Can You Send Audio or Video Over Existing Home Wiring?

PLC allows you to extend networks and send A/V info over home wiring.

Power Line Communication (PLC) refers to a technology that allows communication over existing power cables in a home or building. HomePlug is a PLC standard that can distribute audio, video, and control signals via your home's existing electrical wiring. You can use the same system to extend a Wi-Fi network.

Powerline Audio System from IO Gear

What Can You Do With PLC?

HomePlug and other PLC standards allow you to have a multiroom audio system in your home without having to install new wiring. You can also use the PLC technology to extend an existing network (although a PLC system cannot replace a router or modem).

You can find many power line network adapters from brands like Netgear, Linksys, Trendnet, and Actiontec. They are sold in pairs: one is meant to be plugged into a wall outlet near your router, and the other in the room where you want the network or A/V connection. For homes where Wi-Fi coverage is average and you don't want to rewire for a new connection, PLC is a great way to better distribute access.

HomePlug Standards: AV, AV2, AV MIMO, nVoy

The HomePlug Alliance certifies all compatible adapters which carry a HomePlug Certified logo. HomePlug AV and AV2 are SISO (single input/single output) and use two wires (hot and neutral) in your home electrical wiring.

The AV2 MIMO (multiple in/multiple out) standard with beamforming uses those two wires and also the ground, which improves the reliability of high-bandwidth transmissions.

The HomePlug Alliance sponsors the nVoy Program to develop the software layer that integrates HomePlus with Wi-Fi. The aim is that HomePlug technology is built into components to offer plug-and-play connectivity.

Advanced Systems With Power Line Communications

Russound offers more advanced systems and components, including the Collage Powerline Media and Intercom System. It consists of an amplified in-wall keypad for each room with 30 watts of power (15-watts x 2) and a small, full-color display. Each control keypad has an FM tuner and a Media Manager that connects the system to a home Ethernet network for sharing content between zones. Each room in this system gets a pair of in-wall speakers. 

NuVo Technologies developed the Renovia, a six-source system for as many as eight zones or rooms. Audio sources connect to a Renovia Source Hub, which includes built-in AM/FM tuners and satellite radio tuners. Additional sources, such as a CD player, can also connect to the Source Hub for a total of six sources.

The Collage and Renovia systems target the retrofit installation market—homes where installing room-to-room wiring is impractical or too expensive. Regardless of their relative ease of use, you'll need a professional installation of either system.

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