HDMI Matrix Switch 8x8 needed for system with mixed audio capabiltieis (7.1 and stereo) - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 05:01 AM
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The HD-M2C is now on the website.
http://www.atlona.com/HD-M2C.html

Here is the description:
The Atlona HDMI Multichannel to 2Ch Converter provides a solution for multiple audio formats. The AT-HD-M2C transmits its own multichannel EDID in place of any connected display’s EDID, to ensure when there are multiple displays the connected source sends the highest audio possible. Once the audio is received, it is down converted to 2Ch and sent through the HDMI, optical, or L/R ports, while still passing the video.

Does this solve everyone's problem?
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post #62 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 05:48 AM
 
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It might, except you can't buy it yet - still vaporware as of 1/14/2014.


My three concerns with this are 5.1/7.1 combos, how accurate it is with the downmix coefficients, and price. The downmix coefficients can become an issue if they aren't handled right since that can lead to digital overmodulation, which just sounds bad. I even have discs where the downmix coefficient wasn't encoded properly (mastering issue). The disc plays great in multichannel but you can't listen to a stereo downmix because of that.

Dolby Digital has downmix coefficients that are difficult to work with, DTS has no downmix coefficients but usually folds-down well. TrueHD and DTS-HD MA both have robust downmix coefficients that are easy to work with in mastering.

So, this certainly would make things easier but may not be perfect - would have to try one to tell. The big question is price. If this is the same price or higher than a low-end multichannel receiver (or prepro), it probably wouldn't make much sense. All of the LEDs on the front panel are interesting - looks like the designer watched a few too many Lost In Space episodes or had extra LEDs lying around. Although, to be fair, they probably did that to save money over a monochrome LCD display.
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post #63 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 07:21 AM
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I sent an email to Atlona to see if they had a projected ship date for the AT-HD-M2C. The price listed on the hdtvsupply.com website is $249.95. I like this solution better than putting a 7.1 AV receiver on every destination and here's why.

In my mancave I have 4sources - a PS3 with BluRay, XBox 360, and 2 DirecTV DVRs. I have four destinations - Destination 1 is a 7.1 Yamaha receiver connected to a 70" HDTV 1080P in the main room. The second destination is a 50" HDTV 1080P in the locker room. The third destination is a 50" Plasma 1080P HDTV outside on the covered back porch (plasma works better outdoors). And the fourth destination is another 7.1 Yamaha Receiver connected to a Epson HD Projector on my outside basketball court with a 20' x 12' permanent screen. Of course, when a source was outputting 7.1 I wouldn't get any sound on the TV only destinations. So you can imagine the trouble I've had connecting any source to any destination over the last couple of years as I figured out the EDID problem.

I started with HDMI splitters for each source and would manually connect a destination to it. Then I bought my first 4x4 matrix.

The reason I like this solution using the AT-HD-M2C better than putting a 7.1 AV receiver on the other displays connected to my matrix is the fact that hooking up the AT-HD-M2C will allow 2C sound to come through the TV speakers (so I don't have to add more speakers) while not affecting the video output and will prevent the source from downsampling the audio thus solving the EDID problem. All devices will get 7.1 sent to it and for two of my destinations that don't support 7.1, they'll get a AT-HD-M2C that can take in 7.1 (and send the 7.1 EDID to the source) and output 2C stereo on the HDMI cable going into the displays.

So I am thinking of upgrading my matrix to the Skinybow SB-5645LCM: 4x4 HDMI Matrix Routing Switcher w/ Full EDID Management/Learning.
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post #64 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 07:46 AM
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Not convinced on that price - it was around $450 when Atlona where showing it at ISE (Euro Trade Show) in Jan 2013.

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post #65 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 07:48 AM
 
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Your reasons make sense. The other "concern" I would also have is any sync issues since the HDMI decode time in the AT-HD-M2C might be different than the HDMI decode time in the TV. Only way to tell is to try it, unfortunately.

I'd still rather run a S/PDIF coax line from the sources and switch those for 2-channel. But, the Atlona (once it is released) is certainly a valid alternative as is a cheap A/V receiver (using the receiver pre-amp to feed the TV audio and video).
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post #66 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 08:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

The big question is price. If this is the same price or higher than a low-end multichannel receiver (or prepro), it probably wouldn't make much sense.

