HDMI & IR over ethernet? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm still piecing together the possibilities in my mind. I want to build a HTPC primarily for OTA broadcasts and PVR, to be distributed to 3 displays in my home. From what I'm reading on the capabilities of using extenders with WMC I think I'd rather be kicked a few times in the _____.

Is HDMI/IR over ethernet (I have gig-E everywhere in my home) a possibility? Just curious whether people go this route, if so I'll begin to shore up some knowledge.

TIA.

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post #2 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 02:50 PM
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I personally think that's a terrible idea. Extenders are so easy and work so well. You plug them in, and they work. The route you're considering will cost a fortune and limit you to watching the same thing on all screens.

Back when I really did mirror the same thing to several displays, I just used HDMI/IR over wireless, and it worked fine. But extenders are so much more flexible than that approach, and cheaper.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 03:19 PM
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 03:33 PM
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... all for the low low price of $450 eek.gif for all 3 TV's to view the same exact thing. The same money will buy you 3 used Xboxes, 3 remotes, and still have $100 left over.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-19-2013, 03:49 PM
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Although it is costly, it is what the OP needs to do it this way.

I say go for the extenders for sure.
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post #6 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 05:42 AM
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I have used these in a couple of rooms, you can run up to 150ft:

http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=104&cp_id=10425&cs_id=1042501&p_id=8008&seq=1&format=2

$25

They work great with a few caveats:

1) For whatever reason, I could not get them to work with cat6 cables I had crimped myself. I guess they just didn't make a tight enough connection. I bought some cat6 wires to go with them and they worked just fine.
2) These do not pass power, so if you have a device that needs power from the HDMI (like maybe a signal booster), its not going to work.
3) While it worked flawlessly when I had my HTPC outputting the video directly to my projector, when I bought an Onkyo 709 and started feeding the HDMI to it first, then the projector, I got bad signal breakups. Seems that the strength of the signal going out of the Onkyo is kind of weak (lots of complaints about that online). Not sure about other AVR's though.

All that said, if you ar using WMC as your DVR, this may or may not work. You said it was for OTA broadcasts, so this might not be an issue, but when I tried to output video onto two displays (using cablecard), I got DHCP errors left and right. Also, if you are using a splitter, realize that the best audio you are going to get is what ever the lowest level is of your three displays. (IE if you have an awesome AVR with 9.1 surround sound in one room and a small TV that only handles Dolby 2.1 in the other, everything is going to get Dolby 2.1).

If you are just using this as a DVR, the extenders are largely flawless. I have an XBox 360 in one room that I use only for viewing live and recordedTV. Picked it up on eBay for $99. Been using it for years and never had a single problem. I don't have an Echo, but it seems like most of the problems with it have been around trying to play content like MKVs, not with live/recorded TV.
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 08:39 AM
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I use the cheapo monoprice extenters too (the ones that use 2x cat5e/cat6) and they work great. The only real problem with extenders is they don't allow ARC if you need that functionality.

Edit:

My setup is HTPC > Onkyo TX NR509 > Monoprice extenders with 2x Cat5e > TV
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdavej View Post

I personally think that's a terrible idea. Extenders are so easy and work so well. You plug them in, and they work. The route you're considering will cost a fortune and limit you to watching the same thing on all screens.

Back when I really did mirror the same thing to several displays, I just used HDMI/IR over wireless, and it worked fine. But extenders are so much more flexible than that approach, and cheaper.

Thanks, but based on the many hours of reading I have done so far, easy and work well are not terms that are widely used. Despite this, I have decided on this approach (with xbox 360), I do want a distributed system with some sense of flexibility and scalability. End user experience is top priority, second is a system that doesn't constantly require troubleshooting, third something that can gradually grow to distribute other audio/video sources.

ncarty, thanks. I have some experience with HDMI over Cat6, I had the same problem. I've made a bazillion Cat5 cables in my lifetime and never had a problem, Cat6 is a different story! Thanks for your experiences and best practices.

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post #9 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

I use the cheapo monoprice extenters too (the ones that use 2x cat5e/cat6) and they work great. The only real problem with extenders is they don't allow ARC if you need that functionality.

Edit:

My setup is HTPC > Onkyo TX NR509 > Monoprice extenders with 2x Cat5e > TV

Have you had any issue with picture break up due to signal strength from your from Onkyo? Those extenders are differt than the wall plate ones I used, I wonder if they do a better job.

Nethawk, glad to help. As I said, if you are just doing recorded/liveTV (at least with the XBox), I don't think you are going to have many issues. Very high on the WAF for me!
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 09:14 AM
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Why reinvent the wheel?

Extenders work. If you don't want extenders, then get SFF nettops, especially since you will not be using cable, and OTA is not copyright protected.

HDMI/IR over eithernet is a silly idea if you want 3 TV's view different content at the same time.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #11 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ncarty97 View Post

Have you had any issue with picture break up due to signal strength from your from Onkyo? Those extenders are differt than the wall plate ones I used, I wonder if they do a better job.

Nethawk, glad to help. As I said, if you are just doing recorded/liveTV (at least with the XBox), I don't think you are going to have many issues. Very high on the WAF for me!

I've had no issues with picture breakup or any other problems for that matter - very much plug 'n play. The unit attached to the TV is powered so that probably helps. The downside is that this one doesn't include IR so I've had to wire that separately.
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 10:01 AM
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I can see valid reasons for doing this, even if you were using extenders (i.e. want just the displays in-room, and all sources in a rack somewhere).

I've been using cheapie extenders for this purpose for my living room TV. Sources --hdmi--> 4x1 HDMI switch --hdmi--> Tx unit --Cat5e--> Rx unit -- hdmi --> TV. Probably 50-75 feet of Cat5e, and a total of ~35 feet of HDMI, and works very well at 1080i60 (I think at 1080p60 I got some occasional drop-outs).

One (pedantic) clarification is that this is not technically HDMI over Ethernet... I'm not sure of what physical layer is being used by the Tx/Rx units, but I don't think there's any packet switching going on. As a result, your Cat5e/Cat6 links do have to be point-to-point, and can't be run thru an Ethernet switch. I get the feeling you already knew this, but am throwing it out there for clarification if someone else stumbles upon the thread later.
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post #13 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 10:03 AM
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Nethawk, I think you get a skewed view reading forums because people tend to post problems more than successes. Of the tens of thousands of extenders in use, you don't really see thousands of problems posted. And many of the issues that do get posted are related to network problems, firewalls, etc., things that would be problems for any network device, not just extenders. If I based all my decisions on the number of posted problems, I'd never buy anything. I certainly would never have tried WMC at all.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Agreed. When I am putting together a solution I focus on the problems, this is where I can identify potential risks. Successes are great but not enough. Skewed is good tongue.gif

The fact is that there is no perfect solution, it's all about weighing the risks.

Thanks all for your help!

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post #15 of 16 Old 03-20-2013, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nethawk View Post


Is HDMI/IR over ethernet (I have gig-E everywhere in my home) a possibility? Just curious whether people go this route, if so I'll begin to shore up some knowledge.

TIA.

Yes it is possible, use a USB-HDMI interface and plug it into a USB over IP device server, the IR module should just plug right in if it is USB.
I use a similar setup for my PVR which runs WMC in a Virtual Machine

I use the one from Silex over gigabit, you will need a fast USB server if you want to carry video over USB without drops
https://www.silexamerica.com/products/device_servers/usb_device_connectivity/sx-ds-4000u2.html
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-21-2013, 08:34 AM
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Xbox 360's are pretty solid extenders and can be gotten really cheaply.
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