Advice needed -hdmi matrix vs. switching - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
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I started down the path of hdmi matrix switchers until I decided to take a minute to reassess my needs. My wife and I are remodeling our basement to add a home theater/play room and an exercise room so I thought it would be a good time to make one of the closets into an AV rack. Right now it is just the two of us plus our 6 month old (he seems to like to watch the same things that I'm watching - go figure).

We currently have 2 directv receivers and a ps3. We currently have 3 hd tv's in the existing rooms and the new home theater room will have a projector (if/when 3d doesn't require extra hardware) so that room isn't a major concern right now.

98% of the time we will be watching directv so it is of very low importance to spread the ps3 signal around (at least until we get the home theater going). Since we have whole-house dvr on directv sharing a single signal across two of the tv's will work for us (I'm already doing this now with RF remotes and slingbox but obviously I'm not getting a 1080i pic).

As I said earlier, I was going to bite the bullet and go down the path of getting a matrix. When I stepped back it just doesn't seem to make sense to do that now given the fact that the more capable ones seem to be upwards of 1k or more. Also, when we do get a projector I could probably just buy a second used ps3 for that room (we use it mostly for streaming our blu ray collection from a media server).

I'm thinking that in the short term I could just get a 3x1 hdmi switcher and hang out for a year or so until the prices and stability improve (or the newer technology comes out).

Any thoughts on this? I'm also going to be running brand new ethernet runs to all of the rooms (my network goes there already but it seems to make sense to add another wire while I have the house turn apart). Should I run cat7 just in case? Thanks!
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post #2 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 07:08 AM
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What's the switcher for?

Since you're using DirecTV (solely), worst case just add one more receiver ($6/month) so you have one at each TV, enable networking ($3/month) and you're done. And yes, you're on the right track in terms of replicating cheap/easy sources instead of distributing HDMI for your needs...

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post #3 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 07:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response. I could easily order another dvr for $99 and then another $6 a month but it seems like that would be a waste since we're never watching the dvr in both of those rooms at the same time. Besides, switchers seem pretty cheap so it should pay for itself quickly

The switcher is to allow me to switch the signal from that dvr to both rooms. I currently do this via slingbox but I'm going to be installing a plasma tv in the workout room and thus the need to send HDMI to that tv as well as the other tv.

Assuming I did get a switcher, are they fairly compatible with cat6/7 hdmi baluns? The DVR is always on so I would hope that would eliminate a variable that people seem to have when turning devices on and off.
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post #4 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 08:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slump Buster View Post

Thanks for the response. I could easily order another dvr for $99 and then another $6 a month but it seems like that would be a waste since we're never watching the dvr in both of those rooms at the same time. Besides, switchers seem pretty cheap so it should pay for itself quickly

The switcher is to allow me to switch the signal from that dvr to both rooms. I currently do this via slingbox but I'm going to be installing a plasma tv in the workout room and thus the need to send HDMI to that tv as well as the other tv.

Assuming I did get a switcher, are they fairly compatible with cat6/7 hdmi baluns? The DVR is always on so I would hope that would eliminate a variable that people seem to have when turning devices on and off.

I'll warn you ahead of time, if a monoprice solution doesn't work for you, plan to start spending over a 1k for what you want to do. Right now is a tough time for finding a matrix or switch due to all of the HDCP issues that can arise when sending out multiple signals. I'd look at prices now just to get an idea of how much your looking at spending. An example, if the monoprice balun doesn't work for you, your looking at a couple hundred per TV for HDMI(Gefen, extron, crestron, etc). Also I'm not sure if it is with most, but I know I've read with the monoprice matrix that the sound and video get is from lowest quality source that is running, ie if you have a 1080p and HD audio setup for the theater, but have just a flat panel hooked up in the living room that is 720p, you will only get 720p quality and stereo sound for both devices.

Hopefully I'm not a debbie downer on this, and I didn't notice a budget, but just wanted to forewarn you.
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post #5 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 08:44 AM
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How far away is the exercise room and the other room that you want to share the DirecTV DVR with from the closet location? The HDMI and component outputs are active at the same time on the DVR, so you would not need a switcher or HDMI distribution box if you can send component to 1 TV and HDMI to the other. If you are planning to use Cat5/6 baluns with a switcher you could just as easily use them with the HDMI or component output of the DVR.
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post #6 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 09:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slump Buster View Post

The switcher is to allow me to switch the signal from that dvr to both rooms. I currently do this via slingbox but I'm going to be installing a plasma tv in the workout room and thus the need to send HDMI to that tv as well as the other tv.

Assuming I did get a switcher, are they fairly compatible with cat6/7 hdmi baluns? The DVR is always on so I would hope that would eliminate a variable that people seem to have when turning devices on and off.

Ok, that's a splitter, not a switch. As others have already chimed in, think about using a component-over-cat5 balun solution for sending the signal from one source to one (remote) HDTV.

