New HD distribution via QAM tuners from Bocs? Cheap HD Modulation? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 312 Old 10-31-2008, 06:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I was just talking to a local AV installation guy and he told me about a product coming out by Bocs that will use a single RG6 line to transmit 3 HD sources (with digital audio) to any TV in the house with a QAM tuner. Essentially, a simple 3 source HD modulation system. My dealer said the rep told him it would be around the $1000 price range. He said he'd call the rep back today to confirm a few things and try to get a firm release date. This sounds WAY too good to be true. Has anybody heard of Bocs? They currently sell an SD version (standard modulation system) that they call Xtender.

www.bocsco.com
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post #2 of 312 Old 10-31-2008, 06:51 AM
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So far its been vaporware. There have been various announcements by larger players at past Cedia about RG6 carrying HDMI or HD modulated signals, but to date the hurdles haven't been overcome. Those hurdles may be hardware related or hollywood related.


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post #3 of 312 Old 10-31-2008, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I knew it was too good to be true. I just got a reply back from the installer saying that the rep doesn't have a release date yet. No surprise there.
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post #4 of 312 Old 03-02-2009, 08:24 PM
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I am probably crazy, but I liked the idea of this product so much that I had to take the risk and order the SD Media Xtender Product with a special deal from www.bocsyourway.com. I'll review the unit once I get it installed!

Now for my comments on the HD Xtender product...
1) They did a demo of the system at CES2009, so not entirely vaperware.

2) Looking at the CES photos, it looks like they will take Component Video In and use a hardware MPEG2 Encoder to reencode the video and audio and then modulate the signal onto RG6 Coax via QAM for distribution throughout the house. I don't think going from digital to analog and back to digital, sacrificing some video and audio quality in the process will be a Hollywood issue. Might be a consumer quality issue though???

3) This approach does trade off some quality. But this offers a lot of flexibility and cost savings. My wife has been bugging me to get another TiVO for the exercise room. I have been wanting to watch TiVO at my bar. With ~9 TV's in my house, it is cost prohibitive and would be extremely complex to have 9 TiVos. As it is, I have 2 Series2 and 1 HDTivo that is a significant investment. The current product will work for my SD content on all my TV Tuners. I'm hoping the HD product will integrate nicely with the SD product when it becomes available. This way, I can have 3 SD sources and 3 HD sources. Of my 9 TVs, 4 have integrated QAM Tuners today, 1 is early ATSC, but I'm not sure if it does QAM. The other 4 have NTSC tuners.

4) This HDXtender approach requires your HDTV to have a QAM tuner integrated or you will need a STB with one connected to your TV.

Regards,
DLB
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post #5 of 312 Old 03-03-2009, 06:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edpowers View Post

I was just talking to a local AV installation guy and he told me about a product coming out by Bocs that will use a single RG6 line to transmit 3 HD sources (with digital audio) to any TV in the house with a QAM tuner. Essentially, a simple 3 source HD modulation system. My dealer said the rep told him it would be around the $1000 price range. He said he'd call the rep back today to confirm a few things and try to get a firm release date. This sounds WAY too good to be true. Has anybody heard of Bocs? They currently sell an SD version (standard modulation system) that they call Xtender.

www.bocsco.com

The single RG6 part is certainly believable. I have DirecTV with a Single Wire Multiswitch (SWM), and it will pass up to 8 HDTV with DA over a single RG6. I already have it passing 4 HDTV and one SDTV signal.

So, FWIW.

I don't know anything about modulation or the other features this product promises.
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post #6 of 312 Old 03-03-2009, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Baldwin View Post

I am probably crazy, but I liked the idea of this product so much that I had to take the risk and order the SD Media Xtender Product with a special deal from www.bocsyourway.com. I'll review the unit once I get it installed!

Now for my comments on the HD Xtender product...
1) They did a demo of the system at CES2009, so not entirely vaperware.

2) Looking at the CES photos, it looks like they will take Component Video In and use a hardware MPEG2 Encoder to reencode the video and audio and then modulate the signal onto RG6 Coax via QAM for distribution throughout the house. I don't think going from digital to analog and back to digital, sacrificing some video and audio quality in the process will be a Hollywood issue. Might be a consumer quality issue though???

