Originally Posted by alk3997
The key is that you only ever have one input. Then a simple distribution amp (aka splitter) is sufficient. For a switcher to work you would have to unplug the HDMI cable from the switcher each time you wanted to use a different TV. Not recommended and can cause some sources to have handshaking issues.
Ok. If I have to unplug cables then switcher is out of the question. So it would be then splitter for HDMI AVR that has one HDMI output or matrix if AVR doesn't have HDMI at all.
Originally Posted by alk3997
Joe's response reminded me that maybe we're not talking the same thing. The first thing to remember is that HDMI is a digital cable. The second thing to remember about HDMI is that there is bi-directional communications going on. So, combine those two items and a simple cable splitter (which may be what you are asking about) won't work. I keep using distribution amp to show that there are active components when the signal is split. If you tried to just use a cable to split the signal (no active component) then that won't work for many reasons - the first that comes to mind is the return signal from the two TVs would get combined creating all sorts of bit errors in that signal.
That may not be what you meant but I wanted to make sure we eliminated a split cable as a splitter from being a possibility.
Unfortunately, HDMI is much more expensive than the "old" analog way of doing things. Much of the pricing has come down in the past year or so, but anything even remotely complicated gets expensive.
So, back to your questions. Remember a distribution amp (active splitter) is a '1 by x' device. So, only one input is allowed into a dist amp. A switch allows multiple inputs but has only one output. A matrix switch has multiple inputs and multiple outputs. It also has the ability to route different input to different outputs.
Most new AVRs have an HDMI switch capability. More expensive models have two outputs. Even more expensive models, that just started to appear this year, have a matrix switch capability. Without an AVR that does this function, in some way, you're going to need to perform that function in a different device. The normal way to do that is with a matrix switcher. I used to run exactly this same way and used a universal remote to make sure the AVR for audio and the matrix switcher for video switched at the same time. All audio was done with S/PDIF with the exception of Blu-Ray which was routed from the BD player's analog 7.1 channel outputs to one of the AVR's 7.1 analog inputs. No loss in audio quality that way (assuming bass management is done correctly). This method worked well with an Octava matrix switcher and kept the AVR going for another three years before I could afford the replacement.
By HDMI splitter I mean those powered boxes that have one input and two outputs.
I thought switch can have multiple outputs too. As I need two outputs then switch will not work.
If I go with two display setup it would be TV on the wall and pull down screen in front of it, so I would not need those extra matrix features since only one display is on at the time, but the two outputs is needed.
So either I keep my old receiver and buy 4x2 matrix or I buy new HDMI receiver that can have SPDIF input and HDMI output at the same time and 1x2 HDMI splitter? Updated pictures (now planning to install both HTPC and PC inside the TV stand):
If I choose the first option, can I use one "universal" remote to switch both SPDIF from the AVR and HDMI from the splitter at the same time with one press of a button?
If I would like to use one remote for both audio and video, something like this would be needed I guess:
The first remote would change both audio and video when "HDMI" source button is pressed. If I would like to change audio or video only I would need two button presses; When "AUDIO" button is pressed first and then "HDMI" is selected, it would select audio (SPDIF) only from that HDMI source. When "VIDEO" button is pressed and then "HDMI" is selected, it would change the video only, but live the audio as it is.
The second remote would also change both audio and video when "HDMI" source button is pressed. But audio and video would be changed with one button press instead of two by just pressing the individual buttons.
The second remote would also be needed if I choose to keep my old receiver and get matrix (?). The top buttons would change the audio from receiver and HDMI from matrix at the same time. Then I could use the single audio and video buttons to change between individual audio and video source.
Are these scenarios possible/good?