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Cascading hdmi matrix

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I currently have 4 HDMI inputs being viewed on 4 different displays via a Xantech HDMI4x4 matrix. I then control them via ISY99i (Insteon) using a Global Cache GC-100-18 to convert IP commands to RS232 (serial.)

The problem is that I now have more than 4 HDMI inputs that I would like to connect. How can I do so without spending hundreds/thousands of dollars?

Since an 8x8 HDMI matrix is too expensive for me, I have attached a quick sketch of my situation which shows another HDMI matrix added to the system. I was thinking that I would buy both a Monoprice HDMI4x4 matrix and a Monoprice HDMI4x2 matrix to increase the chances that the will play nice together. Same brand...similar behaviors?

The problem is, I really don't know the difference between a matrix, a splitter, and a switch in terms of HDMI. Which ones have a legimate chance of working together and which one do not?

Any insight would be appreciated.

Please note that using the same source on multiple displays is not a requirement of mine, though it won't be bad. At minimum, All I want is to be able to switch any input to the display I am currently watching.

Thanks, Matt.

EDIT: Let me clarify a bit more. There are two of us in the house. We each have our own Directv HDDVR, set up with our own personal settings (favorites, channels, ...) Often we use the Directv music stations to feed the audio system. Each of us have our own reciever. This eliminates the chance of a scenario such as: one of us being outside, listening to a directv music station on the audio system, and having someone else switch it when they try to watch something on TV.

The other five sources are shared. AppleTV is used more often then the remaining four and is likely to be used on all of the TVs (it is often used for another whole house audio source.)

The final four sources are games and videos. When used, we normally use them together (I'm not a gamer and only watch movies when she picks one out). For that reason I bundled all of these sources on the second matrix. Assuming that since all four sources enter the first matrix on IN4, only one of the four can be seen on any of the TVs at a give time.

All equiptment is (will be) in a A/V rack in the basement. The projector is also in the basement, and the bath and bedroom are on the second floor of the house.

Russound Cav6.6 (upgrading to C5 ASAP)
Russound DMS3.1 Media Streamer (3 Airplay, XM, or USB & 1 FM)
Russound SMS3 Media Server (will be eliminating)
Russound ST2 Dual FM Tuner (will be eliminating)
Russound iPod Dock (2) (will be eliminating)

Samsung 32" LED TV 720p
Samsung 42" Plasma 720p
Samsung 24" (not purchased yet)
Electrohome Showstar Extra (640x480 VGA) <--Upgrading soon

IP to serial-
Global Cache GC-100-18
Global Cache GC-100-18R

Xantech HDMI4X4 (may be replacing to get more sources)

Xantech 795-20 (amplified 4 zone)
Xantech 796-20 (expansion 6 zone)
coupled to Russound keypad integrated system

Universal Devices ISY-99i/IR

Sony CX-960 400 Disc BluRay
Sony A/V (cira 2003) (should be upgraded)
Samsung DVD (component out) (not used)
Nintendo Wii (HDMI adapter needed)
Microsoft Xbox 360s
AppleTV (toslink to stereo adapter needed to also feed audio Russound controller)
Ipad Gen1 (2) w/ Airplay
post #2 of 9
Don't rule out using component in parallel to HDMI. A lot of source devices can deliver both component and HDMI at the same time. That helps avoid issues with HDMI negotiation. As in, you drive 2-channel TVs off the component source and drive 'better' audio out HDMI.

And seriously ask yourself just how many of the sources truly "need" to be distributed. Or how many might be better served with a local device. Using a local streaming device straight into a TV might be a lot easier and cheaper than trying to integrate it with a distribution setup. Same thing with game consoles.

I'm dealing with the same issue, is a 4x4 matrix "enough". I haven't yet decided. The single biggest question to consider, for me, is whether local devices are going to need to deliver their audio back into any local ceiling speakers. Or if the local TV speakers will be enough. For higher-end audio delivery setups like the family room and master bedroom I'm already planning on there being a local AVR. So having a local source device would be fine, it's dealing with matrix-switched sources that might be an interesting challenge. For others areas it's less of an issue because they're not really high-use situations.

And I'd expect game consoles would end up being problematic for distribution due to needing local controllers. Using them via IR only runs into trouble when you bring up something that wants controller input.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Bill and all other readers,

Thanks for the reply. I think that I understand what you saying, so I should add a better explain my goal.

The main reasons for my project are 1) to minimize the number of components (sources) in the house, 2) minimize the number of new wires to pull through a house that is a century old with 18" thick walls, 3) I really want to avoid having to press the 'INPUT' button on the TVs remote control, I have always felt that Samsung's interface for this was cumbersome and very slow, and 4) more importantly, to simplify use to my better half.

The 'best' sound quality is not necessarily what really I need. What I would really like is that we each have our own directv viewable anywhere (multiple IR remotes), appletv is viewable anywhere (IR & iPad controlled,) and our DVD collection is viewable from anywhere (IR remote.)

With that being said, a 4x4 matrix (either HDMI or component) works and is what I currently have set up.

