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Discussion Starter #1
This may be a dumb question... To give you an idea of where I'm coming from, I've got a 13 year old Pioneer Elite receiver that I'm finally forced to retire because I can no longer connect all my audio sources to the available inputs.

So I'm pretty dumb about "modern" AVRs. I'm still wrapping my brain around all the new features that have become available since my last purchase, but there's one thing I want to be able to do: Drive one TV in the living room, plus a smaller TV or monitor in the kitchen on the other side of the wall (so cable length should not be an issue). I want to present the same program on both screens. (Use case: The football game's on, and I want to still be able to catch the action if I step into the kitchen to fix a snack.)

The main TV and the kitchen TV/monitor will not be identical. I don't understand how the HDMI handshaking will work in this situation...I want to make sure I don't get myself into a box where the AVR negotiates a connection to the "weakest link", then duplicates that signal to the other device.

Is that a legitimate concern? Are there other "gotchas" I should be looking out for? What are the minimum specs I need to look for to make sure the AVR will present the "best" signal to each device?
 

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The second HDMI output can simply be a mirror of the primary HDMI output (ie. can pass either HDMI or analog video source) or it can be an HDMI Zone 2 out which can pass not only the same HDMI source selected in the main zone but also one independent from the main zone. In both cases, if one TV has a lower resolution (ie. main is 1080p and kitchen is 720p), the video passed will only be 720p. This is true for the Zone 2 output only if the same HDMI source is playing to both zones, otherwise no issue if playing a separate HDMI source. Also, if using a Zone 2 HDMI out playing the same source, the audio in the main zone would be down mixed to only stereo 2.0, so if you will always play the same video to each TV, you'll want an AVR which has two main zone HDMI outputs (eg. Denon X2100W) as opposed to one with a Zone 2 HDMI output (Denon X3100W).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
In both cases, if one TV has a lower resolution (ie. main is 1080p and kitchen is 720p), the video passed will only be 720p.
Exactly the situation I want to avoid..

Also, if using a Zone 2 HDMI out playing the same source, the audio in the main zone would be down mixed to only stereo 2.0...
Ugh...definitely a "gotcha" I wasn't aware of...thanks.

...so if you will always play the same video to each TV, you'll want an AVR which has two main zone HDMI outputs (eg. Denon X2100W) as opposed to one with a Zone 2 HDMI output (Denon X3100W).
Thank you very much for the information--I really appreciate the help!
 

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An Oppo BDP-103/103D would probably work in a pinch but that just adds another device into your media chain. I'd go this route if media-serving, streaming, and disc playback are your only goals while using your existing AVR. A new AVR would be the easiest solution, but I would get a mid-range or better AVR. I have an AVR, Roku 3, and Oppo BDP and the Oppo gets used most of the time for serving my media stored on EHDs and NAS.
 

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In both cases, if one TV has a lower resolution (ie. main is 1080p and kitchen is 720p), the video passed will only be 720p.
Exactly the situation I want to avoid..
When two HDMI devices have differing base capabilities but the lesser can actually handle the higher resolution signal, a workaround is to get a device like the Gefen HDMI Detective Plus, which can provide "fake" EDID information so that the HDMI source device thinks both display devices are the same.

Most 720p TVs can downconvert 1080i to 720p, and some can downconvert 1080p.

Of course, another solution would be to get an inexpensive 1080p TV for the kitchen.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When two HDMI devices have differing base capabilities but the lesser can actually handle the higher resolution signal, a workaround is to get a device like the Gefen HDMI Detective Plus, which can provide "fake" EDID information so that the HDMI source device thinks both display devices are the same.

Most 720p TVs can downconvert 1080i to 720p, and some can downconvert 1080p.

Of course, another solution would be to get an inexpensive 1080p TV for the kitchen.
My situation is actually the reverse. I have an older TV as my main viewing device; it's a 720p panel, though I'm not sure what it negotiates to, since I can feed it 1080p sources and it displays them properly. I didn't want a situation where my main 720p panel was limiting the signal passed to the newer, higher-res panel I'll be getting for the kitchen.

i also envision a future where I replace my main panel with something newer...perhaps 4K...and don't want to then have it crippled by the panel in the kitchen.

This inability to easily provide two independent feeds of the same program to separate devices (or even understand what's possible / not possible when trying to do that)--something that has until now been almost trivial to do, if your AVR had the necessary transcoding features--is something I absolutely hate about HDMI.
 
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