Advice for creating a retail video display area - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 06-08-2013, 07:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum.
I'm looking to set up multiple TV's in a family bar. Other than having a crap load of cable boxes how else could I do this?
I was looking up hdmi to Coaxial converters but, don't know if there is such a thing. Thinking it would be easy to take 1 cable box and split it to multiple TV's.
Anyone can offer advice I'd be happy to learn and listen.

Thank you,
RT
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post #2 of 23 Old 06-08-2013, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivertwice View Post

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum.
I'm looking to set up multiple TV's in a family bar. Other than having a crap load of cable boxes how else could I do this?
I was looking up hdmi to Coaxial converters but, don't know if there is such a thing. Thinking it would be easy to take 1 cable box and split it to multiple TV's.
Anyone can offer advice I'd be happy to learn and listen.

Thank you,
RT

Take a look at Monoprice.com I think you can get just about everything and the eduction you need for the job.
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post #3 of 23 Old 06-08-2013, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

Take a look at Monoprice.com I think you can get just about everything and the eduction you need for the job.

OK, I'll have to investigate because I am still not 100% sure on what I am looking for. Great tip though and thank you.smile.gif
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post #4 of 23 Old 06-09-2013, 09:37 AM
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Forget what you are looking for...

What are you trying to do? What is your ultimate goal?

With about a million products out there, it is darn near impossible to give you advice as to what a good solution would be.

If your intent is to just distribute HDTV throughout your bar area, then the least expensive solution is probably to use analog video to do this. If you want a couple of cable boxes and several TVs showing different things, then there are splitters which can do this for both HDMI and analog (component) high definition connections reliably.

If you want any TV to show any source and you intend to include Blu-ray Disc or HDCP protected content, then you will have to go with HDMI, and the price will increase a fair bit. A 8x8 HDMI matrix switcher will run around $2,000 from a reputable company, while HDMI extenders will run about $200 per TV.

If you have more than 8 displays or want more sources, then things really start to get pricey.

Component video with up to 12 sources to up to 8 displays can be done for under $1,000.

Audio will still have to be addressed separately in all of these (for the most part).
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post #5 of 23 Old 06-09-2013, 10:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by rivertwice View Post

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum.
I'm looking to set up multiple TV's in a family bar. Other than having a crap load of cable boxes how else could I do this?
I was looking up hdmi to Coaxial converters but, don't know if there is such a thing. Thinking it would be easy to take 1 cable box and split it to multiple TV's.
Anyone can offer advice I'd be happy to learn and listen.

Thank you,
RT

I can give you a bit of advice - not too hard to see where you are going.

If you take 1 cable box, then (unless it's a special model) your cable box will only send out one signal. So you'll have the same picture and audio on all of your TVs. I doubt that is what you want. What you first should do is to ask yourself how many unique signals (video and audio) will I need. If you will have 10 TVs but they are in multiple rooms then you might only need 3 unique outputs. With a family bar, that implies that all of the TVs will be visible at the same time, so you might need a unique picture for each TV.

Unlike the cable which has all of the channels offered by your cable company, a cable box usually just outputs 1 channel at a time. So start from there and then once you know how many unique signals you need, then we can work out how many boxes you'll need and how many switches. Also work out how many total TVs you'll want.
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post #6 of 23 Old 06-09-2013, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Great suggestions all around AV_In and ALK.
So, this is where I am:
I have 2 Dish boxes and 2 local cable boxes for 10 hdtv's at the moment.
We currently have coaxial lines run from a central location (behind the bar) to the TVs. You know we double up TV's depending on what games are on and so forth.
Right now I'm analog but, with everything HD I want to upgrade the current system and have better picture on all the TV's before football season starts up.
I have RCA to Coaxial using RF Modulators to 2 powered up splitter that geek squad sold us years ago. The Coaxial connects to the TV's from the splitters.
Should I look to just upgrade everything or can I keep some of this and salvage some of what we paid for?
I checked out a few matrix switchers and saw some by ViewHD that were not too pricey, is this a good company?

I am not afraid to say I don't know much about this stuff and possibly know enough to get my ass in trouble.
If anyone wants more details on anything let me know and I'll see what I can find. I didn't run this set up so, I'm picking it apart and learning as I go.

