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4k hdmi switching solution

Bogdan Alecsa

Standard Member
Hi guys, what is the best budget friendly and reliable solution in order to connect multiple 4K devices (at the moment sky q box 2 tb and fire stick 4k) into my soundbar (only one hdmi for input, the other - ARC - goes to TV).
It must be able to pass [email protected], HDCP 2.2, true/hd and Atmos etc..

I just tried with a cheap 30£ switcher from Amazon but Fire stick HD is not working (green screen, TV resolution and format not recognized, no sound) so I'm going to return it but on the other side I'm thinking a second hand AVR will be overkill because I can't draw cables anywhere in the living room so I'm stuck with the Samsung Atmos soundbar and 2 wireless rear speakers for a few years until I'll hopefully have the budget for some renovation work.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Budget Friendly and full fat 4k HDMI switch are almost mutually exclusive. As you have already found out, the cheap ones seldom work. A decent 4k HDMI switch is going to cost around £400. You may get lucky with another cheap switch, but it is very much a crap shoot.

Here is a what you are looking for

CYP: EL-41HP-4K22 4x1 HDMI Switcher
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Yup and that is the problem that most people are facing. 18Gb switching, reliably is not easy, or cheap. I would say that 99% of the population wouldnt know the difference between 4k at 10Gbps and 4k @ 18Gbps. All they see is what the sales literature talks about - Dolby Vision, HDR10, Atmos, 4k HDCP 2.2 (and now 2.3) etc without having any understanding whatsoever that any of it really means or what it requires to deliver it - you only have to look at how many uncertified £50 HDMI cables curry's sells with their nice new TVs that 'Now has HDMI 2.1!!' - Ask them about Static vs Dynamic Meta Data, or Colour Gamuts anything actually related to all of those buzz-words bandied around and they will look at you like your lights have gone out.

HDMI switching in AVRs is cheaper because it is economies of scale to build these things. Building a stand-alone 18Gbps 4k switch requires some pretty expensive circuitry if you are only selling a few hundred units a year, compared to the 100,000's of AVRs sold.

Somebody on here may have a more cost effective solution for you, but to meet all of the things that you ask for, reliably, it isn't going to be cheap.
 

Bogdan Alecsa

Standard Member
I'm not very sure I need 18Gbps, isn't 10 enough for what I need?
Indeed I'm not a specialist in this field but I'm an engineer and I've never seen such a mess in standards and compatibility between protocols/devices since a looooong loooong time. :)
What I need shouldn't be either complicated or expensive, I consider that at the end of 2019 4k technology is old enough to gain some maturity and be widely available.
Talking about 8K doesn't serve any good as long as 4k is not well established.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
What you asked for was pretty much full fat 4K with all the bells and whistles which equates to 18Gbps. 4K is still not fully fledged mainstream today and it’s standards are still evolving. The more bells and whistles the more bandwidth it requires. Dynamic metadata and additional audio data push these requirements up and the only people really keeping pace are the major electronics companies. 8k in reality is still a few years away from becoming mainstream. Many broadcast companies are still upscaling 1080p and 2k source material to 4K. Sky being one of those. It’s mainly sport and blockbuster movies that are natively 4K.
 

mushii

Well-known Member
Unfortunately SkyQ UHD 4K is 18Gbps for much of it’s true 4K content, so this is not an option. It maybe a case of trial and error with some cheaper switches until you find one that works. What TV are you using?
 

Bogdan Alecsa

Standard Member
I’m using a Hisense Oled which, even if advertised as Atomas capable, doesn’t know how to pass through the signal to the soundbar or to put Dd+ into soundbar from it’s native apps.
All the settings are there but it simply doesn’t work.
I emailed them but they didn’t answer.
This is the reason I neet to put everything to the only hdmi available on the soundbar and pass the video to the tv on ARC.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'What I need shouldn't be either complicated or expensive' - until you factor in HDCP, HDMI licensing costs and a constant introduction of new 'advanced' formats and features which makes small volume production a nightmare.

Part of the issue with the lower cost kit is an inability to update the Firmware which can often leave you with a blank screen/no audio when one device in a previously working system has a Firmware update.

Is there much difference in the sound delivered when you put your Sources devices via the TV (with its audio limitations) vs. direct to the Soundbar?

Joe
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
We have a second home in Bangalore, India, where we plan to spend October to March each year. I am building a Home Cinema system there as well and wanted some advice about the best 4K HDMI switch which is as lossless as possible. The TV is a 55" LG 4K that I bought last year (Not sure if it is OLED but think it is) and my sister-in-law got a very good offer for a Yamaha Musiccast Bar 400 soundbar, which she bought for us. The problem is that the Yamaha has only one HDMI input and ideally I need 2, one for a 4K blu-ray player and another for a Tata Sky 4K Satellite box which they introduced earlier this year. With my OCD I don't like plugging the devices directly into the TV.

So the answer seems a high quality HDMI switch that allows full 4K pass through. Such things might be difficult to buy in India and so I plan to take one there from the UK. Any advice on the best ones? I have heard good reports about Zettaguard but my knowledge about these gizmos is limited.

