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post #1 of 16 Old 03-12-2013, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
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It seems like whole-home HDMI distribution is the ultimate system for distributing A/V throughout the home- except how absurdly expensive it is. A true whole-home solution in most homes will require at least an 8x8 switcher, with a true whole-home system in a larger house needing more like 16x16, more for the input side than the output side. And yet these switchers are ludicrously expensive, relegating them to all but the highest end installations. What went wrong?
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-12-2013, 06:56 PM
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You answered your own question.

Ultimate = ludicrously expensive.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-12-2013, 07:22 PM
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They haven't been cheap to build - the chips aren't cheap - because they're not a mass-market product with millions of units sold. HDBaseT should help here, more by its likelihood to expand the market for such devices because of the single-wire cat5e solution. But the market is still limited due to the wiring requirements generally. Add to that the whole-home-DVR solutions and streaming devices, and the future for HDMI-based distribution for the whole home is cloudy anyway.

If the Blu-ray Association was less hostile to the "media server" concepts (K-scape), we'd all be partying with 1Gb Ethernet-based solutions for all of this by now...


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post #4 of 16 Old 03-13-2013, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petern View Post

You answered your own question.

Ultimate = ludicrously expensive.

No. I didn't answer my own question. The number one problem with whole-home HDMI is cost. I said that. I asked why the cost is the way it is.
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

They haven't been cheap to build - the chips aren't cheap - because they're not a mass-market product with millions of units sold. HDBaseT should help here, more by its likelihood to expand the market for such devices because of the single-wire cat5e solution. But the market is still limited due to the wiring requirements generally. Add to that the whole-home-DVR solutions and streaming devices, and the future for HDMI-based distribution for the whole home is cloudy anyway.

If the Blu-ray Association was less hostile to the "media server" concepts (K-scape), we'd all be partying with 1Gb Ethernet-based solutions for all of this by now...


Jeff

I doubt we'd all have servers, as even that's complicated. The closest thing we'll have to ubiquitous servers are these whole-home DVR solutions, which of course are only for content from that MSO (with the exception of TiVo, which has some support for other content). From that I've seen so far, HDBaseT has just driven the cost of matrices UP, although yes, the single-wire thing does help a lot. I think there is still a case for whole-home distribution, as you can seamlessly move from room to room and share a lot more equipment, although for the general consumer, yes, whole-home DVRs and streaming boxes that more or less replicate the same experience over many TVs is the future.
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post #5 of 16 Old 03-13-2013, 06:38 PM
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HDMI was developed so people will buy Blu-ray discs. It was designed only for short runs for a reason.

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post #6 of 16 Old 03-13-2013, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

HDMI was developed so people will buy Blu-ray discs. It was designed only for short runs for a reason.

Except that it's now used for everything. It would have been a lot better if Component had become the standard, and it would have, if it weren't for the copyright police who were paranoid about people copying stuff (and apparently were so naive they thought Blu-Ray wouldn't be cracked- LOL).
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post #7 of 16 Old 03-13-2013, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post

Except that it's now used for everything. It would have been a lot better if Component had become the standard, and it would have, if it weren't for the copyright police who were paranoid about people copying stuff (and apparently were so naive they thought Blu-Ray wouldn't be cracked- LOL).

Component wouldn't have been the standard - regular people love HDMI. They plug In one wire and it just does. The best quality audio and video. Easy, neat, etc. Plus it does uncompressed multichannel audio, which you can't do over SPDIF. And 4k.

I'm sure HDMI would exist without HDCP, and would still be a huge hit. The fact is it was in the right place in the right time, when LCDs became cheap and were widely purchased.
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post #8 of 16 Old 03-14-2013, 03:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cntp View Post

Component wouldn't have been the standard - regular people love HDMI. They plug In one wire and it just does. The best quality audio and video. Easy, neat, etc. Plus it does uncompressed multichannel audio, which you can't do over SPDIF. And 4k.

I'm sure HDMI would exist without HDCP, and would still be a huge hit. The fact is it was in the right place in the right time, when LCDs became cheap and were widely purchased.

I don't think that we would have ever needed HDMI without HDCP. Component is a fantastic system, there is virtually no switching time to re-lock everything, and since it's one way, there's a lot less to go wrong. You just get good cables and go. Unfortunately, because of the copyright police, component is now that "archaic" thing that only the Wii uses.
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post #9 of 16 Old 03-14-2013, 08:26 PM
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You're bringing up points that the vast, vast majority of people don't care about. HDMIs selling point is its one cable for everything, it's neat and tidy, and super simple to hook up.

This is very much a consumer driven market, and the prosumer/custom market has very little influence over things like this. I'm not saying I disagree with you, HDMI has some pretty big issues with regards to distribution, I'm just saying the way I see it.

Plus, it's not about "need", its about making something better, so you can sell it. smile.gif
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post #10 of 16 Old 03-14-2013, 08:36 PM
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You're joking?

HDMI was developed for copy protection purposes. No other reason.

I'm not saying it's wrong, as people who create and distribute content have to eat, but yeah, Hollywood couldn't adapt fast, so they came out with this HDMI stopgap fiasco.

