio, so if I split it I just attach an amp to the end. I don't know much about video.
eban26 mixadj4 years ago
I just tried your "How to run composite video and network data through ethernet cable" to be able to receive TV in kitchen, unfortunately I do not have ethernet wiring in the kitchen but do access the internet on my laptop via Netgear Powerline AV+ 200 connection to a modem in an upstairs office.

Unfortunately it didn't work for TV but OK for data transmission. Any known reason or ideas please??
mixadj (author)  arbarbarb6 years ago
No, this will will not work with a hub, it might even damage it. As for USB, you could run 5V+, D+, D-, and GND through those 4 extra connections, however USB has a set run length(I don't know off the top of my head, Wiki it). If you had an on site power source of a regulated 5V you could run 2 devices, but I don't know what kind of interference that would have.
Just for reference, USBs cable length is 15 ft without a repeater/powered hub.
what dose this do
would this setup work with my laptop and tv in my room and a pc and tv with dvd player out in the living area? would it transmitt the audio and video through the network hub or not?
throught a hub?????????????????? i´m not sure about that!
jongscx matbh6 years ago
actually,in the strictest sense, since the hub in this picture would be acting just as a splitter, it should work... Unfortunately, if you're using something beefier than a hub, say a switch, or even a router... you may be out of luck, as the other cables would be in use...
Kasm279 jongscx5 years ago
I've never owned a hub, too young for that. All I've got is a router and a switch >.>
I doubt it, but I would be extremely interested in the results if anyone tries it. If it's just a splitter + generic amp, then sure. But if there's any kind of data cleaning (ie, noise removal), which any decent digital amp should do, it'd probably destroy your A/V quality. If you / anyone does try and succeed, though, please leave a comment and include which hub you use, as that may matter :)
Groxx Groxx5 years ago
Oh, and as mixadj notes below, it may damage your router if you try. Again, I'd doubt it as the power is so low, but I'll also claim zero responsibility if it does ;)
stevie16 years ago
just a thought but would this work with a wireless router so that it could be wireless??
jongscx stevie16 years ago
...no. What you're doing here is using the ethernet cat5/cat5e cable for a purpose different than what the router is expecting. As such, the signals, voltages, etc. would not work well, and at the least, won't be read correctly by the router... At the most, it would fry your router or/and your video source from the conflicting voltages on the wires...
But on the otherhand, wouldn't it be possible to get some strong IR transmitters or some other form of signal-broadcasting components to just send the pure signal out without alteration and build a receiver for the other side? Say run from a/v source in the livingroom through the diningroom and into the kitchen where it splits to view on the TV on the counter and then runs (after the split) to the transmitter you've built which beams it out the back window to the receiver hooked to your setup on the back patio? Could this work? I'm getting a little excited here... at the very least, cat5 is very easy to run and there is quite some potential in this as there are 8 wires, 4 twisted pair... that's 4 audio devices, or two A/V devices and an additional audio. I'm SOOOO playing over the weekend... will report back if I figure out anything spiffy.
stevie1 jongscx6 years ago
oh, ok thanks for the explanation.
So i could use ethernet cable and splice it to some AV cables and connect my laptop to my TV?? and since i wouldn't need to connect to a network I would only use 2 pairs/4 wires to run audio and video? this would be cool to do and I have all the parts so i wouldn't have to buy anything!
snaremj5 years ago
I don't know if anyone still looks at this but im thinking about doing this for my living room. But keeping it on its own network. What was the video quality like on ths project?...
Interesting thing:  If you want to run composite video more than 250 feet, you can't use a normal coaxial video cable.  The signal is too degraded so you lose all of the image detail.
For up to 1000 feet or so, the solution is to use a video balun on each end of a twisted pair.  Shielded twisted pair would be nice, but unshielded (UTP such as CAT5) works okay too.  The source-side balun converts the single-ended 75 Ohm composite video into differential 100 Ohm, (that matches the CAT5 impedance).  The far balun converts it back to 75 Ohm single-ended.  This also avoids noise picked up in a long coaxial cable outer shield, and isolates the two sides to prevent ground loops.
redpillftw6 years ago
This is a good concept but I spot a few problems here. This is basically just putting end on a cat5 cable. If you go a fairly long length using this method you will have a degradation of signal quality, naturally. Also, there is a delay in cat 5 between the different twisted pairs. This is why is would be much better to use a BALUN box. Muxlab makes a nice one and it has internal circuitry that compensates for delays and signal loss without need of any external power!!!! I think you can run component video about 1000 feet using a balun with out any signal loss. Baluns are great I use them all the time in my work. Nevertheless, This instructable is pretty cool and I think I am going to use this to connect my dvd player to a projector I have mounted in my living room.
mixadj (author)  redpillftw6 years ago
For small home wiring that requires short cable runs, you should have little or no signal loss. Well, noticeably at least. An audio aficionado or HD enthusiast might say differently.
just dont stick that in a modem port.

Yeah, it won't fit.

ya I was thinking of doing this exact thing for a while now but with component since component cables are so bloody expensive. Then I realized the signal strength would really suck.... lol i wonder if you can amplify video signals with an old tube amplifier....
Imagine if you had RJ45 built into your house...
Blackice5045 years ago
there is one other problem with this you will only get Half Duplex Network so your connection ( INTERNAL ) would be half speed of a Full Duplexing Network. so for people that just need a Connection with internet maybe share some files and a printer fine. High speed downloading + remote desktop on the download machine would be a nightmare ( already a nightmare for the windows OS as it limits its connections in sp2. but thats another story. but all in all a good idea. personaly i would run my video and audio in one network cable and make the video RGB (component) and Digital Audio ( 1 RCA ) + 5.1 or 7.1 Digital Audio. (makre sure your sound card can do that) or you would just get Stereo.
0utbreak5 years ago
it looks cool but cant it make noice(parazite) if the sound and the video (-) negatives attached together..??
f47m1k35 years ago
The idea of using a repeater would be a novel idea. However, since youre using UTP, using an amplifier (repeaters are for digital signals) might not be a good idea unless you upgraded the setup to STP. You might pick up some EMI from AC wiring if you're not careful of where you run it and you would just end up amplifying the noise along with the signal. However, that aside, I do like this instructable. Great idea for reducing the cables running from room to room especially considering that 50' of cat5 is cheaper than 50' of RCA.
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