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Experiences with Octava 4x4 HDMI CAT6 Matrix Switch (HDMX44CAT-UK)

hagglelad

Novice Member
I thought I would start this thread as a place holder since I've just come off the phone from The Media Factory having being told that my Octava 4x4 HDMI CAT6 Matrix Switch has come into stock and should be with me tomorrow. I've had to wait a while but both John and Joe from TMF have been very helpful so far. Thanks guys.

Before my electrician arrives to route all the cat-6 cable this weekend I am planning on testing the matrix, which should hopefully ensure that the kit and more importantly the cables I've bought are up to the job (I've heard stories they can be sensitive). Also if things don't work once the cable is installed I know that the installation has damaged the cable.

So anyway here's my current kit line-up...

- Ocatava 4x4 HDMI CAT6 Matrix Switch (HDMX44CAT-UK)
- 2x Octava HDMI CAT5 Receiever with IR Passthru (HDCATIR-RX-UK)
- Samsung 40" B650 1080P LCD TV (LE40B650)
- Sharp 22" 1080P LCD TV (LC22LE22E)
- Samsung Virgin Media V+ HD Box
- Acer Revo R3700, Windows 7, XBMC

and cable (Cables To Go - 20m Cat6 550 MHz Snagless Patch Cable - White)...

- 2x 20m Cables to Go 550Mhz Cat 6
- 2x 5m Cables to Go 550Mhz Cat 6

I'm planning to test the matrix with 2 sources and 2 displays to begin with just to keep things simple.

Will post again once its arrived!
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
So I've taken delivery and unboxed. I've drafted a blog post here of the unboxing...

Unboxing of Octava 4×4 HDMI Matrix Switch (HDMX44CAT-UK) | Oliver Pearmain

Currently undergoing testing at the moment. It all mostly seems to be working but occasionally it won't work in certain situations, difficult to explain but if I swap round some of the cables (ethernet and HDMI) things start working again.

I'm confident enough to have the sparkie install the 20m cat 6 run to the kitchen tomorrow though.

Will hopefully update with something more conclusive soon.
 

gedo

Active Member
I'm really looking forward to your thoughts on this.

This matrix is on my short list....I have installed 4 x HDMI cables of various lengths in my new build and have CAT5/CAT6 cables also going to each TV point in the other locations. I like the idea of this unit being able to send in parallel (HDMI & Ethernet) which would allow me to use it in 8 different locations, almost like a 4 x 8 matrix.

I have some reservations on the control side as there is no IR facility when using HDMI only which is my biggest gripe. Joe has said that they are looking at an IR over ethernet module which might be the answer or I'd have to look at using something like an IR Commander from Keene.

I digress, hope you get a chance to get your teeth into this soon.

George
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
Apologies its taken so long for an update, we're right in the middle of redecorating the place so am very busy at the moment. Also its taken a long time to get to where I am with the matrix now, I've had to do some extensive testing having got particularly unpredictable behaviour at first. One minute things would be working and the next they wouldn't. I've actually come to the conclusion that I have a faulty HDMI input 2 on my matrix since it never behaves the same as the other HDMI inputs (mostly it doesn't work). Anyway when I have a moment I'm going to get in contact with Joe at TMF about this problem and see what he thinks. Lets ignore the problem input 2 for now and I'll try and give you a bit more info (assume that I've used different inputs for the below)...

So all the cat 6 has been installed now and I have the kit configured as follows:

Virgin Media V+ HD Box -> Matrix Input 1
Acer Revo/XBMC -> Matrix Input 3
Matrix Output A -> 5m Cat 6 -> Receiver -> Samsung 40" TV (Lounge)
Matrix Output B -> 20m Cat 6 -> Receiver -> Sharp 22" TV (Kitchen)

(I also have had a 10m cat 6 run installed to the main bedroom but I've yet to buy a TV for this room yet)

If I had to summarise if everything is working as I'd had hoped, unfortunately the answer is no. It nearly all works however there is one exception: the Revo/XBMC refuses to show on the Samsung TV over the cat 6 connection at 1080P. It does work however if I use a 720P resolution or when the Sammy TV is connected directly via HDMI to the matrix and it also works at 1080P on the Sharp TV in the kitchen over cat 6. I've tried all manner of things to try and work out what the problem is, I've switched cables/receivers, the particular input/output the devices are connected to, but the issue always occurs with the Revo/XBMC over ethernet to the Sammy TV. Very frustrating. I'm still working on resolving this.

In my travels I've noticed that the order in which you switch the kit on is quite critical, but I think this has something to do with the fact I'm using the "Mode 1" EDID setting at the moment (I've yet to try anything else as of yet). Having tinkered with the matrix I've come to the conclusion that in this mode the matrix memorises the EDID configuration (for a given input) the first time a sync/source device handshake. So once this configuration is memorised even if another sync device is switched on or the source device is restarted its EDID settings aren't considered. This might be a good or a bad thing, I've yet to decide.

