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Multi Room

Discussion in 'Smart Home, Climate Control & Security Forum' started by glasgow boy, Jul 4, 2005.

  1. glasgow boy

    glasgow boy
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    Hello All! I'm looking for some help / opinions on a proposed Multi Room install.

    I'm moving to a new flat shortly and plan to use my existing Amp, DVD player and speakers and buy the Opus Octopus 4 room AV system, the Evesham Media Centre PC, a decent sized Plasma or LCD for the Living Room and smaller LCD TV's for the Bedrooms.

    I hope to locate the Amp, DVD, Multimedia PC, Sky or Cable box and the Opus control units in a cupboard (I was originally going to locate all of this in the Living area) and have the 4 Opus wall control units in the Living Area, the Master Bedroom, the Spare bedroom and the Bathroom. I would have TV's in the Living Room and two bedrooms and only speakers in the Bathroom (no TV in bathroom, only audio). I understand that I would then be able to control any of the kit (Amp, DVD, PC, Sky/cable) that would in the cupboard from any room. The misses could be watching TV in any room and I could be listening to music or watching a DVD in another room.

    I'm just conscious that whilst it sounds straight forward it's never likely to be and I would appreciate any advise / thoughts?
     
  2. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    glasgow boy

    The 'problem' with the entry level 'Multi room' systems is the Distribution hardware often has to limit the quality of signal it can pass around your house.

    The Opus system is no different - you pay a premium to be able to access a central DVD player from a remote location but in so doing limit your self to viewing Composite Video and Listening to Stereo audio.

    You'll also find soon enough you and the misses will both be wanting to watch some off air 'TV' from Sky or the like and your fancy 'Multi room' system only has one SKY box attached; you'll get a very hard looks when that first happens!

    Think carefully about what you want to achieve and what quality of Sound and Vision in each room and then go see if anything is available within budget to achieve your requirements - if not stick with discreet system in each room or possibly a central Audio 'server' (such as Imerge) but keep Discreet Video sources in each room where your likely to want to view 'common' sources.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  3. glasgow boy

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    Thanks for that Joe.

    The Living Room will be the main room for watching DVD's and listening to music, whether it's just the 2 of us, or when entertaining! The Opus System would primarily be to allow music to played in every room (during a party) or to allow one or both of us to retire to bed and watch a DVD or Sky/cable. I would also rather not have a DVD player and sky box in each room and I hear what you say about the quality. As always this will always come down to a compromise between quality and budget! But to be honest as long as the main living area is decent, I think I will be happy with Composite Video and Stereo audio in the Bedroom.

    And, as you say, I'm sure I will get a hard look at some point when I "accidently" switch the channel!
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello glasgow boy

    Content is King - if your like the majority of folk I work with the SKY Box becomes the main day to day source and having a 'Multi room' system with only One SKY Digibox becomes a pain pretty quickly.

    I'm not convinced that you'll watch anything on a Bedroom LCD fed via Composite video when elsewhere you can view a decent RGB or YUV image; we've done more than enough 'revisits' to sort out 'it'll do' bedroom TV installs!

    I'd suggest a 'Dry run' if you can - go view SKY or Freeview via Composite onto an LCD the size your considering and see if you'd watch it or not!

    Its relatively simple to have control of a SKY box that's remote from the viewing screen and easy enough on a new build to get RGB signals between two points if you don't want a Digibox close to your Bedroom TV.

    Don't compromise your viewing/listening to fit with a budget 'Multi room' system - you'll find you can achieve better Vision and Sound for much the same money if you piece together a few key distribution products.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  5. vex

    vex
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    I agree with Joe, you do have to watch the size of the screen you are using on composite video usually paired with the quality of the CAT5e network. However we are running 42" and 50" plasmas off a AV Nex - Nexus in a commercial application and specialist av leads.

    Other things to be 'aware' of, I beleive the octopus system has a coax based video distribution system that does not carry audio. This means that you can not just turn the telly on to catch a quick program, the speaker system needs to be on as well.

