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Central D* Equipment and HDMI "network"?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Connected Home' started by unixguru, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    I have been thinking about an entirely different, and no doubt unusual, way to configure my house. Wondering if anyone else has done this?

    1. New construction or wiring upgrade is feasible
    2. Dish is wired to a central point
    3. All TV locations have HDMI port with one of the HDMI extension mechanisms (booster, cat5 converter, fiber converter, etc) and is wired back to central point
    4. HDMI at central point goes directly to D* or an HDMI matrix switch which is connected to D*

    Obviously this is more expensive - probably much more expensive - than traditional mechanisms. Although NONE of the D* service options (whole-house) would be needed.

    I've seen some high-end HDMI switches that have a tiny box at the TV that feeds IR back. The IR can then switch the HDMI source and pass through IR to the source device.

    This sounds like an awesome solution (except for cost :(). Multiple TVs can watch/control the same program on-the-fly. Could even have a Blu-Ray changer or media server in the central location. Not quite enough features (keyboard/mouse???) to put a computer in central location.

    It would also put external storage in the central location eliminating the noise from the viewing areas. And allow better cooling. ...

    Comments?
     
  2. WestDC

    WestDC Well-Known Member

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    Sounds Good- - Just install Conduits to all locations (direct to your central location) so when the HDMI (Phase) is phased out for the "next' Latest and greatest you can pull all that junk out and replace it with New Wonderful Stuff.
     
  3. Beerstalker

    Beerstalker Hall Of Fame

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    It can and has been done many times. Just remember though you can only watch one channel per receiver. So if you've got multiple TVs and only one DirecTV DVR they will all have to be on the same channel all the time. Chances are unless you live alone you would still probably want to have at least a couple receivers and Whole Home DVR.

    Also it can be a challenge finding HDMI splitters, matrix switches, etc that work with all of your components correctly. A lot of the time you can end up chasing HDMI handshake and HDCP issues around swapping out components until you find a combination that works right. Then later on down the road when you add a new device you might have to start all over again.

    Hopefully RVU will gain some more traction and start catching on, or maybe even All-vid if that ever happens. Those systems can make a setup like this a lot more feasible.

    For now I would just recommend doing like WestDC mentioned and run conduit everywhere with large bend radii or access panels throughout the house so you can easily run new wires later. Or like I did at my buddies house that I wired last year, just run 2 RG6 and 2 Cat 6 cables to every media outlet you put throughout the house. Usually at least 2 to a room, but try to put them anywhere you could picture someone putting a TV depending on furniture layout.
     
  4. funnyfarm299

    funnyfarm299 AllStar

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    Custom installer here. For complicated installs like this, we would usually wire a house with 3 cat5s and 1 coax to each room.

    One would be used for HDMI baluns, one for internet, and one for IR/Telephone/Relays. Our supplier actually has new HDMI baluns that support full 1080p and IR over only one cat5.
     
  5. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Most definitely.

    If $$$ is no object :eek2: I suppose a fiber pair and appropriate converters at each end would have the longest life expectancy.
     
  6. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Sure. Would definitely have more than one receiver (or, strangely, an HR34 with a couple RVU clients in the central location). Definitely at least 1 source for each person.

    Are you referring to the need for all devices to support the same a/v format - like 1080p/24? I think any recent display will support all the current formats. Of course the current part is a potential issue going forward.

    One drawback to RVU is that it's only good for D* AFAIK. If I have other sources I want to centralize I'm probably toast. In an ideal world the RVU client could connect to different servers on-the-fly but I don't know if that is in the plan.
     
  7. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Ever installed a USB extender in this kind of setup?

    I have a Mac Mini in my AV rack but I found that the built-in bluetooth range was too short with a metal rack panel between it and the devices so I have a short USB cable going to a tiny bluetooth dongle that is not obstructed by the rack metal. In theory this approach could be used to centralize the computer too.
     
  8. funnyfarm299

    funnyfarm299 AllStar

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    Fiber is a terrible idea. There are too many different types right now, and by the time it becomes a standard there's a good chance they will get cut or damaged.
     
  9. funnyfarm299

    funnyfarm299 AllStar

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    Sorry, we don't usually do computers. Most of the stuff we do is either IR, zigbee, or Control4.
     
  10. SeldomSeen31

    SeldomSeen31 Cool Member

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    I use an ipod/iphone/android app called iRule to control centrally located Dtv and other devices for whole home distro.

