Review - Monoprice 5x1 HDMI switch (no sparkles @ 1080p 60Hz & 50ft HDMI cable) - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 596 Old 03-02-2006, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audvid View Post

Sean,

1. Do you have plans to introduce a 5X2 (with two identical/parallel outputs) unit? I would like to be able to watch the same picture on two TVs, simultaneously.

I've received a sample for a 5X4 HDMI switcher splitter and will have 5X4 HDMI switcher splitter for sale shortly.

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Originally Posted by audvid View Post

2. Would there be a signal degradation, if I were to attach a 2 in and 2 out device to your 5X1 switch output.

This 5X1 HDMI switcher has Equalizer built-in and no signal loss was found when used it with a few 50ft HDMI cables at 1080p/60Hz.
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post #32 of 596 Old 03-02-2006, 06:03 PM
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I hope you will be able to convince sflub to do a test on the upcoming 5X4. When is the anticipated date? You don't need to give a firm date but just an estimate.
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post #33 of 596 Old 03-03-2006, 12:14 PM
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Initial tests shows no sparklies compared to the previous 4x1 HDMI switch. Now I am a happy camper. Thanks, Sean of Monoprice for an excellent product.

Sony SATHD200
Momitsu 880 DVD Player
Monoprice 5x1 HDMI Switch
Optoma H78DC3 DLP Projector

Soon: Sony PS3 (hopefully)
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post #34 of 596 Old 03-03-2006, 04:56 PM
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I received my monoprice 5X1 converter today but I have a problem. When I run my Sony DVP-NS90V into my VPL-VW100 directly I get a 1080i signal just fine, but when I run it through the 5X1 it comes out 480P. Anyone have a similar problem? Why would this change the signal from 1080i to 480P?

Thanks

Evan
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post #35 of 596 Old 03-03-2006, 05:38 PM
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The switcher is now changing my cable box to 480P as well. It is a motorola DCT-3412. It is actually changing the cable boxes settings. I have to keep going back into the box and change them to 1080i. Then when I use the switcher the cable boxes internal settings change to 480P.
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post #36 of 596 Old 03-03-2006, 07:40 PM
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Evan,

I had a similar problem using a Toshiba DVD player and a different box. It was a DVI 2X2 box from digital connection. The Toshiba had HDMI output and when ever I connected it to the DVI 2X2 box (using hdmi to dvi cable), it would revert back from 1080i to 480p. I had to get rid of that player and get a Zenith with DVI output.

You problem seems to be similar.

As I understand, it has to do with "hand shake" of the hdmi protocol.
My guess is that: The source devices are not recognizing the monoprice 5X1 switch's hdmi circuit as a hdcp compliant device (even if it truly is a hdcp compliant device).

I am not familiar enough with the technical details. I am sure that there are experts on this forum who can clarify this.

Basically, you might need to get a different 5X1 switch or monoprice will have to fix this problem. Have you tried Octava? They too have a similar switch in a similar price range.

It seems that the monoprice is working fine for many devices. I hope there is a solution for this or that there is a product which does not have this problem. I too spent several hours trying to figure this out before tossing the toshiba DVD player out. I did not get a chance to try any other hdmi dvd player.

I have another box from digital connections: It converts dvi to rgbhv. It works fine with my directv hdtivo hdmi output but it too did not work with the toshiba 1080i hdmi. Hence, monoprice box might not be completely at fault. Perhaps some companies are not following hdmi protocols properly - whether its monoprice or toshiba or sony - its difficult to identify. We might as well start with monoprice, since Sean is willing to listen/help.
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post #37 of 596 Old 03-04-2006, 05:32 AM
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To sfhub, thanks for the reviews. Your testing gives great insight to the problems and pitfalls one should expect when connecting multiple DVI and HDMI sources to HDCP compliant display devices.

It will probably be several years until these types of connections can be made as simply and reliably as high impedance RCA connections have been with audio/video equipment sold in the last 20 years. I can remember when many experts and users alike complained that RCA connections and CE standards were poorly designed and would be unreliable and difficult to interface for general population use.