Yeah, I'm not getting that product, either. At $249 MSRP, it's easily 50% the cost of an entry AVR that an installer would specify (and 75% one we'd suggest smile.gif ), and that money spent on an AVR would be a far better use of the money.

I'd suggest Atlona de-feature that box down to nothing but HDMI in / out, take any audio codecs in, output 2-channel PCM and be done. Sell that for $99-149 (trying to be realistic) and you'd sell a bunch of them. It would be a super-obvious solution for any HDMI matrix implementation.


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post #67 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 09:03 AM
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Now I like that idea!
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post #68 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 09:10 AM
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Just got this email from Atlona:


Hi John,

The current ETA on the AT-HD-M2C is February 17, 2014. At this time the date is tentative, but we do feel confident that this date will stand.

If you have any additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Best Regards,

www.atlona.com
Evan Wallace
Channel Marketing Specialist
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post #69 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 09:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaburns View Post

The HD-M2C is now on the website.
http://www.atlona.com/HD-M2C.html

Here is the description:
The Atlona HDMI Multichannel to 2Ch Converter provides a solution for multiple audio formats. The AT-HD-M2C transmits its own multichannel EDID in place of any connected display’s EDID, to ensure when there are multiple displays the connected source sends the highest audio possible. Once the audio is received, it is down converted to 2Ch and sent through the HDMI, optical, or L/R ports, while still passing the video.

Does this solve everyone's problem?

This looks perfect -- solves a lot of problems. I just wish there was an option to pass the original audio through on the HDMI (rather than the 2-channel downmix).

This would allow you to use it on the input-side of a HDMI matrix setup, where some zones get multichannel audio over HDMI (e.g., home theaters with dedicated HDMI AVRs) and other zones get 2-channel audio over analog/PCM (e.g., video zones with ceiling speakers driven from an audio matrix).

In its current configuration, you are forced to put the Atlona device on the "output-side" of the HDMI matrix.
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post #70 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 10:17 AM
 
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Say what?

The whole purpose of this is to send the original multichannel audio through the HDMI connection, including any matrix switchers. That's why it has to be on the output side.

If you had it on the input side of the matrix switcher, then you would only get two-channel audio everywhere. You can do that today by just hooking up a stereo TV onto the matrix switcher. You would also need one of these per source.

It's too expensive as it is without requiring one converter per source device.
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post #71 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Say what?

The whole purpose of this is to send the original multichannel audio through the HDMI connection, including any matrix switchers. That's why it has to be on the output side.

If you had it on the input side of the matrix switcher, then you would only get two-channel audio everywhere. You can do that today by just hooking up a stereo TV onto the matrix switcher. You would also need one of these per source.


Suppose you have 8 displays and 3 sources connected to a HDMI matrix. Two displays have dedicated AVRs and will accept multi-channel audio over HDMI. The remaining 6 video zones use in-ceiling speakers distributed by an audio matrix switch.

In this scenario, you need 6 of these Atlona devices (one for each display without a dedicated AVR) connected to the appropriate outputs of the HDMI matrix.

However, if the Atlona units had the option to send the original audio stream through the HDMI, you could use the Atlona device on the input-side of the matrix (one for each device that sends multi-channel HDMI). In the above scenario, you would only need three units. Each unit would strip out the analog (or SPDIF) audio to send to the audio matrix. The audio would then pass undisturbed on the HDMI through the matrix to the sources using AVRs.

It would be nice if the Atlona device had the option to retain the original HDMI signal to accommodate the above scenario.

Personally, I have 2 HDMI sources that use HDMI audio and 5 displays (with 1 HDMI AVR). So I would need 4 of these units in their current form. I would only need 2 if they could pass the original HDMI audio.
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It's too expensive as it is without requiring one converter per source device.

I suppose that depends on your source:display ratio.

For me, I have fewer sources than displays.
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post #72 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 10:45 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tadr View Post

Suppose you have 8 displays and 3 sources connected to a HDMI matrix. Two displays have dedicated AVRs and will accept multi-channel audio over HDMI. The remaining 6 video zones use in-ceiling speakers distributed by an audio matrix switch.

