Advice needed choosing an HDMI switch - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 11-26-2011, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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First, thanks in advance for the advice. Second, I'm not a A/V expert or even remotely close to knowing what some of this stuff means when it comes to most of the A/V things here and on the net. Having said that, I have a 50" Phillips HDTV that only has 2 HDMI inputs in the back. I have a Tivo hooked up to 1 HDMI input and noting in the other. I just ordered a Panasonic DMP-BDT210 & Philips HSB2313A/F7 SoundBar. I plan on ordering a receiver (not sure what brand yet...hopefully, someone in the receivers forum will help me decide) and some Take Classic speakers. Doing some research I found out I need an HDMI switch. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what I need. I think these are the 2 best reviewed switches I've found.
5X1 Enhanced 1.3b Certified HDMI Switch w/ Built-In Equalizer & Remote
5X1 Mini HDMI Switch w/ Remote I think the one I really need out of the 2 is the Enhanced 1.3b. If not, please let me know. If there's a better switch I'd also appreciate that info. Also, is there a preferred way to plug everything into each other? Or, 1 component that should use the HDMI input on the TV and not on the switch over the others, etc, etc?
Again, thank in advance for the advice.
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post #2 of 11 Old 11-27-2011, 07:13 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Billyh1026 View Post

First, thanks in advance for the advice. Second, I'm not a A/V expert or even remotely close to knowing what some of this stuff means when it comes to most of the A/V things here and on the net. Having said that, I have a 50" Phillips HDTV that only has 2 HDMI inputs in the back. I have a Tivo hooked up to 1 HDMI input and noting in the other. I just ordered a Panasonic DMP-BDT210 & Philips HSB2313A/F7 SoundBar. I plan on ordering a receiver (not sure what brand yet...hopefully, someone in the receivers forum will help me decide) and some Take Classic speakers. Doing some research I found out I need an HDMI switch. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what I need. I think these are the 2 best reviewed switches I've found.
5X1 Enhanced 1.3b Certified HDMI Switch w/ Built-In Equalizer & Remote
5X1 Mini HDMI Switch w/ Remote I think the one I really need out of the 2 is the Enhanced 1.3b. If not, please let me know. If there's a better switch I'd also appreciate that info. Also, is there a preferred way to plug everything into each other? Or, 1 component that should use the HDMI input on the TV and not on the switch over the others, etc, etc?
Again, thank in advance for the advice.

Billy, you're going way too fast. Let's backup.

If you're buying a receiver then that receiver will act as a switch. Some (not all) Audio Video Receivers (AVRs) will even do that when placed in standby mode. The Philips HSB2313A/F7 soundbar also has two HDMI Ins and one HDMI Out, along with a digital audio input.

So, if everything works you would seem to have more than enough HDMI connectivity to handle every need. However, I would caution that as you are adding things, the lowest common denominator rule will apply.

So, if you add a component that only does 1080i and everything else does 1080p, then every component will get 1080i (for instance). So, the way I would do this is to plug the Blu-Ray player into the receiver along with the Tivo. The receiver output would go into the Soundbar which would then output to the TV.

If you don't mind turning on the receiver every time you watch TV (we don't) then you could get rid of the soundbar. If you want the soundbar/TV combo then make sure any receiver you get will still pass the HDMI signal when it is off (in standby, actually - they are never off).

If something I wrote above doesn't make sense or won't work, please ask again.
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post #3 of 11 Old 11-27-2011, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Andy, thanks for the help/info. I didn't know about the LCD rule or that a receiver would do that (act as a switch). The only things I'll have video coming from is the Tivo(1080i) and the DVD(1080p I'm guessing right?). There's no picture/sound degredation or anything like that by daisy-chaining all of those things? I thought the receiver would have to be plugged into the TV and everything else funneled into (for lack of better words) the TV then, the receiver would play whatever came out of whatever was playing...DVD/Tivo/etc. The only reason I'm getting the sound bar is because I thought I'd sound better than my TV speakers. My speakers sound fine don't get me wrong. I don't even necessarily need it. It just seemed like it'd sound good? I'm not sure I can have my receiver turned on when I watch TV...never thought about that. I guess I could turn it on just not have it booming like a theater? Is that what you do? I really do appreciate the help Andy. As you can tell, I'm far from an expert on this stuff.
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post #4 of 11 Old 11-28-2011, 06:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Billyh1026 View Post

Andy, thanks for the help/info. I didn't know about the LCD rule or that a receiver would do that (act as a switch). The only things I'll have video coming from is the Tivo(1080i) and the DVD(1080p I'm guessing right?). There's no picture/sound degredation or anything like that by daisy-chaining all of those things? I thought the receiver would have to be plugged into the TV and everything else funneled into (for lack of better words) the TV then, the receiver would play whatever came out of whatever was playing...DVD/Tivo/etc. The only reason I'm getting the sound bar is because I thought I'd sound better than my TV speakers. My speakers sound fine don't get me wrong. I don't even necessarily need it. It just seemed like it'd sound good? I'm not sure I can have my receiver turned on when I watch TV...never thought about that. I guess I could turn it on just not have it booming like a theater? Is that what you do? I really do appreciate the help Andy. As you can tell, I'm far from an expert on this stuff.