Some recent digging on the internet found some other HDMI and DVI switch products that may prove interesting for you to take a look at:

DAEWOO HDS 21A HDMI 2 port switch
AV Link HDMI M 41 HDMI 4 port switch (manual)
Digi Media HDMI E41HDMI 4 port switch (remote)
Sima VS-HD31 HDMI 3 port switch (remote)
Video Storm VRM-62D HDMI and DVI inputs
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post #38 of 596 Old 03-04-2006, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESGSeattle View Post

The switcher is now changing my cable box to 480P as well. It is a motorola DCT-3412. It is actually changing the cable boxes settings. I have to keep going back into the box and change them to 1080i. Then when I use the switcher the cable boxes internal settings change to 480P.

What length cables are you using?

I tested with Motorola DCT-5100 and didn't see the problem you are describing.

With most cable boxes though it is best when connecting to a HDMI/DVI switch if you pull the power plug then plug it back in and immediately select the cable box so it is the active device on the switch. The reason is many cable boxes do not renegotiate properly when the cable is disconnected. They only do the negotiation when they are first powered up and if they aren't the active device when first powered up, they revert to basic 480p mode.

You might be seeing something similar with the DVD player. With the DVD player though, I don't think you'll need to pull the power plug to renegotiate. They should renegotiate just fine using the power button on the remote.

The cable box needs to pull the plug because it never really shuts off even when you press the power button on the remote (plus many have simplistic designs that assume you never disconnect the cable)

Not saying this is definitely your problem, but that is what I would test first. Basically select the device you are testing as the active device prior to powering up.
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post #39 of 596 Old 03-04-2006, 08:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audvid View Post

I had a similar problem using a Toshiba DVD player and a different box. It was a DVI 2X2 box from digital connection. The Toshiba had HDMI output and when ever I connected it to the DVI 2X2 box (using hdmi to dvi cable), it would revert back from 1080i to 480p. I had to get rid of that player and get a Zenith with DVI output.

You problem seems to be similar.

As I understand, it has to do with "hand shake" of the hdmi protocol.
My guess is that: The source devices are not recognizing the monoprice 5X1 switch's hdmi circuit as a hdcp compliant device (even if it truly is a hdcp compliant device).
...
I have another box from digital connections: It converts dvi to rgbhv. It works fine with my directv hdtivo hdmi output but it too did not work with the toshiba 1080i hdmi. Hence, monoprice box might not be completely at fault. Perhaps some companies are not following hdmi protocols properly - whether its monoprice or toshiba or sony - its difficult to identify. We might as well start with monoprice, since Sean is willing to listen/help.

What you described is one possible explanation. I could be wrong, but as I understand the design of the 5x1 switch, it is a HDMI/HDCP passthrough device so it should pass through HDCP to the display thus there is nothing to recognize on the switch.

My two first choices as explanations would be
1) the source device was not selected as active when it was powered up and that messed up HDMI/HDCP negotiation. Well designed products will detect hot plug and will renegotiate when they become the active device. Poorly designed products only negotiate when they are first powered up.
2) cable length, while not affective video quality per se, is introducing enough delays (when used through the switcher) that parts of negotiation process that have more aggressive timings are timing out causing negotiation to not complete properly

I'm just trying to be helpful and offer some explanations. It could easily be what you describe or something else.

The DVI to RGBHV device is a little different. That device actually is an HDCP device vs being passthrough. So your reasoning would certainly be valid for that device.
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post #40 of 596 Old 03-04-2006, 12:26 PM
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Just connected the new 5-port multi-switch from monoprice. So far everything looks great. No snow or other picture quality issues. I hope it stays this way. The equipment using is listed below.




Panasonic TH-50PX50U
5-LNB/H20
HR10-250
Harmony 880
Sony DAV-FR8 HT
LG-511

Always smell it first.
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post #41 of 596 Old 03-05-2006, 12:43 PM
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Well, I am having some minor issues right now with my setup that includes the Monoprice 5x1 switch. However, I haven't totally ruled out yet that the problem is with the cable box (Motorola 6200 series), the DVD player (Oppo), or the cables.

On a side note, has anyone yet been able to program a Harmony 880 with the discrete input codes for the switcher?
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post #42 of 596 Old 03-05-2006, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Hammer View Post

On a side note, has anyone yet been able to program a Harmony 880 with the discrete input codes for the switcher?

Yes, I did it this weekend. Just run the learning commands.

Always smell it first.
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post #43 of 596 Old 03-05-2006, 03:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Hammer View Post

Well, I am having some minor issues right now with my setup that includes the Monoprice 5x1 switch. However, I haven't totally ruled out yet that the problem is with the cable box (Motorola 6200 series), the DVD player (Oppo), or the cables.

