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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm setting up a Theater in my basement and am committing to HDMI matrix switching. I've done my homework... read as many of the posts on this subject as I could as well as many of the vendor web sites (Atlona, Gefen, Octava) and even spoke to someone at MonoPrice who seemed very knowledgeable.


What I'm trying to determine is how to handle the audio feed? My set up is going to have a PS3, a Motorola STB, and a TiVo S3 as sources, feeding a Panasonic Projector, a LG LCD, and a Panasonic Plasma as video displays. All can handle 1080p.


If MonoPrice Tech Support and my comprehension is correct the output signals are reduced to the least common, so while my displays all handle 1080p, my audio will be reduced to stereo because that is the best the TVs can do.


Obviously, I need to do better than stereo and I can't find a clear answer on how to achieve this. I'm getting a new receiver for the theater, which I haven't picked out yet, and I have an older Yamaha that doesn't do HDMI in the room with the Plasma and the LCD is on it's own (bedroom). The Yamaha might go away if opportunity allows.


I'd like to use the HDMI to carry the audio signal, but is this limitation of "least commonly support signal" true of all Matrix Switches, or only the Monoprice one? I'll step up a tier (Octava or Atlona) if so but if spending me more $$ doesn't give me the audio then I don't see the need.
 

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The sound (and video resolution) settings are determined by feedback from the receiver units and have nothing to due with the HDMI switches, so going to a different switch will have no effect on that. But that may only occur when two receivers are connected to the same source. If the HDMI signal is switched from a source only to the AV receiver (with HDMI surround sound decoding) first and then from the receiver to the TV, then I would think the A/V receiver would receive the full surround-sound signal (but that's just a guess).


A caution regarding A/V receivers with HDMI inputs. Some of the inexpensive receivers just pass through the HDMI signal without extracting the audio (this fact is often hidden in the fine print or in the operators manual). Make sure the receiver you buy is one that decodes sound from the HDMI input.


An alternate way would be to use a separate digital audio line (RCA or Toslink) but that would be in addition to the HDMI cable.
 

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I have similiar questions about the matrix switches and receivers. In my system, I will have


3 output zones (theater - pj, family - plasma HD and MBR - plasma HD)

2 surround sound areas (7.1 theater and 5.1 Family) with Denon (AVR891 and AVR991) receivers with the MBR using the TV speakers.

2 comcast digital STB's

1 BD


I'm planning on using the 4x4 Monoprice switch with HDMI/Catx converters.


Everything but the TV's and receivers are in a rack.


Without the two surround sound systems, this setup is pretty much a no-brainer with the technology today, but they are really messing with my head when it comes to the matrix switch.


I think I will need to have Toslink connections from the 2 STB's and BD for audio to the Denon receivers (I have a total of 4 optical inputs) to make use of the surround sound systems.


Where I'm struggling is with the distribution off the audio. If I have a BD on in the theater powered by the Denon 7.1, I don't know how I could also watch it in the family room on the other Denon 5.1 system. Don't see this as a problem in the MBR as the TV speakers will get audio via the HDMI/Cat6 run.


Appreciate any advice in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for reminding me to come back and update this. What I have found out is that it is related to EDID


I pulled the manuals for a GEFEN and Octava matrix and got a better understanding of this. This manual for the Gefen Toolbox 4x4 does a good job or from Octava for their HDMI 4x4 switch

Quote:
Originally Posted by crutschow /forum/post/19519214


The sound (and video resolution) settings are determined by feedback from the receiver units and have nothing to due with the HDMI switches, so going to a different switch will have no effect on that.

That's wrong. At least for the Gefen and Octava switches, they have an option to report their own EDID or to pass through what is from the displays (receivers). I don't know how the Monoprice one works. No documentation provided, but the user comments in the reviews do mention that there is no documented EDID. That leads me to believe that the unit does, in fact, respond with one of it's own. But I'm going with the Octava based on the information and feedback here that their customer support has been so good. I don't want problems.


The other thing is that, from what I have read it only matters if there are multiple displays on a channel. So if I push a Blue Ray with HD sound through from source 1 to output A which is a receiver then output A will get the full thing since the receiver can handle it. But if I put source 1 to output A and output C where C is a stereo TV then the receiver will only get as good a signal as the TV can process, based on the EDID passed in the handshake, because the source is going to both displays.
 

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Great thread!!


I've been on the fence about this very issue. I think I have the HDMI video side solved, audio..not so much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
oh, sorry guys, I posted a reply with some links, and I'm new to the boards so it is sitting waiting to be moderated. The short answer is that it is related to EDID. More to come when the post gets through purgatory.
 

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AFAIK, Crestron is the only one that makes a digital audio/video matrix smart enough to handle the problems with HDMI. The switch actually converts the HDMI feeds to a digital signal sent along a proprietary digital cable. It manages EDID, HDMI Keys, HDCP, etc. Guess the price...


Now, my suggestion: Can your tvs decode DD 5.1? Most newer tv's do, don't know how new yours are. If so, look into your cable box manuals to see if you can force the cable box to only output DD 5.1. If you can do that with your bluray player as well, I believe your multi-channel audio problems will be solved. You'd basically be over-riding any component possibly telling your source that it is only 2 channel.


*Disclaimer* I haven't actually tried this, but seems like it should work?
 

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I have pretty much solved my problem by running HDMI directly to the 4x4 switch and a combo of optical and digital coax for audio to the receivers. For the BD, the 4x4 will not pass a 3d signal so I'll run a direct HDMI/cat6/HDMI line to another input on the TV. Interestingly enough, the BD has only a single digital out (the stb's have one TOS and one Coax) so I have a TOS splitter on order from monoprice.
 

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I have a similar dilemma. I want to feed 1 audio/video source to 3 TVs and a Receiver. I’m looking for a distribution box that can take in the highest quality audio/video (1080p + TrueDolby) and output at the best quality possible per each device. E.g. the Kitchen TV in 720p / 2 channel stereo; concurrent with the Receiver in TrueDolby, etc.


If I had fewer output devices, and a bigger budget the iScan Duo (2 HDMI outputs & 1 HDMI audio only output) would be an option, but it looks like this is the type of box necessary for what people are trying to do on this thread.
 
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