The following example might help explain the "memory" when using mode 1... if all is powered off, then I power on the matrix, followed by the Virgin box, then the kitchen receiver & the Sharp TV (so note its the virgin box that EDID handshakes with the Sharp TV first), finally the lounge receiver & the Samsung TV is switched on, I don't get any sound on the Samsung TV. This happens every time (provided I'm not using HDMI input 2 lol). Powering off & on the Virgin box and/or Samsung TV and/or Sharp TV doesn't resolve the issue. Whatever sound configuration that has been chosen (and doesn't work with the Samsung TV) has been remembered by the matrix. (So when I am powering on the matrix now I have to make sure the Samsung TV is the first to communicate with the Virgin box to get the sound working on all TV's).

However if I do exactly the same as above with the exception of powering on all receivers before the matrix everything works ok including the sound??? Perhaps the virgin box is just handshaking with the receiver alone before any TV is switched on???

In addition to this, I did on one occasion manage to get the kit into a state whereby the Samsung TV would display the output of the Virgin V+ box for about a second, then display static for a second, then black for a second and then repeat (the Sharp TV is off in this scenario). Even when I turned off & on both the Samsung TV and the Virgin box the result was the same, again suggesting that the whatever problem was occurring had been memorized by the matrix. Once I powered off the matrix itself and started again this issue resolved itself. (No idea how I got things into that state, I haven't seen that again).

Interestingly however even in "mode 1" sometimes if you are watching on one TV and you power on the other (to view the same source) the first TV will go black for a second or two suggesting that there is some EDID processing going on???

I think mode 2 behaves more like I would have expected from the matrix. That is; each time a new sync device comes online for a given input it will re-evaluate the EDID of the source and all sync devices connected and make a conscious decision about what EDID settings to use. But as mentioned earlier I've yet to try this setting.

There's plenty more stuff for me to try, hopefully there's a solution to my Revo/XBMC & Samsung TV issue at 1080P, getting this sorted is critical for me. Plus hopefully I can get this problem HDMI input 2 sorted or if not get a replacement matrix.

Oh, I do have one question... does anyone know what the "Smart Scan" setting is?
 
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gedo

Active Member
I have to say, it doesn't sound like a great start for something that is a relatively expensive piece of kit. I have been looking at the cheaper options and was thinking that with the Octava I might be able to 'buy' myself out of trouble, but based on your experience that appears not to be the case.

I'll continue to monitor your progress with interest but my deadline for picking a matrix for my own installation is fast approaching.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello all

Gedo – unless you’re willing to purchase a pre tested and configured ‘system’ from a single supplier I’d avoid HDMI at all costs if you want to guarantee trouble free operation in a complex set-up.

Hagglelad – Smart SCAN is best left disabled (default setting) with a Matrix; it’s a handy ‘auto source selection’ feature but best utilised on our single output units.

The Tech team who designed HDMI didn’t account for these ‘green’ times – once it’s up and running HDMI, HDCP and EDID prefer you go in/out of Standby rather than physically powering on/off.

Joe
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
I'm absolutely elated to be able to say that I now have the Acer Revo working at 1080P with the Samsung TV. All that was needed was a tweak of the "EQ" (equalization?) knob on the CAT6 receiver. I changed this from the default setting of EQ "3" to EQ "0" and 1080p started working immediately. There was much air punching! This does kinda make sense since it seemed that problem was with the cat6 run/receiver and EDID settings weren't a problem given that things would work if the TV was connected directly to the matrix via a HDMI cable.

Also this morning I connected my Xbox 360 as a third source to the matrix and performed some tests. Interestingly it would only display at 1080i and when trying to switch to 1080P in the Xbox settings (Xbox Guide > Settings > System Settings > Console Settings > Display > HDTV Settings) the 1080p option was greyed out suggesting that the connected sync devices (matrix/TV's) weren't 1080p capable. Luckily the Xbox 360 settings have a "Display Discovery" setting (Xbox Guide > Settings > System Settings > Console Settings > Display > Display Discovery), which can loosely be described as whether the xbox "auto retrieves your TV's audio and video settings (EDID)". When I changed "Display Discovery" to DISABLED and rebooted the 1080p setting became enabled, I was able to select it and now both TV's are displaying at 1080p, awesome!

This does now beg the question... what happens if I were add a new source device that thinks the sync devices aren't capable of 1080p and has no configuration setting to tell it to ignore the EDID settings or force it to 1080p!!!????

So in summary, I'm a very happy boy and all seems to be working as I'd hoped now.

