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component / hdmi matrix switching

dsiroky

Member
I need some advice/tips on wiring up a new build for myself and wanted some advice on hdmi/matrix switching to get my audio/video distribution right.

I have 7 rooms where I want to view HD video

  • Living Room 1
  • Living Room 2
  • Bedroom (x3)
  • Theater Room
  • Laundry
All rooms except laundry & theater have in ceiling speakers which I plan to hook up with Sonos Zone Controllers (all in central closet). Originally I was planning on going with Nuvo Grand Concerto, however I'm worried that the in wall panels will date and look obsolete in a few years like the old intercom systems from the 80's look now. Iphone/Ipad seems to be the UI of today & the future and to me the safest way to go is to not have control panels on the walls and just use my iphone/ipad to control music. It's a shame Sonos don't make an 8 zone rackmount controller.

I have 8 rooms where I want to be able listen to distributed audio, but they are not 100% the same as the above list

  • Living Room 1
  • Living Room 2
  • Kitchen (also acts as rears for living room 2 via local source interrupt)
  • Outdoor Pool area
  • Bedroom (x3)
  • Master Bathroom
The Theater has a separate processor / amplifiers
The Living room has a surround a/v receiver in addition to being a sonos zone

I have 3 video sources I want to distribute
  • Bluray (hdmi/component)
  • 2 x cable STB (hdmi/component)
  • Media center PC (hdmi)
  • ipod (component out)
  • hai omni / doorbell

What's the best way to do this?

Here are my specific questions:

  • I assume I should wire 2 x cat5 for each video room + cable for IR distribution + lan to each video destination (is there any need to wire component cables these days if you can just use baluns)?
  • To save cost, should I go with a cat5 component switcher initially, and then swap out wall plates/matrix switcher for HDMI later? Anyone have a good recommendation on either a cat 5 hdmi or component matrix switch?
  • How do I handle local source interrupt with a matrix switcher? i.e. sonos is running a zone as music, but when the TV comes on in an adjacent zone I want to re purpose those speakers as the surrounds?
    How do I wire local sources, for example:
  • an iPod/iPhone dock in the kitchen (left/right audio channel back to wiring closet?)
  • a local xbox360 for playing games/karaoke/watching a DVD (do I run another 2 pairs of Cat5's to feed the local source back to the wiring closet, or do you just run the video to the TV and run the audio back to the wiring closet? The xbox wireless mics and game controllers don't lend themselves to being in a central closet.

Thanks for your tips.

David
 

tmbrown97

Senior Member
I'm in a very similar spot, trying to accomplish the same basic things (except only 3-4 video zones; 12 audio zones)... I'll be watching closely ;-)
 

dsiroky

Member
I'm surprised there's no feedback yet from people that are happy with their HDMI/Component cat5 matrix switchers....


Does anyone know how the Sonos line in & control system works?

For the surrounds, I was thinking of hooking the AV Receiver pre-amps up to the line-in's on the sonos
http://www.slashgear.com/gallery/data_file...P120_ZP90_2.JPG

If I activate my living room TV, I want to override whatever the Sonos unit might be playing, and re purpose those speakers as rear outputs for the AV Receiver. How does the Sonos prioritize whether to play network music or line-in? Can you control this via IR or is the Sonos control strictly wifi?

I also want to do it the other way. My front chanel speakers in the living room are Martin Logan electrostaic speakers which are terrific to listen to music on. If the cable stb is off, then I'd like to be able to use those as a zone from Sonos.

The local source interrupts and the IR control on the Nuvo Grand Concerto I think would accommodate all of this, but I don't know if I could make the Sonos system work the way I want.

..David
 

DotNetDog

Active Member
I'm building a new house and have very similar questions so I'll also be watching the responses closely. I will be meeting my A/V guy on Tuesday (6/8). I've never met him but have spoken over the phone. He sounds very knowledgable.

