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How best to get complete AV system to work together?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by ab1385, Aug 23, 2005.

  1. ab1385

    ab1385
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    I’m really not sure if this is the right place to put this, but since the amp/receiver may well end up doing most of the work in this system I thought this might be a sensible place to post. If not, could a kindly moderator please move it to a more appropriate place?

    I’m looking to build a system for my parent’s living room, which they are planning on doing up over the summer while I’m home from university. They want a system that will all integrate well together, sound and look good, be functional, and above all else easy to use. The basics are this:

    -The TV. We already have a 32” WS CRT, but it’s getting old. This will not be replaced at the same time as the rest of the system, but will be during the next year, so it is important to bear this in mind.
    -The amp/receiver. This, depending on whether in the future it will be used for video switching, may or may not need to do component upconversion. I’m currently thinking the Yamaha RX-V657 from Germany for about £265, but may consider going cheaper (say the Denon AVR-1706 if component upconversion isn’t required).
    -The speakers. Already got these – Mordaunt Short Premier in 7.1.
    -Sky+. We’ve already got Sky Digital, but will go to Sky+. The decision is whether to get Sky+ or Sky+160, which depends on the DVD recorder…
    -DVD recorder. If we get Sky+160, then it seems that a normal DVD-recorder will do. If we get Sky+ normal, then it would seem sensible to get a DVD-recorder with a hard disk of around 200GB to back up Sky recordings easily. Since the Sky+ will be shared with upstairs, it seems wise to also be able to watch freeview downstairs, so a DVD recorder with freeview makes sense to keep things simple. To that end, the ideas I had for these would be the Panasonic DMR-ES20 if no HDD is required, or the Panasonic DMR-EH60 or Pioneer 530H if it is. This will also act as the main DVD player.
    -Playstation 2 we already have, but needs to be connected into the system.
    -Remote control to control it all.

    Now, bearing in mind it needs to be very simple to run (though setting up is OK as I can probably get my head round most of it), how would you go about setting it all up?

    The first thing I can’t decide is whether it’s worth letting the amp do the video switching. If the TV automatically goes to the correct input, then that’s fine for simplicity – you just select the channel on the amp and turn the TV on. Problem is that the only inputs are S-Video, Composite, and Component. Since the DVD recorder is the main DVD player as well, this presents the first problem – you can’t connect it up as a video player as there is no component recorder inputs, only for DVD. And a S-Video input into the TV won’t be much quality will it? Even if the amp did upconvert all the signals into conponent for the plasma when we got it, the signals would still have to be output as s-video first – will this result in a big loss in quality?

    The other option is to do it all independently – Sky+ -> DVD-recorder -> TV via SCART, and PS2 -> TV via SCART, and all the sound done from the amp. When we get the plasma though, I’d like to connect at least the DVD to it via component, can you go Sky+ ->DVD via SCART, then DVD -> TV via component? The problem with this setup is the lack of room for expandability – if you only have 2 SCART sockets, and you use them both up, you have no space for anything else, e.g. dedicated DVD player, X-box 360, etc etc. It’s also a little more complicated if you have to switch channels on the TV as well as on the amp – it may sound silly, but my Mum and technology aren’t great in combination. Also, eventually, can HD go through SCART, or does it have to be component/digital?

    I suppose the best solution is to follow option 2, and to use a remote like the Logitech Harmony 688 to set ‘watch DVD’ options etc, but are there any other better options I haven’t thought of yet?

    What about video upconversion? If you take Sky+ as s-video, feed it into the amp, and output as component, whats the quality likely to be like? And how easy is it to get s-video from a source with only a SCART out – what are the SCART – phono + s-vid adapters like? And what about watching Sky through a DVD player? Is it easy to get the DVD player to allow throughput, both when its on and off?

    Sorry, this is a huge load of questions, but I’m hoping someone can help with at least some of them! :)
     
  2. Astaroth

    Astaroth
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    Ok, first thing to point out (as I am not sure when you say scart->s.video adapter if you mean a cable or a convertor) is that s.video is a signal type as well as a socket type and therefore you cannot just take a scart->svideo cable and plug it into an RGB scart socket at one end and a s.video socket at the other and get it to work properly (in fact you will get black and white picture). These cables are generally for use where a TV has a scart socket that will accept composit, rgb or svideo but these can be thin on the ground.

    If you are talking about a convertor and are then wanting to feed it into the amp and have the signal converted for a second time into component then you would be better off just converting it into component in the first place to reduce and picture quality effects.

    I have a somewhat similar setup to what you are suggesting and with my denon AVR it has 3 component inputs and allows up conversion from composit or s.video. My connections would be:

    1) DVDr -> AVR with component & coax/optical
    2) PS2 -> AVR with component (need to buy lead for this) & optical
    3) Sky+ -> AVR with s.video & optical
    4) AVR -> TV with component
    5) SKY+ -> DVDr with RGB scart

    May be a little difficult to initially set it all up but will be easy enough to work it (at least my mother can work mine when she visits)

    Turn TV on and hit the av/tv button once
    From then on in the AVR remote will controll everything else (could have programmed the TV remote in too but just never got arround to it)

    With up conversion you will rarely see an improvement in picture unless your tv particulalry favours a type of input (like mine doesnt really like RGB). S.video and RGB are technically fairly close in picture quality but again certain equipment can make the differences more pronounced and in some cases s.video can look better than RGB (again like on my TV). As long as you have a decent amp then there shouldnt be any noticable degredation in picture quality by using the switching/up conversion.

    Hope I have answered your Qs but shout if I missed anything
     

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