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A wiring conundrum - not enough component inputs


GreenMonkey
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OK guys, I'm looking for some opinions here. Keep in mind that I'm broke and I'll be considering options for some time. Perhaps until the turn of the year when I have some money.

 

Keep in mind there is a 50ft or so run to the projector from the Audio Rack.

 

I have some problems with my wiring right now.

 

I'm using the Joytech 240c control center, which I love the functionality of. It's great.

 

However, it is corrupting video signals above 480p. 720p looks the worst - and that's the rez I should be feeding my projector. I'm running 1080i to minimize the ghosting effect.

 

My new Optoma HD72 projector has component, composite, s-video, DVI and HDMI inputs. So now I can do digital.

 

I've got the following devices:

 

Caveats: I love the joytech switcher.

I'm very fond of my receiver and have no real craving for new audio formats

 

Here's the summary:

 

2 HD video devices which would be best at 720p - DISH & DVD

3 other devices using component video @ mostly 480p - PS2, Xbox, Wii

a few misc devices on s-video/composite - SNES, NES, daylight DVD player in 4:3

3-4 devices needing optical inputs - PS2 kinda, Xbox, DVD, HD-PVR

 

I'm anticipating a 360 this next year sometime as well (or maybe a PS3 on a deal). Or maybe an HD-DVD player. Or maybe a 360 + HD-DVD player.

 

I have several options.

 

Option #1

Ditch the Joytech 240c for another switcher - perhaps the Psyclone 4-port I've heard good things about.

Cons - less inputs...I think I could make it work

Pros - Cheapest - prob $100 cost

 

 

 

Option #2

Replace my current receiver with a new receiver with 3 component video inputs and svid/composite to component upconversion. Use the joytech for 480i/480p devices.

 

Cons - I'd be short of 720p+ component inputs if I got another HD device

- The composite to s-video conversion in my current receiver looks awful on the new projector for some reason. Running real composite video looks 200% better. I'm worried about svid to component conversion PQ

- About $250 or so expenditure for a refurb receiver

 

 

 

Option #3

Replace my receiver with one with HDMI switching, composite/svid/component upconversion to HDMI. Keep the joytech for 480i devices, perhaps.

 

Pros - no more worries about enough inputs, a few HDMI inputs + 3 component video should be enough inputs.

- Big Pro: less cabling to hide with raceways (I dunno if I can hide the massive component/svideo/composite/speaker wire mass that I have now).

 

Cons - need to make sure it also outputs s-video for my SDTV

- Costs in excess of $500

- Not sure if video conversion will look bad like my current composite/svideo conversion

- don't want deinterlacing in the receiver (might be hard to get 480i over HDMI)

- hate annoying handshake/HDMI problems. I kinda like analog.

- 50-60ftft DVI/HDMI cables are EXPENSIVE. We're talking $70+ at monoprice.

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I would do it right or not do it at all. Meaning if I was going to pass HD signals up to 1080I, I'd make sure whatever device I purchase can do that which means you need atleast 100mhz bandwidth on that device.

 

A used Denon 3805/3806 would do the trick. Figure $500 on ebay. This way you get a high quality reciever(instead of these $250 throwaways) and you get a quality switcher and it upconverts to component. You don't like HDMI which is an inevitable move) and don't want to spend the money on the cable(which I don't think is that expensive).

 

Anything less than a receiver/switcher capable of 100mhz switching and you are automatically accepting a compromise to the signal and at that point you might as well stick with what you have.

 

When you start adding a 360 or a ps3 or both, then you'll want this level of component switching because otherwise you will see issues. I know I attempted it on my receiver which doesn't have the adequate bandwidth and I switched back to direct connection.

 

IIRC 1080P if you are anywhere considering it requires 250mhz bandwidth switching w/o loss.

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Whew, those Denon 3805s are expensive! Looks like you said, about $500 to $600 on ebay. Those Denons with built in Faroudja deinterlacing are droolworthy, though. :D

 

I think if I was going to spend that much I'd just pick up an Onkyo with HDMI. Too bad the digital Panasonic receiver don't have more input choices - those look kinda cool.

 

Everything I've read suggests that 50mhz is sufficient for anything except 1080p switching.

 

http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/bandwid.htm

 

37mhz is needed for 720p/1080i. Interestingly it says 22mhz will produce an acceptable picture, suggesting that 1080i is a bit less demanding. That would explain why 1080i looks a bit better than 720p right now.

 

I've looked at the video storm before, but the problem is most of the pro video component video switchers are expensive, not enough ports, and they don't switch audio at the same time as I also need optical switching. It becomes a wiring/usability nightmare: optical switcher, component switcher, receiver, etc. I wouldn't mind paying $200 for a high quality switcher that had all the other inputs like the 240c / psyclone/etc.

 

I used a mechanical composite video switcher for a while and that worked fine. It's just a PITA to get up and hit the button, and to remember what is connected where.

 

I dunno. Everything involves spending too much money. That's why I'm so indecisive.

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Hmmm.

 

I have an option #4 I hadn't considered.

 

I can get the Oppo 970 on amazon for $150 - $10 gc = $140. I can then get an HDMI cable and run 480i over HDMI to the projector since it has Faroudja DCDi. (Or maybe getting the Tosh A1 HD-DVD player and saying to hell with it but that's pricey right now).

 

I'm considering this as a stopgap/half measure. It would break up the cost for paying for a very long HDMI cable (50ft @ $46 at monoprice).