Lastly, Thank you all again for the assistance. It's very much appreciated.
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-09-2013, 05:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rivertwice View Post

Great suggestions all around AV_In and ALK.
So, this is where I am:
I have 2 Dish boxes and 2 local cable boxes for 10 hdtv's at the moment.
We currently have coaxial lines run from a central location (behind the bar) to the TVs. You know we double up TV's depending on what games are on and so forth.
Right now I'm analog but, with everything HD I want to upgrade the current system and have better picture on all the TV's before football season starts up.
I have RCA to Coaxial using RF Modulators to 2 powered up splitter that geek squad sold us years ago. The Coaxial connects to the TV's from the splitters.
Should I look to just upgrade everything or can I keep some of this and salvage some of what we paid for?
I checked out a few matrix switchers and saw some by ViewHD that were not too pricey, is this a good company?

I am not afraid to say I don't know much about this stuff and possibly know enough to get my ass in trouble.
If anyone wants more details on anything let me know and I'll see what I can find. I didn't run this set up so, I'm picking it apart and learning as I go.

Lastly, Thank you all again for the assistance. It's very much appreciated.

My first thought was to take you off the RF modulators and use a switching system. Use component video to speed up switching but HDMI would work, too (just would be slower). With Dish and a cable box, the picture quality would be exactly the same between component video and HDMI, although the component cable will likely be thicker, if that is a consideration. However with HDMI, there is a chance that when you turn off one TV (or possibly even change channels) you could see all of the TVs "wink" for about 1-2 seconds. It's annoying when it happens because someone watching one TV doesn't know someone changed another TV.

I'd get a quality 4x8 (or 8x8) component video switcher (see Neothings for a good choice). Tie your 4 input devices into that. For output choose 8 of the TVs you wish to control separately. Then use either 1 or 2 distribution amps (splitters) for getting a signal to the other two TVs. Piece of cake.

The only red flag I see is how you are going to control all this? Usually it's done with a remote control network with an RS-232 controlling device (usually a base station of some type). What are you using currently or do you just change to one of the four TV channels sent out by the RF modulators?

There is a way to do this with HD RF modulators. It's probably about $1K per input but it is do-able. You would take component video from each input (not HDMI) and send that out by channel. Now that I think about it, if you don't have a remote control system right now, then that might end up being the cheapest method for you and you wouldn't have to run any new wires (except the component video/stereo audio to the HD RF modulators).

Either way your *current* RF modulators will not support HD and will have to go.
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-10-2013, 08:24 AM
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If your goal is to allow any of the boxes to be viewable on any TV, just like you have now, then you need something which can take at least 4 sources to 10 displays.

Now, with HDMI there are some real issues associated with HDCP and EDID which often blanks ALL the displays as things are switched around.

I have not played with the ViewHD gear, but they don't appear to have any solutions which fit your needs. You have a requirement of a 4x10 matrix switch as a minimum.

Now, for HDMI, that likely means a 8x16 HDMI matrix switcher.

Which means that it will run in excess of $5,000 under the best pricing scenario - and that's not what you want to have. You want to have something more reliable than the cheapest solution.

You do have some options where you could run two sources through a splitter and dedicate those two sources to TVs then that would leave you 8 TVs needing a feed, and drops you into a 8x8 HDMI matrix. The Gefen Toolbox HDMI 8x8 matrix is under $2,000 then you would need 8 HD-Base-T Tx/Rx units. About $200 a pair from Monoprice means about $4,000 for a solution which will work reliably. You will still need some wire and installation to make it all work.

Now, the cheap, reliable solution which will work:

Get this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Extron-Crosspoint-16-x-16-HVA-Wideband-Matrix-Switcher-/321126261730?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ac49de3e2
$365 shipped

http://www.ebay.com/itm/EXTRON-22-020-03-940FT-MINI-HR-CABLE-BNC-5-/321085953900?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ac236d76c
$900 shipped

You will still need some connectors and some know-how to get this all put together, but this will give you up to 16 HD inputs on component video and up to 16 displays as outputs on component video. Component video can carry 1080i and 720p HD video which is what almost all cable and satellite tuners put out. They are expected to continue to have this connection for the next 5+ years at least, in which time I fully expect HDMI matrix switchers to drop by thousands of dollars in price.

The quality of the video you will get is a true high definition signal and will look stunning.

The limitations: No Blu-ray Disc at HD resolutions Blu-ray requires a HDMI connection at this point for HD video, so if you want Blu-ray, you will have to find other solutions to get it over component video... and they do exist. (HD Fury for example)

If you want/need audio at the displays, you will need some wire for that as well, It isn't as expensive as the MHR cable I linked above, and realistically, you can use the extra 2 conductors on the MHR cable to get analog audio to the displays if you want.

Without installation labor, the analog solution is about $2,000, while I would expect a HDMI solution (second one I listed) to be about $5,000, and a larger 8x16 or 16x16 HDMI matrix solution to be closer to $10,000... or a great deal more.

