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post #1 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 08:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Question with Video and HDMI Matrix

Hello,

I've never worked with an HDMI Matrix before but I have a situation with my friends house where it might be needed, I wanted to ask you all if this scenario was a good use of a Matrix or if there is a better solution out there? Let me explain what I'm facing...

Currently he has a media closet on one side of his house (lets say its the east side), where his AVR is located and all of his A/V equipment, cable boxes, Blu-Rays, etc, I've been tasked with helping him de-clutter it all because he's dropping his Cox cable TV and wants to go nVidia Shields and Chromecasts throughout the house, he's a Google Play/YouTube TV ecosystem guy. He has a Pioneer Elite AVR with one HDMI output. He has 7 TVs mounted in various rooms of his house. Only 3 of these TVs will need a source from the AVR that also will play sound from the speakers he has installed in his ceilings (whole home audio system). So 4 of those 7 TV I will install a Chromecast and that will take care of the video needs in those rooms. Its the other 3 that are posing a challenge...

TV 1 is in his Living Room, the main location of watching TV and listening to music.
TV 2 is in his Master Bedroom, the 2nd most watched location of TV and listening to music.
TV 3 is on his back patio, mainly a leisure area to listen to Google Play Music and play YouTube videos

So the challenge is to get all 3 TVs, which have audio from the whole home audio system, to play the video source of choice to those TVs and play the audio out of the speakers. The ideal would be TV 1 and 2 would have their own nVidia Shields, TV 3 would have a Chromecast (nVidia Shield if necssary). TV 1 is also where Blu-Ray movies/concerts are played. As you know nVidia Shield and Chromecasts are all HDMI only inputs. So I need a solution that will allow me to push video from nVidia Shield 1 and BluRay 1 to HDTV 1 in LR, then nVidia Shield 2 to HTDV 2 in Master Bedroom, and finally Chromecast 1 (or nVidia Shield 3) to HDTV 3 on patio, and also play the audio over the speakers, not necessarily at the same time, he usually only is in one room at a time, so that doesn't matter if it can/can't do that, I suppose its nice if it can, but not a big deal if it can't.

Currently the LR HDTV is where the AVR HDMI Out is fed to, it has 3 sources right now to choose from, after the de-clutter, it will just have nVidia and Blu-Ray.
The other two (of the said 3) TVs have long run HDMI cables from the closet to each TV, so right now TV 2 has an HDMI from a Cox Mini box run to that TV in the Master Bedroom, but then its actually using splitter in the Master Bedroom that goes out and feeds to the HDTV 3 on the patio. So its like a mirror of the master, whatever is on in there is mirrored out there. Not ideal but works for now and gets something playing out side.

So the best case is to get all 3 of these TVs with nVidia/Chromecast signals, all from one location in the closet, and with audio overhead via the in ceiling speakers.
I know nothing about the ceiling speakers, the have wall plate mounts where he can control the volume and sources etc, I assume that is all hooked up into his AVR and I can investigate it more in depth when I start removing the Cox cables and all the spaghetti they have in the closet.

I'd like to know more about how HDMI Matrix systems work, it seems they may be my easiest fix for the 3 TVs?
The other discussed solution is a new AVR with more than one HDMI out, I've seen one with two, but do they have ones with more than 2 HDMI outs that would push the signal to the TVs needed?
It also seems that there is an issue with these nVidia Shields and the signal over the longer HDMI runs, I did a simple test and pulled the HDMI cable from the Cox Mini box that runs to the Master Bedroom (farthest room from the media closet) and I couldn't get a signal. Moved it around to some other rooms that were fed from same closet to other Cox TV boxes (swapped out) and they worked, so it seems some of the length of run is good for the nVidia Shield. He has some HDMI extender box in the mess of cables that I think might push the signal but its still not helping with the nVidia and the far away TVs.

So what I'd like to do is pull the Cox stuff out of the system, and basically setup two nVidia Shields and one Chromecast and one BluRay Payer to the AVR inputs and then output the signal to 3 different TVs. So its 4 different sources, to 3 different TVs, with sound over head from speakers.

