HDMI Matrix Switch 8x8 needed for system with mixed audio capabiltieis (7.1 and stereo) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 08:59 AM - Thread Starter
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I am currently setting up a home media system with 8 displays. I have yet to purchase the displays but all will support 1080p60. All may or may not support 3D.

To start the, assume the system will be configured as such:

Matrix Input 1 < Blu-Ray
Matrix Input 2 < Satellite Receiver/DVR #1
Matrix Input 3 < Satellite Receiver #2
Matrix Input 4 < Popcorn Hour Set Top Box
Matrix Input 5 < Computer
Matrix Input 6 < (Open)
Matrix Input 7 < (Open)
Matrix Input 8 < (Open)

Matrix Output 1 > 7.1 AVR (Audio Video Receiver) > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 2 > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 3 > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 4 > 1080p 3D Display
Matrix Output 5 > 1080p Display
Matrix Output 6 > 1080p Display
Matrix Output 7 > 1080p Display
Matrix Output 8 > 1080p Display

I am aware due to HDMI constraints, all displays will report they only support stereo 2.0 PCM audio and any source routed to one of these displays will only output 2.0 audio.

What I want to ensure is that when Output 1 is the only output accessing Blu-Ray, it retains 7.1 audio.

Is this possible?

I have yet to purchase the Matrix Switch yet and I am open to recommendations. I am considering the following products so far:
CE labs HSW88C Plus (Link)
Gefen GTB-HDFST-848 (Link)
HDTV Supply HD88 (Link)

Please advise

Thank you,
Bryan
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post #2 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

I
What I want to ensure is that when Output 1 is the only output accessing Blu-Ray, it retains 7.1 audio.
Is this possible?

Probably not. Just dedicate a Blu-ray player to your main zone (not on the matrix) to ensure it gets the advanced audio and 3D support (if you care).

Also, if you haven't purchased the display(s), some new models will support DD5.1, which would be a plus for the matrix solution and the set-top boxes.

And you'll find that 4x8 matrix products will be significantly cheaper than 8x8. You'd still have a spare, and if you outgrow the 4x8 in the future, the upgrade a few years from now will likely be less expensive than the price delta today.

Jeff

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post #3 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 03:09 PM
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What about the Binary 4x4 that has simultaneous HDMI/CAT6 outputs? Gives you 4 inputs and 4 dual outputs (8 displays). Receivers are separate, but it puts you less than $3k.

Ryan Siu
Founder, Owner

The Modern Theatre LLC

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post #4 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Jeff,

Thank you for your response.

The 3D I am not concerned about but the surround sound audio I am.

I have heard of TVs supporting Dolby Digital 5.1 discussed but as I understand unless all TVs support DD 5.1 I still run into the least common denominator problem. At least two of the TVs will be Panasonic GT or ST series plasmas which as far as I know, do not support DD 5.1.

A appreciate your suggestion about the 4x8 matrix. Unfortunately my scenario above was just to simplify my question (and not get lost in the details of all the source components), my actual set up will also include a computer, a set top box and possibly a third satellite receiver.

Are there any 8x8 matrices you would recommend? I like the dip switches on the CE labs HSW88C Plus which allow you to force an audio signal. It seems if I need to get 7.1 to Output 1 I could go to the matrix and set the dip switch to force it. Not exactly convenient, but should work in theory.

Fantastic looking home theater you've built by the way!

Cheers,
Bryan
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post #5 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

I have heard of TVs supporting Dolby Digital 5.1 discussed but as I understand unless all TVs support DD 5.1 I still run into the least common denominator problem.

Yep, exactly - which is why we call it the 'common denominator' problem...
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A appreciate your suggestion about the 4x8 matrix. Unfortunately my scenario above was just to simplify my question (and not get lost in the details of all the source components)

Well, that didn't work, did it? biggrin.gif
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Are there any 8x8 matrices you would recommend?

I haven't used any of them directly, so can't vouch for the quality of any of them.
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I like the dip switches on the CE labs HSW88C Plus which allow you to force an audio signal. It seems if I need to get 7.1 to Output 1 I could go to the matrix and set the dip switch to force it. Not exactly convenient, but should work in theory.