3) This approach does trade off some quality. But this offers a lot of flexibility and cost savings. My wife has been bugging me to get another TiVO for the exercise room. I have been wanting to watch TiVO at my bar. With ~9 TV's in my house, it is cost prohibitive and would be extremely complex to have 9 TiVos. As it is, I have 2 Series2 and 1 HDTivo that is a significant investment. The current product will work for my SD content on all my TV Tuners. I'm hoping the HD product will integrate nicely with the SD product when it becomes available. This way, I can have 3 SD sources and 3 HD sources. Of my 9 TVs, 4 have integrated QAM Tuners today, 1 is early ATSC, but I'm not sure if it does QAM. The other 4 have NTSC tuners.

4) This HDXtender approach requires your HDTV to have a QAM tuner integrated or you will need a STB with one connected to your TV.

Regards,
DLB

1) Great news!
2) Disappointing but understandable
3) Yes, this is a great option for all of my secondary viewing locations. Did they mention a MSRP yet?
4) Also, if you want external sound, your TV needs a digital audio output.
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post #7 of 312 Old 03-03-2009, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Baldwin View Post

I have been wanting to watch TiVO at my bar. With ~9 TV's in my house, it is cost prohibitive and would be extremely complex to have 9 TiVos. As it is, I have 2 Series2 and 1 HDTivo that is a significant investment.

Perhaps I am being overly simplistic. But could you not use a cheap/used Extron matrix switch to distribute your 3 sources in component video format to all the TV's in any combination you choose? This would support HD and SD video formats. Distribution could be via coax x 3 runs per location or a single cat5e run per location via baluns.
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post #8 of 312 Old 03-04-2009, 05:23 AM
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have you guys looked at ZVBOX pro
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post #9 of 312 Old 03-04-2009, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AceCannon View Post

Perhaps I am being overly simplistic. But could you not use a cheap/used Extron matrix switch to distribute your 3 sources in component video format to all the TV's in any combination you choose? This would support HD and SD video formats. Distribution could be via coax x 3 runs per location or a single cat5e run per location via baluns.

This requires running new cables. I've already retro'd my 5 main viewing areas with component, hdmi and cat5, but I didn't have the time or interest in running to another 5 locations that already have a single RG-6.
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post #10 of 312 Old 03-04-2009, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by space2001 View Post

have you guys looked at ZVBOX pro

Wow, I haven't heard about this product. Is it available yet, its not on their Store site

Edit: Ouch, I found it on hdtvsupply for $2300. Why would this cost so much more than their ZVBox which is essentially doing the same thing only with a computer output?
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post #11 of 312 Old 03-04-2009, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edpowers View Post

1) Great news!
2) Disappointing but understandable
3) Yes, this is a great option for all of my secondary viewing locations. Did they mention a MSRP yet?
4) Also, if you want external sound, your TV needs a digital audio output.

3) I heard about $1000 for the base system once it becomes available. I did not hear when it will become available.

4) True, or Analog Audio out, or an external QAM tuner with audio out, but this defeats the purpose of this system somewhat.
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post #12 of 312 Old 03-04-2009, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AceCannon View Post

Perhaps I am being overly simplistic. But could you not use a cheap/used Extron matrix switch to distribute your 3 sources in component video format to all the TV's in any combination you choose? This would support HD and SD video formats. Distribution could be via coax x 3 runs per location or a single cat5e run per location via baluns.

As someone else suggested, it just depends on what wiring/cabling is already in your house. I ran typically one cat5 and one RG6 to each room when I bulit my house. The exceptions are my family room, game room, and home theater, where I have more.

I came across the HDR44 from ATON, which utilizes 2 CAT5 cables per zone and can push 4 HD inputs to 4 HDTVs for less than $1000. I may consider this for the future still.

I also came across a single HD input to single HD output solution using 1 CAT5+1RG6 for about $300 each, which I could maybe use in conjunction with a component matrix to put a solution together.

The probelm with the last 2 solutions is a whole lot of extra work for me to install and the risk that it won't work well despit the sizeable investment. Somebody will solve this problem for us on the HD side eventually. Hopefully it will be BOCS, and soon!
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post #13 of 312 Old 03-04-2009, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by space2001 View Post

have you guys looked at ZVBOX pro

I looked at it a little, but heard that it was plagued with reliability problems and was difficult to set-up. It's also pretty darn expensive.
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post #14 of 312 Old 03-09-2009, 11:35 AM
 
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Howdy...
I'm one of the founders of BOCS - thought I'd answer a couple of questions and also ask some advice from the experts on this forum.

