Query about 4x4 Matrix and multiroom setup

ashman66

Standard Member
I am getting some major building work done in the house and thought it would be a good opportunity to get the place re-wired and have a multi-room av setup done. With that in mind after doing a bit of research I have come up with the following proposed solution. Before blowing a load of money on this kit and finding out it doesnt work just thought I'd post my intentions to see if it would work.


Room setup:
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Utility Room: HDMI 4x4 Matrix, Virgin Media BOX,Freesat PVR, Acer Revo, PS3, IR Blaster

Room 1: TV, IR reciever, Surround Sound speakers
Room 2: TV, IR reciever
Room 3: TV, IR reciever
Room 4: TV, IR reciever

4x4 Matrix setup
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Input 1 via HDMI> Virgin Media V+ HD box
Input 2 via HDMI> Humax Freesat HD PVR
Input 3 via HDMI> Acer Revo running Windows 7 media centre
Input 4 via HDMI> PS 3

Out 1 via HDMI > AV reciever out via HDMI > balaun transmitter via cat6> balaun reciever with ir passback via hdmi> TV
Out 2 via cat 6> balaun reciever with ir passback via hdmi> TV
Out 3 via cat 6> balaun reciever with ir passback via hdmi> TV
Out 4 via cat 6> balaun reciever with ir passback via hdmi> TV


Proposed AV reciever: Denon AVR-1910
Proposed TV: Sony BRAVIA KDL40EX403
Proposed Remote LOGITECH HARMONY 525

Question 1 re cabling:
Is there a minimum cable length I should use as most of the rooms are within 4-6 meters of the utility room ?
Should i use Cat6 shielded or Cat 6 unshielded as there is a possibility that some of the cables may need to be near some of the houses electrical cabling.

Question 2:
I have heard that there may be problems with multi channel sound i.e. the source is either downgraded or if it is multichannel than the TV's wont be able to play it.
Can this be avoided by using a TV such as Sony BRAVIA KDL40EX403 (onboard freesat HD tuner) which seems to have a DOlby digital plus decoder according to the specification.

Question3:
Is a remote similar to a low end harmony enough to be able to select each source and control the sending device in a useable way e.g. by the wife who isnt a techie.

Question4: will the above setup work or are there any known issues/major problems.

Thanks
 

Member 213491

Novice Member
Hello ashman66,
Welcome to AVForums

Question 1 re cabling: No should be OKAY
Question 2: Cat6 shielded (BlackBox)
Question 3: Yes, Octava is Wife and Kids Friendly
Question 4: Matrix always have problems and Octava counters it with different EDID settings and makes everything Work.

Watch this video

YouTube - Octava HDOCAT-UK HDMI + Optical CAT5 extender with IR Passthru

Please note the Octava Matrix prices will increase due to market turmoil

So get you hands on the Kit before 25th June

Octava HDMX44CAT-UK 4x4 HDMI CAT6 Matrix Switch + 4 x Receivers



:clap:
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
HDMI interconnectivity is still a bit of a lottery so be prepared for a bit of turmoil as you get the system up and running and ensure your working with a supplier who is 'hands on' and understands there are some combinations of kit that simply wont play nice.

HDMI over Twisted pair extenders don't all play nice with short cable runs - lots of them are looking for 15m+ between the Tx and Rx units.

Multichannel HDMI audio can work via a Matrix as long as you ensure all of your Sync devices (AV Amp or Display) can cope with the signal format your wanting to output - often folk end up with Video + 2.0 LPCM over HDMI and use Optical between the various Sources and the AV Amp for the main 'Theatre' room.

A Harmony or similar programmable remote is fine for controlling the Matrix - how good/bad the various models are at controlling the rest of the system is down to the programming capabilities of the remote and your skill at programming the device.

How long is the run between the AV Amp and the connected Display in Room 1?

Joe
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Hi Joe thanks for the helpful information.
HDMI heads answers were a bit confusing on their website they seem to say in one place that you shouldnt use shielded cat6 and in another place they say use cat 6 shielded if you encounter electrical interference. Once I have got the electrician to do the cabling I don't really want to be doing it again.

With the multichannel audio can you set a virgin media v+ HD box/humax freesat to do Video + 2.0 over HDMI while simultaneously doing 5.1 over optical ?


So do you think I should be using 10m (or possibly more) of cable even though the runs are likely to be around 6-7m.

The run between the AV Amp and the connected display is probably around 6M.

Thanks
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Were installing the Black-box Giga True LSZH on jobs - Product Display: Black Box Network Services

Shielded can cause problems and I cant see a need at the lengths your talking about - the key thing is the quality of the termination; ensure whoever is terminating the cable is good and use the correct plugs for the cable you choose to go with.

The Octava Matrix gear will work with short and long CAT6 cable runs - other Matrix gear may not be so tolerant.

If you need to include the AV Amp in the HDMI signal path I'd consider using a decent High Speed HDMI cable rather than Extenders on the Output side of the Amp; your then less likely to hit EDID/HDCP issues.

