Network and AV setup advice appreciated

as1981

Novice Member
Sorry I wasn't too sure whether to use this forum section or one of the more AV related sections.

I have a number of improvements that I would like to make to my networking/AV setup and would appreciate advice on the best way to achieve it. My IT/networking knowledge is reasonably OK, but suggestions always welcome, and I'm very much a novice on the AV side.

I have the following equipment:

TV - Samsung Ue40D6530
5.1 Sound surround - Panasonic SA-BTT270
PVR - Humax HDR-Fox-T2
Storage - Synology NAS
Cordless speakers - The transmitter uses a 3.5mm audio connection. I use the term cordless rather than wireless as they don't use my wifi network.

Current Setup:

The Humax is connected to the TV using HDMI. The Panasonic is connected to the TV using HDMI ARC. The Panasonic only has one HDMI connection so I can't connect the Humax and TV to the Panasonic.

Everything, except the Panasonic, is on the same network. The Storage is wired, everything else is wifi. The Panasonic does have a wired network connection but due to it's location it would be difficult, but not impossible, to get a cable to it. I've avoided power line networking due to lack of sockets and because I'm wary of the network being available in other flats.

The transmitter for the cordless speakers is usually connected to my laptop or desktop PC and I play MP3's from them. The MP3's are on the Synology Storage so the desktop/laptop is just used as a player and the 3.5mm connection.

Issues:

1) The TV only passes two channel sound between the Humax and the Panasonic. One possible solution I thought of was to connect a digital audio lead from the Humax to the Panasonic. However I think that might cause picture/audio sync issues?

2a) I'd like to be able to use DLNA, from the Synology, to play music to the cordless speakers and/or Panasonic. I am thinking of something like the Digifunk CobbleStone or Hauppauge MyMusic Wifi? The TV and Panasonic both have DNLA clients but the Panasonic has no shuffle play and it seems a bit of waste to have the TV on just to play music.

2b) I currently have CD's converted to MP3. I tried converting some CD's to flac . I only had 2 channel sound with the FLAC files. I think that means the original CD's are only 2 channel? The MP3 format only supports two channel sound anyway?

3) I want to be able to transmit from my laptop screen to the TV. Perhaps a HDMI sender is the best option? Ideally I'd like something which connects to the existing wifi rather than creates it's own hotspot so I only have one network to secure and manage.

Other thoughts:

In general I'm trying, where practical, to keep my options open for the future. I don't, for example, currently play movies from the storage to the TV but may do in the future.

I think that part of my long term plan should be to replace the Panasonic with a unit that has more than one HDMI input and use that as the centre point of all the AV equipment?

Sorry for the long post. If I need to provide further information or answer any questions I'm happy to, I didn't want to make the post longer by including, possibly, irrelevant detail. If my possible solutions are completely wrong or if misunderstood something then I'm happy to be corrected.

Thanks
 
I have or had most of what your talking about and if it helps I can tell you how I have it now. All in one surround systems are the bane of people who then want more functionality later on as there just not able to do it. As you have already realised having a AV amp with mulitple HDMI's in and one out to the TV is likely to be something to consider, they dont have to cost much if you dont want too many features.

I like saving money so my setup is somewhat a budget version of how this could be, with the NAS being the only really premier product I would think.

So I have a cheap AMP from a few years ago (£150) (which I am going to upgrade this year as it wont do 4K which I will need in November) I have Synology NAS also and use I amazon firestick connected to the amp. I have Kodi installed as an App on the firestick and I use that for everything as I no longer use a PVR and have ditched the Humax a couple of years ago.

So Firestick gives me BBC, ITV, netflix and Amazon Prime and all the movies and Music I have is on the NAS and plays via the Kodi App with no transcoding so the NAS doesnt have to be very powerful in the CPU department - I have this all networked using ethernet as wifi is a only for mobile devices and people who love streaming problems and are too lazy to lift the carpet up to run cables. :)

I get 5.1 sound on everytyhing that has it, all HDMIs into the amp one out to TV , no messing. Hardest bit was setting up Kodi and that only took 30 mins really. Your amp can try to give you 5.1 on stereo MP3 but how well that goes is down to the Amp and if you like that kind of thing.

NOTE - I do work in IT so a lot of this was effortless but the core idea of the setup think is sound

For the latop to TV it depends on what you want to do with it, if its photos for example you can use the NAS/Kodi, if it web browsing/youtube videos the firestick does that, if its gaming you wont be using wifi you will just connect a long HDMI, if its movies you wont need too any more as there on the NAS now. let me know why this is a requirement.