Don't think that will be a viable solution. You'd have to flip the audio config for all attached displays, which would mean nothing else will get audio (at least if they switch to that source), and may also require rebooting everything.

I avoided these issues by using a component video matrix, which includes switching for analog and digital audio. Then I put dedicated BD players in key areas where HDMI was required to get the advanced audio/video features. There are also HDMI matrix products that switch digital audio separately, which could help in your setup as well.
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Fantastic looking home theater you've built by the way!

Thanks!

Jeff

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post #6 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 06:09 PM
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I think a lot of people also forget that HDTV (and by that, I mean most HD Cable/Satellite stations) also has surround sound. I know some people will say they don't care about that, but I can't imagine watching many of my shows without surround. It's almost like watching something in SD (gasp!).

I'm waiting for someone else to release an affordable matrix with down-mixing built in, similar to Crestron DM capabilities. I think it would be a killer product (for the very small market it would be in), assuming you could make it affordable enough. With almost all displays supporting 1080p now, along with the adoption of HDBaseT, audio downmixing would solve a lot of problems with HDMI distribution (until 4K becomes popular for theaters/family rooms).
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post #7 of 78 Old 10-23-2012, 09:20 PM
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Originally Posted by cntp View Post

I'm waiting for someone else to release an affordable matrix with down-mixing built in, similar to Crestron DM capabilities. I think it would be a killer product (for the very small market it would be in), assuming you could make it affordable enough. With almost all displays supporting 1080p now, along with the adoption of HDBaseT, audio downmixing would solve a lot of problems with HDMI distribution (until 4K becomes popular for theaters/family rooms).

100% Agreed!!!

Although having thought about the same product idea, I came to the conclusion that the more likely 'fix' would be a DTS/DD downmixer to plug into the receiving TV if it doesn't support the codecs. That way, you're only paying for the capability for those zones that need it.

It would have been so nice if HDMI had a 'legacy' PCM audio channel in addition to the primary encoded audio. Would have made this all so much easier...

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post #8 of 78 Old 10-24-2012, 05:04 PM
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What about the Zektor Clarity Elite 8x8?
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post #9 of 78 Old 10-25-2012, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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I met with a local A/V home distribution contractor in the area and they are going to quote an install for me. After a walk-through they are likely going to be recommending the Gefen GTB-HDFST-848 along with HDBaseT Baluns for each output (to send HDMI over a single CAT6 cable). The local place said the only solution they know will work 100% for retaining 7.1 to all devices is using a Crestron matrix for around $30k (which is out of my budget)

I will report back here as the project moves along.
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What about the Zektor Clarity Elite 8x8?

This device is analog only, no HDMI. 1080p video is a must and most TVs do not support 1080p over component.

Thank you all for your responses and welcome any other input regarding the project.

Bryan
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post #10 of 78 Old 10-25-2012, 08:11 PM
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I"m not sure if Gefen was yanking my chain, but I was told by their sales staff that as long as my 7.1 receiver was the only zone connected to that source, I would get the 7.1. It was only if the 7.1 and another source connected to it that the lowest common denominator would come into play. For me that is acceptable enough. I don't mind if It down mixes to stereo when both the 7.1 and a stereo zone are connected to the same source. If I want 7.1, I'll just tell everyone else to not use that source!!!

Of course, it would be nice if I could have it be 7.1 no matter what and have the down mix happen on stereo sources, but I guess we're not there yet (at the price point we want to pay). I believe the Gefen you are getting is the same model I am looking at getting. I know there are better, but the price is a lot more than I'm willing to pay right now.
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post #11 of 78 Old 10-25-2012, 09:59 PM
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I wanted to add that since my last post I did some research. Since I only have 1 TV (the one that won't accept multi channel audio), I have decided that It won't matter much in my specific case. I plan on carefully choosing additional TVs that support multi channel audio. I'm having some issues finding the specs on exactly what formats a specific TV supports, but I'm hoping it will be possible (for instance I think the Samsung 22" Led tv supports at least 5.1, Not sure about 7.1).