On a side note, has anyone yet been able to program a Harmony 880 with the discrete input codes for the switcher?

What sorts of issues did you have with Oppo? and Motorola?

Keep in mind with Motorola, it is suggested when you first *plug in the power cable* of the cable box, have it be the active selected input. Many cable boxes have problems if you plug the power in when they aren't the active input, then later switch them to the active input. Basically they like to see the HDCP keys when they are first powered up, but after that they never really power down even if you turn the power off from the remote.
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post #44 of 596 Old 03-06-2006, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfhub View Post

What sorts of issues did you have with Oppo? and Motorola?

Keep in mind with Motorola, it is suggested when you first *plug in the power cable* of the cable box, have it be the active selected input. Many cable boxes have problems if you plug the power in when they aren't the active input, then later switch them to the active input. Basically they like to see the HDCP keys when they are first powered up, but after that they never really power down even if you turn the power off from the remote.

Well, I am starting to think that the problem isn't with the 5x1 switcher, but rather with the Oppo. I am getting tons of horizontal red lines when I go to upconvert the DVI output. I'll also try the "unplugging" on the Motorola, as it seems that Comcast hasn't been able to successfully send me a full signal as of yet and this may be part of the reason. So, if I understand this correctly, I should have the Motorola plugged in to the switcher, and the switcher selecting the input for the Motorola....and THEN I actually plug in (to an outlet for power) the Motorola unit. Is this right?
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post #45 of 596 Old 03-06-2006, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Hammer View Post

So, if I understand this correctly, I should have the Motorola plugged in to the switcher, and the switcher selecting the input for the Motorola....and THEN I actually plug in (to an outlet for power) the Motorola unit. Is this right?

Basically you have the right idea, but the 5x1 switch has active signal detection so it won't let you select the Motorola box when the power plug of the Motorola box isn't plugged in. Instead, plug the power plug of Motorola in, then immediately select the input corresponding to the Motorola.

If it works, then this is something that really only needs to be done once, because the cable box never shuts itself off, even if you press the power button on the remote. After the box has negotiated HDCP you can hot swap from that point on.

If the cable box gets reset in the future, firmware update, ping from cable co to reset box, power outage, etc. you will have to do it again, but hopefully those don't happen too often.

I just helped a person with a Scientific Atlanta 8300 which had the same problem with Gefen 4x1 switch, in this thread:
https://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=652892
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post #46 of 596 Old 03-06-2006, 02:05 PM
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I received the new box on Friday hooked it up, and there is no picture form my S97, I get the code in the review article. I have a 30' cable that runs from my ae700 to the switching box, to the dvd player and my sat. box, h10. I have nothing but snow on the sat. box and no picture from the dvd player. I wish this unit would work and Sean from Monoprice has been very helpful even if the box will not work. I had to return the 4 plug hdmi switch even though the dvd player worked great it would not work with my sat box all the time, sometimes it would link up and sometime nothing but snow. I really want a switching box, any recommendations. I would like to say that Sean has been very very helpful with my problem.
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post #47 of 596 Old 03-06-2006, 02:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jediknightbobby View Post

I have nothing but snow on the sat. box and no picture from the dvd player.

For the Sat box, have you tried the same suggestion I made above for the cable box? Basically pull the power plug on the Sat box, plug the power back in to Sat box, and immediately make sure the Sat device is selected on the 5x1 switch. When you have all snow, then that is a problem with HDCP keys not being properly negotiated. Basically you are viewing encrypted video without properly decrypting.

With the "U 70-2" error on the S97, the only workaround I found is to use a shorter output cable. I listed what cable lengths worked for me in the review.
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post #48 of 596 Old 03-06-2006, 03:27 PM
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I wish I could use a shorter cable, but no luck. I installed all of my cable in the wall on a new home construction. I have a projector and the cable length is correct for my application. I really wish I could use the unit. I must say again that Sean from Monoprice has been great. I am still wondering where this leaves me? Any suggestions on a switching box that might work. I have talked to Walt B on this site and he tried the Octava box on a panny dvd player and had the same results that I am having with the box from Monoprice. I'm not sure where to turn to next. The only thing that I did not ask Walt was if he purchased the signal booster box that might help with the length of the cable.
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post #49 of 596 Old 03-06-2006, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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The only thing that I did not ask Walt was if he purchased the signal booster box that might help with the length of the cable.

