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#16 tadr

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 12:34 AM

I use a Gefen Toolbox 8x8 HDMI matrix with good results.  However, I use a separate multizone audio receiver/amps to drive the sound in several rooms and dedicated AVRs in the others.  All my tvs are 1080p, so that solves the lowest common denominator issue from the display-resolution perspective.  With respect to audio, I just set the EDID in the Gefen HDMI matrix to support all of the HD audio formats.  That way, the AVRs get the HD audio streams.  The rest of the zones are fed audio through the multizone audio receiver and ceiling speakers (the TVs in the secondary zones aren't used for the audio), so again I don't need to deal with the lowest-common denominator issue with respect to audio.

 

I use a separate Xantech IR distribution system for infrared control.

 

Let me know if this doesn't make sense... I was thinking of re-doing my system diagram anyway.

 

Edit: Updated to include system diagram.

 

 

Attached Files


Edited by tadr, 09 January 2016 - 02:06 AM.


#17 jon102034050

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 01:46 AM

I use a Gefen Toolbox 8x8 HDMI matrix with good results.  However, I use a separate multizone audio receiver/amps to drive the sound in several rooms and dedicated AVRs in the others.  All my tvs are 1080p, so that solves the lowest common denominator issue from the display-resolution perspective.  With respect to audio, I just set the EDID in the Gefen HDMI matrix to support all of the HD audio formats.  That way, the AVRs get the HD audio streams.  The rest of the zones are fed audio through the multizone audio receiver and ceiling speakers (the TVs in the secondary zones aren't used for the audio), so again I don't need to deal with the lowest-common denominator issue with respect to audio.

 

I use a separate Xantech IR distribution system for infrared control.

 

Let me know if this doesn't make sense... I was thinking of re-doing my system diagram anyway.

 

I'd love to see a diagram of this if you don't mind :)



#18 tadr

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 02:07 AM

I'd love to see a diagram of this if you don't mind :)

See my updated post above - let me know if you have any questions!



#19 dementeddigital

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 05:58 PM

Very cool.

What do you do for cable or local channels?

I use a Gefen Toolbox 8x8 HDMI matrix with good results.  However, I use a separate multizone audio receiver/amps to drive the sound in several rooms and dedicated AVRs in the others.  All my tvs are 1080p, so that solves the lowest common denominator issue from the display-resolution perspective.  With respect to audio, I just set the EDID in the Gefen HDMI matrix to support all of the HD audio formats.  That way, the AVRs get the HD audio streams.  The rest of the zones are fed audio through the multizone audio receiver and ceiling speakers (the TVs in the secondary zones aren't used for the audio), so again I don't need to deal with the lowest-common denominator issue with respect to audio.
 
I use a separate Xantech IR distribution system for infrared control.
 
Let me know if this doesn't make sense... I was thinking of re-doing my system diagram anyway.
 
Edit: Updated to include system diagram.
 
 



#20 pete_c

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 07:05 PM

Yup; Wife's stuff is her Tivo. I do not touch it.  Mine is Kodi-MythTV boxes and subzones with AVRs (and whole house zoned audio).

 

Tivo invented Tivo and the word Tivo.  Everybody else just copied it (well and badly).

 

So we have here his and hers media and it works well for us.



#21 tadr

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Posted 09 January 2016 - 08:19 PM

Very cool.

What do you do for cable or local channels?
 

 

I have a Silicondust HDHomerun (not shown here) and use Windows Media Center on the HTPC for cable TV.  The Ceton Echo's are media center extenders which allow us to watch live/recorded TV on multiple TVs at the same time.

 

You could easily swap the HTPC for a TiVO and the Ceton Echo's for TiVO minis, or something comparable.  Windows Media Center is already at end of life, so I will probably end up swapping that stuff out at some point down the road..



#22 Swancoat

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:55 PM

I'm in the process of getting my HDBaseT matrix set up too, and I can testify to the trickery around EDID, etc.

On the plus side, all TVs can basically play 1080p, so that's not much of an issue. Audio was more difficult for me as unlike tadr, I am not using all of my in-room speakers for audio right now, but rather relying on the TV speakers. Also, I am hell-bent on having basically the same sources available in my media room as the rest of the house. I have no desire to double up on everything.

