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I need some assistance in selecting HDMI and ethernet cables for my streaming setup please!

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
-Mods, I wasn't sure where to put this. If another place is more appropriate, please feel free to move this topic. Thanks!

Hello all!

I just purchased a Roku 2 XS so I could watch MLB.tv premium, as well as HBO Go, and Epix HD. I am on long term disability because of my back, so I'm stuck in bed pretty much all day watching TV. I would appreciate it if you all could help me optimize my setup. I need input on which HDMI cables and ethernet cable I should be using.

First of all, here's a picture of the setup. This is in my bedroom, so no AV receiver or speaker system. As long as the sound is clean, I don't need high def audio just yet (though I'm considering adding a sound bar).

I'm using a 32" Sony Bravia KDL-32BX420 1080p LCD television.
My DVR from Verizon FIOS HD is the Motorola QIP 7232 2
My Blu Ray player is a Sony BDP-S185
And the aforementioned Roku 2 XS
My HDMI switch is from Monoprice. Product ID 8150. 2X1 non-powered HDMI switch

Here's my issue. As you can see from the picture I provided, I have a lot of extra cable, and I'm sure because of that I'm having some signal degradation. I ordered a 1.5 foot 28 AWG HDMI cable from Monoprice, but with the TV being wall mounted, I'll be damned if I could get that thing plugged into the HDMI input on the back of the TV. So I ended up using one of my existing HDMI cables, which is like 8 feet long. That cable runs from HDMI input 1 into the HDMI switch, and the switch has my DVR and my Blu Ray plugged in. HDMI 2 on the TV has the HDMI cable from the Roku plugged in (again, the same 8 foot long variety because I could not plug it in to the back of the TV). This particular Roku has wireless and Ethernet capability, so I am running an Ethernet cable from my modem into the Roku. It's just an old blue cable I had lying around extra. It's a CAT5E cable, labled as 24 AWG.

I need recommendations on which HDMI cables I should be using, as well as which Ethernet cable I should be running from my modem into the Roku.

Secondly, the HDMI switch is non powered, but it has an input for a 5V DC power line. Should I get one of these?

Maybe I'm crazy, but it seems when I'm watching the TV now, and one of my shows, the audio is not as clean. Again, this is running from the DVR to the HDMI switch, then to the TV. Also, the picture quality seems a little less sharp. Not a lot, but noticeable.

The Blu Ray sits on top of the DVR, and the Roku to the left of them. The TV's HDMI inputs sit on the side the Roku is on.

Help please! If I have to replace all the cables, that's fine. But I need 1 Ethernet cables (one from the FIOS Modem to the Blu Ray, another from the FIOS Model to the Roku). Then I need the following HDMI:

1 short HDMI from TV HDMI input 1 to the HDMI switch.
Then 2 HDMI cables from the switch to 1.) the back of the Blu Ray and 2.) to the back of the DVR. I need the best HDMI cables available for signal clarity, yet the flexibility to "twist them" so I can get the male ends into the inputs on the back of the DVR and Blu Ray.
Lastly, a HDMI cable to run from the Roku directly into TV HDMI input #2.

Your help would be most appreciated, everybody. Thank you so much!!!!
Edited by william92371 - 2/16/13 at 5:46am
post #2 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh, one more question. Can anybody recommend a cleaner for the TV frame? It's a little scuffed up, and I'd like to clear that up. Thanks.
post #3 of 11
Just to keep things simple as you chart out your options.....

HDMI uses digital end-to-end signaling so if it is not working you will see a black screen, white "speckles" on the screen, perhaps repeated blanking, or something similar but very obvious. HDMI cable problems will not manifest as a modest softening of the picture or less "clean" audio--unless the audio is actually dropping out.


You can also find HDMI cables or adapters (for example, search monoprice for "port savers") that have a 90° (or variable) angle adjustment so the cables can be inserted easily where space is an issue. Counterintuitively, for HDMI cable runs of less than 10ft the smaller more flexible cables are often better than beefier cables that are not as flexible. Bigger (thicker) is not always better.

Edited by bluechunks - 2/16/13 at 6:31am
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you for responding, Bluechunks.