And you can keep the PVR connected to the amp via HDMI personally I found that I just stopped using it, I dont use the "live" tv at all anymore.
 
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mickevh

Distinguished Member
2b) I don't think I've ever heard of a music CD that was not two channel stereo audio (or mono encoded as 2 channel.) Multi-channel came later with DVD.
 

as1981

Novice Member
Edited as mickevh and I replied at the same time and to clarify some of my comments.

Thank you both for your help.

Sorry I neglected to explain the reason for the laptop to TV. I often want to watch YouTube/BBC Iplayer e.t.c whilst I'm working on my laptop. I was thinking that the TV could become a 'second monitor' for the laptop, via the network, so I can use it to play YouTube/BBC e.t.c. and also work at the same time. The laptop has HDMI but I don't want to run a HDMI cable across the floor and I was trying to avoid running a HDMI cable around the walls to reach the TV when I think it makes more sense to use the network (wireless or wired, I understand your point about speed)?

I appreciate that I can use something like the Firestick instead, and I may well do that, I just thought that by having the option of being able to put a PC 'monitor' output onto the TV I'm not restricted to which ever programs are on the Firestick (or equivalent). I'm also a little wary of how long devices are supported. My TV has apps for iPlayer, YouTube and a few other things and they no longer work as the latest versions aren't supported on my TV. Although with the relatively low cost of the Firestick/equivalent it's not so much an issue if it needs to be replaced after a few years. I looked at Miracast but the TV doesn't support it.

In terms of the surround sound system. Are you meaning that you have an AMP instead of a surround sound system or were you using a different term for the same type of thing? Sorry for the naïve question, I'm just starting to read up on the AV side of things.

One of the reasons that I've kept the cordless speakers, rather than just using the surround sound, is that I have a pair in each of the main rooms, both from the same transmitter, so if I'm using both rooms I can listen to the same music as I move rooms. I know there are network systems that do the same (Sonos and probably others?) but I don't see a reason to replace my existing cordless speakers when all I'm missing at the moment is DLNA to 3.5mm audio and the units I mentioned in my original post are a lot cheaper than moving to Sonos or equivalent?

Sorry for another long post :-(
 
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Yeah the AMP is a AV receiver for example e.g. Denon AVRX550BT (Black)

basically all the devices I have connect into something like this and it connects to the speakers and TV.
My TV is basically a monitor, it doesnt use its speakers or remote or play anything.

All video goes into the Amp and out to the TV, al sound out of the speakers attached to the amp. when I change imput on the amp to switch between Firestick, xbox, humsax PVR when I had it and playstation.

I use the firestick for all the TV and apps as it is keeps itself updated and means it doesnt matter how fast/good/up to date my TV apps are and I can voice control it which is handy when you want to find a movie and you just say its name or the actor who is in its name and you and your wife are going crazy trying to remember it....it was murder by death by the way.

There is no good wireless tech for video playback, chromecast might be an option sort of but most things just stutter and are lower res, maybe there is something out there I havent seen.

The problem I think you have is that you have invested in some hardware which works how you want so far but is now fiddly to do more.

I have never used DNLA so I cannot comment on how good/bad it is or its limitations sorry.

I still recommend a firestick if you want NAS to TV though.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
There are commercial solutions that will let you do what you want wirelessly, but they are not cheap. It would be far easier and cheaper just to use one of the many smart HDMI devices out there which are far more effective at displaying Media on your TV.
Also, TVs in general don’t make great monitors for working on. Great for displaying not so good for text based work.
 

as1981

Novice Member
All,

Thank you for your advice. I'm thinking of getting a Roku Express and would appreciate your thoughts on my reasoning:

1) It supports Miracast for screen mirroring - I appreciate the limitations. This is a 'nice to have' rather than a requirement.
2) My current AMP only has one HDMI input which is used for my TV. For now the Roku would be connected to the TV. In the future I can upgrade the AMP to one that has two HDMI inputs and connect the ROKU directly to the AMP (The TV doesn't have Dolby 5.1 pass through)?
3) I don't have any interest in controlling the Roku using voice, my TV doesn't support 4K and I can use my TV remote to control sound. When I replace the TV it is likely to support iPlayer e.t.c. directly for quite a few years. Therefore I don't see any benefit of the more expensive Roku devices?
4) The ROKU would allow me to stream audio from my NAS using DLNA?
5) Eventually it would be good to stream music, via DLNA, without switching the TV on. The most logic way to do that is an AMP or hifi that supports this?
6) Anything I didn't think of?

In general what I'm trying to do:

a) Use the Roku to provide functionality until the AMP and/or TV get replaced.
b) Understand the best long term plan.

Thanks
 

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