I also plan on putting a much bigger Tv in my living room and reallocating my 52" tv to another room. When I do this, I've decided to just buy a cheap AVR to handle the sound for that room. Sony has a decent 7.1 at crutchfield for $329 (I'm sure I can find it cheaper elsewhere, but crutchfield generally has a lot of detail on specs, so I go there for research). I think this will help solve all my issues with lowest common denominator. My big issue will be finding the additional TVs that won't have AVRs. I don't want to have an AVR for each TV (8) in the house.

Edit: According to Crutchfield, the Samsung UN22D5003, the TV "... is fully compatible with all multichannel formats." I'm hoping that this means it will allow for 7.1 to be sent to it and just downmix to stereo in the TV. For $227 (amazon), it's not so expensive to test out. and I can always return it if it doesn't work. From what I can tell, all the Samsung TVs that I've checked out that are 1080p support this, so it should be good. I think, however, 22" for $230 isn't bad for bedrooms (especially at 1080p). I checked out a toshiba and it did not specifically say it would handle all formats, though it does do faux surround sound. For secondary TVs, though I'm thinking I might just pick up 5 of the Sammys for different rooms in my house.
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post #12 of 78 Old 10-25-2012, 11:40 PM
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I think sat boxes only push Dolby Digital (for now anyway), which is 5.1 compressed, and usually the only surround format TVs will decode. The other options are bit streaming Dolby TruHD or DTS HD MA, or doing multichannel PCM. Dolby Digital is decoded by many TVs, but I don't think a TV would generally decode the other methods. To my knowledge, Dolby digital doesn't do 7.1 at all.
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post #13 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Great discussion guys. I appreciate all of the feedback. Sir Meili, if your Geffen sales rep is indeed correct I will be a happy camper. Please keep me posted on your results.

cntp brings up a good point, most TVs that will support Dolby Digital 5.1 do not support DTS-HD-MA or Dolby True bitstreams and these are the formats I am most concerned about (as they present 24 bit/96khz studio quality uncompressed surround sound). If the Samsung TVs you reference do support these formats that is wonderful and a step in the right direction for the industry, but I will be choosing the TVs based on picture quality, price, and size and I don't want to pigeon hole myself into one brand/model.

My most viable backup plan at this point is to run a secondary HDMI run for just audio to the home theater (from the 2nd HDMI output on the Blu-Ray player) and to run digital coax and/or TOSlink optical audio straight to the home theater as well. I'll need to install a secondary coax or optical audio switch to manage switching between sources, but that will unlock 5.1 DTS and Dolby for all sources in the home theater. My only remaining hurdle at that point will be bitstreaming 7.1 from the Popcorn Hour and the Computer... since both only have 1 HDMI output as opposed to two on the Blu-Ray player.

I was told by the local A/V distribution outfit that the way Crestron manages to keep 7.1 bitstreaming is by spoofing EDID on all devices and then downmixing to match each device's capabilities. This takes some horsepower and obviously is why they get such a premium for their product. It makes me wonder if there is an affordable HDMI EDID spoofer out there, or even better an affordable spoofer that can downmix as well.

Anyways, here's to hoping Sir Meili's Geffen rep was right! I'll report back when I have more information.

Cheers
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post #14 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 07:54 AM
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I was going to suggest running a separate HDMI for audio to the theater as well, but I don't think your blu-ray player would output Dolby Digital over one output, and bitstream/MPCM over the other. It might output SPDIF/Toslink while bitstreaming, but in that case you would still need something to embed the audio back into the HDMI signal to get it through the matrix and to the TVs
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post #15 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 01:16 PM
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Yeah, I'm only hoping that he samsung will decode the formats and play them in Stereo. Most of what I've found online is people wanting it to decode from an MKV and sending it back through ARC. I don't care about that. I just want it to play stereo when it gets an HD format. That being said, it is rare that I will play anything with audio at that level. Mostly only BluRays and even then most of mine are ripped to my server for distribution through the house (current only one htpc, but I want to add at least one more).

