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Home A/V distribution advice needed to build system - Page 3

post #61 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by jautor View Post

As to the matrix - for sources other than BD, you can run separate digital audio links to your AVR to ensure you get DD5.1. But that will depend on two things:
1) the source able to provide DD output even if the audio-over-HDMI is 2-channel PCM
2) Your AVR's ability to accept a separate audio source input for HDMI video inputs
As Blu-ray (can) use audio codecs that can only be transmitted over HDMI (DTS-MA, DD+), your only choice is to dedicate a player to the theater setup.

Some Blu Ray players (very few actually) have two HDMI outputs, otherwise he could get a better 1x2 HDMI splitter and run one to the 4x4 switch and one to a different HDMI input on the 3-zone AVR. That would be the easiest work-around I can see.
post #62 of 194
Thread Starter 
TMcG, I though Jeff said that even if I split the HDMI signal from the BD player, since the end destination will still go through the matrix then even the other connection on the splitter will be down-mixed to 2.0. I initially thought about the splitter idea because I believed that spliting the HDMI source with 1 going to the matrix and 1 going to a dedicated input on the AVR would allow me to get 7.1 on the AVR. Is this actually the case, was I right the first time? When you say better HDMI splitter, what do you mean? Since it only looks like I will need 1 splitter, I was looking at this one from Monoprice.
post #63 of 194
Interesting - I didn't catch that before. I have an Atlona Pro 8x8 HDMI Matrix and haven't had that problem. I wonder how fat back that "de-res" of the audio would extend. I mean, if you had a dual HDMI output Blu Ray player and one output connected to a 1080p display and the other an ancient plasma TV, would the Blu Ray player de-res everything down to the plasma's level? I am not sure of the answer on this.
post #64 of 194
Thread Starter 
I am not sure either TMcG, that is what the question is at this point. If I can get away with splitting the BD source this way and maintain 7.1 in Z1 from it, then it would be great.
post #65 of 194
Any HDMI splitting external to the device will produce the same results, it's that simple.

For the few BD players that have dual HDMI outputs, those are generally meant for TV/projector setups where one may not have any audio support at all. I don't believe you can get two different audio streams from the two connectors (either both have audio, or one gets 'none'), as that would require dual audio paths for just this one use case, which I doubt anyone has implemented in the chips/firmware...

Jeff
post #66 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

I am not sure either TMcG, that is what the question is at this point. If I can get away with splitting the BD source this way and maintain 7.1 in Z1 from it, then it would be great.

But you could look at it from another angle - there is very little media that has discrete 7.1 content. The 7.1 receivers have some sort of interpolation to fake 7.1 from 5.1 source material. Second, you are using in-ceiling speakers in what will be ostensibly a completely untreated acoustic environment. So the position of the speakers is a challenge, the type of speaker is a challenge, the crossover point between the in-ceiling speakers and the subwoofer is a challenge, lack of a proper acoustic environment is a challenge, etc. . . . so will you really hear any significant difference between DTS HD Master Audio and regular DTS soundtracks through this setup? The answer is no. I would be surprised if you could hear the difference between CD and MP3 to be honest. In the end, 7.1 in this system as well as lossless audio codecs are of no consequence when you see how little of these features are able to translate into any real difference.

I don't mean to "beat up" your home theater system, but thought I would highlight that the real differences are going to be imperceptible.
Edited by TMcG - 7/17/12 at 12:00pm
post #67 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by TMcG View Post

Interesting - I didn't catch that before. I have an Atlona Pro 8x8 HDMI Matrix and haven't had that problem. I wonder how fat back that "de-res" of the audio would extend. I mean, if you had a dual HDMI output Blu Ray player and one output connected to a 1080p display and the other an ancient plasma TV, would the Blu Ray player de-res everything down to the plasma's level? I am not sure of the answer on this.

It's going to de-res to the plasma's level (audio and video). But if they have the same video display resolution, the BD player can probably be configured to push audio to only one output, thereby ignoring the audio capabilities of the other.