Billy, let me make sure I don't over-state something, most receivers will act as an HDMI switch. You have to look at the advertising to be absolutely sure.

Yes, if I was setting up something like this I would use the TV speakers when I didn't care about the sound quality and then switch on the receiver when I did. With this wiring you have to make sure your receiver will support contining to send HDMI when in standby (what most people call 'off' even though the receiver isn't really off).

There is one other way to do this. It's called the Audio Return Channel (ARC). With this method you plug your two components HDMI cables into the receiver and the output HDMI cable to the TV as before. You then enable the audio return channel and anything audio that is played by the TV is also available with the receiver. It's relatively new and both the TV and receiver have to support ARC for the capability to work. But, it simplifies wiring.

http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/arc.aspx

The bottom line is you can do exactly what you said you wanted to do initially but it is complicated and there are a number of complications with HDMI that might prevent it from working the way you really want. Simplifying it should make it much more reliable. The more you can treat the receiver as the central HDMI hub, the simpler this will be.
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post #5 of 11 Old 11-29-2011, 05:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Billy, let me make sure I don't over-state something, most receivers will act as an HDMI switch. You have to look at the advertising to be absolutely sure.

Yes, if I was setting up something like this I would use the TV speakers when I didn't care about the sound quality and then switch on the receiver when I did. With this wiring you have to make sure your receiver will support contining to send HDMI when in standby (what most people call 'off' even though the receiver isn't really off).

There is one other way to do this. It's called the Audio Return Channel (ARC). With this method you plug your two components HDMI cables into the receiver and the output HDMI cable to the TV as before. You then enable the audio return channel and anything audio that is played by the TV is also available with the receiver. It's relatively new and both the TV and receiver have to support ARC for the capability to work. But, it simplifies wiring.

http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/arc.aspx

The bottom line is you can do exactly what you said you wanted to do initially but it is complicated and there are a number of complications with HDMI that might prevent it from working the way you really want. Simplifying it should make it much more reliable. The more you can treat the receiver as the central HDMI hub, the simpler this will be.

Ok Andy, you talked me into returning the soundbars. They just got here today, but have a full refund return policy. I really don't need them to be honest. They just seemed like a good idea at the time. I want to do the easiest, least complicated, best sounding, and viewing thing possible. You've been a great help. Looks like I'll be plugging the BR player & Tivo into the receiver...and the receiver into the TV right? My Tivo max's out at 1080i so the BR player won't play at 1080p ever with the configuration I just said above? If so, what would be the best way to go about pulling 1080p out of the BR player and sound from the player and Tivo? You know, I forgot to ask about the audio coming out of the TV going to the receiver. Is that possible given the configuration above also or not really? I know I'm asking a lot, but I appreciate the help and patience. I am learning believe it or not.
Billy
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post #6 of 11 Old 11-29-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Billyh1026 View Post

Ok Andy, you talked me into returning the soundbars. They just got here today, but have a full refund return policy. I really don't need them to be honest. They just seemed like a good idea at the time. I want to do the easiest, least complicated, best sounding, and viewing thing possible. You've been a great help. Looks like I'll be plugging the BR player & Tivo into the receiver...and the receiver into the TV right? My Tivo max's out at 1080i so the BR player won't play at 1080p ever with the configuration I just said above? If so, what would be the best way to go about pulling 1080p out of the BR player and sound from the player and Tivo? You know, I forgot to ask about the audio coming out of the TV going to the receiver. Is that possible given the configuration above also or not really? I know I'm asking a lot, but I appreciate the help and patience. I am learning believe it or not.
Billy

Billy, good questions. Obviously set the BD player to 1080p and plug into the receiver and Tivo to its native mode (or select 1080i) and hook into the receiver. I believe you'll still get 1080p from the BD player because the TV is sending its configuration to the sources not the other way around. So each source will choose the highest resolution that it and the TV will support.

Sound through the receiver should be automatic and be the highest quality audio that the receiver supports. So you should be OK there.

Now for audio coming out of the TV, HDMI has an optional feature called "Audio Return Channel" or ARC. If both the receiver and the TV support ARC, then you can get TV sound output through your receiver. ARC is relatively new and not all component support the capability.

The other way would be to let your TV decode the audio for BD and Tivo when the receiver is in standby. Some receivers will support this capability to send HDMI when in standby and you'll want to make sure that whichever receiver you choose does do that. In this case the TV would tell the source devices that it is stereo and the sources would output stereo over HDMI. This would not allow you to output the TV's audio over your receiver, but I suspect you use Tivo instead of your TV's tuner, so it wouldn't matter.