In other news, I've been experimenting with the EDID "mode 2" and aren't really seeing the results I'd hoped. I've occasionally got into a situation where I don't get any sound on either TV and I've had to kill power entirely to a source device to fix it. I think "mode 1" may be the appropriate mode for me but in the event of the Octava matrix switch losing power (for example in a power cut or if I have to switch off the electric for some reason) I will just have to make sure I switch everything back on in the correct order.

I've still yet to try EDID "mode 3" (fixed basic 2.0 LPCM sound) but according to the manual this doesn't support 1080p but this could be a typo, once I give this a try I'll feedback.
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
I have to say, it doesn't sound like a great start for something that is a relatively expensive piece of kit. I have been looking at the cheaper options and was thinking that with the Octava I might be able to 'buy' myself out of trouble, but based on your experience that appears not to be the case.

I'll continue to monitor your progress with interest but my deadline for picking a matrix for my own installation is fast approaching.
Hi Gedo, I had also previously been thinking that the Octava matrix was an expensive bit of kit and had considered procuring a solution individually bit by bit to make things more cost effective. However once I looked into it that thinking would have cost me way more and wouldn't have worked as well together. You have to remember everything you are getting with the unit...

- 4x4 HDMI matrix (individually would cost £400 for HDMX44-UK)
- 4 HDMI over CAT 6 Transmitters (individually lets says £360 4x tx half of a HDCATIR-UK )
- Integrated IR routing (somewhere upto £100 for a Xantech solution)

You get all this in a single unit so its always going to integrate better and also with a single power supply (so you don't have loads of power wires and socket to manage).

In addition to this you have to remember that the Octava matrix unit outputs on both the CAT6 output AND the HDMI input SIMULTANEOUS so in reality the Octava unit is a 4x8 matrix. This is in essence the reason that I choose the Octava over the HDAnywhere solution.
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
HDMI is an utter bastard!

No idea how I got there but my kit has managed to get itself into a "state" where it now refuses to output any sound when using the V+ box. I've tried practically everything to rectify this with no luck.

This morning I moved one of my TV's and plugged it directly into the V+ box via HDMI. I can't even get a picture on the TV now, ***!

Have given up now and gone into work minus large clumps of hair. Might have a little cry in a bit.
 

Rex-Kramer

Standard Member
Hagglelad,

Just had a read of your thread and im about to embark on the same setup as you, but with the added complication of the 4x8 matrix.

Couple of questions for you if you are able to answer or clarify for me:

Do you have a separate amp to distribute sound and vision? Reason being is im planning on having an amp in the main room to give sound to speakers, ideally what i want to do is have SKY HD>AMP>Matrix Input 1 HDMI to HDMI OUT to TV. Will this work, or have i misunderstood?

My main concern is getting the best sound and vision in main zone, all the others are just going to be stereo so no big deal.

Looking at connecting SKY HD to HDMI, PS3/Freeview HD/Apple TV/PC to the Cat 6

Im not sure ive been that clear about it so if there are any questions feel free to ask! And thanks!
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Ideally you want each Source connected to the Matrix via HDMI and set to Video + 2.0 LPCM (stereo) via HDMI (to suit the TV’s in your distributed Zones) + simultaneous 5.1 DD/DTS via Optical or Coaxial to your AV Receiver (AVR).

Even without the matrix in your system plans SKY+ HD always requires an Optical or Coaxial connection to the AVR as it only ever delivers Video + 2.0 LPCM (stereo) audio via HDMI.

Joe
 

widewheels

Standard Member
Rex-Kramer,

I've got a 4x8 matrix and bose V20 surround system in the lounge.

Without knowing if it would work I simply connected the Sky HD box HDMI to the matrix to feed picture to the TV and digital audio output from the Sky HD box to the audio input of the Bose.

It works perfectly with no sync issues.
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
Rex-Kramer: there's no amp in my setup at the moment. I do have a receiver, but it doesn't have any HDMI inputs, only optical/digital. I'm planning on adding this into the mix once I get all my other issues sorted.

widewheels: fantastic to finally hear from someone else running the Octava unit. There is so little info on this forum regarding the matrix so thanks for sharing your experience. What EDID mode are you running? Have you had any issues when you experience a power cut or manually power cycle the matrix only?

Also: I've think I've discovered that the Sharp TV could be a problem in my setup, it doesn't seem to handshake correctly. When connected directly to the V+ I can't get video or sound on the TV. When connected directly to the REVO I get no sound and windows reports that no HDMI audio device is connected.

I can however get the Sharp TV working with the matrix however (luckily) you just have to be very clever and fool the matrix into thinking its talking to something else (I've developed two techniques for doing this). I'll post more details once I have some more time. I've got a job interview in a couple of hours so thats taking priority.

So generally video and sound is now working.... however.... naturally.... I am now experiencing intermittent infra-red issues, one minute all seems ok and then its very temperamental.
I can tell you its rather annoying having to leave the room, point your remote into a cupboard and have your wife shout at you when to fast forward and play!
 

widewheels

Standard Member
hagglelad,

The audio in the lounge is my only real success.