I think I'm gonna bite the bullet and get one of those TVs. I'm thinking of going with the 32" smart TV version since my GF will be moving in and she wants a TV for her daughter. That will have access to Hulu Plus and Netflix for her without having to really use anything in the rack. It's a bit more expensive, but I don't mind too much. At least this way I'll know how it will handle the format. I just need to find a way to force send it that quality of audio (I don't have the Gefen yet). Any ideas?
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post #16 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 01:23 PM
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They must be trying to play the MKV on the LCD itself with the "connected" features. You're trying to do a different thing entirely, decode from HDMI to play on the TV.

I'm betting that it will only decode Dolby Digital to play from the speakers. Do let us know if it decodes/downmixes any higher-quality formats!
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post #17 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Meili View Post

Yeah, I'm only hoping that he samsung will decode the formats and play them in Stereo. Most of what I've found online is people wanting it to decode from an MKV and sending it back through ARC. I don't care about that. I just want it to play stereo when it gets an HD format. That being said, it is rare that I will play anything with audio at that level. Mostly only BluRays and even then most of mine are ripped to my server for distribution through the house (current only one htpc, but I want to add at least one more).
I think I'm gonna bite the bullet and get one of those TVs. I'm thinking of going with the 32" smart TV version since my GF will be moving in and she wants a TV for her daughter. That will have access to Hulu Plus and Netflix for her without having to really use anything in the rack. It's a bit more expensive, but I don't mind too much. At least this way I'll know how it will handle the format. I just need to find a way to force send it that quality of audio (I don't have the Gefen yet). Any ideas?

Force send the Samsung TV what kind of audio from what source?
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post #18 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 02:34 PM
 
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bnieman, you're not thinking like HDMI...The key to what you are doing is that the source is only allowed to send out one audio stream and one video stream at the same time. So, if you come up with a system that requires multichannel audio and stereo audio to be sent at the same time by a source, it isn't something HDMI can do.

How does a receiver do this? It does this by changing the EDID sent by the sink (the TV in your case) to report the TV as multichannel. So, the easiest way to do this is to include a relatively cheap multichannel receiver with each TV. That may not appeal to you due to the added complexity on the sink end.

Another way to do this would be to run your matrix switcher *after* the receiver. If you find a receiver with HDMI passthru capabilities (where the receiver still send HDMI even when "off" - really not off) and multiple HDMI outputs (one for the room and one for the switcher) that would work. You may not like that because you may be limited on inputs to the receiver.

Another way to do this is to fake the sources into always sending multichannel out. This can be done with a Gefin HDMI Detective or one of numerous matrix switchers that allow for EDID spoofing. Unfortunately, this also means that you are stuck with the other TVs seeing multichannel audio and not being able to decode that.

Another method is to run optical/coax digital audio to your receiver for those sources that use Dolby Digital and DTS. For the Blu-Ray type sources that use the uncompressed codecs, those could be run with 7.1-channel analog audio cables, which if implemented correctly using bass management only in the receiver, will produce the same sound as the HDMI output (only difference is the decode is done in the player instead of the receiver).

Finally, a method that you may be shocked at is to get rid of the HDMI switcher and use a component switcher. Run HDMI to your receiver and then component ot the rest of your house. The difference between 1080i and 1080p for a standard TV is negligible and you can then run either analog or digital audio throughout the house. This eliminates the problem of only having one audio output stream at a time. The Blu-Ray downrez issue can be handled with some relatively-cheap (compared to an 8x8 HDMI matrix switcher) adapters that we shouldn't speak about in the forum (but often are) and a Blu-Ray player with two independent HDMI outputs (or a pre-2010 player with component video outputs).

Also note that many sinks keep their EDID active even when off. Some sources do not handle changing EDIDs well. What that means is that you may have a problem if your thinking that turning off the TV will fix your EDID issue between stereo and multichannel.

More information down at the HDMI section of the AVSForum. Just remember the source can only send one audio and one video streak at a time.
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post #19 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply alk3997. I am aware only one audio signal and video signal can be sent at one time. But you do highlight an issue I have run into in the past, which is as you said " many sinks keep their EDID active even when off". I had this problem with my home theater and a 4x2 Matrix. The only way to get multichannel to my receiver was to completely power off the projector as it still reported EDID in standby. That is the very reason I am weary of the Geffen sales rep reporting that when the TVs are switched to a different input, the multichannel will work. They might work when switched to another input, but if a TV is off and the last source they used was Blu-Ray, I am willing to bet the Matrix still sees that TV and downgrades to stereo.