Humax will do Video + 2.0 LPCM over HDMI plus DD over Optical - Virgin should be OK to - I'm not in an area covered by Virgin so don't have one in my test rig to confirm.

Joe
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Joe & HDMi head following on from your advice I have ordered
the following:
octava 4x4 matrix switch
Yamaha RXV3900 AV reciever (4 digital audio inputs)
Black-box Giga True LSZH
2nd Tv (Panasonic G20)

Recieved the Octava 4x4 switch this morning though some bits seem to be missing (have mailed customer support).
Hopefully the rest of the gear should arrive by the weekend and I'll try to test out my proposed configuration to see if it works at the weekend.
 

HomerJ

Banned
Hi ashman66, Did the system work for you? I am in a very similair situation having building work done to my house and wanted a multiroom system in place. I washoping to replicate your kit.
 

ashman66

Standard Member
HomerJ
I have bought some kit now and done some tests with it. I haven't actually bought and installed everything yet but have got enough equipment to test out the theory.
Here's a quick summary of what I have tested (additionally I have listed where I bought the items and what I thought of the shops /customer service):
As per Joe's suggestion I have changed my setup so that my sources will do Video + 2.0 LPCM over HDMI plus DD over Optical so that they can be plugged into
the AV reciever directly rather than chaining through the Matrix if you go for this method you need to make sure all your sources can do this and make sure
you have a reciever with enough optical inputs.


Final Setup:
++++++++++++
Utility Room with AV equipment:
HDMI 4x4 Matrix, Virgin Media BOX,Freesat PVR, HTPC, PS3, IR Blaster & AV reciever

Room 1: TV + 5.1 Speaker setup
Room 2: TV
Room 3: TV
Room 4: TV


Current Setup:
++++++++++++++

Sources: Freesat PVR, PS3
HDMI matrix: octava 4x4 matrix switch
AV Reciever: Yamaha RXV3900 AV reciever (4 digital audio inputs bought from hificonfidential.co.uk )

octava 4x4 matrix switch (from ukhdmi.com)

TV1 32 inch Phillips 32PFL7404
TV2 50 inch Panasonic G20 (from hificonfidential.co.uk )

5.1 speakers: Monitor Audio in wall/ceiling Speakers CPW-RS, C380FX & Q Acoustics Q-AV SUbwoofer (from Ceilingspeakers.co.uk)

Cable 1 (300m reel):Black-box Giga True LSZH (from black-box.co.uk)
Cable 2 (patch cable):Black-box Giga true patch cable
Cable 3 (patch cable): Cat6 Patch cable from Maplin

Remote: Harmony 525 (from richer sounds)


Test Setup
+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Input 1 via HDMI> Humax Freesat HD PVR
Input 2 via HDMI> PS 3

Out 1 via cat 6> balaun reciever with ir passback via hdmi> TV1
Out 2 via cat 6> balaun reciever with ir passback via hdmi> TV2

Freesat & PS3 boxes set to video + 2.0 LPCM over HDMI plus DD over Optical.

Test 1: SD TV from freesat
Test 2: BBC HD & ITV HD from freesat
Test 3: PS3 Menu
Test 4: PS3 Blu-ray
Test 5: PS3 Games

I made 8 Cables from the 300m cable reel none of these cables worked for Test 1. As far as I could tell all the cables were terminated properly but without buying a cable tester I couldn't be sure.
All of the cables seemed to work for a basic test when using them to connect a computer to a LAN.

I then decided to buy some patch cables from blackbox, while waiting for them to be delievered I bought some CAT6 patch cable from Maplin as well and repeated the tests

Cat 6 Patch cable( 4 Pairs of cables tested 10-15 M) from Maplin : Test 1 worked, Test 2 works however approximately every 30 minutes, the TV screen flickers and goes green for a few seconds. Test 3: works with same screen flickering issue additionally there is some screen corruption at 1080p dropping down to 1080i seems to get rid of the corruption. Test 4: same as test 3 Test 5: seems to work ok but not tested long enough to check screen flickering issue.
Cat 6 Patch cable( 3 Pairs of cables tested 10-15 M) from Blackbox.co.uk: 2 pairs of the cables give the same performance as the cables from maplin. One of the pairs of cables doesn't have the intermittent flickering issue.


Other issues: Depending on the order of turning things on it seems that occasionally when turning on a TV there is a flickering picture. Restarting the source/Tv generally solves the problem.

Overall conclusion: This setup can work but seems very sensitive to cables I would definately get some spare cables put in when doing the cabling in case there are problems with some of the cables.
In my testing I couldn't get the Octava unit to work with a clear picture at 1080p but eventually it did sort of work at 1080i.
The Harmony remote (525) I was using seemed to work fairly well for its price (£30) it can control multiple devices and using the activities I was able to turn on various devices in the right order and set the correct inputs.
I am happy with the Speakers and would definately recommend them if you are looking to get in wall speakers.
The Yamaha AMP and panasonic TV are definately Monsters in terms of size and heat output but am very happy with their performance.
I got great service from all of the shops I mentioned above except UKHDMI.