I have research this myself for a while now. I am looking at matrix devices, Windows Media Center, SageTV, and more. I'll post here after my meeting on Tuesday.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
Well, I think you'll need some sort of control system to tie all these devices together.

Personally I would stick with component distribution at this time, but run enough wire (perhaps even fiber) to expand to HDMI in the future. But currently HDMI is either really expensive, or pretty unreliable depending on the system you go with. Component distribution can be done with good reliablility for a lot less than HDMI right now.

I personally use CQC as my control system, a B&K whole house system for analog audio zones, Integra Receivers for 5.1 or better zones, an Autopatch high frequency component switcher (can handle HD signals), and a Xantech IR distribution system (for local control of the system using inexpensive IR remotes).

I'm also setting upa similar system at my parents house. They are just finishing remodeling the entire house and will end up with 6 HD TVs, two 5.1 or better audio locations, and 6-8 analog audio zones. They are using very similar equipment to what I am doing at my house.
 

opie

Active Member
I agree with Brian.

HDMI distribution is a real can of worms right now and not practical for DIY types, "professionals" are struggling with this too. Your idea to use a component matrix that uses Cat5/6 for distribution is probably the best way to go for now. When the HDMI dust settles, you may be able to use the same wiring. I have not used this, but I have heard good things about the Zektor Prowler. Another one to consider is the NeoPro Concord

Personally, I would run Cat6, rather than Cat5, and conduit to your TV locations if possible.
 

George M

Active Member
Another +1 for component rather than HDMI. If you decide to go that route, I have an Autopatch Modula system that I will be selling. It is a High End Autopatch system (Actually three boxes each weighting about 40 lbs.) that can supply 12 in and 12 out of HD Component, Digital Audio, and Analog Audio. When looking at any matrix, make sure it contains the circuits to truly handle High Def - many say they can but do not. I have this coupled with active Cat5 transmitter and receiver balluns. Again, there are many passive baluns that claim High Def, but I never found one that actully produced as advertised.
 

dsiroky

Member
Another +1 for component rather than HDMI. If you decide to go that route, I have an Autopatch Modula system that I will be selling. It is a High End Autopatch system (Actually three boxes each weighting about 40 lbs.) that can supply 12 in and 12 out of HD Component, Digital Audio, and Analog Audio. When looking at any matrix, make sure it contains the circuits to truly handle High Def - many say they can but do not. I have this coupled with active Cat5 transmitter and receiver balluns. Again, there are many passive baluns that claim High Def, but I never found one that actully produced as advertised.

I was looking on the russound web site and it looks like their vm1 matrix switcher might meet my component over cat5 video needs. Does anyone have experience with that product?

Russound also looks like they have a good auto source selector to handle my zone selection between av receiver And multiple room audio. If I paired that with the right russound audio/ir distributor it might just meet my needs. Anyone have much experience with the rnet gear?
 

sic0048

Senior Member
I really like the JAD idea. They are coming out with a version 2 anytime now that should be even better than the first verison. But it isn't cheap. You are looking at $250-350 per device. You need at least one transmitter and one receiver - so that is at least $600 for just one device. That can add up pretty quickly!

For the OP situation they would need 7 receivers and 3 transmitters.

7 receivers x $299 each = $2093
3 transmitters x $350 each = $1050

$3143 total.
 

AceCannon

Active Member
I am using an Extron Matrix 200 to distribute component video and it works great. Some locations are component over rg-59 mini-coax, and some are via active baluns over cat5e.

(The Extron is right above the printer/fax)



CIMG2918.jpg
 
Ever think about just buying/building HTPC's for each zone? Then have a main htpc with ripped copies of your dvd's and blurays. You then could get a ceton cable card for the main one and watch and record up to 4 channels in HD, then have standard tuners in the other htpcs so you can watch live tv but they'll have access to the ceton recorded shows. You could then watch multiple movies and tv shows at the same time in all zones, tie in shared music and everything and you'll be good to go.
 

dsiroky

Member
Ever think about just buying/building HTPC's for each zone? Then have a main htpc with ripped copies of your dvd's and blurays. You then could get a ceton cable card for the main one and watch and record up to 4 channels in HD, then have standard tuners in the other htpcs so you can watch live tv but they'll have access to the ceton recorded shows. You could then watch multiple movies and tv shows at the same time in all zones, tie in shared music and everything and you'll be good to go.