 

I'm really considering this route. I've never liked the pixel cropping on the Zenith DVB-318 over component (10-15 pixels). And I can't run the damn thing at 720p over component because it has color bleeding at any rez but 1080i. So right now I'm scaling up to 1080i and down to 720p.

 

I may go this route for now and gradually shift to DVI & HDMI cabling. I just hate having to run yet another cable to the projector. I could just pick up the cable, run the DVD player to the pj, and grab the other component input for the HD-PVR.

 

Of course, once I get a 360/PS3 or whatever I'll be screwed again. Maybe by then I can get my hands on a receiver that will pass 480i over HDMI/DVI. Anybody know of one? :D

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Everything I've read suggests that 50mhz is sufficient for anything except 1080p switching.

 

http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/bandwid.htm

 

37mhz is needed for 720p/1080i. Interestingly it says 22mhz will produce an acceptable picture, suggesting that 1080i is a bit less demanding. That would explain why 1080i looks a bit better than 720p right now.

You need 2x the resolution needed to pass it w/o degradation thus 100mhz. 1080P requires ~250mhz bandwidth to pass w/o degradation.

Here he recommends double which is 37x2=74 mhz

http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/whyten.htm

 

50mhz is definitely NOT enough even for 720P/1080I.

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I hate to throw the plans into disarray, but have you considered moving the rack closer to the projector or vice versa? It might require a major room reorg, but if you can remove that 50 ft run of cable it would solve all your problems for $0 (and a good amount of elbow grease.) No new switchers or electronics required.

 

I don't know how practical that would be for you, but if you haven't considered it yet maybe take a peek and map it out mentally. We actually gave up on having a projector in our current HT as I couldn't make it work without reorging the whole room or running a 50 ft cable like yourself.

 

How long can HDMI be before it degrades, it might be similar to component. I'm not sure, but it is still an electric current that loses signal over distance.

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How long can HDMI be before it degrades, it might be similar to component. I'm not sure, but it is still an electric current that loses signal over distance.

 

Rule of thumb is 20 feet, although with good quality cable you can extend that quite a bit. My dad is using a 30-foot Blue Jeans Cable HDMI (thick gauge) to a 1080p projector with no issues. You can also get "repeaters" that essentially act as expensive extension cables, allowing you to chain multiple HDMI cables together for long runs.

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I hate to throw the plans into disarray, but have you considered moving the rack closer to the projector or vice versa? It might require a major room reorg, but if you can remove that 50 ft run of cable it would solve all your problems for $0 (and a good amount of elbow grease.) No new switchers or electronics required.

 

I don't know how practical that would be for you, but if you haven't considered it yet maybe take a peek and map it out mentally. We actually gave up on having a projector in our current HT as I couldn't make it work without reorging the whole room or running a 50 ft cable like yourself.

 

How long can HDMI be before it degrades, it might be similar to component. I'm not sure, but it is still an electric current that loses signal over distance.

 

Honestly the problem may have been there before when I had the audio rack with 15 ft of cable from the projector. I never had a real HD pj and I never had a real HD source. If I bypass the joytech switch through my Onkyo the problem vanishes. If I go straight from the joytech to the pj with a shorter cable (30 ft or so) the problem is still there.

 

Moving the rack creates other problems.

Noise from the rack (DVR, DVD, etc), pointing the remote backwards/sideways (IR repeater would fix), figuring out a DIY solution for the Wii sensor bar, etc.

 

I've been contemplating talking it over with the wife again, though. It would save me some money.

 

BTW I still think 100mhz switching is overkill. So does Onkyo and a lot of other companies, apparently. I've certainly never had a problem with 50mhz and I'll be sticking with that as a requirement for now. Although I'm not opposed to a Denon if the price was right.

 

Also, component cable is good up to 75-100ft or so given that it is well shielded. HDMI/DVI has no official maximum distance - it depends on the gauge of the wire, shielding, etc. From all reports I managed to find, if monoprice sells it it should be of the proper shielding/gauge to be problem free. They've got a 50ft HDMI so I'm probably good to go there.

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  • 2 months later...

Bump

 

I'm back to the drawing board here. The addition of the 360 has made this even more of a concern. Not enough damn HD inputs. I tried the Pscylone PSC01 - it works perfectly on the projector but the 37" LCD loses signal with it all the time.

 

So I've spent too much money already lately on the HT and with the car breakin I shouldn't be spending any more. Both my displays have lots of inputs. The Olevia has 2 component, 1 HDMI. The projector has 1 HDCP-compliant DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 component.

 

So I really have just a few HD sources which need to circumvent the switcher. HD-DVR, Xbox360, and my damn Zenith DVB-318 which has to be run @ 1080i (over component it has to run 1080i - color bleeding otherwise). 1 too many sources.

 

I did move everything off the audio rack closer to the projector and re-wired everything. That took a while.

 

 

I think I'm going to go with the Oppo 970h which is $150 on Amazon, and sell my Zenith 318 on ebay (worth about $100 as they've become somewhat rare - upscaling over component). It's the cheapest solution, and I gain 480i over HDMI which should result in a less-scaled picture on the projector. The DVR can use HDMI to the projector as well. The 37" LCD will have the Oppo and the HD-DVR over component via the switcher. Not a big deal IMO as the ghosting isn't really visible on the LCD anyway.

 

 

The more I think about this the happier I am about it. It'll confuse the wife a little more, but it's cheap and I should get some small amount of additional PQ from the DVD player scaled less, and some extra PQ from the HD-DVR using HDMI.

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