As concisely as possible...
1) Current SD product is mass production - we found a way to hijack the FM band that most cable companies avoid to circulate three new channels around the home - Remotes are 900Mhz VERY long range and control connected devices via IR bugs provided. (Secret friends and fmaily order site is BOCSyourway for "wholesale pricing")
2) HD product is up and running - we demonstrated it at CES - basically a "modular approach" adding an HD modulator on top of the current distribution and control system. It is not readily available today as it will take us some time to get from "trade show demo" to a productized version. Frankly, we are in the middle of a fundraising round to complete that task but are targeting July for a release at this point... Anyone ever around Boulder, I'd be happy to give you a demo.

I'd definitely be interested in your collective opinion on HD features...

We currently avoid HDMI due to various compatability issues and have settled on Component - but...

What would you consider critical optical inputs?
How many HD inputs would be optimum for a consumer setup?
How pervasive in your home setups is QAM? (Alternative is ATSC)

I'd bet everyone on this forum gets the idea of the product - so what other features might you consider cool for this kind of product?

I'd appreciate any insight anyone can provide - and I'll make sure to post beta tester offers here as well..

David Feller
dfeller@bocsco.com
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post #15 of 312 Old 03-10-2009, 07:50 AM
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Hey David,

I have been very interested in something like this for quit a while. First thing That I look at is my needs and don't know if its for anyone.

For me I want to be able to stream a PVR and a HTPC and/ dvd player. For me I would rather have a blu-ray player directly connected. Most people would want there HTPC connected at 1080p, but I would mainly use it for shows that I record or Over the air.

So my needs are a way to hook up my HTPC DVI or HDMI. pvr and dvd player through component.

Right now the price is a little high when I look at the price of the ZVBOx pro, because I can get separate components from gefen(one example) and that can do 1080p. I know modulation is limited to 1080i because of the QAM. For the price its pretty high up there, for the jump back in quality.
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post #16 of 312 Old 03-13-2009, 12:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Feller View Post

I'd definitely be interested in your collective opinion on HD features...

What would you consider critical optical inputs?
How many HD inputs would be optimum for a consumer setup?
How pervasive in your home setups is QAM? (Alternative is ATSC)

I'd bet everyone on this forum gets the idea of the product - so what other features might you consider cool for this kind of product?

I'd appreciate any insight anyone can provide - and I'll make sure to post beta tester offers here as well..

David Feller
dfeller@bocsco.com

David, First, Welcome to AVSForum! There is an incredible collection of AV Experts that participate on this forum. Alan Gouger and team that run AVScience do a great job!

I received my BOCS SD Extender order on Wednesday, March 11th!!! I'm in the process of getting it installed. I will write a detailed review here when I finish the installation.

In the interum, I can say that I am impressed with the quality and performance of the product so far!

Your probably wondering why it is taking me so long to install such a simple product. Well, I ran into some issues with my cable distribution infrastructure that took a while to troubleshoot. After finding and replacing a bad cable, a bad connector and bypassing my existing cable amplifier, I was able to see how well your product can distribute composite video over cable. I'm impressed!

I will be placing another order for additional remotes in the next few days.

I love that the HD Extender modules will add onto the existing SD System allowing me to leverage my initial investment. I understand that the HD extender is Component video based, and will still transmit over the standard cable infrastructure.

What is the audio interface? Optical and/or Coax audio would be great as most HD sources also have a digital audio output. How many HD channels is the system capable of having. I understand that up to 6 SD inputs are supported with 2 SD Extender Boxes. What is the possible mix of HD and SD channels? I would consider 3 HD + 3 SD channels to be sufficient for the near future, but the flexibility to do more is always better.

I have 1 HDTivo and 2 SDTivos today.

I will likely add some PC based channel for Video, Music, and Photos.

I may look add interfacing with my Honeywell home security system at some point. There is probably some nice integration that is possible between your system and home security systems and home automation systems too!