The ideal situation would also just allow us to set the sources for each TV and not do a lot of manual matrix HDMI Switching by pushing buttons on a switch etc, just set it and thats whats always going to that source TV.

So is an HDMI Matrix capable of doing this kind of job or do I need to consider other options or a new AVR?

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post #2 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 08:42 AM - Thread Starter
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I realize that post was long winded, I guess the simple explanation is I have 3 TVs, that need audio/video from 3 different sources, all from 1 location in the house and the audio is setup via whole home audio from one AVR in that same location so the ideal situation would be to put all the sources into the one AVR to push the video to the 3 different TVs.
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post #3 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Reading through some of the posts in this forum, a matrix with HDMI over IP might be a good solution. Even though HDMI has been run to the 3 main TVs I'm starting to think the previous person who did the original install, took advantage and overcharged him for things like 100ft of HDMI cable run to the back bedrooms and patio.

The Just Add Power system looks enticing, along with other similar systems. I'm understanding how the video distribution works on these kinds of systems, some what, but not sure about the audio?
Just the main zone, LR has surround sound, the others are all stereo, how would an HDMI over IP matrix distribute sound?
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post #4 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisMc73 View Post
Reading through some of the posts in this forum, a matrix with HDMI over IP might be a good solution. Even though HDMI has been run to the 3 main TVs I'm starting to think the previous person who did the original install, took advantage and overcharged him for things like 100ft of HDMI cable run to the back bedrooms and patio.

The Just Add Power system looks enticing, along with other similar systems. I'm understanding how the video distribution works on these kinds of systems, some what, but not sure about the audio?
Just the main zone, LR has surround sound, the others are all stereo, how would an HDMI over IP matrix distribute sound?
An HDMI matrix allow you to send to any source to any destination. If you have 3 sources and 3 destinations, then you would need a 3 X 3 matrix. I don't know that those exist, so 4x4 is probably what you need.

For wiring, each HDMI source goes directly to one of the inputs on the matrix. The matrix output goes directly to the AVR receiver so it deals with sound and video the way it normally does. Then the HDMI output of the AVR receiver goes directly to the TV. So you need one AVR receiver per TV. This generally means that all hardware, but the TV is co-located and the only thing running to the TV room is HDMI and speaker wire. The only real challenge on the wiring side is the long run from the receiver to the TV room and getting the HDMI to work. They now make long HDMI cables for this express purpose, but running them behind walls is difficult because of the large HDMI plug. The best way I have found is to run cat 6 and use an HDMI transmitter/receiver to communicate HDMI across the Ethernet wire.

The other challenge with this scenario is getting the commands from the TV room to the hardware located somewhere else. As an example these commands will turn on the TV, the cable box, the AVR receiver and set their inputs correctly - they will also change channels and volume as well as a host of other things. To my knowledge, there are 3 ways to do this:

1) IR
2) RS-232
3) Ethernet

IR is the least expensive since you are still using the remotes from all of the equipment (or a harmony one remote system) and are essentially copying the IR commands from the TV room and running them to the hardware room. Most HDMI matrices have inputs and outputs for IR commands to do this for you. IR is somewhat finicky for many reasons.

RS-232 and Ethernet control need some sort of control system (Simple Control, Control 4, Crestron, URC, etc ...) to give you a command interface, to interpret the commands you give and to translate them into RS-232 or Ethernet commands for the hardware.

Most older hardware does not support control by Ethernet, but will support control over RS-232.
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post #5 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisMc73 View Post
Reading through some of the posts in this forum, a matrix with HDMI over IP might be a good solution. Even though HDMI has been run to the 3 main TVs I'm starting to think the previous person who did the original install, took advantage and overcharged him for things like 100ft of HDMI cable run to the back bedrooms and patio.

The Just Add Power system looks enticing, along with other similar systems. I'm understanding how the video distribution works on these kinds of systems, some what, but not sure about the audio?
Just the main zone, LR has surround sound, the others are all stereo, how would an HDMI over IP matrix distribute sound?
Long HDMI cables are very expensive and 5-10 years ago had very limited selection.