Jeff
post #68 of 194
I did a very simple video distribution a few years back using component video from my dvr. The component distribution is dead simple and cheap (~$60). I use it to feed my first floor and basement, a total of 4 tvs. All of the rooms except the kitchen have an av receiver. The primary receiver has 2 hdmi out (Yamaha 867) to feed the tv or projector. You almost never need to send the same thing around the house besides tv. I use an rf remote to shoot through walls when I need to control the dvr.

There are only 2 of us and it works well most of the time. Don't feel like you need to do it all at once. Last year's receiver gets moved down the line, and eventually out of the house to friends or family. Eventually I'll replace the component with hdmi, but for now it works fine.

Think about how you watch tv, you can only be in one place at a time. The tv that is on the most is the 24" in the kitchen... The basement is only used a couple of hours a week when I'm exercising. The projector is used mostly in the evening. I listen to a lot of internet radio for music where the projector is located.

There's always new technology coming, someday it will be easy.
post #69 of 194
Thread Starter 
Interesting stuff. Probably will look to have the BD player as a local source in the basement and have another player (maybe PCH C-300 with BD drive) on the matrix. Either way, this is not a major sticking point at this point in time, I just want to avoid having to up-mix 2.0 signal to 7.1, that could be ugly. as for the in-ceiling and the basement environment, I have placed the speakers as suggested on other AV site for speaker placement in 7.1 setup. Although the room is not acoustically treated, I believe I will be able to make out the difference between regular DTS and DTS-HD MA. As an example, right now in my den I have my Pioneer Elite plasma monitor hooked up to a Sony HTCT100 3.1 soundbar and for movies, when I switch from DD5.1 to Dolby THD on the PS3, I notice the difference in sound for a simple soundbar and the den is equally untreated acoustically.
post #70 of 194
Have they cracked the issues with Matrix HDMI switches yet? I have stopped following the technology but a couple of years ago, I tried serveral and decided the technology is not ready for prime time. I kepted getting audio or video drops, or having to restart some device in my chain, to the point it was just too frustrating. People had recommended a Creston matrix switch to solve my problems, but the price was WAY out of my league so I never tried it.

I would highly recommend going with a server solution for all your audio and video and using a media streamer like the PCH, DUNE to serve up the files. I did this a couple of years ago (and sold my blu-ray changer) and love it. Problably the best move I ever made.

My only other advice would to be prepared to spend some serious time working out the kinks and tweaking the setup. You will find yourself always wanting to change one little thing here and there and most of the time the little thing turns into a big thing.

Welcome to the world of home AV distribution.
post #71 of 194
So I'm late to the party as usual. I want to make one point here - only because the OP is leaning toward an RF base station remote control solution. IF you put in an IR/RF base station, you do not need an ir-routing matrix switcher - it will be redundant. WIth the right level of URC products (and I'm sure others) you can assign ports to the devices in the IR setup - so the base station/remote configuration IS your IR routing - e.g., you have 2 of the same DVR. In your remote programming, you designate that DVR 1 commands only trigger IR through port 1, and you designate DVR 2 commands trigger IR only through port 4 (or 2, 3, 5, or 6). Run your IR emitters from the ports to each of the DVR's and you're good to go (you may have to cover the IR buds with a shield to prevent cross talk if the other DVR is right next to the first one). This is how mine is setup currently. My switcher is just that - a dumb switcher (well, ok, it's got the capability, but I had the URC setup before the switcher). The URC base station routes all of the IR codes to the specific devices by port (assuming you configure it to do that). If you're dead set on the IR/RF base station setup anyway, might as well save some money on the switcher.