I've tried the extender. It doesn't help. I don't believe it is a signal strength issue anyhow.

In my opinion the Panasonic DVD player is being overly aggressive in its timing expectations. Other devices work fine with 50ft cables but the Panny has troubles at 25ft.
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post #50 of 596 Old 03-07-2006, 07:44 AM
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I wonder if the switching box will work with the new hd-dvd players that are coming to market this month. I was thinking about purchasing one and replacing my S97 anyway. Then I could keep the box. This whole hdmi thing is crazy, I keep wondering if the ps3 or the xbox 360 at sometime will work with different switch boxes. Do you buy one today and have everything work,just to find out the next thing that you put in your case won't.
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post #51 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 04:21 AM
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Well, I managed to get the proper "handshake" between the cable box and the rest of my equipment. Thank you, sfhub, for helping me with that. However, one issue remains. Anytime I use the upconversion of the Oppo, or try to send a 720p or 1080i signal using the cable box, I am getting red artifacts. With the Oppo they are more severe red horizontal lines. With the Cable box, they are more like speckles (this may be the "sparklies" people refer to, I'm not sure). The cables I am using are from BlueJeansCable, so I assume the quality is ok, and the run is under 35 feet. I have the cable company coming out to test the power/quality of the signal this morning. Unfortunately, I assume that the problem probably lies with the switcher as I am getting a similar issue from 2 different components. Does my hypothesis sound right or do you folks have any other ideas?
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post #52 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 05:34 AM
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So the cable company came and went. We even did a direct feed from outside of the house into the box, still getting the red speckles. I'm thinking it is the box and have dispatched an email to Monoprice. I'll let everyone know if anything interesting turns up.
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post #53 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 06:30 AM
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Please pardon the obvious question - I might have missed reading in your previous posting - how is the picture without the monoprice box? Considering the 35 ft length.. how much different is the picture with and without the monoprice box?
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post #54 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Hammer View Post

So the cable company came and went. We even did a direct feed from outside of the house into the box, still getting the red speckles. I'm thinking it is the box and have dispatched an email to Monoprice. I'll let everyone know if anything interesting turns up.

What is the display you are using? There is actually a wide variation in the performance of the HDMI/DVI receiver chips used in displays. Some of the earlier Silicon Image chips barely meet the receiver guideline, and definately will not properly receive a HDMI signal from a copper cable longer than 15 ft. The newer chips are MUCH better, and can handle much more signal degradation before you start to see the speckles/lines.

Do you get these speckles if you connect directly (take out the hdmi switch)?

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post #55 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audvid View Post

Please pardon the obvious question - I might have missed reading in your previous posting - how is the picture without the monoprice box? Considering the 35 ft length.. how much different is the picture with and without the monoprice box?

Actually, we haven't done that experiment yet. The only way we will get to try it (later today) is to bring the DVD player over to the projector and use the 3 ft DVI/HDMI cable. Problem is that the long run is an HDMI/HDMI cable and the DVD player outputs through DVI. This will, however, only reduce the problem possibilities. For instance, if the picture still has the red artifacts I can then assume the problem is with the DVD player, the 3 ft cable, or the projector, and rules out the switch. However, I won't know if it is just the projector causing a problem (I have three different cables I can try to experiment).

Quote:
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What is the display you are using? There is actually a wide variation in the performance of the HDMI/DVI receiver chips used in displays. Some of the earlier Silicon Image chips barely meet the receiver guideline, and definately will not properly receive a HDMI signal from a copper cable longer than 15 ft. The newer chips are MUCH better, and can handle much more signal degradation before you start to see the speckles/lines.

Do you get these speckles if you connect directly (take out the hdmi switch)?

The display I am using is a Panasonic PT-AE900U, with less than 30 hours on it. The chip should be good enough in terms of quality (assuming there is nothing wrong with it). Once I do the above experiment, I might have a better idea of where the problem lies.
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post #56 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 09:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Hammer View Post

Actually, we haven't done that experiment yet. The only way we will get to try it (later today) is to bring the DVD player over to the projector and use the 3 ft DVI/HDMI cable. Problem is that the long run is an HDMI/HDMI cable and the DVD player outputs through DVI. This will, however, only reduce the problem possibilities. For instance, if the picture still has the red artifacts I can then assume the problem is with the DVD player, the 3 ft cable, or the projector, and rules out the switch. However, I won't know if it is just the projector causing a problem (I have three different cables I can try to experiment).