I understand that up to 12 remotes are natively supported. This should be sufficient for me. I currently have 9 TVs and 1 1080P projector in my rougly 4200 finished square feet. Only 3 or 4 of my TVs have HD Tuners today. I also have an HTPC with 2 HD Tuners that are ATSC and QAM.

How is the HD Video decoded? Do I need a ATSC/QAM decoder for my 1080P projector?

Macros on the remotes would be nice, especially a power on/off sequence.

Backlit remotes would be nice, especially for my home theater, which is pitch black.

An INPUT button on the remote would have been nice, but with the included ability to program buttons, I may do this.

Compatibility with one or more of the popular and more powerful RF remotes would be interesting. Logitech?

I'll have to look at the remote code list again, but the ability control the PS3 would be nice (XBOX360, etc) given their added media capabilities.

If you want a beta tester for the HD units, I volunteer!

Thanks,
Dave
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post #17 of 312 Old 03-13-2009, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by space2001 View Post

Hey David,

I have been very interested in something like this for quit a while. First thing That I look at is my needs and don't know if its for anyone.

For me I want to be able to stream a PVR and a HTPC and/ dvd player. For me I would rather have a blu-ray player directly connected. Most people would want there HTPC connected at 1080p, but I would mainly use it for shows that I record or Over the air.

So my needs are a way to hook up my HTPC DVI or HDMI. pvr and dvd player through component.

Right now the price is a little high when I look at the price of the ZVBOx pro, because I can get separate components from gefen(one example) and that can do 1080p. I know modulation is limited to 1080i because of the QAM. For the price its pretty high up there, for the jump back in quality.

I think the core BOCS value proposition is that it is Easy to Install, Easy to Use, Compatible with standard cable infrustructure in typical homes, and scales easily from a couple viewing locations to many for little additional cost.

If you only have two or three viewing locations, yes you may be able to find solutions that are marginally cheaper, or offer marginally higher picture quality, but for me, this is a great fit.

I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that this is the TiVO of home audio and video distribution and control. There are higher performance options out there, but this just works, and works well!

Good Luck!
Dave
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post #18 of 312 Old 03-13-2009, 09:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by space2001 View Post

Hey David,

I have been very interested in something like this for quit a while. First thing That I look at is my needs and don't know if its for anyone.

For me I want to be able to stream a PVR and a HTPC and/ dvd player. For me I would rather have a blu-ray player directly connected. Most people would want there HTPC connected at 1080p, but I would mainly use it for shows that I record or Over the air.

So my needs are a way to hook up my HTPC DVI or HDMI. pvr and dvd player through component.

Right now the price is a little high when I look at the price of the ZVBOx pro, because I can get separate components from gefen(one example) and that can do 1080p. I know modulation is limited to 1080i because of the QAM. For the price its pretty high up there, for the jump back in quality.

Space2001:
I'm in exactly the same situation as you - a need to route multiple Sources (Some HD and some SD) around the home - exactly why we are going after this product space. Frankly, the better products out there I think come from a need to solve "my own problem" rather than address something that a marketing guy thinks everyone needs...

I havn't done a lot of research, but since you mentioned the ZVboxpro - (>$2K I think)... If there were a way to easily go from component to VGA then you could use their consumer version ($500 ish) in the short term. Until I launch our HD box at least :-)
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post #19 of 312 Old 03-13-2009, 10:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Baldwin View Post

I think the core BOCS value proposition is that it is Easy to Install, Easy to Use, Compatible with standard cable infrustructure in typical homes, and scales easily from a couple viewing locations to many for little additional cost.

If you only have two or three viewing locations, yes you may be able to find solutions that are marginally cheaper, or offer marginally higher picture quality, but for me, this is a great fit.

I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that this is the TiVO of home audio and video distribution and control. There are higher performance options out there, but this just works, and works well!

Good Luck!
Dave

Dave:

Much thanks for the kind words. Ease of install/use is a HUGE part of this. My specialty is the product marketing/product management side and this system has easily gone through 10 major revs - mostly on the remote control. I've tried to be fanatical about button placement, intuitive usage, places for fingers to rest so you can find the right button in the dark etc.

Oddly enough, a lot of the design was at night under the covers - using the thing when I couldn't even see it. Being from Boulder, it is important to have a remote that you can work under the covers and not let the cold air in while doing the "high over your head swan move" to change channels in bed.

