HDMI Extenders and Splitters - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I am building a 3,600 square foot house and have three TV locations for which I want to hide the cable boxes (in a wiring/server closet). I have read through a lot of posts and many people seem to like the Monoprice $200 extenders http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011012&p_id=8123&seq=1&format=1#largeimage (using 1 cat5 for both HDMI and 10/100 network connectivity). Does anyone have any different suggestions for hardware? Just wondering what options are out there for that price (given most options look to be around 2x that price). Also, I would like to share a signal between two TVs (master bedroom/ master bathroom) to avoid using two cable/satellite STBs when the bathroom set doesn't need it's own source. If I use an HDMI splitter, where should I put it? If I place it in the wiring closet I will need to shell out another $200 for another HDMI extender pair. If I put it in the wall it is inaccessible. Is there something I am not seeing here? How do you guys normally do this?

Also, a future upgrade will be a 4x4 HDMI switch. Anybody have any suggestions?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 09:45 AM
 
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If you are doing this yourself, then you'll need to study HDMI carefully. It really was designed for a single source connected to a single sink (display device). As you get into multiple sinks or adding an AVR, the "lowest common denominator" part of HDMI will become more difficult to get around unless every sink has the same capability. What lowest common denominator means is that the sources will only send out a signal that can be decoded by *all* of the sinks. So, if you hook an AVR and a TV to a single switch, then both will only get stereo since the TV can only handle stereo. Another example, if you hook up a non-3D TV and a 3D TV onto a single switch, then neither TV will be able to get 3D.

How far apart are your sources and sinks that you need an extender? You might look at HDBaseT to simplify wiring. Also, I'd only use a system that worked with cat 6/5e and make sure that the signal is not being downgraded to fit within the available bandwidth. The specs will tell you if that is true. HDMI can send at 10.2 gbps when all of the signals are combined (the Monoprice specs show that it can send a full 10.2 gbps), so don't get a converter that can't handle the full stream.

Finally, remember when you make a wire closet, you have to cool the wire closet. That's often overlooked and component failures result. The other gotcha is to forget how you are going to control the devices in the wire closet. To anwer your question, most people would put the switches in the wire closet (or control room) and definitely not in the wall since you can't replace it if/when it fails and these types of components are not rated for in-wall use (certainly a fire hazard if in-wall).
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post #3 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input Andy! A little more info - the wiring closet will be located upstairs (next to a media room), and I have already added an air return to the ceiling for cooling. We will decide on either a shaved door (slotted at the bottom) or a slatted door so the air flow is sufficient to keep the gear cool. The TVs will be located about 100ft from the closet on the lower floor, one for a family room, one for outside, and one for the master bedroom.

As for wiring, it was recommended to me to run 3 drops of STP Cat6 and an RG6 (for backwards compatibility). Is this too much? I just wanted to make sure I had at least 2 cat6 cables for the HDMI extenders (most use 2 cables) and one for network (I stream a lot of movies).
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post #4 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 10:28 AM
 
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That's good info. Yes, you'll need an extender. The dual Cat6 drops are a good idea but not just for the extender (which should only use 1 - like the Monoprice unit). It's good to have at least one spare Cat 6 for future use.

Actually the one thing I should have posted earlier is that many of us believe the most important thing you can do to "future proof" your new house is conduit. I have all my in-wall wiring run in conduit and, if anything, should have added more conduit when we built. This way if a wire fails, you can pull the wire (carefully) even after the wall is closed. I just added an in-wall HDMI connection in our living room 3 years after that wall was closed. Without the conduit, that would not have been possible.