Talk to an authorized dealer and see if he's willing to provide the software if you purchase the remote equipment from him. Hopefully he can, if not, talk to other URC dealers in the area. Depending on what model remote you get and assuming you get the software, yes, you can program it to do what you want. I have programmed my MX3000 and MX980's myself, even teaching my dealer a few tricks in the process. The problem I have with iRule and others, is that I really LOVE a hard-button remote for just about everything a/v related in terms of transport/control functions. My first remote was the MX3000 touchscreens, which only has hard buttons for volume and channel (and mute, I think). That was a PITA to use for dvr and dvd playback. Since I've gotten two 980's, the 3000 is retired and is sitting in the "for ebay" pile.
post #72 of 194
Thread Starter 
stepmback, thanks for your thoughts on the matrix, I suppose they are better designed now since I do not hear people complaining of drops in audio or video. As for your suggestion on setting up a server and streaming things through something like a PCH, I would like to hear more details if you could about how to design such a system and what it would entail, taking into account my home and zones configuration.

mike1812, I was thinking that all along about the IR routing through the URC RF base station but since I had no previous experience in this field, I trusted the opinions I was being provided. However, I was fairly sure that the routing was done through the IR ports on the base station. As for the remote system I will use in the end, I am not 100% sold at this time and if I really need an authorized dealer or AV professional to get me the required software this can lead to increased costs. Maybe I will try my luck with the NexGen IR extender and get some RF50 remotes from URC. This is a cheaper solution for now and could possibly work very well. Then I could look into adding things like Roomie later on to complement the system.

Your thoughts are welcome as always.
post #73 of 194
I'm doing almost the exact same thing in my house, I'm almost done finishing the basement and here is how I'm doing the A/V setup:

Like you, I'm running Cat6 cable everywhere in the house, I have 2 rooms aside from the basement where I want HDMI distributed to with my cable box and HTPC as the sources (HTPC can't do on-demand or pay-per-view content so for now I need to keep the cable box). I'm using the Monoprice HDMI to cat 6 converters (2 in each room) for the long haul to all the rooms and also running another cat6 cable to each room for any hardware that needs a network connection.

In the basement in my utility room I have the sources going into a monoprice professional 1x4 HDMI splitter. This is key since the pro version is powered and injects power into the HDMI cables ensuring that the cat6 converters don't have any issues. So far during my testing these splitters have worked great with great picture quality and no audio problems that I have heard, so far. I have one splitter for each source, from the splitters the HDMI cables run to the cat6 converters and off to the various rooms in the house. I didn't do an HDMI matrix because I couldn't seem to find one for a decent price and I didn't want to deal with sending signal down to the matrix switch to switch input/output, just changing the HDMI source on whatever TV or projector I'm at seemed simpler. I ended up spending more on cabling and HDMI converter boxes, but, it was worth it for me.

I think in your original post it seemed like control of everything might be an issue, here is how I solved that:

I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" tablet (only $200 from a local shop) and from there you have a mind boggling number of apps that will give you remote control of your sources and TV's. Originally I chose this tablet because it has an IR blaster which is great if you are right in front of the hardware you need to control, it has however proven to be less useful than I expected. For the HTPC my favorite app is Media Center Control, it costs $6 I think, but it was money well spent. It won't control all sources, just HTPC and it works best with Windows Media Center. I'm getting ready to test out Touch Squid which is a very expensive app (for the full version) but it looks like it will be able to control ALL hardware and control the HTPC, it's also cheaper than a harmony remote. The best part about Touch Squid is that it integrates with Global Cache Itach WF2IR and IP2IR units (touch squid can also utilize the IR blaster in the tablet from what I can tell). The Itach units take a wifi signal or signal from a cat5/6 cable plugged into your home network (from a tablet running Touch Squid for example) and then blast the IR to your source or any other hardware. This eliminates much of the risk for interference. I think I'm going to use one of these for my cable box because I have tried IR to RF converters and they don't seem to work well at all due to interference from everything from CFL's to the LED TV I'm trying to control. I know that there are high end IR to RF units that say they can deal with the interference but from what I've heard they can still be spotty, not to mention they can cost as much as the Itach units.

With this setup I'm confident that I can do pretty much anything I need to with any device in the house. There are 100 different ways to do all of this, this is just the solution that worked out best for my very specific needs.

