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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Hopefully I'm in the right subforum...long time viewer 1st time poster.

 

Since December I have had all my gear running and during that time I have experienced some annoying issues that I finally want gone. Once I solved a clock stretch issue (solid blue screen on the tv) with a splitter, no thanks to Verizon tech support, the STB periodically experiences black screen dropouts lasting a second, or sometimes it'll do this 5-6 times in a row when first turned on...drives my wife nuts.  I assume this is a handshake issue.  The PS3 has sparklies/artifacts most noticeable on black areas. I've found a workable solution but I'm looking for something better.

 

In my family room I have the tv and soundbar mounted above the fireplace. The brick fireplace is book-ended by french doors.  I have two Cat 5e cables and duplex 120v outlets surface mounted behind the flat panel mount.  The Cat 5e cables and power are in their own conduit before running behind the drywall, dropping down the wall into the basement, and running into an unfinished utility room. Total run i estimate at ~35ft.

 

Desired setup. The soundbar has HDMI input and output and will decode 5.1 Dolby and DTS:

     sourceswitchtransmitterreceiversoundbartv

 

Connecting each source directly, eliminating the HDMI switch, and all works...as it should. PS3 recognizes all the formats my TV and soundbar support.  When I insert the switch, I experience picture dropouts and sparklies w/ the PS3, but it still recognizes all the formats.  The tv doesn't even detect the STB signal, just a "check your input" message. The HTPC works fine!  If I remove the soundbar from the path, I still get sparklies on the PS3 and the STB has picture dropouts.

 

What I'm stuck with. The TV doesn't pass through 5.1 but only 2ch PCM which isn't a huge deal breaker but annoying. More annoying are the minor picture issues:

     sourceswitchtransmitterreceivertvsoundbar

 

I reached out to Monoprice support and to their credit were very responsive, but told me this would never work.  They claim the extender I'm using was only designed for point-to-point connections, and they only recommend 24 AWG cables greater than 4 feet.  They recommend a different combined matrix switch/extender product (PID 8152) that requires 2xCat5.  Before I take them at their word and replace everything, I figure I'd reach out to this community.  I just realized the extender I'm using isn't officially HDBaseT, so that may also be the culprit. Or maybe its a combo of all these variables.My hunch is that it is the switcher that is causing the problems and replacing with one that performs some signal attenuation may fix the issue.  It also takes ~3 secs to switch inputs, but that is a minor gripe.  My requirements are fairly straight forward; 3 inputs, discrete input IR commands, one viewing location.  Before I go throwing more parts at this I am hoping someone may have BTDT before, and kept costs in check of course.

 

 

Sources:

FiOS STB (CHS 335HC)

PS3 (1st gen)

HTPC (Win7 and XBMC)

 

TV:

Panasonic plasma (ST60)

Sony soundbar (HT-CT260H)

 

Distribution gear:

Monoprice HDMI over single Cat5/6 extender (PID 8122)

Monoprice HDMI 4x1 switch (PID 6259)

Monoprice 28 AWG HDMI cables (1.5ft, 3ft, 4ft, 5ft lengths)

Sewell 1x2 HDMI splitter (to solve clock stretching issues w/ the STB, connected w/ two 1.5ft cables)
 

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That extender IS an HDBaseT product (whether it's labeled as such or not, it's using the chip / technology). The issue may be in your short HDMI cabling - try putting a standard 6ft cable between the switch and the extender - same from each source.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

ok, good to know about the chipset.

 

i never would have thought about the cables. i figured the shorter the better and went out of my to get the shortest length in each location. care to explain why longer is better? 
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jht3  /t/1525543/need-help-troubleshootin...-picture-dropouts-sparklies-etc#post_24562496


ok, good to know about the chipset.


i never would have thought about the cables. i figured the shorter the better and went out of my to get the shortest length in each location. care to explain why longer is better? 

You might be getting too strong of a signal and there's electrical reflection potentials on very short cables. Yes, normally shorter cables are better. But it's an easy thing to try...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

that's plausible. i have experienced a similar problem in the past w/ catv.  i'll swap some cables around and report back.

