How does my whole-house HDMI solution look? (seeking advice) Any cheap 8x4 or 6x2 HDMI switchers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm moving into a new house (well, already constructed so wiring is going to be a pain, but...) and I'm trying to plan how to setup the TVs and source devices.

Requirements/Notes:
  • TVs can display the same thing since we are only in one room of the house at a time.
  • Clean looking TVs with no wires or components underneath, etc.
  • Audio will be handled later, probably with two AVR receivers (one for the "main" upstairs TV, and one for the downstairs theater room)

Source components:
  • Satellite box
  • HTPC
  • 360
  • PS3
  • WiiU
  • PC (using HDMI output)
  • (future devices like "PS4" or "XBOX 720", etc)

TVs:
  • First floor - family room "Main TV" (50" plasma)
  • First floor - living room (future purchase, may not happen for a while)
  • First floor - kitchen (20" lcd)
    • Doesn't need connection to whole-home HDMI. I can just setup an isolated satellite box.
  • Basement - "Theater" TV or projector (future purchase)
  • Second floor - not in use (they will be connected with isolated satellite boxes with RG6)

Plan
  • Basement (unfinished section) will have 24U rack with all components listed above.
  • Remote control will use URC RF remotes (already have in old house, etc)
  • 8x1 switch plus 1x3 splitter to feed basement and first floor TVs

Alternate Plan
  • 8x2 hdmi matrix. I can then feed each TV in the house with 2 HDMI cables (using HDBaseT extenders). That way we can watch two different things on any two different TVs. (this is a little bit of a pain, but I just can't afford 8x4 matrix switches)

Can anybody tell me what they think or have any advice? I'm on a very tight budget and the 8x2 hdmi matrix switch (around $700) is even above budget but I'm not sure what else I can do since matrix switches are so darned expensive.
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post #2 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 11:09 AM
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So you're going to run HDMI cables, or use single-cable cat5e baluns? Your plan doesn't talk about the cabling.

The DirecTV receivers can be quite small and can be tucked away / behind the TV and used with an RF remote. There's also the whole house DVR (Genie) to share content without getting into HDMI distribution.

Second - if you're going to place gaming consoles remotely, you have to figure out how to play them - the controllers have limited range, and you have to go to the console to put the game in. Same with BD / DVD players - are you going to go to the basement rack every time you want to watch a movie?

Since your wiring is already in place, don't overspend on switching systems for "future" use - there will likely be alternatives, and lots of cheaper options, in the years to come.

Jeff


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post #3 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 04:36 PM
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‘I'm not sure what else I can’ – reduce the number of ‘whole house’ sources to 4 is the easy way to make the system much more affordable/flexible, in reality how often will you need access to some of your Sources in all Zones.

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post #4 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Oh, sorry, the wiring isn't installed yet. It's an existing house (built around 1990) so I'm going to need to run cables inside the walls, etc.

I'm using Dish Network (instead of DirecTV) but they have "Joey" DVRs that are also extremely small and can be mostly hidden, but I'm hoping for a completely clean look in my TV rooms without any components or component shelves, etc.

I am a bit worried about the game consoles, but most content is started to be sold digitally so I don't think I'll need to worry about swapping discs for too long. Also, all of my movies are ripped to my HTPC so I don't need any discs for that.

As for the source devices, I do have a bunch and I'm always thinking adding more, but I don't have many display TVs. (i.e. I mostly don't care if ALL TVs in my house are displaying the same thing) That's why I'm thinking about a "simple" 8X1 HDMI switch, then an HDMI splitter to show the images on all TVs. Do you think that would work OK?
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post #5 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 05:05 PM
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HDMI is always a potential for pain as HDCP and EDID are so unpredictable and with many ‘Smart’ TV’s you also have to factor in CEC these days!

An 8x1 + a 1xX are just as viable as any other option if you can live with all Display devices seeing the same Source – its wouldn’t be for everyone but no reason for it not to suit your requirements.

Look for HDMI Switch and Distribution products which offer your EDID management and the potential to update Firmware if you hit handshaking problems.

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post #6 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info Joe.

I also see that you work for Octava. Can you recommend me anything you carry that might fit my needs for under $1000?

(Ideally an 8x2 matrix switch but they are rare and 8x4 and 8x8 run several thousands of dollars...)
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post #7 of 14 Old 12-12-2012, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post

I am a bit worried about the game consoles, but most content is started to be sold digitally so I don't think I'll need to worry about swapping discs for too long. Also, all of my movies are ripped to my HTPC so I don't need any discs for that.

But how are you going to play the games if the game controller is out of range, if you're thinking these all go in the basement...


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post #8 of 14 Old 12-14-2012, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Luckily the basement room is directly below my TV room (on the first floor), so the controller range only goes to go a couple of feet (vertically) so I'm hoping it will be OK...
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post #9 of 14 Old 12-14-2012, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post

Luckily the basement room is directly below my TV room (on the first floor), so the controller range only goes to go a couple of feet (vertically) so I'm hoping it will be OK...

Highly recommend you test that before committing...


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post #10 of 14 Old 12-14-2012, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks... I will definitely test it.

It looks like the X-Box 360 controller specifies 30 feet maximum distance, and the PS3 controller is 65 feet.

I can't find specifics on the WiiU, but it looks like most people are quoting around 24 feet (8 meters).
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post #11 of 14 Old 12-14-2012, 10:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post

Thanks... I will definitely test it.
It looks like the X-Box 360 controller specifies 30 feet maximum distance, and the PS3 controller is 65 feet.
I can't find specifics on the WiiU, but it looks like most people are quoting around 24 feet (8 meters).

I can tell you from experience the xbox won't reach 30 feet once you put any obstructions in the way. Mine sits in a closed cabinet under the TV, and will lose connectivity at about 20' (of open air space). Around a wall is much worse.

Jeff


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post #12 of 14 Old 12-14-2012, 02:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post

Can anybody tell me what they think or have any advice? I'm on a very tight budget and the 8x2 hdmi matrix switch (around $700) is even above budget but I'm not sure what else I can do since matrix switches are so darned expensive.
Matrix switches are expensive because they are specialty devices sold in very low volume. Instead, look at some of the new high-end AVR's which have matrix switching built-in. For the price you're looking at for that matrix switch, you should be able to buy an AVR with the same functionality. Examples include the Onkyo TX-NR1010, TX-NR3010, and TX-NR5010. (those are fairly expensive; maybe another manufacturer has a less expensive matrix switch in their AVR.) Many AVR's with two HDMI outputs output the same the same thing to both outputs, but the three AVR's I listed are matrix switched.
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post #13 of 14 Old 12-14-2012, 05:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Yikes, they are around $1,800.

However, I suppose if I did spend $1,000 on a new receiver plus $800 on an HDMI matrix switch, then might be a better deal.

Although, for right now I'm just looking for something cheap. The DVDO Quick6 (6x2 matrix) looks perfect but it's not out for another couple of months yet... (but the price they said, under $500, also sounds great)
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post #14 of 14 Old 12-15-2012, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sofakng View Post

Yikes, they are around $1,800.
However, I suppose if I did spend $1,000 on a new receiver plus $800 on an HDMI matrix switch, then might be a better deal.
Although, for right now I'm just looking for something cheap. The DVDO Quick6 (6x2 matrix) looks perfect but it's not out for another couple of months yet... (but the price they said, under $500, also sounds great)
We could look for a lower cost solution from Yamaha or Denon. Otherwise, there are much less expensive Onkyo products with simultaneous dual outputs -- same thing on both outputs.
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