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post #11 of 16 Old 03-14-2013, 09:26 PM
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HDMI was a starting point to have less wires and more communication between components as well as keeping HDCP with in the chain.

The growth in technology within the last 5 years is astounding and the last distributed video system was using component cables. This wasn't cheap as well but the limits were 1080i and analog audio.

Can you design a system that does 1080p (or 4K now), full hi-res digital audio, network and ARC in one cable and connector, have at it.
It took a lot of money, time and co-operation between all the developers and manufacturers to get to where we are now. Remember it was also a way to be better than DVI connectors which was the standard in the computer arena but that only carries video signals, no audio.
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-15-2013, 01:45 AM
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‘The number one problem with whole-home HDMI is cost’ – that may be true at the start of the project but is often forgotten once you try and get things working the way you expect them too!

As jautor said in Post #3 the market for 16x16 Matrix is pretty specialist – no matter if you are talking YUV or HDMI and manufacturing and supporting an HDMI Matrix is far more complex than YUV and has a bunch of costly upfront licensing costs too just to make things that bit more expensive.

There is a pretty huge range of 8x8 HDMI Matrix on the market with plenty of units that are in 8x8 YUV territory – the problem with a lot of them being they come with little or no manufacturer or supplier support so you have to do your own tech support and may find there are no options in terms of firmware and EDID updates/custom programming.

Supporting larger HDMI Matrix is a world apart from supporting YUV Matrix where you may suffer the odd board failure or power supply failure whereas with HDMI you are constantly having to deal with handshake and interoperability issues and that time and effort has to be reflected in the cost of the product if you are going to support them properly.

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post #13 of 16 Old 03-15-2013, 02:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

You're joking?

HDMI was developed for copy protection purposes. No other reason.

I'm not saying it's wrong, as people who create and distribute content have to eat, but yeah, Hollywood couldn't adapt fast, so they came out with this HDMI stopgap fiasco.

Yup. HDMI would never have gotten developed if it weren't for that.
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Originally Posted by ifor View Post

HDMI was a starting point to have less wires and more communication between components as well as keeping HDCP with in the chain.

The growth in technology within the last 5 years is astounding and the last distributed video system was using component cables. This wasn't cheap as well but the limits were 1080i and analog audio.

Can you design a system that does 1080p (or 4K now), full hi-res digital audio, network and ARC in one cable and connector, have at it.
It took a lot of money, time and co-operation between all the developers and manufacturers to get to where we are now. Remember it was also a way to be better than DVI connectors which was the standard in the computer arena but that only carries video signals, no audio.

You can do 1080p over component, it just wasn't widely supported, and as 1080p was coming in, Component was already going out, so nobody every really developed it.
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Originally Posted by Joe Fernand View Post

‘The number one problem with whole-home HDMI is cost’ – that may be true at the start of the project but is often forgotten once you try and get things working the way you expect them too!

As jautor said in Post #3 the market for 16x16 Matrix is pretty specialist – no matter if you are talking YUV or HDMI and manufacturing and supporting an HDMI Matrix is far more complex than YUV and has a bunch of costly upfront licensing costs too just to make things that bit more expensive.

There is a pretty huge range of 8x8 HDMI Matrix on the market with plenty of units that are in 8x8 YUV territory – the problem with a lot of them being they come with little or no manufacturer or supplier support so you have to do your own tech support and may find there are no options in terms of firmware and EDID updates/custom programming.

Supporting larger HDMI Matrix is a world apart from supporting YUV Matrix where you may suffer the odd board failure or power supply failure whereas with HDMI you are constantly having to deal with handshake and interoperability issues and that time and effort has to be reflected in the cost of the product if you are going to support them properly.

Joe

Fair enough. HDMI created an environment that was hostile to whole-home distribution. It's sad too that the copyright police have pretty much shut down component outputs, and the ability to convert HDMI to HD component, as that would make it a lot easier to matrix as well. Theoretically, if we had a good implementation of a network-based connectivity and control system that sent the video out with it's own DRM still compressed, you wouldn't even need a matrix, you'd just be able to see all the components on all the TVs, but I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon.
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post #14 of 16 Old 03-15-2013, 08:06 PM
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HDMI was designed for a max run of 4 m. It is also a concept that lawyers came up with for copy protection. Since every 2 seconds it sends out a query to the display what it is, and does it have copy protection, any glitch in the system will cause it to stop transmission of an audio/video signal. Add to that the specs are very tight and if you have 2 pieces on the edge of specs, that will cause failure, it is a miracle that HDMI works!

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post #15 of 16 Old 03-16-2013, 08:33 AM
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Truth be told distributing HDMI is a clusterf--- of major proportion. Honestly, it's probably worth avoid, for now.