 

does it make sense about what Monoprice said about the HDMI extender only being designed for point-to-point connections? who only connects a source direct to a sink without any sort of switching?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

so after much cable swapping, i got everything working as it should. PS3 and HTPC recognize the 5.1 dolby and dts supported by the soundbar and the pictures are rock solid at 1080p60 and 1080p24.

 

Except the damn STB.  no matter what cable i put where in the chain or what input on the switch i use that one still refuses to display a picture.  without the splitter its a solid blue screen. with splitter the HDCP light on the HDBaseT transmitter flickers constantly. not blink but more a very fast steady flicker, if that means anything.

 

So I've reverted my old workaround setup with the soundbar after the tv and am stuck w/ 2ch 16bit pcm.
 

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The soundbar is only 2 channels anyways. So, I wouldn't be too worried about getting DD or DTS from it.


What kind of cat5e cables are you using? Which connectors?


Do you get a good picture from the cablebox without the switch in the chain?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

I know, but i think it sounds better doing the decoding itself. And I assume the simulated surround works better that way too.  Plus as more 5.1 soundbars hit the streets, I'd like to know I can swap one in.  My room configuration and the fact that it is finished means I'm not interested in running real speakers

 

The Cat5e is solid conductor, and i believe UTP but I'd have to check. I don't know what you mean by what connectors? Standard field terminated but to what standard I'd also have to check. I didn't run it myself.

 

Yes, without the switch I get a perfect 1080i picture. With the splitter but without the switch I get a perfect solid blue screen (clock stretching issue i do believe) and a locked-on HDCP indicator on the receiver/transmitter pair. With both inline "no signal" on the plasma and an on but slightly flickering HDCP indictator.  Come to think of it, I haven't tried putting the splitter inline of the PS3 or HTPC just to see what happens so I might try that this evening.  Having to run this splitter is not ideal, but unfortunately I can't get a STB from Verizon that can work without it and their tech support doesn't even know what I'm talking about.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jht3  /t/1525543/need-help-troubleshootin...-picture-dropouts-sparklies-etc#post_24560781


Connecting each source directly, eliminating the HDMI switch, and all works...

I am pretty sure you already found your problem. Get a new switch, maybe something better than the cheapest one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

well sort of.  actually the PS3 and HTPC are playing with the HDMI switch and HDBaseT perfectly now that I've found the right combo of cables. it is the Fios box that isn't once I put the splitter inline.

 

so should i buy a "better" splitter? or a better switch? problem is i don't know exactly what is keeping the STB from working...signal strength, copy protection, something else?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

do you have a recommendation on a HDMI switch?  my minimum requirements are 3 inputs and discrete IR input commands.  monoprice does carry other "enhanced" switches but there are plenty of other vendors/brands.

 

ideally i'd like to get rid of the splitter but i don't' think i can solve the clock stretching any other way.
 

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I realize you don't need 2 outputs but I'm using this 4x2 matrix HDMI switch > http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_id=101&cp_id=10110&cs_id=1011002&p_id=5312&seq=1&format=2 .

 

My sources are 2 DirecTV HD DVRs and a Roku box, each connected to the switch via 3' HDMI cables.  One of the outputs of the switch goes to this 1x2 Sewell splitter (possibly the same one you're using) > http://www.amazon.com/Sewell-Direct-SW-23500-HDMI-Splitter/dp/B007WR0CHU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396965092&sr=8-1&keywords=sewell+1x2+hdmi+splitter

 

One output from that splitter feeds the local Samsung LED and the other feeds a remote LCD TV via 25' HDMI (
 

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Just for kicks you may want to also try LONGER Cat5 cables. I do doubt this is an issue if your extenders are indeed HDBaseT models, but may be worth a try. One of the mfgrs. I use had an extender that did not work unless the Cat5 was AT LEAST 40 feet, but this was before HDBaseT came around.
 
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