Most HDMI matrices do not distribute sound (other than the sound carried on the HDMI signal). For the TV room, the AVR receiver will separate the sound and send it to the speakers. For stereo rooms, you will need to find other solutions. DAC (Digital to Analog Audio converter serves this role quite nicely. All that I have seen take coaxial digital or toslink in and create RCA or headphone jack out. A lot of the HDMI sources that I have seen have separate digital audio outs. Some also have analog outs too.
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post #6 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garet Jax View Post
Long HDMI cables are very expensive and 5-10 years ago had very limited selection.



Most HDMI matrices do not distribute sound (other than the sound carried on the HDMI signal). For the TV room, the AVR receiver will separate the sound and send it to the speakers. For stereo rooms, you will need to find other solutions. DAC (Digital to Analog Audio converter serves this role quite nicely. All that I have seen take coaxial digital or toslink in and create RCA or headphone jack out. A lot of the HDMI sources that I have seen have separate digital audio outs. Some also have analog outs too.


Is the audio that’s carried over HDMI not good enough? Normally that’s all you have right? HDMI from source component to AVR and then the AVR plays the audio out to the speakers?


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post #7 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 01:00 PM
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Is the audio that’s carried over HDMI not good enough? Normally that’s all you have right? HDMI from source component to AVR and then the AVR plays the audio out to the speakers?


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Audio on the HDMI channel is more than good enough. It's more that getting it out of the HDMI channel is difficult without an AVR or a separate audio only channel.

Yes, normally you run the HDMI source to the AVR and that is all that is needed for both audio and video. The AVR splits the audio out and runs it to the 5.1, 7.1, 11.2, etc... speaker setup. It also run the HDMI signal to the TV for the video (and audio if the TV speakers are good enough, but then why have a receiver).
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post #8 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 01:46 PM
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What's the whole house audio device in use here? Just an A/V receiver or something?

If it's an actual WHA unit, I would pull analog audio from the devices you want into the WHA and use the HDMI to send video to the TV. Control volume at the WHA unit. Or buy a real WHA unit. The monoprice one is cheap and seems to be well liked here

Or, drop the devices behind the TVs and use the TV's audio output (if it has it) over a balun back to where the speaker wire is homerun and use an amp there. Volume is controlled at the TV with the TV remote

Or buy a higher end receiver that has multi zone capability, you will still need to figure out a way to control it from all rooms
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post #9 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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What's the whole house audio device in use here? Just an A/V receiver or something?

If it's an actual WHA unit, I would pull analog audio from the devices you want into the WHA and use the HDMI to send video to the TV. Control volume at the WHA unit. Or buy a real WHA unit. The monoprice one is cheap and seems to be well liked here

Or, drop the devices behind the TVs and use the TV's audio output (if it has it) over a balun back to where the speaker wire is homerun and use an amp there. Volume is controlled at the TV with the TV remote

Or buy a higher end receiver that has multi zone capability, you will still need to figure out a way to control it from all rooms
He's got a Pioneer AVR and some kind of WHA unit in there, I am just not familiar with the setup for that. The problem with using analog audio from the devices are there are no analog outputs from an nVidia Shield or Chromecast, the BluRay maybe, but not the other two, its all HDMI. Are there any AVRs with 3 A/V zones?
I'm mean he's simplifying his setup by removing Cox Cable boxes and a few BluRay players. Going to just nVidia Sheilds and Chrome casts. Maybe you're right and each device just needs to be behind the

Do the Tx or Rx of these HDMI Matrix setups not have audio out via analog cables that we could run to an AVR? So like the nVidia connect via HDMI to a Tx, but then on the other side of the HDMI connection, the out to the Rx, is there not an audio out that could hook up to an AVR or WHA?

TVs and use the TVs audio out to go back to the AVR amp? Man this is looking like a lot more than I can chew, that I've bitten off.

Last edited by ChrisMc73; 04-16-2018 at 02:13 PM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 04-16-2018, 02:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Garet Jax View Post
An HDMI matrix allow you to send to any source to any destination. If you have 3 sources and 3 destinations, then you would need a 3 X 3 matrix. I don't know that those exist, so 4x4 is probably what you need.

