Originally Posted by jdanforth
No offense taken. Technology improves relentlessly. If I waited for the next upgrade I'd never buy anything!
You don't really need the computational power of a Mac Mini to do HTPC playback... an AppleTV has the same processor as the iPhone 4 and it can sling 1080p just fine. If you're doing h.264 encoding / ripping / live TV capture then that's another story! I use my Mac Pro to do all that business though.
You're going to distribute HDMI throughout your house? Bold. The *only* HDMI matrix routing system I would consider is Crestron's DM system. They have solved about 60% of the HDCP headaches out there... the competition has solved more like 25% of them. I just decided to stream my "illegal" legal blu-ray rips instead. Much easier.
Why are you dumping Crestron for Savant? I won't try to talk you out of it but I'm genuinely curious. Crestron is SO powerful provided you have a good programmer.
I subscribed to your thread. I'm already humbled by its quality and grandeur.
I know one thing....before I make any streaming device purchasing decision I intend to solicit your opinion first as you have the first-hand experience and understand all the pros and cons between divergent setups. I have a hardwired gigabit network in my home with a small business level 48 port Gigabit switch with a very robust "backplane" for ultra high-speed data interchange. With any luck, I won't have any bottlenecks from multiple simultaneous streams when I reach that point.
I agree with you that the Crestron system is truly world-class....but extremely expensive. I am a man with limited means, so I have to find a viable alternative. I looked at units from Atlona and CE Labs which seemed to have very good alternatives. Gefen has very nice products, but was way overpriced and not a good value for the money. And then I found a company called SnapAV which has an 8x8 HDMI matrix product that seems to tick all of my boxes, including price. Here is a link: http://www.snapav.com/p-1074-b-300-hdmatrix-8x8.aspx
The nice thing I found with this Matrix is that it does HDMI 1.4a over a single shielded Cat6 wire, has both cat6 and normal HDMI outputs active at the same time, allows for full third party control, is 1U in height and is one heck of a bargain, comparatively speaking. From the reviews I have read, this piece is very reliable and has fairly quick handshaking. To save myself $11,000 over a similarly spec'd Crestron system I think it's worth a shot. If I put a display in every location I wanted, I would have 13 potential TV locations. Ideally I would like to have 11 functioning locations and realistically I could live within the 8x8. However, with both sets of outputs active, that allows me to double up rooms on a common output signal which would rarely be used at the same time - such as the Garage and the guest room, the office and the theater....that kind of thing. In this way I could have 100% of the rooms "attached" to the matrix switch. Let me know your thoughts.
I wanted to trim down on the "heft" and cost of a full-blown Crestron system and the thousands of dollars in programming it takes for the GUI and control code to work seamlessly. It's not uncommon for a Crestron system to take a full week to set up, which I am sure you know. Savant is an Apple approved partner and can truly run native Apple code for control and interfaces. Buying an old iPad2 for a couple hundred bucks is much better than spending a couple thousand on the equivalent Crestron. I really like one of Savant's remote controls, the Savant SSR-1000
which is essentially an iPod Touch glued to some hard buttons, almost like a Logitech Harmony remote on steroids. I also liked the fact that the Savant controller will allow four simultaneous iTunes streams as a native feature. That alone is tempting enough to start ripping everything I own to iTunes, but like I said, I have a long way to go to figure things out.
Savant does have its limitations, but after nearly 14 years of unlimited control options with AMX and Crestron I think I am going to wave the white flag, kiss the King's ring and live within the box of the Savant Control system. Control4 has similar limitations, but I find their system intolerable with reliability issues despite recent gains.
Thanks for subscribing to my thread. I sincerely look forward to your opinions and input.