Please advice.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
'With my OCD I don't like plugging the devices directly into the TV' - there is no reason to avoid connecting the two Sources direct to the TV and then use either HDMI ARC or an optical cable between the TV and the Soundbar.

Joe
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
Thanks.

Sorry for being persistent on this point but I cannot understand why if the soundbar is "intervening" between the HDMI connections between a blu-ray player or Sky box and the TV, it (the soundbar) will not mute when a headphone jack is plugged into the TV? If the TV and Soundbar are 'aware' of each other, surely this should work?
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
Where are you plugging the Bluray Player and Sky Box into?

Joe
My preferred connections would be the 4K BD player and the Sky Q box via HDMI into the HDMI-in sockets of a soundbar. (The question of a HDMI switch arises if the soundbar has only one HDMI input, as with the Yamaha Musiccast Bar 400 but for this issue, that is besides the point)
Then the HDMI-out of the soundbar to the TV. If the TV does not have ARC (need to check this as I bought it 18 months ago and haven't been to India since), then Optical from TV back to the soundbar.

My thinking (which may be wrong) is that the smart TV should then 'know' that the soundbar is connected to it and vice versa (since the soundbar's input selector appears on the TV). So, if a headphone jack from an RF transmitter is plugged into the headphone 'jill' (socket) of the TV, why cannot the soundbar recognise the fact and go mute?

After all, one of the main reasons of using a soundbar indoors (and RF ones are made for indoor use) is to mute external sound and not disturb others. Otherwise, it does not make any sense.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Unlikely the TV sends any form of trigger out via HDMI CEC to indicate a Headphone Jack has been inserted into the Headphone socket.

The main reason folk use Soundbars is to achieve some form of surround sound or enhanced TV viewing without installing a traditional AVR + Speaker system.

Have you considered a wireless headphone system with HDMI Inputs which will sit between the Soundbar and the TV - you can then set the Soundbar to 'HDMI passthru in Standby' and listen via the Headphones without the Soundbar speakers outputting any audio - https://www.sony.co.uk/electronics/headband-headphones/mdr-hw700ds

Joe
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
Thanks but those headphones are well above my budget........for headphones.

I guess that I have to somehow persuade myself that connection the devices to the TV is all right. BUT, if I did that and used an Optical cable from TV to soundbar, won't I lose Dolby Atoms & DTS-X for open listening (without headphones)?
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Going via the TV will limit the audio you can route via the TV ARC or Optical Out.

No simple solution to your various requirements - or none that cost no money!

Joe
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
Thanks Joe; I know you are trying to help. And I don't mind spending a reasonable amount of money if there is a solution.

Let's look at this another way. According to Sony, plugging an ARC capable TV to the HDMI-out (ARC socket) of an ARC capable soundbar defaults all audio to the soundbar and disables the TV's own speakers. Therefore, does it not follow that if the user disables ARC temporarily, the audio reverts to the TV's speakers and if it has a headphone jack plugged in, to the headphones?
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
TV - what is the model number? You have mentioned LG and Sony!

I would not assume anything when it comes to how devices function and always read the Manual and or test the connected devices to see how they interact.

ARC relies on CEC - CEC can be very unpredictable.

Joe
 

bjd

Well-known Member
Hi guys, what is the best budget friendly and reliable solution in order to connect multiple 4K devices (at the moment sky q box 2 tb and fire stick 4k) into my soundbar (only one hdmi for input, the other - ARC - goes to TV).
It must be able to pass [email protected], HDCP 2.2, true/hd and Atmos etc..

I just tried with a cheap 30£ switcher from Amazon but Fire stick HD is not working (green screen, TV resolution and format not recognized, no sound) so I'm going to return it but on the other side I'm thinking a second hand AVR will be overkill because I can't draw cables anywhere in the living room so I'm stuck with the Samsung Atmos soundbar and 2 wireless rear speakers for a few years until I'll hopefully have the budget for some renovation work.

Thanks in advance for your advice.
You could try one from here:
Good tech support as well so you could give them a call before ordering anything.
 

Mayandi2

Active Member
TV - what is the model number? You have mentioned LG and Sony!

I would not assume anything when it comes to how devices function and always read the Manual and or test the connected devices to see how they interact.

ARC relies on CEC - CEC can be very unpredictable.

Joe
Sorry.

Lounge: The TV is LG OLED 65" C9 PLA 4K and the Soundbar is Sony HT ST 5000 (I originally had ordered the Samsung HW Q90R but it was almost impossible to site rear speakers properly in the lounge due to the room layout and so changed to the Sony which has no rear speakers)

Master bedroom: The TV is Sony Bravia KD49XG 9005BU 49” Smart 4K and the Soundbar is Sony HT-ZF9 with Sony SA-9ZR wireless rear speakers. No problem with rear speakers there.

I am unable to test anything at present and for 6 more weeks because the kit is sitting in their original packages. There is a lot of joinery and interior work going on and due to the X-mas season, it is taking longer than expected.
 

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