I'm ALWAYS open to suggestions and improvements!
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post #20 of 312 Old 03-14-2009, 07:58 PM
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Bocs Team,

I have been using a notch filter and a modulator to add in a security camera channel into my TV lineup. Because I have time warner digital cable, I cant use the notch on TVs that are using a digital cable box (my main tvs) b/c the notch also cuts out odd digital channel info.. so I had to split my cable into analog and digital sets, then filter, modulate and combine on the ANALOG sets only.

It is my understanding that
1) w/the BOCS system I do not loose anything on digital TV and I can accomplish what I set out to do with my Time Warner DIGITAL cable and modulate on the digital side with no loss of digital tv/hd channels and

2) I only need one BOCS system (not one unit per room).

Is this correct?


Bob
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post #21 of 312 Old 03-15-2009, 11:22 AM
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BOCS Team:

I've been looking for this type of solution for years. I have come close to buying matrix switches and run HDMI or component cables to every room, but it just go too complicated for something that should be simpler.

The HD solution that BOCS has seems simple and I hope it will be out soon. Any idea on when the HD solution will be out? I am in the process of replacing a few TV's and if this solution needs a digital tuner to work, that might change my purchase decision.

Will the HD version have three inputs also? If I were to use 2 systems in order to get more than 3 inputs, can they work together and could I mix and match a SD and HD system? Right now I have 2 modulated cameras in the house, 2 HD DVR's and a HTPC with all my DVD's.

I would be happy to help beta test this, I am less interested in the remote layout (but need discrete codes) as I will most likely program my existing remotes and use the IR system that I have installed.

Chris
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post #22 of 312 Old 03-16-2009, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the reply,

I would also love to beta test this product. since I will be using multiple sources.
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post #23 of 312 Old 03-18-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by meevan1 View Post

Bocs Team,

I have been using a notch filter and a modulator to add in a security camera channel into my TV lineup. Because I have time warner digital cable, I cant use the notch on TVs that are using a digital cable box (my main tvs) b/c the notch also cuts out odd digital channel info.. so I had to split my cable into analog and digital sets, then filter, modulate and combine on the ANALOG sets only.

It is my understanding that
1) w/the BOCS system I do not loose anything on digital TV and I can accomplish what I set out to do with my Time Warner DIGITAL cable and modulate on the digital side with no loss of digital tv/hd channels and

2) I only need one BOCS system (not one unit per room).

Is this correct?


Bob

You got it exactly right -

Most cable companies avoid using the FM band and we have a patent [pending] approach as to how to utilize those bands...

Big vlue proposition is that we don't knock out anything that you care about. I qualify that by saying that every once in a while a cable company will put something temporarily there but so far I've not seen anything permanent except for a few mountain towns (long story on that one)...
In those situations, we provide a switchable "supercombiner" (Our all-in-one filter amp, network "balancer") so that you can choose from any remote control to switch the system off and get your channels back.

For anyone wanting to take a look at how we do the "special sauce special frequency thing" I've got some pretty cool animated (and narrated) slides at this link... Let me know what yall think please.
http://www.bocsco.com/www/public/pre...bocsmyway.html
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post #24 of 312 Old 03-18-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schult View Post

BOCS Team:

I've been looking for this type of solution for years. I have come close to buying matrix switches and run HDMI or component cables to every room, but it just go too complicated for something that should be simpler.

The HD solution that BOCS has seems simple and I hope it will be out soon. Any idea on when the HD solution will be out? I am in the process of replacing a few TV's and if this solution needs a digital tuner to work, that might change my purchase decision.

Will the HD version have three inputs also? If I were to use 2 systems in order to get more than 3 inputs, can they work together and could I mix and match a SD and HD system? Right now I have 2 modulated cameras in the house, 2 HD DVR's and a HTPC with all my DVD's.

I would be happy to help beta test this, I am less interested in the remote layout (but need discrete codes) as I will most likely program my existing remotes and use the IR system that I have installed.

Chris

I'll try to get a picture of the HD system posted here so it is a little more clear - but basically the current SD system acts as a "Base system" and then you add as many HD modules as you need for your current setup. Each HD module you add effectively replaces one SD channel.
Frequency allocation will get a little tricky after the first three channels though.

