HDMI CEC Control…No IR Needed – HydraConnect LLC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-01-2013, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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There are many different ways of controlling your AV gear. From IR or RF frequencies, you can control your equipment virtually anywhere in your home whether it is in a closet, in the basement or in a small wall unit. RF doesn’t require much in terms of installation which makes it easy. But you might find some place in your home that doesn’t pick-up the RF signal quite well for many reasons. IR (hardwired solution) is another great way to be able to control all your equipment but this requires pre-wiring beforehand. IR is also subject to interference to sun light, interior lighting and more.

Going one step further, trying to centralize all your equipment in one room becomes a little more complex to wire and to zone all your IR commands using several different products. Well not anymore.
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HydraConnect LLC claims it has patented a technology that actually makes the dreaded HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) work.

What is HDMI CEC?
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With CEC, theoretically, a consumer should be able to use a single remote to turn on the entire system. For example, when the Blu-ray player turns on, it turns on the TV and tells the A/V receiver to connect to the correct input.

CEC has been built into consumer products for many years. It was designed to eliminate the usual coffee table of remotes that are required for a system with a TV, A/V receiver and maybe a Blu-ray player.


So how did HydraConnect get it to work for multiple rooms and sources?
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"Simply put, our system isolates all of the CEC devices so they can’t talk to each other, and we use a sophisticated discovery software system that allows us to identify every connected device.”

With such discovery, says Schanin, the HydraConnect product would “have the knowledge on how to control every CEC device, and we use this capability to invisibly control nearly every device in the system - no IR blasters, wiring, any gear to drive the IR blasters, etc. Just one HDMI cable to each device which provides video, audio and control.”

This should work regardless of the brand of product and the number of displays. The patent notes the solution “can be manufacturer specific so that devices with different CEC implementations can be combined in a single system

Among the many implementations of CEC, we have:

Anynet (Samsung)
Aquos Link (Sharp)
BraviaLink (Sony)
RegzaLink (Toshiba)
RIHD (Onkyo)
Simplink (LG)
VieraLink (Panasonic/JVC)
Easylink (Philips)
NetCommand for HDMI (Mitsubishi)


HydraConnect has already implemented this CEC technology in some of its switchers, including the 8x8 HSS-2 and HSS-3 (with HDBaseT).

With the growing amount of consumers trying to hide all their equipment into cabinets, closets or storing their whole house system in one room, HydraConnect helps eliminate wire clutter by using only an HDMI cable.

HDMI has never been a popular subject in the AV industry but having audio, video, Ethernet and now control all in one cable makes it an option worth considering.



What do you think about HDMI CEC? Would you give HDMI CEC a chance?





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post #2 of 11 Old 02-01-2013, 01:22 PM
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How are they going to overcome HDMI's inherent cable length problems? Anything over 35 feet (and sometimes less depending on the cable quality, which is all over the map) and you're starting to ask for trouble.

We should have fiber optic instead.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-01-2013, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

How are they going to overcome HDMI's inherent cable length problems? Anything over 35 feet (and sometimes less depending on the cable quality, which is all over the map) and you're starting to ask for trouble.

In this situation, HydraConnect uses HDBaseT extenders which handle long distance runs. smile.gif

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post #4 of 11 Old 02-01-2013, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by VinnyS View Post

In this situation, HydraConnect uses HDBaseT extenders which handle long distance runs. smile.gif

Better be bullet proof. I've read all kinds of interconnection horror stories with HDMI over Cat extenders.

HDMI must die!!!!!

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post #5 of 11 Old 02-03-2013, 02:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dan Hitchman View Post

Better be bullet proof. I've read all kinds of interconnection horror stories with HDMI over Cat extenders.

HDMI must die!!!!!

I totally agree with you Dan. I have my share of HDMI horror stories. But with component`s death, we need to at start embracing it and stop fighting it or at least look forward to improvements in next version updates. I have high hopes of HDBaseT. I strongly believe everything one day will be over IP.

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post #6 of 11 Old 04-07-2013, 01:55 AM
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I have to admit, this is an amazing product and I can't believe it is not specified in every project replacing Wyrestorm, Leaf, Atlona, Snap, etc. This is all we use now! I have to admit I was a skeptic and contacted a few people who were on the testimonial page of the website for HydraConnect. I was talked into trying one at our showroom, and I am sure glad I did.

The CEC works incredibly well, the HDBaseT is the full version and not the Lite version, so longer runs work flawlessly (Yes, I said it). The auto gain adjust on the HDBaseT makes all the days of "dialing in" the horrible HDMI extenders a thing of the past. The lack of IR bugs gives a clean look to the installation, the HDBaseT units behind the TVs are Powered by the single Cat 5/6 cable. Take if from a sceptic who has tried all the rest, these units are the real deal!!

Pricing is not too bad for what you get. I have not had a chance to try the iRule interface, but if that works, you are into a full control system with an 8x8 HDMI switch, 8x16 audio switch, 8 zone amplifier, for under $10,000 with iPad control for 8 TVs and/or Receivers, all from a switch and an amplifier combo from HydraConnect. The Crestron, RTI, and Control4 Drivers are fantastic and they are supposed to release a Savant Driver soon.

How many other people have tried this switch or the HDBaseT extenders from HydraConnect? I have yet to hear anything negative.
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post #7 of 11 Old 04-07-2013, 12:27 PM
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HDBaseT has a strong future, and this may help to simplify a whole-home system, but the cost is still a huge issue.
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post #8 of 11 Old 04-09-2013, 03:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

HDBaseT has a strong future, and this may help to simplify a whole-home system, but the cost is still a huge issue.