    Also the system does not offer any IR control. It will pass IR but it will only emit it to everything, therefore if you have a couple of CD players, Tuners or Freeview boxes they will all react at the same time rather than the just the device you are watching responding.

    I believe the new QED Systemline Modular has similar problems, although at least the video is distributed over CAT5e.
     
  6. glasgow boy

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    Joe, you're right that Sky would probably be the source used most day to day, whether in the Living Room or Bedrooms. I wasn't too bothered about having top quality in the bedroom. However are you suggesting that the quality will be pretty poor over the Opus? I take it all the multi room systems around the same price as the Opus will be the same then, like Xantech and QED? I'm getting put off the Opus tyope solution now :thumbsdow !

    What other install options could I go for on a similar budget? I want to have a multi media PC for music storage and be able to listen and control this from any, or all rooms. I also want to be able to watch and control Sky or a DVD in any room without (if possible) having a DVD player and a Sky box in each room. I'm aware that only one sky channel can be watched at any one time, but I think that would be OK. There will only be two of us in the flat unless we are entertaining which is when all rooms would be the same anyway.
     
  7. vex

    vex
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    We have a Nexus system running 18 42" and 50" Plasma's at the orange studio in Birmingham.

    They are very impressed with the signal quality, I have more of a problem with the way the Opus and QED systems actually operate.
     
  8. Joe Fernand

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    Glasgow Boy

    Its much easier to design and print glossy brochures and to 'sell' the multi room concept than it is to design and manufacture an all singing and dancing system that actually sounds half decent.

    Would anyone really want to watch Composite video on a 42" or 50" Plasma Display - 270 or so lines of picture information spread over 768 rows of pixels.

    I find it quite perverse that on the one hand us anoraks are all preparing for the launch of HD and on the other AV/Home Entertainment System designers are moving 'up to' Composite away from RF!!!

    Looking ahead to SKY HD in 2006 its less than £250.00 for a 2x2 HDMI Switcher/Hub to take care of SKY HD plus an HDMI equipped DVD player and ensure your PlasmaTV and LCD TV are HDMI compatible and that's your Two high quality video sources available on Two decent Displays.

    We can send HDMI up to 31m on HDMI cables and further over CAT5 and Fibre Optic so why build your system around Composite when we can deliver high quality SD and HD with Multi Channel audio already.

    For now splitting the RGB+Stereo audio signal from a SKY Box to Two rooms is simple enough and adding control from the second room back to the SKY Box is again relatively pain free.

    Using a DVD player on the RGB passthrough socket of the SKY box would again be simple enough - your cost and complexity goes up when you want to simultaneously view SKY in the Main Lounge and DVD in the Master Bedroom and retain a decent Video signal from both sources.

    How is your PC Music Server configured - does it provide multiple audio streams or just one and if just one how do you plan to control it in different rooms and how would you choose who was in charge?

    If your Music Files are stored as MP3 have you considered 'growing into' a Roku multi-room soundbridge system or similar?

    It helps if your handy at configuring PC's and software but definitely one to consider - its even HD capable for high quality video!

    See http://www.rokulabs.com/

    If you were to install a Roku Player in each room you can add a set of decent active speakers, small HiFi or for the Master Bedroom you could consider something like a Yamaha YSP-1 for full 5:1 sound!

    Why compromise the viewing and listening in the bedroom a lot of customers tell us they really appreciate a decent set up in the bedroom.

    I have to say I'm not a fan of Home Run 'Structured' wiring as installed in the majority of new builds; it mostly ends up being redundant as it was designed/specified so long before the house is completed its mostly out of date and I find the sound quality and functionality of most low cost 'Multi room' systems is just not worth the effort.

    Lots to think through.

    Best regards

    Joe

    vex - just think if you had RGBHV :)
     
  9. glasgow boy

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    Cheers Joe, you have got my attention!

    The Roku solution looks the biz. :cool: Just quickly printed off some of the info from the web site for some reading later on.