The Geffin HDMI detective (EDID spoofer) is a great tool but still wouldn't create a seamless experience. I would have to go set all the detectives to 7.1 whenever I wanted to allow 7.1 bitstreaming on Blu-Ray, Popcorn Hour, or Computer and then change them back to stereo when I was done watching a movie. This doesn't work because this system will have many users and it needs to be extremely simple to operate.

The receiver before the matrix won't work because it would block out the computer, Popcorn Hour, and Blu-Ray from the matrix depending on input on the receiver is enabled (I would like 7.1 capabilities from all three components).

I am set on HDMI, we will be using at least one of the TVs for computer presentations and the 1080p makes a big difference.

Again thanks for your post and great information.
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post #20 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

Finally, a method that you may be shocked at is to get rid of the HDMI switcher and use a component switcher. Run HDMI to your receiver and then component ot the rest of your house. The difference between 1080i and 1080p for a standard TV is negligible and you can then run either analog or digital audio throughout the house. This eliminates the problem of only having one audio output stream at a time. The Blu-Ray downrez issue can be handled with some relatively-cheap (compared to an 8x8 HDMI matrix switcher) adapters that we shouldn't speak about in the forum (but often are) and a Blu-Ray player with two independent HDMI outputs (or a pre-2010 player with component video outputs).

+1... This is exactly what I've done and its simple, reliable and less expensive...
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Thank you for the reply alk3997. I am aware only one audio signal and video signal can be sent at one time. But you do highlight an issue I have run into in the past, which is as you said " many sinks keep their EDID active even when off". I had this problem with my home theater and a 4x2 Matrix. The only way to get multichannel to my receiver was to completely power off the projector as it still reported EDID in standby. That is the very reason I am weary of the Geffen sales rep reporting that when the TVs are switched to a different input, the multichannel will work. They might work when switched to another input, but if a TV is off and the last source they used was Blu-Ray, I am willing to bet the Matrix still sees that TV and downgrades to stereo.

It's not the matrix that does anything (unless it includes EDID spoofing features). It's merely a switch that passes signals through - it's the SOURCE that chooses which audio to send based on the received EDID(s). The problem is that many (some? most? anyone?) sources won't react to a change in the reported EDIDs from the sinks (displays) once it has downmixed. Meaning, once it sees a stereo-only display, it will output stereo. It may take a power cycle or at least a stop/start/media change for the device to go through that discovery process again.


Jeff

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post #21 of 78 Old 10-26-2012, 06:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bnieman View Post

Force send the Samsung TV what kind of audio from what source?
I want to force it something like a DD TrueHD or DTS Master Audio HD to see if it can handle it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

bnieman, you're not thinking like HDMI...The key to what you are doing is that the source is only allowed to send out one audio stream and one video stream at the same time. So, if you come up with a system that requires multichannel audio and stereo audio to be sent at the same time by a source, it isn't something HDMI can do.
How does a receiver do this? It does this by changing the EDID sent by the sink (the TV in your case) to report the TV as multichannel. So, the easiest way to do this is to include a relatively cheap multichannel receiver with each TV. That may not appeal to you due to the added complexity on the sink end.
Another way to do this would be to run your matrix switcher *after* the receiver. If you find a receiver with HDMI passthru capabilities (where the receiver still send HDMI even when "off" - really not off) and multiple HDMI outputs (one for the room and one for the switcher) that would work. You may not like that because you may be limited on inputs to the receiver.
Another way to do this is to fake the sources into always sending multichannel out. This can be done with a Gefin HDMI Detective or one of numerous matrix switchers that allow for EDID spoofing. Unfortunately, this also means that you are stuck with the other TVs seeing multichannel audio and not being able to decode that.
Another method is to run optical/coax digital audio to your receiver for those sources that use Dolby Digital and DTS. For the Blu-Ray type sources that use the uncompressed codecs, those could be run with 7.1-channel analog audio cables, which if implemented correctly using bass management only in the receiver, will produce the same sound as the HDMI output (only difference is the decode is done in the player instead of the receiver).
Finally, a method that you may be shocked at is to get rid of the HDMI switcher and use a component switcher. Run HDMI to your receiver and then component ot the rest of your house. The difference between 1080i and 1080p for a standard TV is negligible and you can then run either analog or digital audio throughout the house. This eliminates the problem of only having one audio output stream at a time. The Blu-Ray downrez issue can be handled with some relatively-cheap (compared to an 8x8 HDMI matrix switcher) adapters that we shouldn't speak about in the forum (but often are) and a Blu-Ray player with two independent HDMI outputs (or a pre-2010 player with component video outputs).
Also note that many sinks keep their EDID active even when off. Some sources do not handle changing EDIDs well. What that means is that you may have a problem if your thinking that turning off the TV will fix your EDID issue between stereo and multichannel.
More information down at the HDMI section of the AVSForum. Just remember the source can only send one audio and one video streak at a time.