I have an HTPC already. I could add more, but there are two issues with having an HTPC per zone.
Issue 1 - The cablecard's they use here in Australia (just moved over here a few months ago), are different to the ones in the US, so I can only get free to air TV here if I do that for my video vs using the cable company's STB

Issue 2 - and this is the bigger one, is that I don't know how to synchronize audio / control across multiple PCs. For example, if you are playing music in Zone 1 (living room), and also want to play it in Zone 2 (outdoor swimming pool area), you don't want to start playing the same file in Zone 2, without the audio being synchronized to Zone 1. Audio matrix switches take care of this fairly easily.

I could solve my component video distribution with the Russound VM1 or an Extron/Autopatch. This seems to be a good solution.

The audio is partially solvable with russound autospeaker selectors (I'm sure there are other brands which do the same thing). These units will overide an audio zone if they detect input from the AV Receiver. However, I still need an audio distribution solution. The options seem to be:

8 x Sonos Units at 499 RRP ($4k). The advantage is a great iphone app that controls both music, and the zone it's playing in. I'd have to buy a separate IR routing solution

Nuvo Concerto or Russound CAA. These are good because they include IR routing and Keypads, but their iPhone integration seems to be way over priced and from everything I've read about the iPhone UI on Russound or Nuvo isn't as positive as the Sonos App. It can also cost an extra $1k+ to the cost of the base unit to add an iphone controller & iphone source dock, and I'd probably need 2 units to get 8 zones.

For the home controller, I'm just going with HAI - but I'm not planning any touch screens on the walls. I think controlling this all from the iPhone or iPad is the way things are going forward, and I can't see HAI or Elk producing as good a product a touch screen as apple. In my opinion those vendors are going to have to change with the times producen app for the appstore that works with iphone/ipad. Those old in wall touch screens are going to go the way of the DoDo.
 

AceCannon

Active Member
For the home controller, I'm just going with HAI - but I'm not planning any touch screens on the walls. I think controlling this all from the iPhone or iPad is the way things are going forward, and I can't see HAI or Elk producing as good a product a touch screen as apple. In my opinion those vendors are going to have to change with the times producen app for the appstore that works with iphone/ipad. Those old in wall touch screens are going to go the way of the DoDo.

My wife insisted we not put big LCD touchscreens in the wall for much the same reason(s) you cite. Things have a way of becoming dated. So I have been using a Samsung Q1 Ultra to control CQC (and hence, Elk, Nuvo, Aprilaire, ALC lighting, etc).

A friend won an iPad (already owned one) so he sold it to me for a price I could not refuse. Lo and behold, the RIVA client for the iPad/CQC is already released. When a couple minor bugs get ironed out, the Samsung may be for sale.

The iPad is an ideal form factor home touchscreen control. I hate to say it, but I think my wife was spot on in this case.
 

dsiroky

Member
I think when we listen to our wives on these things - we come to thank them for it. A few years ago I purchased a house in the bridle trails area of Bellevue Washington. The house was built in the 1970's and had huge cutouts of the old style intercom systems in the wall. Removing those old intercom systems (that were probably as cool as an Iphone 4 these days), was a total pain the the rear. I still remember multiple coats of mud, tape, sanding and paint to make it look like those holes were never there.

If I go with CQC to control my HAI & audio system (whether it's russound or nuvo), and then put a riva client on my ipad/iphone - is my experience close to what I can do with Sonos iphone client out of the box on the audio side?

Sonos have really done a good job on the usability side, and it's been out for quite a few years now. I'm surprised there aren't that many competitors yet.

..David
 
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