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Cheap HDMI distribution

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi guys,

Just want to run something by you guys quickly. I thinking it's finally time to upgrade my dad's system to HD. At the moment we have some kramer switches outputting stereo + composite signal to the wall plugs at every TV station, with a Crestron AV2 to control Satelite channel switching. Luckily I had the Home automation guys install dual Cat6 cabling to the stations and switches as well.

So, I quote from the local Installers to do the upgrade, and while their installation price was not too bad, they quoted me over $1200 for a 4x4 matrix switch (not crestron, some brand i've never heard of) and the per balun price (5 of them) was over 5 times that of a regular monoprice one. This is apparently their cost price.

As i'm on the other side of the atlantic from you guys, this is not entirely unexpected. So the question I have, would it work if i ordered a monoprice 4x4 matrix switch and monoprice cat6 hdmi extenders for my system?

Inputs would consist of a HD-PVR satelite box and a popcornhour A-200. at this stage the receivers would be connected to an Emotiva UMC-1, an Yamaha RX-V663 AVR, and an series 7 Samsung LED TV.

I would of course ok the installer to up their installation fee a bit, it's only fair. What do you guys think?
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dotVIBE View Post

Hi guys,

Just want to run something by you guys quickly. I thinking it's finally time to upgrade my dad's system to HD. At the moment we have some kramer switches outputting stereo + composite signal to the wall plugs at every TV station, with a Crestron AV2 to control Satelite channel switching. Luckily I had the Home automation guys install dual Cat6 cabling to the stations and switches as well.

So, I quote from the local Installers to do the upgrade, and while their installation price was not too bad, they quoted me over $1200 for a 4x4 matrix switch (not crestron, some brand i've never heard of) and the per balun price (5 of them) was over 5 times that of a regular monoprice one. This is apparently their cost price.

As i'm on the other side of the atlantic from you guys, this is not entirely unexpected. So the question I have, would it work if i ordered a monoprice 4x4 matrix switch and monoprice cat6 hdmi extenders for my system?

Inputs would consist of a HD-PVR satelite box and a popcornhour A-200. at this stage the receivers would be connected to an Emotiva UMC-1, an Yamaha RX-V663 AVR, and an series 7 Samsung LED TV.

I would of course ok the installer to up their installation fee a bit, it's only fair. What do you guys think?

The answer to will it work is, "not for everything you want to do." Read up on "EDID" and that will give you a full answer.

Also the HDMI section of the AVSforum is one section below this one on the forum list. You'll find lots of useful discussions in the archives about HDMI matrix switchers.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Okay,

Are you saying that it won't work because the switch is not intelligent enough to handle the EDID information of the different devices i want connect to it?
post #4 of 14
HDMI doesn't always play nice, especially when you throw it into a matrix and add another area of concern that it is being done through a balun (which is usually how it goes).

Are all the TVs that are going to be on the chain the same brand/model #? Do they have similar specs?

I havn't had too many issues with my Monoprice HDMI matrix besides the occasional reboot from time to time but I did have many issues with baluns.

Will your installer allow you to purchase and use your own equipment? I would assume no, because ultimately they are responsible for leaving you with a working system.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well, the TV's are going to be all samsungs. a 50B650, a 63B680, and a 40B7000.

Balun i'm looking at is monoprice cat6 extender
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by dotVIBE View Post

Well, the TV's are going to be all samsungs. a 50B650, a 63B680, and a 40B7000.

Balun i'm looking at is monoprice cat6 extender

Being all the same manufacturer can help, but since they are not the same model # you can have some EDID issues. Sometimes, you can still have EDID issues even if they are all the same and it can occur on the source equipment hooked up to the matrix. HDMI can be a REAL mess. If I were to do my house over, I would have used component because it is 100% reliable. The only problem with component is its shelf life at this point...but then again, HDMI may be replaced in the near future (guessing no research).

I have had zero success with their baluns but alot of people report positive feedback from them. I purchased that matrix and balun from them and ended up throwing the baluns away. I purchased Arkview baluns for a similar price and they work for the most part. Again, if I were to do it over AND I went with HDMI, I would have purchaed shelled out the extra $ and purchased even better baluns.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
okay. Which extenders and matrix switches do you guys recommend then? Too bad BlueJeansCable isn't in this market.
post #8 of 14
I've read really, really good things about SnapAV HDMI over catx devices. SnapAV is a US distributor, like Monoprice. I've seen some ads from them that claim a guaranteed working solution or double your money back.

Search over at remotecentral.com CI Lounge, nothing but glowing reviews. Maybe SnapAV will sell to your installer, or you can find out who makes the equipment for SnapAV by calling SnapAV.
post #9 of 14
+1 for Snap AV 4x4 HDMI Matrix. I have installed a few and haven't had much problems with any of them yet.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post
I've read really, really good things about SnapAV HDMI over catx devices. SnapAV is a US distributor, like Monoprice. I've seen some ads from them that claim a guaranteed working solution or double your money back.

Search over at remotecentral.com CI Lounge, nothing but glowing reviews. Maybe SnapAV will sell to your installer, or you can find out who makes the equipment for SnapAV by calling SnapAV.
Thanks for the mentioning SnapAV. I'll have to add it to my list of matrix switchers. List price is a bit high (I think the list was around $1300) but that isn't the dealer price.

dotVIBE - sorry I didn't get a chance to post more earlier. I was in a rush this morning.

Looks like everyone else was able to provide the information. Be sure of your EDID configuration since otherwise you'll get the lowest common denominator of everything hooked into the HDMI string. One stereo device means all devices get stereo, etc.
post #11 of 14
My first question is how far are your displays?

If they are within a 50 foot cable draw, there is no reason to use baluns. Monoprice HDMI cables will work fine all the time.

If you are between 50 - 75 feet, I recommend pulling both a HDMI and 2 x cat 5 cables just in case it doesn't work with HDMI.

As far as a matrix switch thumbs up for the SnapAV
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by canuck_fr View Post
My first question is how far are your displays?

If they are within a 50 foot cable draw, there is no reason to use baluns. Monoprice HDMI cables will work fine all the time.

...
Remember the 50 feet depends upon how much bandwidth he is using. High speed HDMI cables (and content) are certified for a maximum of 25 feet. Anything greater than that is beyond the HDMI certification with current cables.

Of course the high speed certification provides for speeds in excess of what are used today. So that is why many of us (myself included) use good gauge standard speed HDMI cables out to 50 feet and it works at current high speeds - right now. When the next HDMI spec uses more of the bandwidth, that same cable may or may not work anymore because it is outside of the spec.

But to say that *any* HDMI cable will work up to 50 feet is incorrect. It at least needs to be a higher gauge cable for high speed signals (1080p/60, 3D, deep color) to work.

In the HDMI Org's (owner of the specs) FAQ, they even limit standard speed to 10 meters (~30 feet). That's awfully conservative, but it shows the limitations of HDMI as cable lengths increase.

http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx#44
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Ok, I'll see if i can set something up with SnapAV. It's a bit difficult seeing as they only sell to dealers and I'm in the Dark Continent. Drawing HDMI won't work. The cable runs are too long (100ft+) and everything is already built in.

Any other suggestions?
post #14 of 14
Distributing HDMI can a real nightmare for any Installer.

The price you pay for a Matrix plus In-room Receivers will vary a lot - some of that 'variable' will be reflected in the level of Support you and your Installer can expect from the supplier.

Distributed HDMI can suck up a lot of on-site time for your installer/integrator - working with a supplier who can offer practical telephone support, Firmware updates, pre install advice etc. can be a big help.

Joe (also on the dark side)
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