If I use one of those port savers, does that do anything to the signal? In other words, will there be any discernible drop in picture quality/sound quality with it?
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
And one other question for you. Would my system benefit from adding the power cord to the HDMI switch? Supposedly doing so boosts the signal, but I want to make sure that's accurate.

post #6 of 11
The port savers are fine, they change the signal in no way. Digital is digital as Bluechunks stated, it's there or it's not. If I recall the limit for an HDMI cable is 50', so the 10' length is a non-issue. Pretty much the same for the CAT5, what you have is fine.

I see you panel has only 2 HDMI inputs, hence the switcher. Not really an issue, but if any of your equipment has component outs you can use those too and loose the switcher. HDMI is nothing magical, component has every bit the quality of HDMI. HDMI was just developed for Hollywood's greed, it's sole reason to be is for copy protection -- not consumer quality.

All in all I'd say just shorten you cabling and you'll be fine as is - and that is just to pretty it up, it will have no impact on the audio or video.
post #7 of 11
There's a lot going on here so I'll try to get to all of it. First off, I hope that your health improves. I have had back issues for years and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

I don't see an issue with the lengths of the cables. Anything under 15+ feet shouldn't really matter so I wouldn't bother replacing them. Sure, your setup looks busy but I would just try to clean it up a bit. A few tie wraps should do the trick. Save your money there. The ethernet cable should also be fine. Just today, I moved my modem and router and used an old ethernet cable that I had laying around to hardwire my Roku. As for the switch, I have always been in favor of having an external power supply. It needs power from somewhere and, if there's no power supply, it gets it from the sources via the HDMI cable. It seems like it's working fine, though. Are you sure that your eyes aren't playing tricks on you? I ask because when I think that I see something, I start seeing something.

May I ask why you need an ethernet cable for the BD player as well? Since you have the Roku, I don't really see the need to have the BD player permanently connected to the internet. I could be missing something, though.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the continued help, guys. Much appreciated.

You know how out of it I am about AV? I didn't know what component AV was until I saw it in Matt's post. I'd seen these extra inputs, and never gave it a second thought. My FIOS DVR has component outputs, so I'll think about getting some cables and run them into the back of the TV, use HDMI output 1 for the Blu Ray, and #2 for the Roku.

Thanks again, everybody! smile.gif
Edited by william92371 - 2/17/13 at 4:17am
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
And thank you, Doctego, for the well-wishes. I messed my back up 5 years ago carrying a TV up some stairs for my girlfriend (maybe appropriate for an AV forum, lol). Had two compression fractures in my lower thoracic spine that were repaired surgically. While rehabing after that injury, I tore/blew out two discs in my lumbar spine. Those, too, were repaired. But now because of a bone condition I was born with, my spine surgeon cannot do fusion, or disc replacement, and I've got three pretty badly dehydrated discs. The joints in my back are also constantly locking up/popping on me, so I'm on vicodin all day, and a muscle relaxer. So, I'm just hanging in there hoping for another solution to present itself. My surgeon is looking at stem cell injections, but with the condition I was born with, there's no way to know if it would even work.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to thank everybody again for their input.

I placed an order with Monoprice. Bought a 3 ft 22 AWG 5-RCA component video-audio cable. Even though my TV is wall mounted, once I split the cable into their individual cords, it was pretty easy accessing the 5 component inputs. I then used the two HDMI cords for the Blu Ray and the Roku.

Used these settings courtesy of bclbob (http://www.avsforum.com/t/1335891/official-sony-kdl-32bx420-40bx420-46bx420/60):

backlight: 5
picture: 85
bright: 49
color: 55
hue: G5
color temp: warm 2
sharp: 2
gamma: 0

white balance
r-gain: -29
g-gain: -29
b-gain: -9
r-bias: -4
g-bias: -6
b-bias: -7

The picture I'm getting is just sensational. I think the component cables are giving me a better picture. I learned that unlike HDMI cables, component cables can self-correct. The blacks seem more noticeable now.

The HBO Go and Netflix look sensational on the Roku. I got rid of the cable into the Blu Ray (I can always pop it in again to do a software update. That was the reason I kept it in). I swapped out a 10 ft 24 AWG cat 6 Ethernet cable, and it's like watching a Blu Ray. Playing after a pause is instantaneous, and after a rewind takes less than a second.

I'm just thrilled with how everything looks.

So, a big thank you all again to everybody that contributed on this thread. My TV experience is much improved!!
Edited by william92371 - 2/22/13 at 1:44am
post #11 of 11
Glad it all came together for you, enjoy...
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