Our first system (the one in the lab now) is a QAM system but we are working toward a standard ATSC system as well (no release date on the ATSC)

Also would like to make sure everyone understands, there are two hurdles to releasing the HD system - funding (we are in the middle of a B round of financing now) and productization of the product. It most definitely works, and we are targeting Q3 but stay tuned for more information as the hurdles are crossed and we get closer.
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post #25 of 312 Old 03-19-2009, 08:42 AM
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I havn't done a lot of research, but since you mentioned the ZVboxpro - (>$2K I think)... If there were a way to easily go from component to VGA then you could use their consumer version ($500 ish) in the short term. Until I launch our HD box at least :-)

Even if you convert from component to VGA, the only way to get audio into the $500 ZvBox is to use USB audio from the PC that it is connected to.

ZeeVee recently announced the $999 ZvBoxPLUS (ZV-150) that will have inputs for component video and coaxial/optical digital audio (but not for analog audio).

Here is a picture: zvbooth-dsc_3569-800px.jpg


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Dave:

Much thanks for the kind words. Ease of install/use is a HUGE part of this. My specialty is the product marketing/product management side and this system has easily gone through 10 major revs - mostly on the remote control. I've tried to be fanatical about button placement, intuitive usage, places for fingers to rest so you can find the right button in the dark etc.

Oddly enough, a lot of the design was at night under the covers - using the thing when I couldn't even see it. Being from Boulder, it is important to have a remote that you can work under the covers and not let the cold air in while doing the "high over your head swan move" to change channels in bed.

I'm ALWAYS open to suggestions and improvements!

Dave, I am not so sure about that. After a very long talk with zeevee, it seems that the consumer box has to be connected to a computer. One of the USB cables tells the zv box to start modulating, and the other one is for audio. If we could determine what is actually sent to the zv box, it should be easy to convert this to a stand alone box. Another thought is to use a haupauge hd pvr and a fast pc, but at that point you are pretty close to the cost of the pro box and have to deal with a PC.

Sailn...
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post #27 of 312 Old 03-19-2009, 11:56 AM
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One of the USB cables tells the zv box to start modulating, and the other one is for audio.

The ZvBox uses only one USB cable.
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If we could determine what is actually sent to the zv box, it should be easy to convert this to a stand alone box.

Or you could just wait for the ZvBoxPLUS.


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post #28 of 312 Old 03-20-2009, 06:31 PM
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BOCS Extender Review by David Baldwin

About the author: I consider myself to be a home theater enthusiast. I have loved to tinker with electronics and computers as long as I can remember. This interest led me to pursue a degree in electrical engineering and a career with a leading semiconductor manufacturer. I am tolerated by my lovely wife, son, and daughter. I also enjoy offroading, golf, and most sports.

When I began looking for a whole home audio and video distribution system, I had a few key objectives in mind.

The first objective was to be able to watch Tivo’d shows in our exercise room. My wife and I are pretty busy between our careers and our kids activities and don’t get as much time as we would like to watch TV. Up until now, we only had basic cable available there. It seemed as if there was never anything on worth watching when we made some time to exercise, but we had loads of shows on the Tivo’s that we never got around to watching and couldn’t watch in the gym.

The next objective was to simplify our system to make it easier for everyone to use. This included grandparents, babysitters, even our housekeeper. Nearly every TV in the house had a different remote control and miscellaneous complexities that caused nearly everyone to have some problems, or create some new problems for me to figure out. Can you spell time sync?

The third major objective was to add functionality without increasing and if possible to decrease our associated monthly costs. The thought of adding a 4th Tivo in the exercise room was troubling me. On top of that, I really had no convenient place to put the box in our exercise room, which led to a side effect of the BOCS system that my wife is thrilled about. More on that later…

The final major objective was to choose a system that would allow for a reasonable level of expansion including HD (High Definition) distribution at some point in the future. Assuming that most or all AV (Audio/Video) sources will transition to HD in the future, I wanted a system that would support both SD (Standard Definition) and HD sources.

As you undoubtedly deduced from the title, I at least tried on the Extender SD product from BOCS, a company based in Boulder, Colorado. www.bocsco.com Read on to see how the system held up to my evaluation…



BOCS has agreements in place with a large network of regional and internet electronics resellers and is rapidly expanding. I’m more technical than most, so I opted for purchasing over the internet and installing the system on my own to save some money. If you prefer to have someone else install the product for you, contact your local Home Theater Installer and ask for quote.