One big reason is how handshaking is determined. The source wants to know the audio format to send the target device. As in, can the output device handle just plain 2-channel stereo or higher-end formats? Well, when you've got multiple target devices a lot of switchers dumb the source down to the least-common denominator. Doesn't matter if you've got 3 devices that can handle 5.1 (or better) it's the low-end 2-channel TV hanging off one output that causes the source to be told to dumb down to just 2-channel audio. Making a switch that's capable of blocking this isn't easy. In theory it would be possible to have the switch detect whether the target device actually needs the signal, but not all TVs properly tell the source whether they're actually USING the HDMI input, most just signal that they're turned on. So the switch can't know whether or not the TV actually 'needs' the source or not, just that it's active. The solution, of course, is to have a receiver at each and every location, and all of them have to be capable of the highest audio quality you expect to need. So all of your TVs, everywhere, have to have the highest your theater room supports. Trouble is not all the rooms will even have room for a receiver!

I don't know for certain, but I believe HDMI only supports one audio bitstream on the wire at a given time. If it supported both 2-channel and 'something else' then things would be less of a mess. But then you'd be dependent on the sources being capable of providing both bitstreams. I could see where many wouldn't both with this. It'd be trivial for them to do so, but cost-cutting trips up a lot of simple things...

And this has nothing to do with the HDCP copy-protection, which is it's own additional clusterf----. There things just get even worse.

So for rooms that' don't "need" what HDMI might offer you'd probably be better served sending them a component signal instead. Then just reserve the HDMI output from your sources for the theater room(s). But here you run into trouble making sure to get source devices that can send both component AND HDMI. This is becoming rarer as source vendors are moving to HDMI-only outputs. Get your component output Blu-ray players NOW before they cease to exist.

My plan is to wire each TV location with everything. Two RG6 for cable (or whatever), then a 5-conductor mini-coax for component and then 3 CAT6 (one for ethernet, the other two for HDMI). This way I can feed the set with whatever is best suited for the device AND for the sources.
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post #16 of 16 Old 03-17-2013, 04:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wkearney99 View Post

Truth be told distributing HDMI is a clusterf--- of major proportion. Honestly, it's probably worth avoid, for now.

One big reason is how handshaking is determined. The source wants to know the audio format to send the target device. As in, can the output device handle just plain 2-channel stereo or higher-end formats? Well, when you've got multiple target devices a lot of switchers dumb the source down to the least-common denominator. Doesn't matter if you've got 3 devices that can handle 5.1 (or better) it's the low-end 2-channel TV hanging off one output that causes the source to be told to dumb down to just 2-channel audio. Making a switch that's capable of blocking this isn't easy. In theory it would be possible to have the switch detect whether the target device actually needs the signal, but not all TVs properly tell the source whether they're actually USING the HDMI input, most just signal that they're turned on. So the switch can't know whether or not the TV actually 'needs' the source or not, just that it's active. The solution, of course, is to have a receiver at each and every location, and all of them have to be capable of the highest audio quality you expect to need. So all of your TVs, everywhere, have to have the highest your theater room supports. Trouble is not all the rooms will even have room for a receiver!

I don't know for certain, but I believe HDMI only supports one audio bitstream on the wire at a given time. If it supported both 2-channel and 'something else' then things would be less of a mess. But then you'd be dependent on the sources being capable of providing both bitstreams. I could see where many wouldn't both with this. It'd be trivial for them to do so, but cost-cutting trips up a lot of simple things...

And this has nothing to do with the HDCP copy-protection, which is it's own additional clusterf----. There things just get even worse.

So for rooms that' don't "need" what HDMI might offer you'd probably be better served sending them a component signal instead. Then just reserve the HDMI output from your sources for the theater room(s). But here you run into trouble making sure to get source devices that can send both component AND HDMI. This is becoming rarer as source vendors are moving to HDMI-only outputs. Get your component output Blu-ray players NOW before they cease to exist.

My plan is to wire each TV location with everything. Two RG6 for cable (or whatever), then a 5-conductor mini-coax for component and then 3 CAT6 (one for ethernet, the other two for HDMI). This way I can feed the set with whatever is best suited for the device AND for the sources.

Yeah, the handshaking is a mess. I'm driving two TVs off of one setup right now (mirrored), and the handshaking is a nightmare if things aren't turned on and off in the right sequence, and I could only imagine with dozens of devices on a big matrix switch. It's unfortunate, because Component did this well, you just pushed the signal out, and it was up to the device at the other end to figure out what to do with it (or not). Why are you running mini-coax for component? Couldn't you just run another CAT-6a and use baluns? That would be a lot more versatile, and wouldn't handle distance a lot better?

The bigger issue with running component, even if you have separate gear or direct HDMI connections for the theater room to deal with the quality issue, is that many devices won't output full resolution to component because of copy protection, and new devices, like pretty much off of the small media streamers, don't have component outputs at all, and because of HDCP, you can't always just use a converter to go back to Component to then use a matrix. Also, nothing really switches a lot of component for local use. Unfortunately, we just don't live in a component world anymore. At this point, for me, component is a single legacy support connection to support the Wii in my setup, and I may use it for a long time to come, or I may eventually get the HDMI adapter for the Wii (which electrically is about what I'm doing now, it converts component to HDMI on the back of the Wii, but it eliminates the component cabling and complexity from the setup by having a dedicated converter), although I'd prefer to use my DVDO EDGE to do the component scaling. Everything else is HDMI, even though I hate HDMI, it's just the way things are.
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