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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think I want to centralize my components, HD cable PVR, HD cable box, Blu-Ray and PC in my basement and distribute HD video and digital audio to 4 zones.


I know I can use a 4x4 component + digital audio matrix and use cat5e baluns. I also know there are matrix switches with cat5e outputs to forego the need for baluns at the transmitting end.


I want to know what the best option(s) would be to distribute 4 HD sources to 4 HD zones for as cheap as possible.


From my searching, I can get a 4x4 matrix switch with component video and digital audio for around $800. Adding on 4 pairs of baluns for $60 each I am just over $1000.


Looking at matrix switches with cat5e outputs and having to buy 2 pairs of baluns the cost is considerably more, around $2000.


Is there really a benefit to using the matrix switch with cat5e output that it would be worth spending twice as much? The problem is I think $800 for a matrix switch is too much considering thats what I paid for my 40" 1080p LCD.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
I was thinking, it should also be possible to use 4 component distribution amps, one for each source, and then component video switchers, one for each zone. It would mean a lot more wiring but essentially it is breaking a matrix switcher into its separate components.


I found a 1-in-4-out distribution amp for $30 and Monoprice has a 4-in-1-out component switcher with IR for $20, I would need 4 of each of these. This is WAY cheaper and more complicated wiring-wise but it essentially achieves the exact same thing.
 

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What control system will you be using? It will be much easier to control a single device than it will be to control 4 devices. If you go with the second diagram you will need IR routing with separate ports. If you try to use an IR repeater or an IR blaster you will be controlling all 4 at once. Plus your basically adding 12 sets (48 wires) of component cables & digi audio to the mix. That has to eat up some of the savings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Each component switch is IR controlled so yes, I will need an IR repeater and each room will need its own remote to control the switcher for that room located in the basement. This isn't much different than using a matrix switch though except the matrix switch only needs one remote (but still one per room).


I would just have to keep each switch and IR repeater optically separate from the others so that there wouldn't be any cross-controlling of the other switchers.


Regarding the cables; becasue everything will be centrally located, the sources, the amps and the switchers, the component cables don't need to be long at all. Yes I will need quite a few, 20 if my math is correct but they don't need to be very long, only a couple feet at the maximum. Monoprice has 3 foot component cables for $1.63 ($32 total) so that cost is actually very low. I guess if I went with their premium cables they are almost $8 each ($160 total).


I'm thinking if I can figure out the control issues with IR repeating over RF (I'm not going to run any more wires just for IR control) then this is definitely the cheapest way to go.
 

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If your plan is to use individual IR repeater systems your basically creating 4 individual zones with their own repeater system & remote and then just 'splitting' the sources. In diagram 1 i was assuming a single base station for everything. Maybe a MSC-400 for that many devices.


Does this mean you will have 4 emitters on each source? 1 from each repeater system? Or is there a device that inputs 4 IR signals and outputs them over 1 emitter? I know they have this for 2 emitters but i havent seen one for 4. This is something else to add into the total cost. Instead of 4 emitters for the sources you need 18.


Whenever installers think about cost were adding up labor right a long with hardware. The labor on diagram 2 would be 2 or 3 times as much as the labor on diagram 1. Since your doing the install and not charging yourself
it might be better to go with diagram 2 as long as the savings are enough to warrant all the extra work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, it would have to be 4 separate IR systems and each source would have 4 emitters (one from each zone) attached to it. Thats the way I see it now but I will keep investigating all the options for IR systems and see if I can combine them and reduce the total number of emitters.


I'd also have to have a learning universal remote (Harmony) for each zone. That would be needed regardless of which method I take but that adds to the cost as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It seems there is the possibility of using a Harmony 890 Pro that is able to control multiple zones using RF. I would just need to configure each zone to include the same 4 sources and the receiver and TV within that zone. I'd only need one IR blaster for that remote with 1 emitter for each source. Seems like thats the easiest way to do it.


Anyone know of any other multi-zone remotes? Be better if they are RF as well but that can be added on too.
 

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I got my Extron 8x8 component matrix switch on Ebay for $168.


There are component video baluns on Ebay for $50-$60 a pair. Some would tell you the passive baluns are inferior, but others have reported excellent PQ with the cheapo Ebay jobs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow, thats a great deal especially for a 8x8. I guess I'll just keep my eye on the auctions and wait for a better price. Right now the best I can do for a 4x4 is just under $700.
 

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I have used passive baluns for component video on many occasions and they always work fine.


I am glad your going with the matrix switch. It will making the programming part of your personality much happier
.


Thats a great deal on the extron switcher. I love ebay
.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rygy /forum/post/17011517


Wow, thats a great deal especially for a 8x8. I guess I'll just keep my eye on the auctions and wait for a better price. Right now the best I can do for a 4x4 is just under $700.

I used the Aton HDR44 matrix switcher, which has both Cat5 outputs and built-in IR support. The "kit" version (HDR44KT) comes with 4 wall plates, IR receivers/emitters, etc. and can be had for less than the price of all the pieces you were showing...


Here's a review thread I started for it. I've been very happy with it.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1146188


Jeff
 
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