Originally Posted by alk3997
Look at your requirements and then look at your question. I think you answered your own question.
Reading through your list a couple of times, I think your first problem is cost. That's a rather unique set of requirements and I can't imagine a vendor (or more importantly the chip maker) getting many sales for such a device
But that's just it. I don't think it is
a "rather unique set of requirements". It's mostly a set of features which are popular enough that they can already be found in various combinations on low-end (sub-$200) HDMI switches now
Ignoring the optional things like alternative connections for HDbaseT (which some cheap matrix switches do
have) and various control methods (of which almost all HDMI switches have at least one, and usually more), it's a device intended to address a pretty common
scenario: a user wishes to selectively route HDMI signals from any of several sources in their home theater room to one or two other A/V display devices
How many of us have thought "Gee, it sure would be nice if I could take the old AVR and 5.1 speakers we replaced last year, hook them up to the flatscreen in my den, and just route signals to it from our new
home theater system so I can use the PS4 and enjoy movies from the DVD jukebox without being bothered by anyone or having to fight for time in front of the plasma. And maybe my spouse would stop nagging me to list the old gear on eBay."?
My suggestion of having passthru ports was probably the oddest item. (I don't even know what it would properly be called; "passthrough port" is just my
name for it.) Their presence just makes it so that the switch can be added into the system cleanly without complicated rewiring or making any changes to how the HT system already operates. I had thought that I had seen that feature before on some HDMI matrix switches, but now I can't seem to find any examples. Perhaps I misread some specs or misidentified the function of ports in some product photos. In any case, I don't get why there wouldn't be wide enough demand for it. And it seems to me that it should be technically simple to implement.
In my example of a 6x2x6pt switch installed between the outputs of the source devices and the inputs on the AVR, a passthrough port would simply function like the switch was a regular 6x2 matrix switch with each input coming off of a 1x2 splitter on each line between the sources and the AVR (or, for switched operation instead of splitting, a 1x2 [A/B] autoswitch with the matrix switch on the priority port). Having to use six of those 1x2 splitters or switches would be ugly. So, having that functionality already integrated into the switch as a pass-through feature just seems to me like something for which there would be a healthy market.
In terms of video and audio handshaking, it looks like (if I'm understanding earlier discussion in this thread--and that's a big "if") much of the frustration with matrix switches is that, for many of them, if any of the destination devices can handle, for instance, only PCM audio and low-res video, the source downgrades the signal flavor accordingly -- in effect, handicapping your once-impressive 4K, 9.2 theater system down to the lowest-common denominator. I didn't get a clear sense in this thread whether switch manufacturers have managed some easy implementation that can make the capabilities of the destination devices independent of one another. If not, then on this switch, just make it so that each input can only be selected by only one of the remote device sinks at a time. That way, the source only has to sync with the lesser of either that device or the passthrough port. (That shouldn't be much of a shortcoming, as I don't expect there would be many situations in which your home theater display devices would be less
capable than a remote display device.) The important issue then is that the source device should not be aware of the remote device's existence, or try to handshake with it, unless the device has selected that source. (Thus, the need for each sink port to have an OFF choice in addition to the six port choices.)
Of course, such handshaking will still
reduce the signal to the lowest-common denominator, but only on that input and only to match the remote sink assigned to it. If you are, for instance, momentarily using your HT to monitor what is going out to a low-res remote zone connected to one of the sink ports, you'll see a low-res picture. But so what? Accurate representation is probably what you want
to see in this case. This switch device is more for routing separate
sources to remote displays and your HT than it is for enjoying a single source simultaneously in two locations. I imagine that, for 90% of the installations, the owner would rather have that than to pay to have scalers, audio preprocessing, and EDID spoofing built into the switch. Keep it simple. . .it should behave less finicky that way. (Also, if it mostly just passes everything without needing to do any interpretation or modification of the signal, the less likely it should be that the switch will interfere with the passing of future protocols.)
For that matter, even a 4x1x4pt switch (instead of 6x2x6pt) would probably satisfy most users. (If anyone knows of such a beast, please share.) That is, even if you have 6 or 8 HDMI sources feeding your AVR, are there really more than just four of them that you would ever wish to route to another zone or outgoing media server? (For instance, your secondary zone probably already has its own
cable and/or satellite set-top box and single-disc Bluray player, etc.) And, even if you do
have two such remote zones or display centers you wish to serve, how critical is it that you're able to use them both at the same time? (If you wish to route a single output from the switch to any one of several remote zones, simply add a 1xN switch to the backend, and you can select whether your outbound signal goes to the Man Cave, Master Bedroom, Jenny's Room, Billy's Room, Backyard, Panic Room, Yoga Studio, Guest House, or whatever.)
As for compatibility with the latest standards, that is not at all
an uncommon requirement. A device that can do all the switching exactly how you want it is of no value if you need to route 3D or 4K and it can't do it. I imagine that passing CEC is not so necessary when working with a remote zone, because you'll likely be using some other means of control, anyway, because CEC likely won't be able to do everything you need. But 3D and 4K are pretty common requirements now. (3D because, for some reason, it is all the rage, and 4K capability for future proofing.) Of course, it's also important that audio is handled in such a way that 5.1 formats won't be dropped when both your source and destination can use them.