But at the same time, some Tvs now seem to support multichannel audio on the sink side (to what extent, I'm not sure yet), so in that case if you are pushing DD 5.1 (or 7.1) and the sink can handle it and down mix it on it's side, you should be good, right? Now, I"m not saying that any TV out there says it will hand DD TrueHD or DTS HD MasterAudio, but that is what I'm looking into. According to at least Cruchfield, the tv I'm looking at decodes "all multi-channel audio". I'm skeptical, but if it's true, then I'm hoping that it will solve my issue with the least common denominator at least in my case. Its going to be worth the $250 to find out and with Amazon's return policy I'm sure It'll be easy to send back if it doesn't work out.

I'm also not a fan of the switch after the receiver. When you do this, aren't you locked into what all the sinks view (basically they all see what the receiver is seeing)? That kind of defeats the purpose of a matrix at that point since anything after the receiver has to watch the 1 source the receiver is using. Even with HDMI passthrough, you are limited to the 1 HDMI source that it is currently passing through making watching 2 different sources in 2 different rooms impossible.

As to your first suggestion, I plan on doing this for at least my current TV when I relocate it to another room. I'm going to buy a cheap Sony $250 7.1 receiver and use it for the audio for that TV (even if I only run the front 2 speakers to that room). If I have to, I'll do the same for all 8 sources (I'll have to find a place to store all the receivers, but shouldn't be an issue in my new AV Closet, they just won't go on the Rack which is no huge deal). My goal though is to not do that for all 8 sources as I feel that is a waste of money if I can get by without doing it. Even going this route though (8 receivers for 8 zones), I feel it would be cheaper than the 30K creston system mentioned earlier even after purchasing cheap Monoprice speakers for the non living room sources (My AV closet is already set up to handle all those speaker connections if I need to do it).
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post #22 of 78 Old 10-27-2012, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sir Meili View Post

According to at least Cruchfield, the tv I'm looking at decodes "all multi-channel audio". I'm skeptical, but if it's true, then I'm hoping that it will solve my issue with the least common denominator at least in my case. Its going to be worth the $250 to find out and with Amazon's return policy I'm sure It'll be easy to send back if it doesn't work out.

Let us know how it goes with the 7.1 capable TVs, you certainly have piqued my interest and I hope it works for you. The 8 receivers isn't really cost prohibitive at $250 each, but it certainly seems silly. A stack of cheap Sony receivers in a closet... at the very least it would be a humorous photo. Photo tagline: "I thought HDMI was created to make our lives easier."
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If there is a TV that can decode Dolby Digital or DTS over HDMI, then you *should* see a Dolby and/or DTS logo on the front of the set. I suppose a brand could elect not to show the logo (and pay for the trademark use) but that seems counterproductive since no one would know that Dolby Digital and DTS is decoded by the TV.

I suppose the TV could get the DTS-MA HD stream and just decode the DTS core. But what cannot happen is that a regular DTS core signal *and* a DTS-HD MA signal get sent out at the same time. It's one or the other. Same with Dolby Digital and Dolby TrueHD. Can't have both streams on the HDMI link at the same time.