As you move to a "whole home" setup, your headache with HDMI will mostly be handshaking. For instance, I have two TVs on an AVR. If I power-off one of the TVs, the other TV will want to re-handshake and so its picture will blank for a few seconds. As you can imagine having the bedroom TV blink because the living room TV was shut-off adds to confusion. Really the only way around that is to either use component video or have separate sources for each TV, which ruins the "whole home" idea.
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post #5 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

That's good info. Yes, you'll need an extender. The dual Cat6 drops are a good idea but not just for the extender (which should only use 1 - like the Monoprice unit). It's good to have at least one spare Cat 6 for future use.
Actually the one thing I should have posted earlier is that many of us believe the most important thing you can do to "future proof" your new house is conduit. I have all my in-wall wiring run in conduit and, if anything, should have added more conduit when we built. This way if a wire fails, you can pull the wire (carefully) even after the wall is closed. I just added an in-wall HDMI connection in our living room 3 years after that wall was closed. Without the conduit, that would not have been possible.
As you move to a "whole home" setup, your headache with HDMI will mostly be handshaking. For instance, I have two TVs on an AVR. If I power-off one of the TVs, the other TV will want to re-handshake and so its picture will blank for a few seconds. As you can imagine having the bedroom TV blink because the living room TV was shut-off adds to confusion. Really the only way around that is to either use component video or have separate sources for each TV, which ruins the "whole home" idea.

Well..given my first priority is just to hide the cable boxes, I should be good to go with either 2-3 network drops and an RG6. I think I will probably just pay the $200 and get the HDMI extender for the Master Bath to make sure it works properly and I can mount the splitter in the wiring closet. As to conduit, is there a particular product I should look at? How much does that add to the total cost of the drops?

As far as the HDMI extender from Monoprice - is that HDBaseT? I couldn't find any reference to it even though the pair only uses one cable.
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post #6 of 19 Old 12-10-2012, 02:30 PM
 
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Actually an HDBaseT product will say HDBaseT on it. Here's our master thread on HDBaseT:

http://www.avsforum.com/t/1384980/the-unoffical-source-for-everything-hdbaset

Conduit is a tube that runs in your wall. It acts as a channel for wires so that you don't have to struggle to get wiring into the wall (or out of the wall) after the wall is done. It makes life much easier after the walls are closed-off.

It comes in various forms and your contractor will/should know the best way. At most each drop should be about $100 (probably less). When I want to run a wire from one room to the other, I send the wire from the source room up to the attic using conduit and then across the house in the attic. It then goes down to the destination room using the conduit that goes to that room.

Think about in 3 years when someone invents the follow-on wire that everyone has to have (like Cat 7). What will you do then? Or what happens if a connector breaks on a wire that is already in the wall? HDMI cable isn't repairable (although Cat 6 is). It's all of the reasons we've learned to plan ahead for future changes.
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post #7 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 05:26 AM
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- a second vote for running conduit if at all possible... since i have very little room in my external walls (plaster/lathe over brick), i bit the bullet and installed a piece of 2" pvc pipe that runs from my second floor to my basement, with a "t" off of it on the first floor... it is outside the wall, but i put it right next to the pipes that run to the second floor radiators (also outside the wall), so it doesn't look too bad... one of these days, i'll drywall it out and hide it all...

- a second vote for pulling spare drops, especially if you do not have conduit... when i had my house completely rewired* in 1997, i sure wish i would have had the foresight to have the electrician pull multiple cat6 runs to every room, as well as to every switch and outlet...

* completely... i had about 4 functioning outlets in the whole house beforehand, and all of it was knob and tube... when he was done, the entire house was brought up to code... took him the better part of a month to do, and was worth every penny it cost me...

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 


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post #8 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 05:42 AM
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oops forgot...

i use the monoprice HDbaseT extender (the one that also has the ethernet switch) without issues... smile.gif those things are the best things since sliced bread when it comes to hdmi... in a "home environment", you now have almost no restrictions on where you place your equipment...

it allowed me to do essentially what you are trying to do, except with more sources and a somewhat more complicated setup... i now have all my equipment located in my wife's office/studio (she actually LIKES looking at all of that stuff, and i wanted it out of my theater room, so it worked out perfect)... one cat6 run from her room to my room, and "done"...