    DTV boxes with ethernet connection can be controlled by IP commands. I have a 4x4 HDMI switcher and have 2 DTV boxes, a PS3 and a Dune Player connected to it. This sends 1 of the 4 inputs to any or all of the 4 outputs.

    HDCP issues can be a problem, fortunately for me this install goes to all 1080P TVs with stereo sound, no a/v receivers for this portion of my home. I occasionally have a loss of video signal when a 2nd TV is turned on when viewing the same source being viewed by another. Normally the picture flashes black and then pops back up after HDCP is checked.

    I can control the all of the tvs and all of the source components with iRule.

    irule and ir/ip itach device to enable ir control via IP are the only costs involved aside from running the needed wires and the matrix box.
     
  11. Alebob911

    Alebob911 Hall Of Fame

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    RVU comment here, If you are doing all of this then just get TV's that are RVU compliant and you would not need external clients. All that would need to be done is that the RVU TV's just need to be connected to the coax network that includes the HR34 and your good to go.

    Additionally each of those RVU TV's would have DVR function as well all through the coax. Hopefully RVU takes off for other devices.
     
  12. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    RVU has a long way to go. Good idea - if it works and becomes widespread. One TV brand isn't enough - and apparently there are problems with versions right now.

    Today I have DVR, Blu-Ray, and Mac Mini. How long until those all support RVU? (And I doubt RVU has USB or Bluetooth passthrough although one would think that would be simple to add.) Would need a new DVR (HR34), new Blu-Ray (when they support RVU), and Apple to support it (very unlikely since they have their own TV ideas).

    For RVU to really take off they need a RVU "server" that sits in front of an HDMI device and sends IR to it. It's a must-have transition device.

    And even after all that one is locked-in to RVU. Maybe someday it will be "open" enough to trust but it's nothing like HDMI today.
     
  13. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Thanks for the tip - I had not been aware of iRule. Looks like an affordable subset of Savant.

    Unfortunately I've tried other "touch screen remotes" and while they are great for complex or little-used operations I don't like them for the basics - volume, channel change, trick-play, etc. I want to look at the TV when doing those and feel buttons.

    If they did something like Savant and have a tactile adapter then it would be great. (Although I suspect the Savant solution is relatively heavy.)
     
  14. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    As it turns out, RVU isn't particularly good for DIRECTV either. Given that your only options are a select few Samsung SMART TVs, RVU doesn't represent a particularly expansive set of options. You also need to be very careful about software updates from Samsung as there have been some serious issues with RVU.

    The problem with going central is that remote switching of HDMI is just not practical. RF systems worked because you could stack the whole mess on a single coax. There's someone who has done an HD RF system but it depends on using component video and some rather expensive encoder/modulator equipment and the future of component is not assured.

    While central distribution is an interesting experiment, the existing topology doesn't add expense or complication, delivers all live channels to all TVs all of the time and support is a toll-free call away.
     
  15. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    It seems likely that computers could do RVU but DIRECTV hasn't been kind to the Mac crowd (nomad client aside). I think it very unlikely that retrofit implementation RVU will be offered for devices that weren't designed with RVU in mind.
     
  16. studechip

    studechip Godfather

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    This is akin to complaining about not enough hd channels in 2002. New technologies take time to expand. There will likely be numerous television manufacturers with RVU in the near future.
     
  17. SeldomSeen31

    SeldomSeen31 Cool Member

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    I've gotten used to it and it certainly has made things easy for my non-techie family. Push DTV button on the remote, the macro sets everything up.

    It also accepts touch input. I have set mine up so one swipe right fast forwards the DVR 3x, swipe left is 3x rewind. Tap once to play, swipe up = volume +, etc.

    Those work pretty well for not having to look at the ipod.

    Kindle fire screen:

    [​IMG]

    Ipod screens:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. unixguru

    unixguru Godfather

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    Cool! That sounds workable.

    Even if I don't go central I may have to consider iRule to replace my Harmony when it dies...
     
  19. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

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    I see no evidence of this. Samsung remains the only CE company that has made an effort towards delivering third party RVU clients and their progress and advertising has been almost imperceptible. Sony and Echostar are listed as "contributors" in the RVU Alliance but neither has announced plans for devices.
     
  20. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

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    The Hopper/Joey isn't RVU?
     

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