For wiring, each HDMI source goes directly to one of the inputs on the matrix. The matrix output goes directly to the AVR receiver so it deals with sound and video the way it normally does. Then the HDMI output of the AVR receiver goes directly to the TV. So you need one AVR receiver per TV. This generally means that all hardware, but the TV is co-located and the only thing running to the TV room is HDMI and speaker wire. The only real challenge on the wiring side is the long run from the receiver to the TV room and getting the HDMI to work. They now make long HDMI cables for this express purpose, but running them behind walls is difficult because of the large HDMI plug. The best way I have found is to run cat 6 and use an HDMI transmitter/receiver to communicate HDMI across the Ethernet wire.

The other challenge with this scenario is getting the commands from the TV room to the hardware located somewhere else. As an example these commands will turn on the TV, the cable box, the AVR receiver and set their inputs correctly - they will also change channels and volume as well as a host of other things. To my knowledge, there are 3 ways to do this:

1) IR
2) RS-232
3) Ethernet

IR is the least expensive since you are still using the remotes from all of the equipment (or a harmony one remote system) and are essentially copying the IR commands from the TV room and running them to the hardware room. Most HDMI matrices have inputs and outputs for IR commands to do this for you. IR is somewhat finicky for many reasons.

RS-232 and Ethernet control need some sort of control system (Simple Control, Control 4, Crestron, URC, etc ...) to give you a command interface, to interpret the commands you give and to translate them into RS-232 or Ethernet commands for the hardware.

Most older hardware does not support control by Ethernet, but will support control over RS-232.
He's got the IR setup in place, its working good with his current setup and is in fact using a Harmony Remote with Hub system and the IR transmitters and receivers.
So your suggestion says that he'd need 3 AVR's for the 3 different TVs he wants to go to? Or possibly an AVR with 3 or more Zones to send Video and Audio to?
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What about if I just used HDMI Audio Extractors for the Master Bedroom and Patio, so that I could basically use the existing HDMI cables that are there in place right now, but with the audio extractors, I can run the Red/White analog audio to the WHA system that is in place, and he would just set the source on his wall panel to whatever zone/source is setup for that particular device. Then I wouldn't need a matrix, cause the video would just run straight from the closet and source there to the TVs in the master bedroom and patio.

I think that is my cheapest and easiest solution, if it works that way? I think it can, the extractor would just send the 2 channel audio to the master and patio (thats all they use/need). The living room would stay the same using the AVR and its surround sound setup, nothing would change there. I think this is my resolution...the HDMI Audio Extractor.

What do you all think?
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So I need a solution that will allow me to push video from nVidia Shield 1 and BluRay 1 to HDTV 1 in LR, then nVidia Shield 2 to HTDV 2 in Master Bedroom, and finally Chromecast 1 (or nVidia Shield 3) to HDTV 3 on patio, and also play the audio over the speakers, not necessarily at the same time, he usually only is in one room at a time, so that doesn't matter if it can/can't do that, I suppose its nice if it can, but not a big deal if it can't.
This doesn't really mean you need a matrix. You just need a way to transmit the video to the TV's and extract the audio for the speakers. The 100' HDMI's will work fine for 1080P, but for 4K you should use HDBT. You just need point to point transmission with source switching where there is one more than one source, and audio extraction. The "More than one source" part doesn't comes into play on TV 1, but that's all handled by the AVR anyway, so we're really only talking about 2 displays.

A cheap AVR will do exactly what you want in each of these rooms, it's the simplest solution, requires little thought. The second would be to use an audio extractor along with those HDMI's or HDBT and just use a small amp. It's so dead simple and cheap. The audio extraction method wouldn't even require much external control.
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Yeah, you can use audio extractors to pull the analog audio. I don't like them, but they can work in a pinch.

