The last month has been rough. I decided to spring for major upgrades. I have two rooms to do. I had been using an old oppo switch in one, Monoprice switch in the other. No problems ever.
So first upgrade wan an oppo 103 player. Supper happy. I then sprang for a preamp that had the up to date decoding and HDMI switching. Emotiva.200 To make a long story short, it could not reliably switch between my FIOS box, oppo, a Pioneer and a Panasonic BD. Flashing screen, snow, audio bouncing back etc. About 1/3 of the time it flat would not lock on. TV is 1080p. Cables all high speed. Even when FIOS switched formats between program and ad it would drop out. Sometimes no video, sometimes sound would pop in several seconds after the video. Not ready for prime time.
So bought an Outlay 975 Far better, but still not reliable. It was worse when one player had a DVD and the next a BD. I get answers like "bad specifications' " HDMI has issues". I am an engineer. Don't give me that. All that means is you had better spend the time to make your interference supplementation robust. If HDMI was that unreliable, not one person buying a $400 AVR or TV would put up with it. Oh yea, both my Toshiba TV's switch just fine. Again, product is not ready to be released to production.
I next went to drop to a cheap receiver with no video processing. Pass through. No store in this area could demonstragte one as they were all fixed showrooms. After considerable effort to up-sell me, I bought a Marantz AV5007 preamp. Switches every time so far. Switches when I add back in my 50 foot cable tot he FIOS box. Switches when I add back in my splitter. I am sticking with the manual switch and an old Rotel 1055 reviever for the living room as it is not where we watch movies anyway. I would have bought another preamp if they had worked. The Marantz is a monster box that required me to modify the cabinet and it puts out a ton of heat, almost like a receiver. But it works.
Other tid-bits. One reselller was pretty strong I should look at a Cambridge over NAD if I dropped to a receiver. Another had an Arcam at home and admitted every now and again he has to toggle inputs to get it to lock. The Denon rep said I would just not be happy with their current receivers considering I was replacing a 3802. Anthem rep said I should hold off for the next models this fall. I think he was referring to the FM performance which is another problem I have. Solution is to add another 10 feet to my mast. Another rep suggested Pioneer was infamous for low HDMI output, but my BD120 seemed no worse than any of the other devices.
One last report that I don't understand. While doing all this testing, I noticed a lot of ground loop hum when I was right next to the speakers. I traced it to the HDMI splitter as it is 2-wire and digital. That makes no sense but it is what it is. Ordering a Monoprice "pro" one today.
All of this had me plug and unplug hundreds of times. Man is the HDMI connector trash. When everything is stable, I am inclined to cut everything up and put in DB25's. Bad grounds, dropping colors, You name it. I have yet to find one with the spec 1.5Lb pull force. My cables are form BlueJean, Moniprice, OEM's, and Dayton. Someone needs to "show up" on the industry consortium. It seems copy protection was the ONLY parameter important.. Actually working for the consumer did not seem to be a priority. Why do I seem so harsh? Well, I am an engineer. I know better.
When I get the new splitter, I will crack open the old one so I can get a scope on the lines to see what the heck is going on. Is. it truly levels and pulse shape, or just bad software in the preamps. Sending digital through a twisted pair is not exactly new technology. We have done this just fine for 50 years.