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HDMI Switching Solution


Standard Member
Hi everyone, I'm hoping for some kind members with some free time to aid me in my quest.

I've done some research... but there's just too much to look through and my free time is in short supply lately.

Over the years I've had some interesting setups... my DIY RF switchboard of multiple inputs/outputs and switches, a little interferrence but who notices on RF? Then various scart solutions, SilverScreen's Scard switchboard, and Joytech's AV Centre Component switchbox.

Now like everyone and everything else, majority of things are now HDMI, so now arises the need for a new setup.

First, the existing kit:
Sky HD, Amstrad, two Scarts, RF (pfft.) and possibly composite I think.
Panasonic 42" TV, Max 1080i resolution, 3 scarts, 2 HDMI (1 malfunctioning HDCP, takes ages to handshake, needs replacing in the future).
Secondary screen, 1080i, 22", HDMI.
Panasonic DVD Recorder with HDD, 2 Scarts, Composite.

I've got a NEET 5 to 1 auto switch with remote, and this has served me quite well, having sky on input 5, ps3 on 3 and xbox on 2, it will auto switch to a console when I power it on and play and revert back to Sky if it's still on.

However.... My sky is filling up (Mrs' Tokyo Eye and the kid's Blue's Clues and what not) and I need to save this off onto the stack load of empty or re-recordable DVDs I can erase (since whatever I saved on them I've now been able to buy on a production DVD).

I always try to buy the "real" DVDs, so the stuff I need to record off are not Movies or complete series of programs, just odd bits here and there... oh for the days of the VCR... quality was terrible but saving stuff was a lot easier.

For now, until an actual, real, proper, Blu-Ray recorder is made available, I'll have to stick with my Panasonic DVD recorder, it's just a shame the scart connection isn't great... perhaps I need a better cable, they do have gold looking connections, but the cable looks a generic grey fat cheapy kind and so far recording test clips from the Sky the reds and whites look fuzzy and horrible (unless this is done on purpose by Sky?).

I'm tempted to use something like an HDFury and Hauppage setup... although frankly I don't NEED 1080i HD and all that... I just want a clear, viewable picture without thinking "that red section on screen looks fuzzy" or "I can't read that black text on white background" when watching. For the Hauupage, I'd need a computer as well, doable but getting a decent spec in a small space is costly and seems more effort, although if I'm just uploading to Youtube some weird thing that happened while playing PS3/Xbox I guess it's quicker going straight to PC. I like the simplicity of the Panasonic, but yet I can edit frame by frame for perfect timing, and the inbuilt menus are good enough for most things... if I want to make a special DVD with super menus, I write it to a recordable, stick it into a PC, get the files and then use some software to make a better one.

I see there are one or two HDMI to Scart and Scart to HDMI connections out there, some even saying they upscale. Hopefully that can make my Scart based DVD HDD recorder a bit more connectable to my other kit.

The other aspect, is I have a small TV next to the big one, so I can play a game, but the sprog can still watch Nick Jr (don't worry, not playing anything gory!), and out of the Sky, I have the other scart going upstairs to the kid's bedroom, plugged into another scart, going to our bedroom, so we can watch stuff off the downstairs sky from the bedroom. The reason for it stopping in the Kid's room? Future expansion, plus it used to be my "Office" before the kids... for working... and occasional game playing... etc.

I actually made the cable myself, it's a Cat5e with a scart plug on the end, so looking at these HDMI/Ethernet adaptors looks great, so I can chop off the scart plugs and put on RJ45 plugs/sockets and make them ethernet links again, however I only have one from living room to kids and another one from kids to our room, so it'll need to be the "SINGLE WIRE", not the "TWO WIRE" solutions.

The bedroom TV can accept an HDMI for plumbing upstairs.

I've discovered, it's not a switcher, but a "Matrix Switch" it seems to be I need, thanks to this board I even had a look at the HDAnywhere... very impressive, but I'd want a lot of inputs (for future), and multiple outputs, most of which are local... so a bit of waste needing those ethernet to HDMI adaptors when 3 outputs are in the same location as the inputs... pity they didn't design it to have either HDMI or Ethernet per output, but then I guess that makes it even more expensive.

Definately a Matrix I want... as I want all inputs available to TV1, a different input going to TV2, and Sky going to Outputs 3 and 4 by default, but able to change.

I do like the PowerOn Detection, but only for specific outputs, for example the TV1 should operate as my current NEET switch does, but the others should be static and only changed manually. One big concern of mine is if you're switching inputs for Output 1, does it affect the other outputs? Even for a second? I do not want that, as I most likely will be recording or someone else viewing on that other Output.

I do like the 8x8 HDAnywhere... I like a lot of space for future expansion (never know when PS4 and Xbox 720 will hit... there's two more slots taken).
Also, if passing the DVD Recorder back in as an input for seeing what it sees and editing (will need a Scart to HDMI adapter of course...). Pity it doesn't cater for a local connection... too many cables/boxes/mains when at least 3 outputs will be local...

Also... another project in mind, is creating some kind of DVD/Blu-Ray jukebox... my DVD collection is taking up too much room, and the kids are somewhat rough with discs, I'd love to record it all on a device with HDMI out and replay it from a HDD/RAID/SAN and save the wear on discs, plus have instant access and playlists for the Kids and Parents seperately.

A mini, portable version with HDMI out (and backwards compatible Scart/Composite output for older TVs) which can be loaded with a small subset (Kid's favourites) so can keep them entertained on the move.

So many things to sort out...

So, any advice, experience, ideas? Thanks.

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello AJStevens

Quite a lot of questions in one Post :D

SKY > DVR via SCART – ensure the SKY box and DVR are both set to RGB via SCART, that provides the best quality available to you over the SCART connection.

HDMI > SCART – is a very lossy compression/conversion process and would likely look worse than RGB via SCART to SCART!

HDMI Matrix – buying ‘expansion’ is mighty costly, unless you can find an affordable chassis which lets you populate the chassis with additional Output cards as and when you need them! (Watch this space)!

HDMI ‘blanking’ – unfortunately if you do things correctly with HDMI and its encryption buddy HDCP the image must ‘blink’ whenever you make a change on the Matrix as the encryption process has to force the Source to renegotiate with the connected Sink (Display) devices! There are various HDCP ‘strategies’ a Matrix manufacturer can employ to minimise the problem.

PVR with HDMI In – not sure what is/is not available currently, anything I’ve looked at that claims to be a Blu-ray recorder lacks the ability to record HD from an External Source!


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