Atlona's 16x16 HDMI matrix is over $16,000 MSRP.
http://www.atlona.com/Atlona-HDBaseT-16-by-16-HDMI-Matrix-Switcher-over-CAT5e-6-7.html

At that size, there just aren't many HDMI specific matrix solutions that I'm aware of. Extron, Crestron, and AMX all go to card frame solutions at that size... $$$$$
About $14,000 MSRP from these guys with a 4x12 solution in cards...
http://www.auroramultimedia.com/?section=products&id=259

Gefen and Atlona don't go to 16x16 in size.

So, you have some budgeting and thinking to do.
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post #9 of 23 Old 06-10-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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Here's an example of an HD RF modulator. It's $2K per channel but your installation charges should be cheap. There are probably some cheaper units out there but this one does everything you would need.

Obviously a price of $8K for all four devices is not cheap but it beats other solutions' costs. You also can simply switch the TV channel to change inputs. Still have to change the Dish/cable channel at the source if you don't have a centralized remote control setup already.

http://www.markertek.com/Routers-Switchers-DA's/Video-Distribution-Amplifiers/Contemporary-Research-Corp/QMOD-HD.xhtml
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post #10 of 23 Old 06-10-2013, 02:26 PM
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You can potentially run HDMI over your Coax cable using HDMI to Coax Extenders – though you have to understand there is a degree of ‘compression’ to allow a ‘Full HD’ 1080p signal to run over the Coax, though it’s still going to look way better than any SD you are currently running!

You can add the HDMI over Coax Extenders to the Output side of a suitable 4 Input HDMI Matrix.

Do you have any CAT5 or CAT6 cable out to each TV and if not how practical would it be to add some?

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post #11 of 23 Old 06-10-2013, 05:28 PM
 
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You can potentially run HDMI over your Coax cable using HDMI to Coax Extenders – though you have to understand there is a degree of ‘compression’ to allow a ‘Full HD’ 1080p signal to run over the Coax, though it’s still going to look way better than any SD you are currently running!

You can add the HDMI over Coax Extenders to the Output side of a suitable 4 Input HDMI Matrix.

Do you have any CAT5 or CAT6 cable out to each TV and if not how practical would it be to add some?

Joe

Joe, but doesn't that still leave the problem of how to control that? I'm figuring (in the absence of an answer) that all the bartenders have to do is move the channel up/down to go between the four signals being sent by the 4 SD modulators. Once we add in switchers, some how a beertender (or multiple people at each location) has to change those channels. How do they do that without a remote control solution which adds more money?
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post #12 of 23 Old 06-10-2013, 07:44 PM
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It's been a long time since I've looked at HD modulators. ZeeVee and others do offer HD video up to 720p solutions for around $1,000 or so per channel. That would mean around $4,000 for a complete installation with minimal effort on the part of the original poster.

http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.asp?p=5415-hd&d=channel-plus-5415hd-single-channel-hd-modulator-/-hd-over-coax-distributor-cp-5415hd-(5415-hd)&utm_campaign=base&utm_medium=organic&utm_source=google_base
http://www.techtoolsupply.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=ZVE-ZV160-NA&gclid=COH_pO_82rcCFVSk4AodVWQABw
This one looks particularly interesting from ZeeVee...

http://www.probroadcastsupply.com/zeevee-hdb2640-4-channel-hdbridge-2000-series-encoder-modulator-1080p-hdb2640/

It offers 4 channels of modulation in a single 1RU chassis for around four grand. Space saving, and video up to 1080i over component. Nice!
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post #13 of 23 Old 06-11-2013, 12:17 AM
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‘Joe, but doesn't that still leave the problem of how to control that?’ – in most ‘Bars’ we find limiting control of the Matrix plus Source devices to a central location using push buttons plus IR is more than sufficient.

If someone wants something more complex and Wi-Fi is available then iRule plus one or two Global Cache iTach and an iPad or two is pretty cost effective.

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post #14 of 23 Old 06-11-2013, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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hmmm. Is it possible to get a small matrix that is expandable?
I liked the atlona but, 14k is a lot of money at the moment.
I'm not a fan of composet video with all the cables and
The Channel Plus has a drawing that looks similar to the set up we have. I have 2 boxes going into an analog version of the channel plus channel modulator to a splitter to the TVs.
I'll see if I can take some pictures tomorrow and try to get them posted.
Thanks for the ideas and help.
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-11-2013, 05:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivertwice View Post

hmmm. Is it possible to get a small matrix that is expandable?
I liked the atlona but, 14k is a lot of money at the moment.
I'm not a fan of composet video with all the cables and
The Channel Plus has a drawing that looks similar to the set up we have. I have 2 boxes going into an analog version of the channel plus channel modulator to a splitter to the TVs.
I'll see if I can take some pictures tomorrow and try to get them posted.
Thanks for the ideas and help.