I hope this was helpful to you, or anyone else working on this sort of project.
post #74 of 194
There are HDMI Matrix systems that have IR as well as RS232 for control. They run a bit more, but they may save you time and effort.

Also might not be a bad idea to get someone to help you set up the remote system. I know you didn't want to spend more, but you have to weigh the cost/benefit of your time to set up the system.

Aslo the Onkyo TXNR616 does have 2 HDMI outputs, though you won't get surround audio passthrough. To save some money on the blu-ray maybe just take the HDMI cable that will also have audio to the main system and take the audio out of the bluray to the other room. Both rooms will be playing the same thing though if you do this, and the ONKYO will have to be on, unless you turn on the HDMI Pass-through on the amp.

I might be making it more complicated than it has to be, or maybe not, just some things to think about.

edit: On a side note, and someone that might be smarter than me might be able to confirm if this is true, I don't think it would be a good idea to attach multiple surround recienver to one HDMI Matrix. Once you start adding local devices to these recievers, I would guess you would start running into EDID problems, which is always fun.
post #75 of 194
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone, I have been absent for a little while due to vacation but I am back now and looking to finalize this project. I came across some interesting devices today and got me thinking about the whole matrix switch with amplifiers for other zones.

The 2 devices of interest are the Pioneer Elite SC-67 and the Denon AVR3313. They both seem to have 2 zone HDMI output (matrix) as well as component output. Now what I was thinking to do is the following. Forget the HDMI matrix switch altogether and just plug in all osurces into one of these AVR's. The main zone would be the basement (Z1) with the projector which would receive the main HDMI output from the AVR. The den TV (Z2) with the Pioneer Elite plasma would be would get the 2nd zone HDMI output from the AVR and the living room (Z3) LCD TV could be connected to the via the component output on the AVR (only a 32" screen so I can live without an HDMI connection here). Obviously all zones would be able to play different audio and video since I will also make analog connections from all my sources.

The question now becomes whether one or both of these AVR's can do what I have mentioned above. I know for sure that they can output 2 different sources to 2 different zones via HDMI connection, the only thing that needs to be validated is if a 3rd source can be sent to a 3rd zone via component. I believe this setup will centralize everything for me and make it simpler.

Comments and/or advice is welcomed.

Thanks
post #76 of 194
I saw that Denon mentioned recently, too, and was pleasantly surprised to see a real 'matrix switch' incorporated - that's a big step forward.

But I highly doubt any of these units will produce a useful output on Component. They will not be allowed (by licence) to output an analog/component video signal from an HDMI input. The only thing that I'd expect to show up on the component output is stuff from the component inputs. Perhaps the other analog inputs, too...

Jeff
post #77 of 194
Thread Starter 
Jeff, how can we check if this is true or not about the component output?
post #78 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

Jeff, how can we check if this is true or not about the component output?

You use the RTFM process: - Read The F'in Manual biggrin.gif:D

http://usa.denon.com/DocumentMaster/US/AVR3313CIE3_ENG_Owners_Manual_CD-ROM_v00.zip
post #79 of 194
Thread Starter 
What about the Pioneer? Will that have the same issue. I did briefly go over the Pioneer manual and I did not see that indicated anywhere.
post #80 of 194
post #81 of 194
Thread Starter 
Checked them both....the news is not good. Any HDMI input source will not be converted to analog format (component) for output to other zones. It looks like this avenue is a no go for me.

It looks like I have to stick with my original plan to get a 3-zone (pre-out) receiver and 2 amplifiers for Z2 and Z3 and use and HDMI matrix switch. The only thing I do not like about this option is that since my Z2 and Z3 TV's will not be going through an AVR, then the audio from the HDMI sources on the switch will be downgraded to 2.0 stereo. This is definitely not welcomed for my 7.1 setup in the basement (Z1).

I guess I can look into getting 3 different AVR's but will this solve my issue of getting the correct multi-channel audio in each zone? These are the things going through my head at this time and I need to iron everything out so that I am comfortable with the whole setup.

