HDMI Matrix Handle HDCP - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 07:09 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm trying to determine the best way to distribute HD video to every TV in the house. Almost every set has at least one, most two CAT6 cables run to them as well as 2 RG-6 coax lines. I'm thinking a matrix switcher that has HDMI over CAT5e/6 baluns built in is probably my best bet, but my concern is how these handle HDCP. I don't think it would be uncommon for us to have more than one TV trying to view the same content. How do matrix switches typically handle this? If HDCP isn't a problem, does anyone have any recommendations for a 8x8 (or close) matrix thats not ridiculously expensive? I understand it will be several thousand, but I'm hoping not to have to spend 7 grand if I can avoid it.
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post #2 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 11:46 AM
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Atlona and Vanco have moderately priced 8x8's as long as you dont want to use HDBase-T technology, the products should all be HDCP compliant. Its EDID issues that one usually has to be more concerned with.
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow. Thats totally what i meant to be asking about. How to Matrix switches handle EDID info? I want multiple displays to be able to view the same bluray player at the same time.
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post #4 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 04:13 PM
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In general, the source(s) will see the combination of displays, and will adjust their output to be compatible with everything attached. So if you have a 720p device (which doesn't accept a 1080p input), everyone will get 720p, for example. This usually shows up most on the audio side, as most TVs have only basic PCM / stereo decoding, which means you lose 5.1 audio.

Best practice for distributing BD is to dedicate a player to those locations where audio is important (theater, primary TV room - anywhere there's an AV receiver), and only share a BD player on the matrix for lesser-used or TV-only locations.

Jeff

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post #5 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 04:50 PM
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I don't know the cost but I think there are solutions where you can put a small box at all TV locations that receive the HDMI signal at full 1080p with 7.1 audio. From those boxes you could then output the signal to the display (which can downgrade it to a lower resolution and stereo audio).

This would tell the matrix that all device locations have 1080p and multi channel audio so you don't have to worry about going down to the least common denominator.

Of course you could put a receiver at every location but those are much larger and might not fit well with the decor of some basic rooms.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 06:05 PM
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Are you meaning to ask about HDCP keys and the number of keys each of your sources support?
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post #7 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktrdsl23 View Post

I don't know the cost but I think there are solutions where you can put a small box at all TV locations that receive the HDMI signal at full 1080p with 7.1 audio.

The "HDMI Audio Extractors" will get you DD5.1 and DTS, but don't generally support the BD advanced audio codecs (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-MA). There may be some that have DTS-MA support (I'm thinking of the Atlona), but it's not clear from the info online if it decodes it or just allows it for pass-though. I suspect that model will take LPCM7.1 (but very few discs carry multi-channel PCM), and I don't believe players with internal decoders would output that, either... So YMMV - check the specs.

Getting cheap AVRs for each display, as ktrdsl23 said, is an easy, functional solution.

Jeff

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post #8 of 17 Old 04-04-2012, 10:18 PM
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I recently struggled with this scenario and here is how got over the challenges described above including the audio EDID problem. I did not want to have multiple BD players and did not find any cheap, small AVR that could decode multichannel audio. Everything now works great.

MATRIX
Octava 4x4 HDMI Matrix $599
I went with this because
1. The 8x8's are quite a bit more expensive and I can daisy chain these when/if I need more inputs/outputs
2. It allows you to set the EDID parameters

EXTENDERS
Altona AT-HD4-V40SRS HDMI Extender $329.99 x 3
1. Sends highest quality signal (1080p@60Hz/36bit/3D/7.1audio) over a single Cat5/6/7
2. Has bidirectional IR which is very helpful in coordinating IR signals into rack

Iogear GW3DHDKIT Wireless 3D kit $279.99 x 1
1. I use this to one zone where I don't have Cat5
2. Works well upto about 50ft through a few walls
3. Has unidirectional IR

AUDIO
In the Home Theater I use a Denon 1712 AVR which handles all 7.1 audio signals well.

As explained above in order to get full 7.1 audio in one zone you have to set the EDID on the matrix to 7.1 audio in all zones. I have two legacy plasmas in two zones which do not have separate digital audio inputs. When I plugged the HDMI cable from the Altona receiver to the TV I got digital noise. After a lot of experimenting I found the following solution.

HDMI Audio Extractor $94.95
Input - HDMI cable from the Altona receiver
Outputs - HDMI pass through to TV, Optical Audio to...
GefenTV Digital Audio Decoder $82.95
Output - RCA stereo cable to analog inputs on TV

These two devices are much smaller and cheaper than any AVR. They are mounted, along with the Altona on the wall behind the TV. Again has worked perfectly for the past month or so.

Hope that helps...
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-05-2012, 06:38 AM
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laklog:

The details on that audio extractor on Amazon are pretty light. Does it decode DTS-HD, and Dolby TrueHD? The combo of audio extractor and digital decoder is nice if so, especially given the small, TV mountable size.

However, the cost isn't cheaper than an entry level receiver. For example, the Pioneer VSX-821-K can be found currently on Newegg for $180 and definitely supports lossless audio decoding.
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post #10 of 17 Old 04-05-2012, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

laklog:

The details on that audio extractor on Amazon are pretty light. Does it decode DTS-HD, and Dolby TrueHD? The combo of audio extractor and digital decoder is nice if so, especially given the small, TV mountable size.