In this scenario, you need 6 of these Atlona devices (one for each display without a dedicated AVR) connected to the appropriate outputs of the HDMI matrix.

However, if the Atlona units had the option to send the original audio stream through the HDMI, you could use the Atlona device on the input-side of the matrix (one for each device that sends multi-channel HDMI). In the above scenario, you would only need three units. Each unit would strip out the analog (or SPDIF) audio to send to the audio matrix. The audio would then pass undisturbed on the HDMI through the matrix to the sources using AVRs.

It would be nice if the Atlona device had the option to retain the original HDMI signal to accommodate the above scenario.

...

Wouldn't you then need to send two audio streams (the "original" multichannel and the stereo) at the same time over the HDMI link? That is beyond the capabilities of HDMI to do (outside of the specs). If HDMI was capable of that we would already have a ton of equipment that would implement that capability.

That's why they didn't do that.
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post #73 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Wouldn't you then need to send two audio streams (the "original" multichannel and the stereo) at the same time over the HDMI link? That is beyond the capabilities of HDMI to do (outside of the specs). If HDMI was capable of that we would already have a ton of equipment that would implement that capability.

That's why they didn't do that.

Only if you're using HDMI audio for the displays without dedicated AVRs. In my case, I have a separate audio matrix and amplifier setup for the non-AVR display zones that drives in-ceiling speakers and takes analog or optical/coax inputs.

Do people really use the internal TV speakers in systems like this anymore?
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post #74 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 10:50 AM
 
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Only if you're using HDMI audio for the displays without dedicated AVRs. In my case, I have a separate audio matrix and amplifier setup for the non-AVR display zones that drives in-ceiling speakers and takes analog or optical/coax inputs.

Do people really use the internal TV speakers in systems like this anymore?

Yes, often for rooms that don't need dedicated audio systems that are located significant distances from main amplifiers.

The use of coax RCA digital audio connections makes it easier. In that case just do like you are doing. Use the source audio output over digital audio coax. Cheapest most efficient way to do it. No HDMI solution will be simpler for a mixed multichannel/stereo system since you can only send one audio stream at any time over HDMI. I have the ability to send multichannel Hi Rez audio over HDMI, S/PDIF coax for multichannel to remote zones with AVRs and stereo analog for other remote zones all using the same source devices. It's seamless but I couldn't do that with just HDMI.

The only time it is a disadvantage is with Blu-Ray since you can't send DTS-HD MA or TrueHD. But if someone was worried about that, they would have multichannel HDMI capability.
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post #75 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 02:22 PM
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The 'Problem' with the HDMI audio converter is the upfront and per unit Licence cost for Dolby and DTS - those alone make the target price of $99 pretty much impossible to hit.

There is another option - the boys at Zektor have some neat solutions (though not exactly bargain bucket pricing) - http://www.zektor.com/products_palladia_2_8x8.html

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post #76 of 78 Old 01-14-2014, 03:36 PM
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The 'Problem' with the HDMI audio converter is the upfront and per unit Licence cost for Dolby and DTS - those alone make the target price of $99 pretty much impossible to hit.

Joe, you're closer than the rest of us - doesn't (didn't?) Dolby have a reduced-cost license for the DD5.1 codec when used in fold-down 2-channel mode output only? I thought that was one of the things done for ATSC... It would be a good discussion for a manufacturer to have with Dolby and DTS for a reduced-fee license given the limited output format I proposed (2-channel PCM only). One could argue that having such a box on the market would help drive sales of "fully licensed" gear by enabling better HDMI distribution...

Jeff


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post #77 of 78 Old 01-16-2014, 02:54 PM
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They do in kids bedrooms
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post #78 of 78 Old 01-16-2014, 03:16 PM
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They do in kids bedrooms

Correct, there's plenty of situations where you'd want to have just a TV using it's own internal speakers. Kid's and guest bedrooms are prime examples. There you probably don't even WANT externally amplified speakers, let alone anything wall or ceiling installed. Other situations where you've got the TV in close viewing proximity, like on a treadmill or at a kitchen or workshop counter.

Sure, TV speakers aren't ideal but they're a lot less tedious (and expensive) than getting into a whole separate AVR & speakers installation.
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