Are you using any DVI->HDMI or HDMI->DVI dongles? If you are try adjusting the config to get rid of those. As a matter of troubleshooting, I wouldn't assume the cables are fine, regardless of who they are from. I would assume everything is the culprit until you can definitively eliminate one as a suspect.

What I would do is start with a known working config and start introducing components until you figure out what the culprit is. Don't worry whether it is practical for the setup to be your final config. This is just troubleshooting. Once you figure out the problem, you can decide how to address it. So basically if you can move your cable box (it doesn't matter if you have no cable outlet, the box will still send some video output saying there is something wrong with the channel) and oppo closer to the projector, connect with shorter cables direct to projector. See if there is any problem. Then connect the switch to the shorter cable one device to the switch. If there are no problems, disconnect the first device and connect the second. See if there are any problems. Then replace the output cable of the 5x1 switch with a longer cable.

I can't say for sure because I haven't tested your equipment, but unless the switch you got is defective, it wouldn't be my first choice as to the problem. I tested a lot of equipment even at higher bandwidth than you are testing and with longer cables. Never got sparkles on any equipment, except once when I was using a DVI->HDMI dongle which wasn't up to par. When I replaced the dongle the sparkles were gone.
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post #57 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 09:54 AM
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Well, I'm not using any dongles, just a DVI-HDMI cable from the DVD to switch(same with cable) and then an HDMI-HDMI cable from the switch to the projector. I'll be doing the tests this afternoon so we'll see what happens.
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post #58 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 01:41 PM
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OK, latest results of my amateur testing would lead me to believe it is the switch that is the problem, and not the cable. Also, the cable length (I would think) would not be the problem as there was no issues at all with the lower resolutions, just the higher ones. I'm sure I'm wrong with this assumption, but I would think that if the problem was the cables, I would still experience some sort of issue at 480p, and something progressively worse as I tried to do 720 and 1080. This was not the case though, as 480 was clear and 720 and 1080 were equally bad. No sweat though, as long as Monoprice switches out the units for me easily I have no qualms.
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post #59 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 03:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Hammer View Post

OK, latest results of my amateur testing would lead me to believe it is the switch that is the problem, and not the cable. Also, the cable length (I would think) would not be the problem as there was no issues at all with the lower resolutions, just the higher ones. I'm sure I'm wrong with this assumption, but I would think that if the problem was the cables, I would still experience some sort of issue at 480p, and something progressively worse as I tried to do 720 and 1080. This was not the case though, as 480 was clear and 720 and 1080 were equally bad. No sweat though, as long as Monoprice switches out the units for me easily I have no qualms.

Could you detail what you tested and in what order?

Your assumption that if it is the cable, then you would definitely see problems at 480p is not correct. With 720p/1080i and most of all with 1080p, there are less tolerance for problems with the eye diagram, so it is quite possible for a cable to test fine at 480p, but not at 720p/1080i.

The higher the bandwidth, the more problems can be exposed all over the TMDS chain.

Those problems can be in the TMDS transmitters, the cable, the switch, or the receiver.

nVidia had a problem with their graphics card where the TMDS transmitters weren't up to par and they weren't reliable above 135MHz which means they couldn't do 1600x1200 and 1920x1080 reliably.

http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...1367926,00.asp

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Here is an example of poor TMDS transmitter coupled with longer cable causing issues.
http://www.extremetech.com/article2/...1367919,00.asp
Cable length can be an issue. We've seen 135MHz DVI signals drive a compliant 1600x1200 display - until you attach a ten-foot (three-meter) cable. Then the image quality takes a nosedive.


IMO it makes sense to do specific tests to isolate the problem and I can't tell from what you've written so far what has been tested. Of course if the switch is defective you should have it replaced. I'm just trying to save you some back and forth with returning the unit, until you've really determined where the problem is. Maybe you have already, but just haven't described what you tested in enough detail. I was a little concerned because some of the assumptions you are making are not accurate and that may lead to incorrect conclusions.
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post #60 of 596 Old 03-08-2006, 08:52 PM
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Well, I'm having the same problem with the monoprice 5x1 switch with the panasonic s97 DVD player.
I'm running 6ft to the switch then 16 ft to Panasonic AU900.
I tried different cables, with no help. My 16 ft cable is highend HDMI from dvigear.
All the cables are HDMI to HDMI.
My HD receiver from Direct TV works fine, HD programs as well.
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