BOCS is currently offering an Introductory Starter Kit on their web-site for just $299 and includes the main extender box, along with a special cable combiner (opposite of a splitter), a Remote that is both IR and RF capable, and a comprehensive wiring pack that even includes a tool to trace your existing cable wires back to you central cable splitter. This is a great deal, because the suggested retail price for the kit is $499 and competitors’ products are less integrated, therefore more complex, and also more expensive.



This basic kit provides everything you need to distribute up to three audio and or video sources throughout your entire home via your existing cable system. This system also continues to distribute your existing cable television signals throughout the house. You only need to add additional remotes at TV locations were you want to control the remote AV sources. The remotes have a suggested resale price of $49, but I found them from major internet resellers for less. They even make an RF extender product that will increase the range of your remotes in larger homes.



Executive review for those not interested in all the “Techy Details”:

We are having a great experience with this product in our home. The product works as advertised. The product is well documented on BOCS’ website. The sales and support staff is knowledgeable and very helpful. Order placement was relatively straightforward. My order did have a minor delay, but BOCS made up for it by paying the shipping costs and throwing in a free remote! Who does that anymore???



I was impressed with the packaging of the product. It was double boxed with plenty of bubble wrap, peanuts, and foam and even had all edges of the outer carton well taped. The quick installation documentation was printed clearly on nice glossy paper and the full manual is included on a CD-ROM, which should save a few trees. The product itself was impressively constructed. It has a solid metal case, with rubber feet, and quality connectors and cables. The remote is impressive, with logical button layout and well placed impressions in the back so that it doesn’t slip out of your hand.



The installation procedures were well documented and it was relatively straightforward for me to install. If you don’t feel comfortable changing a few connections at your main cable splitter, connecting cable boxes and such, or programming universal remotes, you should probably call BOCS or your local AV Installer before making the purchase.



The product operation really blows me away. The picture and sound quality is very clear throughout my entire home. It is very easy to use and will be in my home for a long time to come!



BOCS demonstrated their HD expanders to this system at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show. This unit will be an add-on module to enable a HD input that accepts component video that most HD sources have outputs for. BOCS is currently working on their plans to release the HD expander product later this year. I’ll be among the first in line to upgrade my system!!!

This system will succeed in meeting all of my major objectives when the HD expander is released and works to my satisfaction!!!



Read on for all the “Techy Details”:



I don’t have anything else to add in regards to the order placement and packaging other than some photos.



The installation turned out to be a little more difficult than I originally anticipated, but not because of the BOCS system, but rather I had two bad RG6 coax cables/connectors and an issue with my current cable distribution amplifier not working in conjunction with the included BOCS Supercombiner. The crazy combination of these multiple issues led me through a confusing debug path into the wee hours of the morning.



After running in circles for a while, I finally set up a 17” LCD TV, a single cable box, and the extender product right next to my distribution panel. I quickly discovered and replaced the bad cable and then through further analysis bypassed my existing cable distribution amp and found that the Supercombiner’s integrated amplifier actually performed better and was able to drive all of my TV outputs very well. One final problem made it easy to identify a bad RG6 F-connector that I promptly replaced.



With everything working at the distribution panel, it was time to go back to the family room, where my HDTivo and 52”LCD are located. After cranking up the amplifier gain with a few button presses on the remote, and programming the remote for my equipment, everything was working great except that I couldn’t get the Live TV button to work with my HDTivo. After trying all of the different Tivo codes and having the same issue for every one of them, I was getting ready to contact BOCS, when I came across the ability to learn A/V source codes into the extender. With just a few button presses, I taught the extender the LiveTV code from my Tivo remote and all was fixed!!! I am really impressed with the remote and the extender’s control flexibility.



With this setup working, I pulled my wife’s SDTivo (Series2) out of the master bedroom (without her knowing) and set it up in the family room. I programmed a second remote in the master bedroom to work with the 32” LCD TV. I had to program the Live TV code into the extender again for the second input. I ran into an issue trying to run the RF output from the first Tivo into the RF input of the second Tivo as it shows on the instructions. I tried to use the local TV output to the second Tivo, but that didn’t work either. I ended up using a standard cable splitter to drive the RF input on each Tivo from the STB Out connector on the extender and then everything began working great.