So his wall controls have a source select? I was thinking it was a cheap speaker selector coming off of an AVR but maybe not. If it's a real WHA system, extract the analog audio and be done with it

And yes, lots of video matrix will have an option to extract audio.
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Yeah, you can use audio extractors to pull the analog audio. I don't like them, but they can work in a pinch.

So his wall controls have a source select? I was thinking it was a cheap speaker selector coming off of an AVR but maybe not. If it's a real WHA system, extract the analog audio and be done with it

And yes, lots of video matrix will have an option to extract audio.
Yeah, since he's already forked out the money for the long HDMI runs to each TV, I'll just get these audio extractors for the media closet and extract the audio to the WHA system and be done. They are simple stereo speakers no 5.1 or anything fancier. This seems like the easiest/cheapest solution and can be done pretty quickly, and uses everything already in place and then I can clean up and de-clutter the rest.

Thanks all!
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'I'm mean he's simplifying his setup by removing Cox Cable boxes and a few BluRay players. Going to just nVidia Sheilds and Chrome casts' - looking hard for where it will be simpler

'Man this is looking like a lot more than I can chew, that I've bitten off' - then suggest your 'customer' takes five and assess what he/she requires.

The installed infrastructure may have served its purposes and may or may not be ideal for how the owner now wants to use the house/media system.

Start out with a blank sheet and go through what is required - with no reference to the current system.

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'I'm mean he's simplifying his setup by removing Cox Cable boxes and a few BluRay players. Going to just nVidia Sheilds and Chrome casts' - looking hard for where it will be simpler

'Man this is looking like a lot more than I can chew, that I've bitten off' - then suggest your 'customer' takes five and assess what he/she requires.

The installed infrastructure may have served its purposes and may or may not be ideal for how the owner now wants to use the house/media system.

Start out with a blank sheet and go through what is required - with no reference to the current system.

Joe
This is not a customer, its a friend of mines father, he's retiring after this year and wants to save the $3k of Cox bills he pays a year since he's entering his retirement phase.
The nVidia Shield does simplify his setup, declutters all those 7 Cox Cable boxes out of his comm closet, and allows him one simple interface to sit down and watch YouTubeTV, Google Play Music etc, all the Google stuff, hence thats why Android TV on the nVidia Shield will help simplify his life, its what he wants. I didn't choose this setup, all his idea. The blank sheet is to use Google Media devices where he can, such as Chromecasts on the less important TVs and nVidia Shields on the more important ones (LR and Master). Thats all he wants. He can play his music watch his TV and Movies all from these devices.

So thats what I'm giving him. Thanks.
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I'd say he was your 'client'!

HDMI audio - keep in mind most (all) HDMI 'audio extractors' will not down mix 7.1/5.1 to stereo so where you share a Source to the AVR + any 'stereo' Zones you may need to limit your Sources to Stereo audio or have dedicated Sources for the AVR Zone and Stereo audio Zones.

nVidia Shield - has he had a play with one?

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I'd say he was your 'client'!



HDMI audio - keep in mind most (all) HDMI 'audio extractors' will not down mix 7.1/5.1 to stereo so where you share a Source to the AVR + any 'stereo' Zones you may need to limit your Sources to Stereo audio or have dedicated Sources for the AVR Zone and Stereo audio Zones.



nVidia Shield - has he had a play with one?



Joe


Yeah the two places we’ll extract the audio to play will be stereo only setups no 7.1/5.1 in those spots so that’s why it should work for him in these situations.

He currently has a nVidia Shield in his LR, I set it up for him after he bought it from his sons advice. He loves it, it does everything he wants and needs all from the one interface. TV, Music and Movies...one interface that was big for him. His other major key was cost savings by ditching Cox Cable TV and seven rented boxes.

I think he’ll be a pig in slop once I can get those other two TVs working with the stereo sound.


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Stereo Zones - as long as the Source is Outputting Stereo audio via HDMI (you can't have 7.1/5.1 plus 2.0 being Output at the same time) you will be good to go.

Cascading HDMI devices (Source > Switch > Extender > Extractor etc) is not always straightforward with 1080p or 2160p so ensure you 'prove' things will work before you purchase multiple units which 'look' like they should work on paper.

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