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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I have built an HTPC and thought the ability for me to send 2 to 4 video and audio signals out of my PC would be easy. Think again. I am only looking to clone the exact output and not send different sources. Sounds easy right? Not really.


So I am debating on using 1 output from my video card, the DVI to HDMI out. from there, I would hook up the GefenTV HDMI x 4 splitter with audio. from there, I will send the main display to my projector(AV receiver), the 2nd display will be a generic monitor in my media room for maintenance, the 3rd display will be a generic monitor in my office upstairs so I can use this PC from my office (I will extend over ethernet for the long run). and the 4th will be converted to component video with analog audio (seems to be the hardest to figure out).


Ya, Im serious about this. So, any comments on the best way to do this? Ive tried cloning displays with the other outputs and another video card and this was a mess. It seems like if I use my HDMI/DVi out and my component video out on my ATI card, I get video tearing and the quality is less. This is unacceptable to me and cant believe ATi has not addressed this.
  1. I need full 7.1 audio and 720P resolution sent to my theater. i will upgrade to a 1080P projector eventually, but for now, I will use 1280x720 resolution on all displays to keep it simple. thinking of getting the Asus HDAV for True HD but, not using that yet.
  2. I need 1 component video out and an analog (red blue) out to hook up to my video distribution system in my house. I was going to convert one of the 4 outputs to analog component video. Not found a good converter yet. i wish I could just use my second audio out on my motherboard and the component video out, but there is no way to clone the audio from my ATI HDMI and analog sound (thanks HDCP). Also get video tearing using my component video out.




Setup:

Windows 7 64 bit

ATI 4890

igabyte UD5 mobo

Intel i7 920 chip.

6GB Ram
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Also, I thought an easy answer would be to add more video cards or use crossfire. Tried that and it seems like I can not clone windows over separate video cards, I can only extend my desktop. So, unless that is not the case, I cant use this easy answer.
 

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Good luck! I had nothing but trouble trying to split the HDMI out of my 8600GT video card thru an older Gefen 1:2 HDMI splitter to feed a 1080p plasma and my home theater processor that outputs to a 1080p projector for the longest time.


That said, I now have something more workable. Originally, I had a 1:3 splitter trying to feed the above and a HDFury2 and some other HDMI->Component converter to feed my whole house video distribution hardware. Neither worked well so I abandoned that idea. I use Windows Media Center so instead I hooked up an extender and feed the component video output of the extender into the video distribution. Granted, extenders can't stream DVDs but we've been ok with the limitation "go to the theater to watch a DVD" as most of the content viewed outside the theater is just TV or video games anyway.


Anyway, back to the PC and splitting HDMI. My Vista Media Center had the 8600GT hooked up to an older Gefen HDMI splitter. The direct feed to the plasma was fine except when you first power on the TV. It would always come up with snow, indicative with HDCP handshaking issues. Pressing the PC power button on the remote puts the display to sleep and pressing it again wakes it up and forces it to renegotiate the handshake. All would be well again until the next power cycle of the plasma. If I turned on the HT processor (which is hooked up to the 2nd HDMI out on the splitter) it would cause the handshake to go all haywire but cycling the PC power button to blank the display and bring it back up would also fix it. According to the Gefen instructions, the splitter would take the EDID profile of the display hooked into port 1 (my Panasonic plasma) and present that to the source equipment (the PC in this case). I found no matter what I did, the Gefen always took my HT processor's EDID profile (Anthem Statement D2) even when it was off and presented that to the PC. Didn't matter what order things were turned on or what port the displays were plugged into. I even got the current model HDMI 1.3 capable Gefen 1:2 splitter early this year to try and it was the same issue. Anyway, I dealt with it for over a year.


When the Windows 7 betas started becoming more mature, I set up a test machine to tinker with. It has a better video card - a 9600GT among some other hardware probably irrelevant to the issue at hand. I was so pleased with the betas, I swapped out the Vista media center with the Windows 7 box. I also put the newer Gefen HDMI 1.3 splitter in again to see what would happen. Viola! Almost all my HDMI issues went away if I use the generic EDID profile in the Gefen splitter. It always keeps the same profile to the PC so now no more HDCP handshaking issues when the TV is turned on. The Gefen does renegotiates whenever the plasma or HT processor is turned on. The Gefen has a blue light in the front to indicate when it has a successful handshake so turning on the equipment causes a pause and you hear Windows 7's new hardware detected blip followed by the blue light coming on the Gefen. If I turn on the HT processor while the plasma is on, everything blanks out, Windows 7 gives the hardware removed blip then the hardware discovered blip then the blue light on the Gefen comes on. Sometimes my HT processor doesn't get the handshake right but switching to another input and then back usually fixes it.


You best bet is to make sure you get the latest HDMI hardware and make sure you use the latest drivers for the video card in your machine. Hopefully you'll get a configuration that is manageable but don't expect it to be plug and play!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks very much for the in depth post. This helps me feel more comfortable with teh route im going. i almost gave up and just used the extender thing through my Xbox360. it is almost perfect, but at the end of the day, I would like to use my PC to its fullest if need be. (Pandora, Last FM, web browsing). there are plenty of plug ins and work arounds in extender, but some are shotty at best.


As far as the HDMI1.3, i think I'm going to try this out with a new Gefen splitter. I like your post about the HDFury2. did this work well for you for your component and analog audio needs? i think this is a part of the puzzle I have not figured out what I am going to use.


Last question for anyone that wants to answer. two of my HDMI outs on the splitter will go to PC monitors. I have monitors now that accept DVI, I would rather not buy a new monitor to accept the HDMI. I should be able to just use an HDMI DVI converter right? seems obvious, but with the Gefen splitter....i get nervous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Let me just say, I have received my Gefen 1x4 splitter and.....so far so good. I have a 22" monitor, Projector, and a HDFury2 to component video all hook up so far and it looks nice. I had some ovresan issues primarily with the Hdfury component video. just some tinkering with the ATi CC and switching inputs fixed this. I think it was worth the extra cash I shelled out for it. I tried multiple video cards in my HTPC and also passive DVI splitters. this has worked the best.


Anyone looking for multiple clone monitors throughout the house, I recommend this product.
 
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