I guess the bottom line is I need advice here.
post #82 of 194
The advice is to purchase the system spec'd a month or so ago and start enjoying it! You are in the paralysis stage right now and the only cure is to make the purchase. As I said before regarding the spec'd system - you are essentially pushing the limited amount of equipment you would be purchasing to run 3 full-fledged zones of audio/video and using it in ways not typically intended. The only way to solve this dilemma is to actually spend significantly more for a professional system truly intended to run multi-zone audio/video with robust and easy control.

So your final advice is either accept that you will be living with some compromises or don't do anything until you have built up sufficient funds to purchase a system that is truly appropriate for what you want to do.
post #83 of 194
Thread Starter 
Damn I hate being in paralysis mode!

Quick question here, if I put each HDMI output from matrix into it's own AV receiver, will this solve the problem of the audio being down-mixed to 2.0? I am looking into this situation or even possibly just using a matrix for Z2 and Z3 and leaving the theater basement Z1 on it's own AV receiver with other sources connected directly.
post #84 of 194
Thread Starter 
OK, so it looks like my best bet is to stick with the 3 zone AV receiver (probably Onkyo TX-NR616 or anything else similar people can recommend at a close price point) and get 2 stereo amplifiers (AudioSource AMP-100) for Z2 and Z3 speakers. As for not getting the fully multi-channel audio from the sources for the main basement theater zone, I was thinking I could run digital audio inputs to the AVR and not use the audio from the HDMI for sources coming from the matrix. This way, Z1 would be using digital audio connections for audio from sources on the matrix and Z2 and Z3 would be using the analog connections from the same sources. If I am not mistaken, I can do this without any issues right? As well, if I connect any local sources on the AVR to run to my basement 7.1 theater (Z1), I can then take advantage of the HDMI audio from those locally connected sources.

What does everyone think about this kind of arrangement and if it is possible to do it that way. Granted there are a lot of extra connections happening in the AV closet for audio purposes but it is a small drawback to getting the correct audio to the different zones without having to down-mix in the most important area (Z1 theater). Either way, none of this equipment will be visible to people and even if it is, they only see the front of them and not the cabling in the back.

Now if that settles the AVR situation, the only thing I need to figure out is what to do about the matrix itself. I was originally leaning towards getting the 4x4 matrix from Monoprice but the only thing that is turning me off is the fact that there is a blackout every time some other device tunes in to the same source as the one currently be viewed. Does anyone know if there are other matrices out there that do not exhibit this effect? If so please advise. If there are also any other suggestions out there for a 4x4 matrix that come close to the price of the Monoprice device I am all ears. The only other machine that I have partially looked into is the Gefen Toolbox but I do not see any reviews for it's functionality.

I'm getting to the end of this process, eliminating things piece by piece as they get finalized. My plan is to have everything on hand by mid-September so it's time to settle all matters and order. All help is appreciated by aficionados on this site.

Regards
post #85 of 194
I understand your reservations with the Monoprice unit if that is in-fact what the unit will do (i.e. re-establish the HDCP handshake for all connected displays for a given source), but the reality is how often will different people in your house will be privately consuming audio/video in separate zones at the same time? Further, if you have two DVRs, the problem will probably be even more rare. If you are like our family, most of the time folks are in the same room at the same time watching TV and not doing 8000 other things in separate audio/video zones. So is there a comparably priced unit to the Monoprice that will avoid the handshake blip? I am not sure and can't look at the moment, but even if you went with the Monoprice, the reality is that is a very small inconvenience to pay for getting such a great price on a 4x4 HDMI matrix, don't you think???
post #86 of 194
Thread Starter 
TMcG, your points make quite a lot of sense, I guess I try and think of too many far fetched scenarios that get in the way of a logical decision. Truth is that it will be rare (almost never) that all 3 video zones will be used at the same time and even when there are 2 used simultaneously, I don't think it will be likely they are watching the same source. Bottom line is that the Monoprice device is probably the best bet at this point but I just wanted to get a feel from people if they had some other equivalent device to recommend that would be close in price range but not exhibit this glitch.
post #87 of 194
Thread Starter 
OK, so here is the setup as it stands right now. Please let me know if I have overlooked anything or if I need to make any changes.