OK, now I was feeling really impressed with the functionality and the picture quality and was ready to move the whole setup down to my Home Theater equipment rack and add the third Tivo, also a Series 2 SD Tivo, from my Game Room as my 3rd AV input. This was graduation for the BOCS Extender product as far as I was concerned. I wasn’t about to reorganize and rewire my entire AV Rack unless I knew this system was a keeper!



I connected everything up the same as I had done with the first 2 Tivos upstairs. I programmed the LiveTV button again into the extender. I used a larger splitter to handle the 3rd Tivo box as I did when adding the second box. Everything just worked, until…



Ladies and gentlemen, if something is going to go wrong, it’s going to be when your skeptical wife is asking you to show her how to watch her favorite show in the Master Bedroom before she goes to bed. When I moved the components from the Family Room down another level to the Home Theater and placed it in a rack full of equipment on the complete opposite corner of my 4200square foot home, the remote control operation from the Master Bedroom became intermittent. My wife stopped short of demanding that “her” Tivo be immediately returned to its original location.

After reassuring my wife that this problem was easily resolved, I quickly placed an order for an RF Repeater along several more remotes to complete my SD installation. The repeater was easily added to the system and resolved the control issue from the Master Bedroom. See the diagram below for my complete system block diagram.



Additional Notes:

This system would make it really easy to integrate a Windows Media Center computer in a SD resolution mode using a video card with composite video out today and should support HD video when the HD expander becomes available with a video card supporting component video output.

This system would also make it very easy to add CCTV (Closed Circuit Television) system (Video Security). Someone rings the doorbell and you hit one button on the remote from any TV and you are instantly looking at the CCTV video feed.

There are some other great Ideas on the BOCS website including integration of video and music from a Sony 400 Disc DVD/CD changer or even an Apple IPOD.

You should even be able to distribute Blu-Ray via Component Video output when the new HD expander becomes available. I have a Sony Playstation 3 with an IR Remote add-on and look forward to experimenting with its ability to serve media over BOCS.

Based on a recommendation from BOCS’ website, with three Tivo’s in my home, I assigned a Tivo to my wife, one to my kids, and the final Tivo to myself. This will make it even easier for the family to manage and watch our favorite content from anywhere in the house without conflicts.
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post #29 of 312 Old 03-27-2009, 11:12 AM
 
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Dave:

Great information here - a few things I hadn't thought of as well.

I actually expanded to use two Xtenders in my home (I needed more than 3 inputs) - the remotes are set up so that you can use the "Shift" key to access the second set of three channels (Shift-Red etc)... I've got a media center hooked up as well, but ran across a really great stand alone internet connected media player as well and decided to add the second system to accomodate that and a quad camera input for home security...

If you are interested, the media player can be found at http://www.amperordirect.com/pc//aud...-HDX_1000.html
Turns out it is one of the few that plays iso, windows media center recordings, and pretty much any format seamlessly. It also has some way to download ********** files directly although I havn't tackled it yet... New cool inputs are always a great add to a system like yours.

And - I started a "professional Blog" to start capturing items like this and give some more detailed installation tips and tricks -

I invite everyone to stop by and pose questions that I can answer for the customer base - sometimes it is difficult to get the right inspiration without experts like this forum putting me to the test.

www.myXtender.com/wholehome is the BLOG...

Thanks again
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post #30 of 312 Old 03-27-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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Hey Dave:

Reading through your Xtender review again, I can't help but notice a couple of things:

1) You put a remote on top of Xtender next to my remote when you took a picture and a very strange coincidence - I used that same remote to build our alpha units (See my blog for pictures www.myXtender.com/wholehome ) - you unknowingly were showing the whole BOCS history in that one picture

2) In your distribution cabinet, you have a whole bunch of the "crimp style" F connectors... We switched everything over to the weathertight press/squeeze connectors and our testing showed up to a 1.5dB improvement in loss for EACH connector we swapped to the better style. The tools are about $30 at Home Depot and a little "bottle" of 50 of the connectors runs another $30ish but in my humble opinion, it would be well worth an hour on your next free weekend to replace those babies.

Good luck.
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