I have Insteon keypads (decora style 4,6,&8buttons) set up around the house. When she presses a button, everything turns on (or off) without her doing anything else. The dispay, the source, and the audio if approperiate. Examples: In the master bedroom if she presses APPLE TV, the MB TV will turn on, switch the matrix to Apple TV. If she presses BLU RAY or DTV, silmilar things will occur. A similar decora keypad is located by the door to the back yard. If she presses MUSIC DTV, the Russound will turn on the backyard speaker and switch to her Directv source, and switch to her favorite music channel. Heres the more interesting part. If she is in the a room with a TV, lets say the family room, and presses MUSIC - FM, the Russound will switch on the FR speakers, and select her favorite station. However if she selects MUSIC - DTV, pressing it switches the family room speakers on and turns to her favorite directv music station, but a double click of the button will switch on the FM speakers, switches to the
Directv music station, but also turns on the FR TV so she can browse for a different station.

The problem is the projector. It is where she works out every single day. Currently she has to press a bunch of different remotes and A/V components to get her workout program of the day, because the projector will only allow for one 'higher' def input. She uses DVDs, Xbox live, and occasionally Wii. They are all driven by an old Sony reciever.

Minimizing components, I have gotton rid of our extra Wii. However we do use it both in the basement (workout/movies) and the family room (triva games) which are stacked on top of each other and therefore the remotes still work. I go down stairs and switch around a few cables and were set to watch it in the FR, the switch it back when we are done. I could really just use a splitter.

In the end, I really just want a 'cleaner' install without spending a ton. I am a fan of component video, however either 5 cables must be run to each display or blauns must be used. I have not found a matrix type of component switcher that is both affordable and connects with cat5. Therefore I would need a 4x1 switcher for each dispay, a set of blauns for each dispay, and the need to use splitters to split the source to each switcher. I the end I still only have 4 sources, four displays, and tons more wire, but it should be more reliable albiet harder to program.

I am hoping that this long winded rant makes someone go, 'Why doesn't he just by "this product" and all his troubles will be over.' However I am guessing the general concensus will be why did he type so much for such a minor incoinvenience?'

Thanks for listening and hopefully offering some more help.

post #4 of 9
for the wii i'd wait for the wiiu

with hdmi-cic you should bemable to use tv remote to play stop and rewind..

i doubt the wii-hdmi adapter would hdmi cic..
post #5 of 9
So get a better receiver and a remote to feed that projector. Then setup an iOS or Android device running iRule, TouchSquid or other remote apps to send control signals via a Global Cache iTach interface. For the immediate future that might be a lot easier and more cost effective than trying to cram everything though a matrix.

Everything changes and right now the state of HDMI switching seems to be ripe for changes. Trouble is stupidity like HDCP is crippling a lot of it. So perhaps it's best to 'route around it' by just going with a better AVR into the projector, a better remote setup and local devices where appropriate. That's a LOT more likely to "just work" for your wife. Me, I'd like to have a better matrix scenario too, but it really doesn't seem to be there right at this moment in time.
post #6 of 9
Yes, 8 by 8 can be the way to go for this application. Though buying a cheap matrix is like buying a cheap horse
post #7 of 9
"Anything worth doing is worth doing right."
-Hunter S. Thompson

Go with an 8x8.
post #8 of 9
There is no loss of image quality cascading digital switchers. If you use up too much of the error budget, the image will simply go blue screen or flash. There is no gradual quality loss as there is with analog switchers.

What is going to kill you with cascaded HDMI switchers is the HDCP handshaking. Few matrix switchers get this right as it is. Cascading different units together IMO is going to be a disaster with HDCP involved.
post #9 of 9
After reading so many dreadfull stories over HDMI handshacking etc and limited by the kind of wall construction of my two level condo which hold to a stop any simple wiring upgrade and thanks to my reduced budget I taked a simple approach:

Got a massive Knox 16 X 16 HB component matrix switcher on sweet deal in ebay and now I sent from the switcher programs through coaxial cable for the near rooms and cat 5e (unfortunately cat 6 can´t be used because the reduced diameter of the condo tubes) with high quality Altona extenders to the far located rooms, kitchen, etc.

The sources are 4 DirecTV HD receivers using their component output.

All the devices are installed in rack located about 50 feet of the Master Bedroom on were I have a Sony 46" to which I hooked the 4 HDMI cables coming from the 4 DirecTV HDMI outputs, also in the MB I have a 7.1 Receiver and a HTPC.

To keep one standard all tv sets in the condo are 1080p but so far the DirecTV HD receivers output up to 1080i so I guess we are safe.

The kids have their own Playstation 3 hooked to their HDTV´s so there is no fight between them to share the games.

Each zone has it´s own Knox Push Button remote controler to select the desired source, but the matrix switcher is also IR and IP controled.

By the way I have also security cameras hooked to the matrix switcher and still have plenty inputs to spare LOL

This setup is simple, work great to deliver HD all around the condo and in the meantime my wife and I enjoy digital sound on our MB carried through the HDMI output of the DirecTV HD receivers.

By the way I managed to hook one of the destination zones with a HDMI cable, between it´s destination TV and one of the DirecTV HDMI receivers using a expensive new high quality HDMI splitter and every time I select this receiver on my MB tv, it could take up to 40 seg until the handshacking is resolved and that´s killing me, So I disconnected the splitter and hooked again the DirecTV receiver straight to my MB tv set HDMI input

Unless I figure a easy way to relay HDMI to the rest of the house and high quality HDMI matrix switchers cost get down looks like this setup will hold for a while.
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