I can only speak for myself but I don't think photos would help me. What would really help is knowing how currently, on each TV, you select the two Dish Network boxes and the two cable boxes? Also how do you change the channels on the Dish Network boxes and the cable boxes. Are they in a backroom where someone changes the channel manually or can it be done where the TVs are located?

BTW, it is component video which has three wires and is in high definition, not composite video which has one yellow (usually) connector which is in standard definition. There are some thinner component video cables but yes that would be more bulky than most HDMI cables.

Speaking of which, what is the longest cable run between the source equipment (Dish and cable box) and the TV that is furthest away? Is it over 25 feet?

Also, knowing, in general, your budget would be a great help.
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-11-2013, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivertwice View Post

hmmm. Is it possible to get a small matrix that is expandable?
I liked the atlona but, 14k is a lot of money at the moment.
I'm not a fan of composet video with all the cables and
The Channel Plus has a drawing that looks similar to the set up we have. I have 2 boxes going into an analog version of the channel plus channel modulator to a splitter to the TVs.
I'll see if I can take some pictures tomorrow and try to get them posted.
Thanks for the ideas and help.
The expandable HDMI matrix switchers are out there from companies like Extron, AMX, Crestron and others - and they are ferociously expensive, but certainly available. The thing is, they would only provide a partial solution to you at this point.

The Chanel Plus/ZeeVee units I linked are high definition modulation boxes. Unless there is some reason you are hung up on spending a lot of money, you will get full quality HD going with method, just one way will cost you a lot more right now.

Likewise, the component video matrix switch I linked above is 100% high definition as well, but will require a fair bit of new wiring put in place and a lot of effort, but is by far the least expensive in terms of materials.
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post #17 of 23 Old 06-17-2013, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok , so I took pics and there is a lot more under the hood than my first posting.
I didn't pull anything out or find the cable path but, I have the cable/dish boxes mentioned, I found a channel plus model 5545 quad digital modulator with ir output, pII frequency control. I also found a model 5425 dual modulator, pII frequency control. Also another device by channel plus with just SVM-24 on the front right.
I will need to figure out how this is set up and the path of things to get a better idea of what I am looking at.
In the long run we want to control everything from the one location we currently use behind the bar.
With the current set up it seems like the boxes are given channels and the tv's are set to those certain channels. The tv's can choose which internal channel to watch while the cable/dish boxes change the tv station.
Is there anything I can salvage of this equipment or should I just look to replace with newer equipment or get something better?
As for budget it's pretty low. Hence why it's a DIY project handed to me.
I do appreciate the help and info, thank you everyone for sharing your knowledge to this green horn.
Lastly, if anyone does want to see the pics I can post them but, it seemed like it wouldn't make a difference from the other posts.
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post #18 of 23 Old 06-17-2013, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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You can potentially run HDMI over your Coax cable using HDMI to Coax Extenders – though you have to understand there is a degree of ‘compression’ to allow a ‘Full HD’ 1080p signal to run over the Coax, though it’s still going to look way better than any SD you are currently running!

You can add the HDMI over Coax Extenders to the Output side of a suitable 4 Input HDMI Matrix.

Do you have any CAT5 or CAT6 cable out to each TV and if not how practical would it be to add some?

Joe
I can run cat5 I haven't worked with cat6 before. What's your thoughts?
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-18-2013, 06:59 AM
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I can run cat5 I haven't worked with cat6 before. What's your thoughts?
The cheapest, most labor intensive setup will be using a component video matrix switch and using 5-wire mini-HR cable as I provided links above for. Under $1,000 in materials to do everything.
Labor Effort: Significant - Needs mini-HR cable run to each display, needs the wire terminated using mini-HR cable ends which are pricey and require a special tool and take quite a while to properly terminate or must be soldered. Should pull cat-5e/6 at the same time!
Advantages: Inexpensive, expandable to the size of the switcher, reliable, required by law to work with cable/Dish/DirecTV boxes with HD, will work with all HDTV sources up to 1080i resolution
Disadvantages: Not compatible with HDMI/HDCP restricted content, not digital, can get noise on the line in a noisy environment, labor intensive to install, expensive cable compared to cat-x solutions, not very future proof should component video disappear.
Cost - around $1,000 - $1,500 in materials + a fair bit of labor