Let me know if you have more questions.
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post #7 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Billy, good questions. Obviously set the BD player to 1080p and plug into the receiver and Tivo to its native mode (or select 1080i) and hook into the receiver. I believe you'll still get 1080p from the BD player because the TV is sending its configuration to the sources not the other way around. So each source will choose the highest resolution that it and the TV will support.

Sound through the receiver should be automatic and be the highest quality audio that the receiver supports. So you should be OK there.

Now for audio coming out of the TV, HDMI has an optional feature called "Audio Return Channel" or ARC. If both the receiver and the TV support ARC, then you can get TV sound output through your receiver. ARC is relatively new and not all component support the capability.

The other way would be to let your TV decode the audio for BD and Tivo when the receiver is in standby. Some receivers will support this capability to send HDMI when in standby and you'll want to make sure that whichever receiver you choose does do that. In this case the TV would tell the source devices that it is stereo and the sources would output stereo over HDMI. This would not allow you to output the TV's audio over your receiver, but I suspect you use Tivo instead of your TV's tuner, so it wouldn't matter.

Let me know if you have more questions.

Andy, you've helped me get the BD & Tivo figured out (BD + Tivo > Receiver > TV). I read the links in your earlier post about ARC. My TV doesn't support it and it seems like it's not exactly an easy thing to do. So, I can't do that. From what you're saying, I need to look for a receiver that sends HDMI when in standby or, I'll have to have the receiver on to hear the BD & Tivo audio through the TV and/or the HT speakers right? And, if it doesn't send HDMI when in standby I'll need to have the receiver on to hear through the TV speakers and/or the HT speakers right? I guess it's not really a big deal to hear the TV audio through the receiver because, you're right...I use my Tivo 99% of the time. There's just a few times I watch/listen through the TV itself and those are few and far between and the TV speakers are fine for those times.

I think you're getting me close to the finish line here. I'll need to visit the receivers forum next to get help picking a receiver I think. Hopefully, they'll be as helpful as you are.
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post #8 of 11 Old 11-30-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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Andy, you've helped me get the BD & Tivo figured out (BD + Tivo > Receiver > TV). I read the links in your earlier post about ARC. My TV doesn't support it and it seems like it's not exactly an easy thing to do. So, I can't do that. From what you're saying, I need to look for a receiver that sends HDMI when in standby or, I'll have to have the receiver on to hear the BD & Tivo audio through the TV and/or the HT speakers right? And, if it doesn't send HDMI when in standby I'll need to have the receiver on to hear through the TV speakers and/or the HT speakers right? I guess it's not really a big deal to hear the TV audio through the receiver because, you're right...I use my Tivo 99% of the time. There's just a few times I watch/listen through the TV itself and those are few and far between and the TV speakers are fine for those times.

I think you're getting me close to the finish line here. I'll need to visit the receivers forum next to get help picking a receiver I think. Hopefully, they'll be as helpful as you are.

You are correct with both of your questions.

I think the AVR manufacturers call it "HDMI Standby Passthrough" or something obvious like that. I know Denon has at least one receiver with the capability (as do other manufacturers).
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post #9 of 11 Old 12-01-2011, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

You are correct with both of your questions.

I think the AVR manufacturers call it "HDMI Standby Passthrough" or something obvious like that. I know Denon has at least one receiver with the capability (as do other manufacturers).

Sounds good!! I talked with a friend at work today and he said he leave his AVR on all the time. You said you do that too, so (not sure...but) I'll probably go that route instead of limiting my AVR choices since it's no harm no foul to have the AVR turned on. I can just mute the TV or the HT speakers...whichever I don't want to listen to.

And, thanks man you've been a great help here. Saved me some money with the sound bar advice. Now if I only knew what I wanted/needed in an AVR. I'm off to that forum now!!
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post #10 of 11 Old 12-04-2011, 09:36 PM
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With your Sources connected to the AVR via HDMI and the Sources set to 5.1 (via HDMI) then HDMI Standby Passthru is often pretty useless unless your TV supports 5.1 via HDMI (most don't) or you mess around resetting Sources to 2.0 audio (over HDMI) to suit the TV.

Simpler to leave the TV Vol set to zero and power the AVR On whenever your using the TV.

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post #11 of 11 Old 12-06-2011, 10:16 AM
 
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With your Sources connected to the AVR via HDMI and the Sources set to 5.1 (via HDMI) then HDMI Standby Passthru is often pretty useless unless your TV supports 5.1 via HDMI (most don't) or you mess around resetting Sources to 2.0 audio (over HDMI) to suit the TV.

Simpler to leave the TV Vol set to zero and power the AVR On whenever your using the TV.

Joe

Joe, I didn't get a chance to respond to this sooner (been "under the weather"). In bypass mode wouldn't a receiver then ship the EDID from the TV instead of modifying it? Since the receiver is "bypassed" I would have thought the idea would have been to allow the TV to provide the settings?

I appreciate the education you've already provided me with your appends.
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