Central AVR and smart TV

ben4k

Novice Member
Hello,

I am quite new to the whole AV distribution game, so please excuse if I ask trivial questions.

I currently have the following setup:

Central media room:
  • Apple TV (4k)
  • Sonos connect for music streaming
  • HDBASET video matrix (pulseeight neo6a), which transports the video signal, for example from the Apple TV, to the TVs in the other rooms via Cat5e. The Video matrix also has a digital audio breakout for each video input. It supports 4k
  • 2 x AVR (onkyo TX706), one connected to the surround system in the living room and the other to the one in the master bedroom
  • Audio matrix (pulseeight proaudio). The inputs are the digital sound signal from the Apple TV plus various other digital and analog sound sources. Outputs are the AVRs, plus the different zones of an amplifier (pulseeight proamp) that is feeding the ceiling speakers in the other rooms

Living room:
4k Smart TV (Philips 806 Oled Ambilight)
Speaker system powered by AVR in central media room

Master Bedroom:
Sony TV (supports 1080p HDR, but no 4k) - not a smart TV
Speaker system powered by AVR in central media room

Other rooms:
Ceiling speakers (stereo, no dolby) and some rooms also have 1080p HDR TVs

This setup is working well so far. I am controlling this via Home Assistant running on a raspberry pi. The only annoying thing is that now I have this mix of 4k and non 4k for video as well as dolby and stereo for audio across the different rooms. I actually bought the 4k TV only now and am trying to figure out the best way to integrate it into my system

Since the TV is a smart TV, I could use it directly to watch Netflix, Prime, etc. in 4k quality without having to use the Apple TV signal distributed by the matrix. The only problem is that I would have to somehow transport the dolby 5.1 sound signal from the TV to the AVR in the media room, so that I can enjoy dolby sound from the living room speakers powered by the AVR. I was thinking of using something like this Digital Audio over Cat5e/6 Extender - Pulse-Eight - Ultra HD Distribution and Control Products to transport it via Cat5e, connecting this device to the optical sound output of the TV. Would that work and would the sound quality still be as good as now, where I am feeding the digital sound breakout from the video matrix to the AVR? Any better solutions?

Alternatively I could just buy another AppleTV, which would be set to 4k and would only be used to distribute video to the smart TV, while the other Apple TV would stream video to the non 4k rooms, i.e. everything would be like my current setup just with an additional Apple TV. Any comments on what would be the better solution?
 

ben4k

Novice Member
I realise that maybe my question is a bit too long, so to make it shorter, basically the problem is that my AVR is in a different room than the TV so I need to find the best way to stream audio and video between the two locations. I can either use the Streaming Apps on my smart TV for video and then stream the dolby audio via Cat5e to the centrally located AVR controlling the speakers, or I can connect a 4k Apple TV to my HDBaseT matrix with audio breakout and connect the audio breakout to the AVR and stream video via HDBasetT to the TV. Is it correct that video quality would be better for the first solution, as HDBaseT over Cat5e restricts the 4k signal I can stream?
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
TV Digital Audio Optical Out > Digital Audio over CAT Extender > AVR will allow you best video (the Apps can deliver) plus ‘up to’ DD5.1 back to the AVR.

Source > HDBT Matrix > TV (plus matrix audio breakout to AVR) is, as you say, likely to have restrictions in terms of the Video the Matrix will pass.

If the ATV 4K is preferable to the TV’s streaming Apps the option is to connect the ATV 4K to the TV and use the TV Optical Out as described above.

Joe
 

ben4k

Novice Member
TV Digital Audio Optical Out > Digital Audio over CAT Extender > AVR will allow you best video (the Apps can deliver) plus ‘up to’ DD5.1 back to the AVR.

Source > HDBT Matrix > TV (plus matrix audio breakout to AVR) is, as you say, likely to have restrictions in terms of the Video the Matrix will pass.

If the ATV 4K is preferable to the TV’s streaming Apps the option is to connect the ATV 4K to the TV and use the TV Optical Out as described above.

Joe
Many thanks. Would you say it's worth it, going for the solution of bypassing the video matrix and just passing the sound back to the AVR? My pulse eight video matrix seems to be quite good, but I think the maximum it can pass is 4k HD 60hz via cat5e (currently I can only get 30hz, but I think I need to play a bit more with the setup). So I suppose dolby vision is not possible via hdbaset, but I'm not sure how much I'm missing out. I just checked for a few netflix movies in dolby vision and could not see a big difference between hdbaset and the smart tv app, but that requires a bit more testing.

Right now the living room is the only 4k room, so if staying with hdbaset i probably would still get a dedicated apple tv that is fixed to 4k uhd and only to be used in that room anyway and then the other rooms would share another apple tv and potentially other 1080p sources via the matrix. The living room would be the main room for watching movies anyway, though I might get a 4k tv for the bedroom at some point. I'm not sure if there is any "best practice solution " for a use case like mine.
I'm not worried about control, by the way. Since I'm using an open source system and in fact already have components to control matrix, Smart tv and apple tv both solutions can be easily accommodated from a control perspective. So I guess the main tradeoff here is having a unified system vs having best possible picture quality in the "cinema room"/living room.



Also, any recommendations for a digital audio to cat5e extender ? I had linked one from pulse eight,.since most of my equipment is from them, but can find cheaper solutions online. Not sure if there would be any significant difference in quality
 

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