Component will get you HD quality without all the HDMI hassles. Only downside for the remote room is lack of support for 1080p PPV. I'd assume for an exercise room that that wouldn't be a problem...

Jeff

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post #7 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 09:21 AM
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A standard HDMI switch goes from multiple sources to one display. For example a 3 x 1 switch goes from three sources to one display, not vice versa. The only switch I know that works in both directions is this, which is a manual 1:2 or 2:1 device.

If you want to go from a single source to multiple displays otherwise, then you need a splitter or matrix switch.

You may be able to get another DirecTV HD receiver (not DVR) for free. With their Whole-house option you can watch the recordings on the DVR receiver from the non-DVR receiver. That's the option I'm using for my second TV. The total for that is $9 a month, I believe.

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post #8 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again for the responses. I've spent several hours reading about the various matrix problems and that's part of what made me pause and consider a simpler solution (switcher) in the interim. I'd be willing to spend up to 1k if I got a total solution (4x4 matrix) that worked but that seems dicey right now.

The two tv locations are about 50' away from each other. My biggest wish is to have HD on the exercise room tv (it makes watching hockey a LOT easier when I'm jogging) and the PQ on the other tv isn't nearly as important.

As has been said earlier, I could also put the directv receiver in the exercise room and run cables (maybe component) to the other tv and skip the idea of the switcher altogether. The issue of audio isn't important in that room as I'm going to be removing the receiver and mounting that tv on the wall as we do not use it often.

My original switcher plan was to put this satellite receiver in the new AV closet (50' from one room, 25' from the other) as a start to my bigger plan (total whole-house AV) but at this point the coolness might be outweighed by practicality. So am I still fairly crazy to consider running hdmi over baluns using a the switcher (not the matrix) in this scenario?
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post #9 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 09:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crutschow View Post

A standard HDMI switch goes from multiple sources to one display. For example a 3 x 1 switch goes from three sources to one display, not vice versa. The only switch I know that works in both directions is this, which is a manual 1:2 or 2:1 device.

If you want to go from a single source to multiple displays otherwise, then you need a splitter or matrix switch.

You may be able to get another DirecTV HD receiver (not DVR) for free. With their Whole-house option you can watch the recordings on the DVR receiver from the non-DVR receiver. That's the option I'm using for my second TV. The total for that is $9 a month, I believe.

Thanks Carl, I did miss the fact that I'm really looking at 1x2 and not 2x1. What is the advantage of this particular switch as opposed to the other ones that have remote control options? I'm not sure what "bi-directional" means in this instance.

I'd still rather just run a cable and not pay the monthly fee. :-) We currently have and enjoy the whole house option (I was one of the original beta testers).
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post #10 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slump Buster View Post

Thanks Carl, I did miss the fact that I'm really looking at 1x2 and not 2x1. What is the advantage of this particular switch as opposed to the other ones that have remote control options? I'm not sure what "bi-directional" means in this instance.

I'd still rather just run a cable and not pay the monthly fee. :-) We currently have and enjoy the whole house option (I was one of the original beta testers).

If your just worried about the exercise room and the one other TV downstairs, depending on your cable box, as other have mentioned, run HDMI to the exercise room and component to the other TV. I ran a 50ft component to my TV and have a 6 ft hdmi going into my receiver, so I only need to use the HDMI if I'm using the projector. I'd do that for now, as it will be under $100 to do it, unless you need to control it in both rooms which would be under a $100 extra. Also with the analog sunset, who knows when exactly they will be turning off HD from the component output, but I did hear around 2013 so you have a bit of time to get a switcher/matrix.
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post #11 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sumavguy View Post

If your just worried about the exercise room and the one other TV downstairs, depending on your cable box, as other have mentioned, run HDMI to the exercise room and component to the other TV. I ran a 50ft component to my TV and have a 6 ft hdmi going into my receiver, so I only need to use the HDMI if I'm using the projector. I'd do that for now, as it will be under $100 to do it, unless you need to control it in both rooms which would be under a $100 extra. Also with the analog sunset, who knows when exactly they will be turning off HD from the component output, but I did hear around 2013 so you have a bit of time to get a switcher/matrix.

Actually, the multi-room aspect isn't an issue as I turned on RF on that sat receiver and I've assigned 2 remotes to that box.

I've got another couple of weeks to go but I may consider this 1x2 splitter as the reviews on it are excellent.

http://www.amazon.com/ViewHD-Powered...9693817&sr=8-1
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post #12 of 12 Old 03-09-2011, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slump Buster View Post

Thanks Carl, I did miss the fact that I'm really looking at 1x2 and not 2x1. What is the advantage of this particular switch as opposed to the other ones that have remote control options? I'm not sure what "bi-directional" means in this instance.

That is the only switch I know that can be used for two inputs and one output (alternately one input and two outputs, thus "bidirectional"). Normally for one input and multiple outputs you must use a splitter, not a simple switch.

All the remote control switches I know of are one input, multiple outputs.

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