    I don't have a music server yet. I was planning on buying either the Elonex or the Evesham Multi Media PC and using this to store MP3's and to record TV.

    Is the Roku as "simple" as having a player in the Living Room, one in each Bedroom linked to speakers and a LCD TV and possibly one of the smaller players for the bathroom linked to speakers? I take it the Roku distributes Video and Audio over Cat 5 from likes of a Sky box or a PC to other rooms? I had a quick look on the site for a typical wiring setup. Any ideas where I could find one?

    As you say, a lot to think about.

    Thanks again...
     
  10. Joe Fernand

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    Hello glasgow boy

    Now were on the right tracks.

    Bit hectic today - wiring plans and the likes to finalise on a proposal.

    I'll PM some info this evening.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  11. vex

    vex
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    Joe,

    I don't disagree with you on you composite arguments, but with over 90% of the population still modulating stuff to UHF for distribution we have a very long we to go and composite is a good first start. We even modulate sky (RF2), vcr and even dvd's to distribute them throughout our houses.

    I have found the majority of issues are on the quality of the source device and input card on the screen rather than the distribution format.

    If you are ever in Birmingham I would like to invite you to the Orange Studio to actually view the performance of the pictures on the plasmas there.

    As ever it is a cost issue. A 6x6 nexus matrix kit retails at £1500 for all the cables and remotes you need. To do the same in component requires 3 times as much electronics and hence almost 3 times the cost.

    The Nexus is a truly good peice of kit for what it does, actually designed by the guy who is current designing the video distribution network for the new Airbus A380 double decker thing.

    Again, I agree with your arguments against composite and for component but as you rack up the zones the cost does become an issue.

    Chris
     
  12. glasgow boy

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    The Roku looks like an excelent solution for audio and opictures, but I haven't managed to get my head around how (or if) the Roku would distrubute Video. Can I use this to view and control, from the bedroom, a Sky box and a DVD both located within the Living Room (and possibly a video)? Does this require extra kit?

    For a Roku soundbridge box in the Living Room and one in the main and spare bedroom would be about £750. Plus speakers, cabling, faceplates and any kit required for viewing and controling Sky and DVD. Plus linking sound into the bathroom too.

    Is it possible to all of this for around £2,000 (excluding the multimedia PC, DVD, etc). i.e. not much more that the Opus / Nexus type systems? If yes I'm converted. :lesson:

    How much of a difference in quality would I notice between composite and component on a LCD screen up to 20" in the bedroom? The main 40" Living Room Plasma/LCD would be taken driect from the Sky/DVD not through any multi room system so this would be affected by quality. Only the distribution to the bedrooms and bathroom would be through the lesser quality composite on coax/Cat 5e.
     
  13. Joe Fernand

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    Hello both

    Vex - as you say Composite is at least a step forward from RF; I simply believe the industry has to educate customers that installing Composite is bad value in the long run; though that's probably why we often get told were too expensive!!!

    Like you we all too often have customers who will spend 20-30K on Displays and then baulk at 3-4K to get a decent signal distributed around a premises on them when someone else quotes 1/3 of that for a lower spec unit - and of course ten minutes after the system has been installed and commissioned they want to 'see' High Definition PC graphics on the system and wonder why it doesn't look so good!

    glasgow boy - your looking at some form of 'parallel' Video and Audio distribution solution; the Roku PhotobridgeHD is definitely worth considering.

    Possibly best to talk over some of the options on the phone - if your happy to PM me I can get in touch off-line.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  14. hornydragon

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    S-video is the minimum i would look at and can be carried over cat5e cables easily Have a look at the AV nex distribtution solutions
     
  15. vex

    vex
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    Unfortunately Horny, the AV Nex is the Nexus and is only capable of Composite video distribution 'cause it carries power, audio and IR all at over the same 8 core cat5e.
     
  16. hornydragon

    hornydragon
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    oh well........pity as its a nice box and looks very usable
     

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