The big issue was multichannel vs stereo audio. TVs can only play stereo, but I want multi-channel sources to play multichannel in the media room. For the most part, e solution was to set the matrix EDID to multichannel. Then use an HDMI splitter to split each source to the matrix and the AVR in the media room (which got its own source inputs instead of a switched feed from the matrix). Turns out, if you send multichannel audio like Dolby surround to most TVs, they can/will down mix appropriately. The problem was BluRay. Most TVs can't properly down mix the high res stuff like DTS HD MA 7.1, but I definitely want that in my media room, and don't want to be changing audio settings on the BluRay depending on where a movie is being watched. Or if the same thing is being watched in the media room and another room in crappy 2ch. Fortunately, I'm using an Oppo BluRay player and it has 2 HDMI outputs. It can send a high res soundtrack to my receiver, and a more playable one to the matrix. Still took some EDID fiddling, but it IS working correctly now and is virtually transparent in operation.

I WOULD like to stream a matrix source to various zones of my audio distribution as well. I need an HDMI audio extractor that actually will down-mix and create a 2 ch stream as opposed to just extracting L and R. Is that what he Atlona units are doing for you tadr?

#23 Swancoat

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 01:58 PM

One other note: I also had a bit of trouble with HDCP from DirecTV boxes. Perhaps the wiring in my house was juuuuust not quite up to snuff. Not sure what the deal was, but mainly isolated to DirecTV boxes not being able to lock HDCP and then cutting out every few seconds.

Turns out the HDMI splitters you can buy on Amazon, are also well-recognized HDCP strippers. Problem solved.

#24 wkearney99

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 02:02 PM

Dante had it right.  As in, "Abandon all hope ye who enter here..."

 

If you want to use disc playing sources (as in, not media streamers) then you really "can't get there from here".

 

Because along the way you'll torment the crap out of yourself and your spouse with the constant fiddling.


Best bet, use the 'less than ideal' downmixing for everywhere but the theater.  In that location use a separate disc player, just for it.  While I've loved using Oppo players, even they end up having issues that just won't go away.  Lots of technological reasons why "they ought to work"... but don't.



#25 Swancoat

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 03:11 PM

The thing that made it most difficult for me in getting the Oppo configured right, was the inability to actually 'see' just what audio signal it was outputting on each port. It displays what it's sending out the primary (to the AVR), and the AVR will tell you exactly what it's getting, but whatever was coming out the second one was a mystery. The TVs just don't display what they're getting, so it was sort of a logical guess based on some settings and just 'if it's playing or not' on the TVs.

 

Now that it's basically up and running, this project is looking like a success. My goal was to have it basically transparent to my wife or whoever else was using it, and it basically is. The fact that HDBaseT backhauls the IR just makes it all work. I've basically just set up Harmony remotes to control it. Matrix switch gets added in just like you have an AVR or whatever. It's nice to be able to watch TV while the kids are watching a movie in a different room, and just being able to switch inputs and see how far the movie is along, or even pause it so I can tell them to come downstairs or whatever.

 

The only thing that's not settled for me know is the power settings for each device. You don't want the Harmony shutting a device off when you switch away from that activity in case someone else is watching it. So, now the devices just 'stay on' until they auto-power off with some time of inactivity. The problem with THIS is that the Harmony remotes always send an ON signal BEFORE it switches the inputs on the matrix. But since the Matrix backhauls the IR... if it's not already on the right input, the source doesn't get the ON signal. And you cannot change this order or add an extra ON command. Just a hugely inconvenient oversight.

 

So, I'm trying to decide if it's better to just leave a discrete ON command available for the relevant source in each activity, and depend on the user to hit that if the TV is blank, OR just kill all of the auto-shutdown settings and leave everything running all the time.



#26 wkearney99

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 03:41 PM

The problem with THIS is that the Harmony remotes always...

 

Oh, you ARE the glutton for punishment, aren't you?

 

Heh, I'm kidding... as I also have some Harmony remotes.  I've likewise found their handling of device power exceptionally annoying.  Personally, I'm going the route of using their hubs directly situated with the equipment to be controlled and not using any IR from the remote at all.  But then I'm also not using a matrix, nor am I distributing anything.  It just wore me the Hell out trying to keep untangling all of it.

 

I do sit waiting for some brave souls to pioneer a 'better way'.  I'm cheering for ya!  I'm pessimistic, but who doesn't love an underdog!