I'm have all the problems you have mentioned; loss of video/sound even though it appears the tv set is receiving something, intermittent IR issues (pointing remote into media cupboard).

The matrix appears to work properly for a period after a power-down reset, but when tv's power has been cycled most of them go blank/silent again.

Joe (above) has been helpful and the unit is currently being shipped back for him to give it the once over.

I haven't yet tried his suggestion to leave tvs in standby as I'm against this as a principle.

Having said all this, I'm a complete AV novice, this is my first major project. I've probably got a lot to learn.
 

widewheels

Standard Member
Since September, but it was only properly set up towards the end of last year, I'm only really trying to get it sorted now.

I believe yours is a slightly updated version of mine.

When it works it's fantastic, does exactly what it says on the tin, but there have been occasions when it's almost been launched through the window.
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
Yeah, I can only imagine the pain of trying to get a 4x8 all working. I'm struggling with 2x2 at the moment! :-(
 

gedo

Active Member
All of the issues you guys have been having with an 'expensive' matrix is making me seriously consider one of the cheaper alternatives. There are units kicking around for the £400 mark which comes with the matrix and 4 x cat6 receivers...how much worse can they be !

I'm also considering simplifying my setup to remove the need for a matrix all together. I could probably achieve 90% of what I want using my AV Receiver, HDMI splitters, analog TV distribution and magic eyes.
 

Oscarp

Standard Member
Guys
I've also been following this thread very closely to see the teething problems that you are experiencing....i'm looking at getting the HDMX44CAT-UK plus 2x HDCATIR-RX-UK
I agree with hagglelad - from painful experience having an all in one solution from a single company (e.g. Dell / Octava etc) is likely to be less troublesome than than a mis-match from different vendors !!! It all depends on whether you have the time and inclination to tinker ;)
Just my thoughts
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
Ok so I said I'd update on how I've managed to get the sound working on the Sharp TV in the kitchen. I've written myself a little guide as below, the gear is connected to the matrix as follows...

V+ -> Input 1
Output A -> CAT6 -> Rx -> Samsung TV (Lounge)
Output B -> CAT6 -> Rx -> Sharp TV (Kitchen)

Note I am using MODE 1 EDID settings now.

IF EXPERIENCING PICTURE BUT NO SOUND ON THE SHARP TV...

There are 2 ways to overcome this issue...


BEST TECHNIQUE
----------------

1) Start with:
- Matrix : ON [+ all outputs set to view V+ (Input 1)]
- V+ : ON
- REVO : OFF/SLEEP
- Kitchen Rx : ON
- Sharp TV : ON
- Lounge Rx : ON
- Samsung TV : ON

1) (With the matrix still on) Remove the kitchen/Sharp TV CAT6 cables from the matrix output B

2) (With the matrix still on) Remove the lounge/Samsung TV CAT6 cables from the matrix output A and plug into matrix output B (there is a handshake with the Samsung TV and output B is "configured" on the matrix)

3) Check that video and audio from the V+ (via CAT6 output B) is working on Samsung TV in the lounge

4) (With the matrix still on) Remove the lounge/Samsung TV CAT6 cables from the matrix output B and return to matrix output A

5) (With the matrix still on) Return the kitchen/Sharp TV CAT6 cables into matrix output B (The sharp TV doesn't appear to handshake and so output B doesn't get "reconfigured" on the matrix).

6) Check that BOTH video and audio from the V+ (via CAT6 output B) is working on Sharp TV in the kitchen


ALTERNATIVE TECHNIQUE
------------------------

1) Start with:
- Matrix : ON [+ all outputs set to view V+ (Input 1)]
- V+ : ON
- REVO : OFF/SLEEP
- Kitchen Rx : ON
- Sharp TV : ON
- Lounge Rx : ON
- Samsung TV : NA

1a) Ensure that video and sound is working on the Samsung TV in the lounge (via CAT6 output A) first.

2) Unplug everything from the Samsung TV in the lounge and carry it into the kitchen and plug it in at the mains (it doesn't matter whether you switch it ON or not coz it would appear to do a HDMI handshake even when in standby)

3) With the Sharp TV still on (should be seeing V+ picture but with no sound) pull out the HDMI cable from its rear and plug it into the Samsung TV (I assume that this performs a handshake with the Octava matrix and reconfigures output B on the matrix) (If the Samsung TV is on you will see the V+ picture AND YOU WILL GET SOUND ALSO)

4) With the Sharp TV still on pull the HDMI cable out the back of the Samsung TV and plug it into the Sharp TV. You should hopefully now have BOTH video and audio on the Sharp TV. (The sharp TV doesn't appear to handshake and so output B doesn't get "reconfigured" on the matrix).

5) Disconnect the Samsung TV and move it back to the lounge and reconnect.
 
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