Unfortunately, this type of complexity was not planned for when HDMI came out. It was supposed to be a lawyer-happy point-to-point interface only.
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post #24 of 78 Old 10-28-2012, 07:56 PM
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Well, I heard back from Crutchfield (Samsung support was less than helpful and told me that MP3 is the only the supported audio formats!?!?! WFT?!?!) Obviously, they were confused about what I was asking, even though I very specifically said over HDMI). Here is what the advisor said:
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Greetings Frank,

Yes, the TV does accept the audio formats you have listed via HDMI. In most applications those formats are also "passed through" the optical audio output on the TV, in the event you want to connect an amplifier to power a 5.1 system. You can read more about the TV on our website here:

Here is my original email to them:
Quote:
I am looking at the Samsung UN32EH5300 and in the details page it says " It is fully compatible with all multichannel formats." I ned to know if I purchase this TV will it accept all formats such as DTS Master Audio HD and Dolby Digital True HD. I know that if it does it will only output in Stereo or faux surround sound. I need this because i want to hook it up to an HDMI matrix and don't want the EIDE to downgrade the audio from my sources. Based on the above line found in your details page, this tv "should" accept these formats without issue. I just want to verify that is correct.

Based on this, I will be ordering the TV tonight and be testing by Wednesday (hopefully). I'm still a bit skeptical because Crutchfield doesn't make the TV (obviously), but they do generally have very good knowledge on their products and I've grown to trust them to a certain degree.

BTW, I ended up getting the Samsung UN32EH5300 32" Smart TV (< $400 at Amazon which was $30 less than when I first look at it....WOOT!!!!). Luckily Amazon has a good return policy, so I can return it if it doesn't do what I want.
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post #25 of 78 Old 10-29-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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...BTW, I ended up getting the Samsung UN32EH5300 32" Smart TV (< $400 at Amazon which was $30 less than when I first look at it....WOOT!!!!). Luckily Amazon has a good return policy, so I can return it if it doesn't do what I want.

You got me curious so I took a look at the Samsung UN32EH5300 specs and found that it supports Dolby Digital Plus. While Dolby Digital is a subset of Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD is not. So, what that means is that the set (and therefore your HDMI chain) will receive a Dolby Digital and a Dolby Digital Plus signal over HDMI. It will not, however, allow you to send Dolby TrueHD or any type of DTS signal.

Now, I have to admit I forget if the EDID simply says "multichannel system" or if it is specific to the formats (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc). If the EDID just reports "multichannel system" you should be set other than you'll get no sound if you send anything DTS or Dolby TrueHD. If it reports the specific formats allowed, then you're probably still out of luck. I think the EDID reports "multichannel system" and that's it, but I'm just not sure. Maybe someone else can confirm.
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Now, I have to admit I forget if the EDID simply says "multichannel system" or if it is specific to the formats (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc). If the EDID just reports "multichannel system" you should be set other than you'll get no sound if you send anything DTS or Dolby TrueHD. If it reports the specific formats allowed, then you're probably still out of luck. I think the EDID reports "multichannel system" and that's it, but I'm just not sure. Maybe someone else can confirm.

The EDID has descriptors for each audio format supported by the device. Wouldn't be a very good identification system if it didn't describe the codec fully...

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You got me curious so I took a look at the Samsung UN32EH5300 specs and found that it supports Dolby Digital Plus. While Dolby Digital is a subset of Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD is not. So, what that means is that the set (and therefore your HDMI chain) will receive a Dolby Digital and a Dolby Digital Plus signal over HDMI. It will not, however, allow you to send Dolby TrueHD or any type of DTS signal.
Now, I have to admit I forget if the EDID simply says "multichannel system" or if it is specific to the formats (Dolby Digital, DTS, etc). If the EDID just reports "multichannel system" you should be set other than you'll get no sound if you send anything DTS or Dolby TrueHD. If it reports the specific formats allowed, then you're probably still out of luck. I think the EDID reports "multichannel system" and that's it, but I'm just not sure. Maybe someone else can confirm.