- chris

 

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post #9 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

oops forgot...
i use the monoprice HDbaseT extender (the one that also has the ethernet switch) without issues... smile.gif those things are the best things since sliced bread when it comes to hdmi... in a "home environment", you now have almost no restrictions on where you place your equipment...
it allowed me to do essentially what you are trying to do, except with more sources and a somewhat more complicated setup... i now have all my equipment located in my wife's office/studio (she actually LIKES looking at all of that stuff, and i wanted it out of my theater room, so it worked out perfect)... one cat6 run from her room to my room, and "done"...

When you get a chance can you forward me the link to the Monoprice HDBaseT extenders? I've looked all over but can;t find any that mention HDBaseT in the description. I would also be interested in your setup as well if you have a diagram or description handy. I nee to figure out how all this is going to some together in the wiring closet so I don't have one big web of wires.

Thanks!
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post #10 of 19 Old 12-11-2012, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

- a second vote for running conduit if at all possible... since i have very little room in my external walls (plaster/lathe over brick), i bit the bullet and installed a piece of 2" pvc pipe that runs from my second floor to my basement, with a "t" off of it on the first floor... it is outside the wall, but i put it right next to the pipes that run to the second floor radiators (also outside the wall), so it doesn't look too bad... one of these days, i'll drywall it out and hide it all...
- a second vote for pulling spare drops, especially if you do not have conduit... when i had my house completely rewired* in 1997, i sure wish i would have had the foresight to have the electrician pull multiple cat6 runs to every room, as well as to every switch and outlet...
* completely... i had about 4 functioning outlets in the whole house beforehand, and all of it was knob and tube... when he was done, the entire house was brought up to code... took him the better part of a month to do, and was worth every penny it cost me...

I've been looking at conduit and it does look like it would be about $100 a drop at least (some more some less). I am going to have to think about this since we normally move on to the next house at around the 5 year mark. It might be sufficient to just run the extra Cat6 drops in case some go bad.
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post #11 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 05:33 AM
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sure... smile.gif

here's the link to the extender i use... i don't use the ir extender part.... i previously used the network hub part, but don't need to anymore with my current configuration...

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011012&p_id=8123&seq=1&format=2

description of setup... just as a fwiw, i use urc remotes/basestations to control this mess...

"central location" (first floor of house) is my wife's office/studio... she's "different"... she actually likes looking at all the equipment... smile.gif

- oppo bdp, mac mini, appletv, ps3 and 2 fios boxes boxes hooked to avr (denon 4520)...
- avr main hdmi out to darbee darblet...
- avr 2nd hdmi output (duplicate of main hdmi output) to a little tv in the rack so i can see what i'm doing... note: must have hdmi cable disconnected during "normal use", otherwise handshake will be at capabilities of little tv...
- darblet hdmi out to hdmi extender sending unit...
- cat6 from there to theater room... this is fed (along with the speaker wires/sub output from avr) to theater room by dropping it to basement then up through conduit to the 2nd floor of house...

"theater room" (second floor of house)...

- cat6 into hdmi extender receiving unit...
- hdmi out from that into lumagen radiance...
- radiance to monoprice hdmi splitter...
- hdmi splitter out to pj and to little tv... differing capabilities of the hdmi sinks doesn't matter here, because the radiance will simply report back to the source whatever edid information it broadcasts (i.e. whatever the source's "maximum" capabilities are, that's what it will always send)...

since the 4520 includes a hdmi matrix switch on the "front end", i then feed the unique secondary output (which is a "true" secondary zone) to another hdmi splitter, one output of that goes to her tv in office/studio, and another output of that feeds a tv out in the front porch (via a 40' hdmi cable)... previous to the 4520, i had a denon a100 (fancy 4311)... i used a 4x2 matrix switch with that in order to share some sources...

this allows:

- sharing of all sources between all locations...
- use of both fios boxes at the same time in the theater room, in order to take advantage of the "instapreview" feature of the 4520 to do "picture in picture" on the pj (especially handy for football days)...
- all equipment to be located out of the theater room (a goal i have been working towards for a long time, i hate looking at equipment)... the only thing left in that room (other than the pj and little tv, and speakers/sub, obviously tongue.gif ) is the radiance, and i left that there for simplicity when running video calibrations...

remarkably enough, this all "works"... smile.gif hdmi interoperability has come a LONG way in the last couple years, it used to be a trial just to get a simple 2x1 splitter to work right... and good luck getting it to work through multiple repeaters (as my setup does now)...

i should have some pics of all of this up in my build thread (linked in my sig) soon... the rack has been in a temporary location for awhile while i tested everything out... i spent some time yesterday playing electrician re-routing a dedicated 20amp circuit to the "new" (and hopefully final, i've moved it too many times redface.gif ) rack location and hope to spend enough time later today to get the faceplates for the speaker/other wires installed (they are running through a hole in the wall now redface.gif ) and the rats nest at least somewhat disentangled... having learned the hard way, i ALWAYS test wiring BEFORE doing the tedious hookup parts...

hopefully that is clear (i gotta put together a flowchart of all of this redface.gif... )... fire away with any questions you have... i've learned a ton about the vagaries of hdmi from andy, and am more than willing to share my experiences of implementing "difficult" setups... smile.gif

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 


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post #12 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 06:07 AM
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Another vote for the HDBaseT monoprice extender. Here is the one I bought back in Aug, http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=109&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011012&p_id=8122&seq=1&format=2#description but it doesn't say HDBaseT tech, but it says that on the Monoprice box they sent me. Anyhow, the system works perfectly and I am happy with it!

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post #13 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 04:07 PM
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‘Actually an HDBaseT product will say HDBaseT on it.’ - perverse as it seems you have to pay an additional license fee if you want to let the world know you are using HDBaseT, otherwise you can use it but not stick the logo on the box/your marketing blurb!!!

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post #14 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 04:15 PM
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Know of any manufacturers that use a HDBaseT chipset and don't advertise it?
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post #15 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 04:28 PM
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See my Sig smile.gif

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post #16 of 19 Old 12-12-2012, 04:59 PM
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Interesting. I knew Gefen used the Valens chip set early on without a reference to HDBaseT which was nacent at time. But they advertise HDBaseT now, at least on some products. So why don't your products mention it? Are they aimed at the custom installation market where the buyer just cares about a complete system that works?
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post #17 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 02:58 PM
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Our production runs are small enough to allow us to make rapid changes, updates where required - but also mean we are not into the volumes required to pay the extra licensing costs to slap the Logo onto the products.

CI is a big percentage of our sales so not as price sensitive as some of the end user clients – our CI clients are looking for a working solution on time every time!

I would say too that HDBaseT whilst more robust than traditional dual CAT systems on long cable runs are not immune to problems and we have seen our kit work where other HDBaseT Kit has failed – attention to detail is stall required!

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post #18 of 19 Old 12-13-2012, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
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attention to detail is stall required!
For sure. There is more to producing a functional HDBaseT product than incorporating the Valens chipset.
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post #19 of 19 Old 12-16-2012, 04:30 PM
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I am currently using 2 of the monoprice ones. without ethernet. I do have a few complaints about it, mainly the tv end. 1. The power supply is kind of bulky and made it impossible to get my tv mounted on the wall to create a clean look. I ended up cutting open the wall to get it to work. 2. the ir receiver/transmitter are ugly and big. A smaller more discrete ir device would have been better.

my first one was DOA but monoprice quickly got things straightened out, minor inconvience but it happens.

I want to enevtaully have an equipment closet with all my servers,htpc and game consoles and go to each tv from there.

On a personal note if you are running cat5/6 I would recoment cat6, due to the fact it is the newer product it may help future proof everything.
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