The next most expensive is a modulation setup.
Labor Effort: Very low - You already have the cable run to all the TVs that you need. This is basically a HD upgrade one-for-one of what you already are using, so once the TVs are all setup, and the sources are all configured, then you just change channels on the TVs like you are doing already. ASSUMPTION: TVs have QAM tuners built in (very likely).
Advantages: Lowest labor involvement (you already have coax run to the TVs!), reliable, HD resolutions at various levels are available, works with all component HD video sources (up to the resolution of the encoders), extremely expandable, very easy to use once setup
Disadvantages: Not compatible with HDMI/HDCP restricted content, not digital, not very future proof should component video disappear
Cost - around $4,000 or so (it appears)

The most expensive is a HDMI matrix solution
Labor Effort: Medium on this one. You will need to pull cat-5e/6 cable to all the displays and terminate those cables, but cat cabling is relatively straightforward to terminate and tools and connectors are readily available. Technically, this may be the most troubling, and you may spend a lot more time getting it all working properly, especially with lower tier equipment. The expensive HD over Cat-x solutions are typically far more reliable than cheaper solutions.
Advantages: Digital, compliant with HDMI, expandable to the size of the switcher, best video quality possible up to 1080p and beyond, works with Blu-ray and other sources which may be HDCP encrypted, uses extremely inexpensive cat-x cable, most future-proof as digital will likely be around for a long time.
Disadvantages: Digital copyright protection is extremely complex and can be buggy, very techie to setup, issues during and after setup can be very difficult to diagnose, slow switching speeds typically (this shouldn't matter).
Cost: Around $3,000 without full discrete switching to 10 displays, but well over $5,000 and perhaps more than $10,000 for 10 separate outputs to be available.

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post #20 of 23 Old 06-19-2013, 05:57 AM
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‘I can run cat5 I haven't worked with cat6 before. What's your thoughts?’ – with a couple of CAT6 installed (no more work than CAT5 to fit) you can run HD Video + Audio plus IR as an Analogue (Component video) or Digital (HDMI) signal to multiple Zones.

As AV-I says HDMI can be more work to get going due to its encryption (HDCP) and capabilities (EDID) behind the scenes communication channels – though it is far from impossible and with a little bit of Tech support very possible for a DIY’er.

If you can ‘live’ with 8 discrete Outputs (dual CAT) plus two mirrored Outputs (HDMI) we have a 4x8 (+2) solution at $3K which has been used effectively in many commercial installs - http://www.octavainc.com/HDMI%20Ethernet%20matrix%20switch%204x8.html

Depending on how you cost/value/allocate your time I’d still advocate you consider calling in a Pro Installer!

Joe

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post #21 of 23 Old 06-21-2013, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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I was looking into a cabletronix set up but, am not sure if this would be a good solution or not.

Here's the part list:
1 CableTronix CTRC-12 (12 Unit Rack Chassis)
1 CableTronix CTPS-12 (Power Supply)
6 CableTronix CT-AMM-SVideo-3.5MM (Agile Micro Modulator w/S-Video Input)
1 CableTronix CT-AMM (Agile Micro Modulator)
3 CableTronix CTBP-1A (Single Blank Space)

I'll need to upgrade to HD statellite receivers but, I think I can use the current cables run to the TV's.
The cost for equipment I have over 3K.

So, tell me honestly. Is this worth it or will I just need to upgrade it in a year or 2?
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post #22 of 23 Old 06-21-2013, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivertwice View Post

I was looking into a cabletronix set up but, am not sure if this would be a good solution or not.

Here's the part list:
1 CableTronix CTRC-12 (12 Unit Rack Chassis)
1 CableTronix CTPS-12 (Power Supply)
6 CableTronix CT-AMM-SVideo-3.5MM (Agile Micro Modulator w/S-Video Input)
1 CableTronix CT-AMM (Agile Micro Modulator)
3 CableTronix CTBP-1A (Single Blank Space)

I'll need to upgrade to HD statellite receivers but, I think I can use the current cables run to the TV's.
The cost for equipment I have over 3K.

So, tell me honestly. Is this worth it or will I just need to upgrade it in a year or 2?
That's honestly, what you already own.

S-Video is not capable of carrying a HD signal and is, literally, nothing more that what you are currently using.

Cabletronix does not sell high definition modulators and does not meet your requirements as far as I can tell.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-27-2013, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info. I'll have to invest more thought as to what will be the best solution.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

That's honestly, what you already own.

S-Video is not capable of carrying a HD signal and is, literally, nothing more that what you are currently using.

Cabletronix does not sell high definition modulators and does not meet your requirements as far as I can tell.
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