I read that somewhere to in regard to what it will decode from their AllShare (USB/Network media player). I'm hoping that for some reason it will accept any format from the HDMI (not likely, but I'm hopeful). Like I've said all along, I'm skeptical, but willing to try. Even if this doesn't work out, I'm out nothing. I still would need TVs for each location and I would still need a way to keep 7.1 (maybe a cheap sony 7.1 receiver for each alternate location). If I have to go the alternate route of 7 receivers, here is my cost predictions

7 receivers at $230 each = $1,610
1 Gefen 8x8 Matrix = $1,750
7 sets of Monoprice speakers $50-100/pair = $350-$750

That alone is a total of $3,710 - $4,060 for the whole setup (remembering that Tvs wouldn't matter no matter which way you go). So, if I could get a Crestron System (just the Martix) installed for $4,000-5,0000 I would do it in a heartbeat, but from what I understand, that's just not gonna happen and there are very few other solutions, none I can think of that would be actually cheaper. The other benefit if I have to go this route (The TV won't do it on it's own), is that for me personally, I'll be rolling out the TVs slowly (not all 8 at once), so I'll be able to give Technology a chance to catch up and do what I need. I won't lie though, If this TV works, I'll most likely pick up a more than a few of the 22" variant for other places in the house right now.
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post #28 of 78 Old 10-29-2012, 11:29 AM
 
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I read that somewhere to in regard to what it will decode from their AllShare (USB/Network media player). I'm hoping that for some reason it will accept any format from the HDMI (not likely, but I'm hopeful). Like I've said all along, I'm skeptical, but willing to try. Even if this doesn't work out, I'm out nothing. I still would need TVs for each location and I would still need a way to keep 7.1 (maybe a cheap sony 7.1 receiver for each alternate location). If I have to go the alternate route of 7 receivers, here is my cost predictions
7 receivers at $230 each = $1,610
1 Gefen 8x8 Matrix = $1,750
7 sets of Monoprice speakers $50-100/pair = $350-$750
That alone is a total of $3,710 - $4,060 for the whole setup (remembering that Tvs wouldn't matter no matter which way you go). So, if I could get a Crestron System (just the Martix) installed for $4,000-5,0000 I would do it in a heartbeat, but from what I understand, that's just not gonna happen and there are very few other solutions, none I can think of that would be actually cheaper. The other benefit if I have to go this route (The TV won't do it on it's own), is that for me personally, I'll be rolling out the TVs slowly (not all 8 at once), so I'll be able to give Technology a chance to catch up and do what I need. I won't lie though, If this TV works, I'll most likely pick up a more than a few of the 22" variant for other places in the house right now.

I can cut down your price a little bit. Not great audio quality, but there are sound bars that will accept multiple formats. I'd have to survey to find out if there is a sound bar that can accept *all* formats with an HDMI input. That should cut down on your cost.
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I can cut down your price a little bit. Not great audio quality, but there are sound bars that will accept multiple formats. I'd have to survey to find out if there is a sound bar that can accept *all* formats with an HDMI input. That should cut down on your cost.

Good idea. Here's one that supports the codecs, although it's not a single, self-contained soundbar, but the price is right (assuming its any good!)...

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HTCT550W-Theater-Wireless-Subwoofer/dp/B004MF7A02

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Good idea. Here's one that supports the codecs, although it's not a single, self-contained soundbar, but the price is right (assuming its any good!)...
http://www.amazon.com/Sony-HTCT550W-Theater-Wireless-Subwoofer/dp/B004MF7A02

That's a very compelling alternative. My biggest issue I have right now (and it's not a huge one) is having to put the receiver in the room with the TV. I'd much rather put it in the equipment closet. I'm thinking I could get around this by testing the subwoffer's wireless range (I wish they also had the option of Wired instead of just Wireless). If it was far enough, I could potentially hack up the speaker wire (proprietary connectors frown.gif ) and run them in wall and keep the receiver part in the closet. Obviosuly, based on cost, this would be my first 'new' alternative if the TV doesn't do it on it's own (which I'm feeling less and less like it won't.). I'll find out tomorrow though when the TV gets here.

The only other problem is the width. Its really meant for 40" tvs, but I think I could get over this. It's almost a full 8" wider than the TV (which I planned on mounting with a wall mount that pulls out and swivels).

I have searched on some other sound bars, and out of all of them ,the ones that really do TrueHD and DTS-HD MA are the ones for larger Tvs. Sucks that they can't put that support in the smaller ones (though I suppose I understand why they don't).
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