However, the cost isn't cheaper than an entry level receiver. For example, the Pioneer VSX-821-K can be found currently on Newegg for $180 and definitely supports lossless audio decoding.

According to the seller, the extractor is supposed to decode and downmix DD5.1 to analog stereo through the RCA outputs. It did not work for me so I added the Gefen decoder and connected the optical out from the extractor to it. This extractor/decoder combination has handled all of the multi-channel formats I have sent to it (DD5.1 from DirecTV HDDVR, DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD from Oppo BDP).

Again, I hope its clear that I have full 7.1 audio in the HT. I only use these in the two zones without multichannel audio. The downmixed analog stereo output from the extractor/decoder feeds the TV speakers in these zones.

I agree that the price of the extractor/decoder is about the same as the Pioneer AVR you point out ($178) but the AVR is serious overkill for what I need in these two zones. I don't need 110Wx5 multi-channel output, I need audio extraction/video pass through/audio decoding and downmixing to stereo. Even though the price may be the same, the full featured AVR is about 20x as big and 50x as heavy as these tiny boxes. My plasmas in these zone hang on a recessed wall. They fit neatly on the wall behind the TV. If I had used an AVR I would have had to drill a hole and pull cable to a nearby built in shelf to hold the AVR.

I am not suggesting there aren't other solutions (AVRs in every zone, BDPs in every zone, component switching, etc) to the common HDMI/EDID problem of how to handle different audio capabilities in different zones when distributing HDMI. It is the one that works best for me since I want all of my sources in the rack and want to be able to watch any of them in any zone. In my search for a solution I was quite surprised that nobody makes a single box that extracts/decodes/downmixes multichannel digital audio from HDMI into analog stereo.
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post #11 of 17 Old 04-05-2012, 11:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laklog View Post

According to the seller, the extractor is supposed to decode and downmix DD5.1 to analog stereo through the RCA outputs. It did not work for me so I added the Gefen decoder and connected the optical out from the extractor to it. This extractor/decoder combination has handled all of the multi-channel formats I have sent to it (DD5.1 from DirecTV HDDVR, DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD from Oppo BDP).

So you're taking the optical output from the audio extractor and feeding it to the Gefen DD decoder?

There's no way that is giving you DTS-MA or TrueHD. It will get you DD5.1 and DTS (core) only. There is no support in Toslink / SPDIF for the advanced audio codecs - from any device...

Jeff

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post #12 of 17 Old 04-06-2012, 07:47 AM
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I think the setup is like this:

1. Lossless audio (7.1) via HDMI to audio extractor downgrades to...
2. 5.1 via optical to digital decoder which downgrades to...
3. 2ch stereo to the TV

As long as the source is seeing the first extractor as a TrueHD or DTS-MA capable device the HDMI signal won't be degraded for the home theater room. If this works as laklog describes it's a great solution to the HDMI audio issue. However, you'd think the description on amazon would be touting this capability more heavily.

Are you sure you're getting the lossless 7.1 in the home theater room when all the displays are being used?
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post #13 of 17 Old 04-06-2012, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm thinking for my situation, the Atlona AT-PRO2HD88M with the AT-PRO2HD1616M-RX at each display might be the best solution.
Some of the TVs have 5.1 surround systems with them, so the audio de-embedding would be needed in those rooms. The only room with 7.2 audio is the theatre which would not be handled by the matrix most likely (at least the audio part).
Is HDBaseT using IP over cat 5e/6/7 or is it similar to a balun, but more advanced since it is carrying a bunch of other data as well?
I also assume this matrix can handle the whole point of this project which would be any TV can view any source at any time (and multiple TVs can view the same source at the same time as well) correct?
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post #14 of 17 Old 04-06-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

I think the setup is like this:

1. Lossless audio (7.1) via HDMI to audio extractor downgrades to...
2. 5.1 via optical to digital decoder which downgrades to...
3. 2ch stereo to the TV

As long as the source is seeing the first extractor as a TrueHD or DTS-MA capable device the HDMI signal won't be degraded for the home theater room. If this works as laklog describes it's a great solution to the HDMI audio issue. However, you'd think the description on amazon would be touting this capability more heavily.

Ah, ok - I was thinking about the output of the extractor/decoder, not the effects on the *other* zones. Would be interesting to know if that extractor really decodes DTS-MA - the docs kind of dance around it and mention PCM-7.1/5.1, which wouldn't be the same thing, but is, technically "7.1 support".

But you're right, as long as it's claiming/reporting DTS-MA, it may just be decoding the DTS core and discarding the rest...

Jeff

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post #15 of 17 Old 04-06-2012, 08:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdpeterman View Post

Is HDBaseT using IP over cat 5e/6/7 or is it similar to a balun, but more advanced since it is carrying a bunch of other data as well?

No, it's not IP. It's similar to a balun, but carrying it's own digital format to multiplex all the data.

Quote:


I also assume this matrix can handle the whole point of this project which would be any TV can view any source at any time (and multiple TVs can view the same source at the same time as well) correct?

Correct. Matrix allows any combination of sources-to-displays.

Jeff

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post #16 of 17 Old 04-16-2012, 02:01 PM
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This should be out soon ("early q2")

http://www.atlona.com/pdf/pr/2012-int-CES.pdf

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post #17 of 17 Old 04-16-2012, 02:04 PM
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