#27 tadr

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Posted 30 January 2016 - 11:52 PM

...

Because along the way you'll torment the crap out of yourself and your spouse with the constant fiddling.

....

 

My wife had my phone in the car and read me the update to this thread when it came into my inbox and she told me I HAD to reply to this comment and thank you for recognizing all of the tormented spouses :-)

 

 

...

 

So, I'm trying to decide if it's better to just leave a discrete ON command available for the relevant source in each activity, and depend on the user to hit that if the TV is blank, OR just kill all of the auto-shutdown settings and leave everything running all the time.

 

I use Harmony remotes as well (650's) and decided to just leave all of the equipment on all of the time.  That resolved a number of issues for me.

 

...


I WOULD like to stream a matrix source to various zones of my audio distribution as well. I need an HDMI audio extractor that actually will down-mix and create a 2 ch stream as opposed to just extracting L and R. Is that what he Atlona units are doing for you tadr?

 

Yes, that is exactly what the Atlona HD-M2C units do.  They are not cheap ($300+) but they are rock-solid and this was the ONLY unit I found capable of doing this.  They output a 2-channel digital and analog downmix of the audio stream embedded in the HDMI stream (not sure if they work with Atmos or DTS:X, but I suspect they will since both of those formats also contain the underlying Dolby Digital/DTS surround tracks, as I understand it). 

Also, they have two firmware versions available -- one will output downmixed audio embedded on the HDMI output, the other retains full surround audio on the HDMI output.



#28 wkearney99

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 06:49 AM

My wife had my phone in the car and read me the update to this thread when it came into my inbox and she told me I HAD to reply to this comment and thank you for recognizing all of the tormented spouses :-)


They are not cheap ($300+) 

 

Which is my next bit of advice, sometimes the expense of rigging up all this "convenience" ends up being more than what separate boxes would cost.  

 

Really, in the old days of $500 disc players it might have made more sense (barely).  Or sharing a carousel of discs out to many displays (which was it's own special Hell thanks to Sony VDP nonsense).  Fast-forward to now and extremely large drive storage is almost trivially inexpensive, and reasonably easy to pair with all kinds of inexpensive in-room (and portable) streaming devices.

 

Sure, there on-going rental costs for an in-room cable set top box but even than comes cheap compared to the negative impact on the WAF scale.

 

I'm tempted to say someone gets his 'man card' revoked for letting his wife read these forums.  A line from 'Fight Club' comes to mind...  

 

But as I've learned, sometimes when you lay out all the cards and their costs you'll be surprised what gets approved...  Especially when 'just spending money cuts out the hassles'.  Mine actually wants to spend the hilariously expensive amount for Kaleidescape players and Control4 boxes.  I'm not ready to 'give in' yet...



#29 tadr

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 02:26 PM

Which is my next bit of advice, sometimes the expense of rigging up all this "convenience" ends up being more than what separate boxes would cost.  

 

Really, in the old days of $500 disc players it might have made more sense (barely).  Or sharing a carousel of discs out to many displays (which was it's own special Hell thanks to Sony VDP nonsense).  Fast-forward to now and extremely large drive storage is almost trivially inexpensive, and reasonably easy to pair with all kinds of inexpensive in-room (and portable) streaming devices.

 

Sure, there on-going rental costs for an in-room cable set top box but even than comes cheap compared to the negative impact on the WAF scale.

 

...

 

My original rationale was that I wanted to be able to watch the same source in the living room (which has surround sound) and the kitchen (which is only 2-channel) at the same time.  In reality, I use this feature much less than anticipated.



#30 wkearney99

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Posted 31 January 2016 - 04:00 PM

Yep, I hear ya!

 

I've also envisioned all kinds of great ways I'd use a video matrix.  When in reality it's more about plunking down in from of one TV and watching something.  For some sporting events, yeah, it's nice to have the same thing on all the screens.  Until it isn't and someone in one of the other rooms wants to change it, and then the main screen loses the game and, well, that's bad.

 

Instead, modern set top boxes, dongles like ChromeCast, 'smart' TVs and DVRs have largely eliminated a lot of the reasons I'd bother with a matrix.  Their upsides greatly outweigh the real-world complications of IR handling and source format collisions.

 

It's kind of funny/sad how quickly the tech has evolved.






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