You'd be surprised. I'm in the custom industry and I'm already starting to see products getting developed at an affordable price. One thing to remember though, when buying an HDBaseT extender, most big brand manufacturers such as Atlona, Key Digital, Gefen and such, offer RS-232, IR, Ethernet and more over a single Cat5. That's why pricing is still high and people get scared. Like I said, I know of a couple of manufacturers developing a more cost effective solution without the bells and whistles and a much lower price.

Don't forget that your also extending HDMI at about double the distance you normally would with a standard HDMI extender. That's pretty cool.

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post #9 of 11 Old 04-09-2013, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by VinnyS View Post

You'd be surprised. I'm in the custom industry and I'm already starting to see products getting developed at an affordable price. One thing to remember though, when buying an HDBaseT extender, most big brand manufacturers such as Atlona, Key Digital, Gefen and such, offer RS-232, IR, Ethernet and more over a single Cat5. That's why pricing is still high and people get scared. Like I said, I know of a couple of manufacturers developing a more cost effective solution without the bells and whistles and a much lower price.

Don't forget that your also extending HDMI at about double the distance you normally would with a standard HDMI extender. That's pretty cool.

I'm not denying it's cool, I think the whole-home HDMI technology is really, really awesome, but the costs to get a system like that up and running are absolutely astronomical, and gaming systems still have to be local, as they don't fit into the whole-home distribution model the way a TiVo Premiere, streaming box, Blu-ray player, etc, would. It's a hard sell when the distribution system costs as much or more than the most expensive A/V setup. Some of the 16x16 matrices alone are the price of a car, without the control system or installation, and they don't seem to make anything like a 12-in 8-out or 16-in 8-out at a more affordable price, which would make the most sense for a medium- to large-sized house. When you break down the cost of the matrix per port, and you're matrix'ing $100 and $200 and $500 component on a system that costs $1000 per port, it's a hard sell. I love the technology, but it has a serious price problem to overcome before it's mainstream even in the A/V and tech enthusiast community. One CAT-5 per location with HD Base-T will push it out to a much wider potential audience, but the rest of the work will be on the pricing and control and installation side. The latter two are helped by this product, but it doesn't look like the price problem is.
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post #10 of 11 Old 04-10-2013, 05:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

I'm not denying it's cool, I think the whole-home HDMI technology is really, really awesome, but the costs to get a system like that up and running are absolutely astronomical, and gaming systems still have to be local, as they don't fit into the whole-home distribution model the way a TiVo Premiere, streaming box, Blu-ray player, etc, would. It's a hard sell when the distribution system costs as much or more than the most expensive A/V setup. Some of the 16x16 matrices alone are the price of a car, without the control system or installation, and they don't seem to make anything like a 12-in 8-out or 16-in 8-out at a more affordable price, which would make the most sense for a medium- to large-sized house. When you break down the cost of the matrix per port, and you're matrix'ing $100 and $200 and $500 component on a system that costs $1000 per port, it's a hard sell. I love the technology, but it has a serious price problem to overcome before it's mainstream even in the A/V and tech enthusiast community. One CAT-5 per location with HD Base-T will push it out to a much wider potential audience, but the rest of the work will be on the pricing and control and installation side. The latter two are helped by this product, but it doesn't look like the price problem is.

I agree with you BiggAW that the price is quite steep and I for one wouldn't have money for a system like this. That being said though, one has to understand to appreciate a unit such as this one. Anyone wanting to centralize all electronic equipment somewhere in the home requires lots of planning and devices to make everything work and talk to each other. I have centralized everything in the house and it's not easy to plan for the future. Lots of cat5 runs and making sure IR works which in most cases requires a zone connecting block, especially if you have two set-top boxes. Then you have the HDMI issue which is still an on-going battle for everyone I think.

As from an installer's point of view, it's a great product as it eliminates a lot of other gear in the mix by using only one box. If you think about it, this is not your ordinary HDMI matrix, it allows installers to incorporate both control, video and audio in one machine. This also helps troubleshoot a lot of problems. Instead of having the installer to verify many different pieces of gear in the rack, he's only got one to look at.

This is a new product and even though the price is steep, I strongly encourage them to continue pursuit to maybe develop as BiggAW mentioned, different varieties of matrixes and maybe prices will come down. Idea and technology is interesting....just had to share wink.gif

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post #11 of 11 Old 04-10-2013, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by VinnyS View Post

I agree with you BiggAW that the price is quite steep and I for one wouldn't have money for a system like this. That being said though, one has to understand to appreciate a unit such as this one. Anyone wanting to centralize all electronic equipment somewhere in the home requires lots of planning and devices to make everything work and talk to each other. I have centralized everything in the house and it's not easy to plan for the future. Lots of cat5 runs and making sure IR works which in most cases requires a zone connecting block, especially if you have two set-top boxes. Then you have the HDMI issue which is still an on-going battle for everyone I think.

As from an installer's point of view, it's a great product as it eliminates a lot of other gear in the mix by using only one box. If you think about it, this is not your ordinary HDMI matrix, it allows installers to incorporate both control, video and audio in one machine. This also helps troubleshoot a lot of problems. Instead of having the installer to verify many different pieces of gear in the rack, he's only got one to look at.

This is a new product and even though the price is steep, I strongly encourage them to continue pursuit to maybe develop as BiggAW mentioned, different varieties of matrixes and maybe prices will come down. Idea and technology is interesting....just had to share wink.gif

Agreed. It makes existing installations simpler and better and more robust and all of that. I don't think the mission of this product was to bring whole-home HDMI to the [enthusiast] masses, but even though it removes one of the big barriers for that to happen, any of these solutions are still way too expensive for it to go mainstream. The idea of having centralized gear and being able to move content and control from one TV to the next, and access any asset on any TV is great, but at this point, you could do it the old and ugly way and put several components at each TV and still spend a lot less than a centralized system.
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