  • 4x4 HDMI Matrix from Monoprice (PID 5704) with output 1 going to Z1 AVR and outputs 2 and 3 going directly to Pioneer Plasma 101FD Monitor in Z2 and Sharp LCD in Z3.
  • Onkyo TX-NR616 3-zone AVR to receive HDMI output 1 from matrix and all digital and analog audio connections from connected sources. Z1 speakers (7.1) connected directly to AVR.
  • All sources on the matrix will have digital audio out split (with 1 branch converted to stereo RCA) and going to the AVR (so I can get 5.1 audio to Z1 from digital connections and be able to access all audio in Z2 and Z3 via the analog connections).
  • Zone 2 and Zone 3 RCA audio out from AVR to go to individual stereo amplifier (Audiosource AMP-100) and Z2 and Z3 speakers connected to it's own amplifier.
  • Any local sources that need to be added to Z1 (such as BD for 7.1 sound) will use up other HDMI inputs on the AVR.
  • Next Generation IR remote control extender along with 2-3 URC R50 IR remotes to control everything remotely based on an RF system.
  • Possibility to add iTach IP2IR adapter to control everything via the network and use the Roomie remote app (especially for the basement theater, thereby not needing an R50 remote for that zone).

Let me know what you all think and if I missed anything.

Thanks
post #88 of 194
Thread Starter 
Really? No comments at all on the setup? I was looking for possible opinions form people that own some of this equipment or from others who can let me know if it seems like it will do the job.
post #89 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTV Maniac View Post

OK, so here is the setup as it stands right now. Please let me know if I have overlooked anything or if I need to make any changes.
  • 4x4 HDMI Matrix from Monoprice (PID 5704) with output 1 going to Z1 AVR and outputs 2 and 3 going directly to Pioneer Plasma 101FD Monitor in Z2 and Sharp LCD in Z3.
  • Onkyo TX-NR616 3-zone AVR to receive HDMI output 1 from matrix and all digital and analog audio connections from connected sources. Z1 speakers (7.1) connected directly to AVR.
  • All sources on the matrix will have digital audio out split (with 1 branch converted to stereo RCA) and going to the AVR (so I can get 5.1 audio to Z1 from digital connections and be able to access all audio in Z2 and Z3 via the analog connections).
  • Zone 2 and Zone 3 RCA audio out from AVR to go to individual stereo amplifier (Audiosource AMP-100) and Z2 and Z3 speakers connected to it's own amplifier.
  • Any local sources that need to be added to Z1 (such as BD for 7.1 sound) will use up other HDMI inputs on the AVR.
  • Next Generation IR remote control extender along with 2-3 URC R50 IR remotes to control everything remotely based on an RF system.
  • Possibility to add iTach IP2IR adapter to control everything via the network and use the Roomie remote app (especially for the basement theater, thereby not needing an R50 remote for that zone).
Let me know what you all think and if I missed anything.
Thanks

How are you down mixing a 5.1 signal to stereo audio, and hasn't it been discussed that if you input a digital 5.1 into the Onkyo it will not output stereo analog out for zone 2 and 3? I think the signal coming in has to be a PCM signal.
post #90 of 194
Thread Starter 
I'm firstly splitting the digital audio (coax or optical) output from the source using a digital audio splitter from Monoprice (PID 966 for optical and PID 6261 for coax) and then 1 branch of the splitter would go to the digital audio input of the AVR (for multi channel sound in Z1) and the other branch would go through a digital to analog decoder/converter (such as this one) for connection to the analog audio inputs of the AVR in order to feed Z2 and Z3.
Edited by HDTV Maniac - 8/16/12 at 11:14am
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