I ordered an additional Balun from UKHDMI (cost £160) around 6 weeks ago never got the balun after sending several emails chasing them eventually phoned them to cancel it and get a refund
still waiting for my refund 3+ weeks (and around 10 phone calls) later. Additionally I am definately not convinced about the quality of the OCTAVA matrix and the fact that it doesnt seem to be able to do 1080p.
My last niggle with UKHDMI was that I was missing some IR cables from their package which I am still waiting for.
If you are looking to replicate my setup I would definately look elsewhere for the HDMI matrix.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello ashman66

Not sure why you’ve not been supplied with the IR cables as yet – if you can email or PM me I’ll get it sorted today.

Some systems do take a bit more time than others to get stable – again drop me a note and we can work through the problems and usually arrive at a working system.

Joe
 

Member 213491

Novice Member
Hello ashman66,
Sorry for the issue with the supply of the CATO there was a blanket of 7 weeks of no stock anywhere in the country. If you PM your Ordernumber i can get the matter looked into.

:clap:
 

gypsy182

Novice Member
Hi ashman66,

Thanks for your detailed description. I'm contemplating a similar setup. Have you managed to get your setup working now?
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Gypsy182,
I've got the wiring all done now and will be moving the gear into the house and testing it out hopefully in the 1st week of september. Will post a detailed update then.
 

hagglelad

Novice Member
Hi,

I am tracking this post with much interest. I've been saving up and pondering the purchase of the Octava 4x4 matrix for some time now. Unfortunately the problems you've experience with cables and 1080p are total show stoppers for me so I am very curious to find our how you get on so please keep us posted.
Thanks for your feedback so far, very informative and helpful.
 

Member 213491

Novice Member
Hello,
When users stop posting 99.9999% times means problem has gone away. We get that all the time, Our systems dont show any oustanding querys on the unit.

:clap:
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello hagglelad

If you want a guarantee of a 100% hassle free install avoid HDMI at all costs - it's that simple!

No matter what system you install unless you've seen an identical set up running 100% problem free the best option is to expect some hitches - you'll be better prepared for them when they arrive.

Folk who are spending 20K+ on the very top end HDMI gear are experiencing all the potential problems you get with our 'entry level' kit.

Ideally when you hit a problem you need some flexibility in the system to try and resolve them - most of the time there is enough flexibility in the Octava kit - occasionally nothing other than a charge of Source, Sync (Display) or complete change of tack will be sufficient.

Joe
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Just a quick update on things,
I have now moved in to the house and have had a chance to get started with the install. Due to the internet connection in my house not being set up and being busy with the move I wasnt able to give an update.

I am still waiting for virgin media to Install and aven't quite finished setting up my freesat dish yet. However I have tried out one of the TV's with a ps3 and watched 3 blue rays.
A lot of the previous problems I had with 1080p seem to have gone away now somehow. I am using the same cables (ended up using the cat 6 15m patch cable from maplin) I was physically using before so I can't explain why the image distortion as gone away. One possible explanation might be that before when I was testing everything was in the same room and there might have been some electrical interference.

The main issues I have left with the box now is that the IR passthrough doesn't seem to work at all. Foolishly I hadn't tested this before. Don't know what I can do about this

@HDMIHead I don't know why you haven't got any record of my query I still haven't got the additional IR cables (I emailed [email protected] and phoned multiple times every time I was told don't worry we'll get them in the post to you soon)tho I did get my refund for the Balun.

@Joe Fernand I do agree with you in that the Octava kit seems to be one of the more reasonably priced But its still an expensive piece of gear and if someone is spending 1k+ ish on it they should reasonably expect it to work as advertised.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello ashman666

Give me a shout and we’ll work out why you’re not getting IR to work.

HDMI is simply too complex for its own good – no matter what money you throw at it some systems simply never work as required due to all manner of potential issues; many of them have zilch to do with your Matrix but the Matrix is the bit that has to try and glue it all together.

Someone yesterday was having an issue with Apple TV and after I pointed out it was a constant source of problems they contacted Apple who’s advice was NOT to run Apple TV via any form of switch or extender - they then came back to me asking why can’t I ‘FIX It’ so that the Apple unit will work via one of our Switch’s!!!

Joe
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Just a quick update for anyone interested in this setup. I emailed Joe and he sent me over some IR transmitters and some chips to install in the Octava Matrix. After performing the update the IR passthrough is now working. I need to give the system a final test but it looks like now every component is working as intended. Will post one more final update when I get a chance to finish testing.
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Well heres an update to my continunig saga with the octava 4x4 matrix. Now that the IR passthrough is working I have noticed an issue where one of my televisions where the picture flickers unless it is set to the same source as the other TV, really starting to get very frustrated with the octava box.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello ashman66

There is no way of knowing at this stage where the problem in the system lies – in a non HDMI system it’s pretty straightforward to fault find and isolate your Matrix as the problem.

With HDMI, HDCP and EDID its far from straightforward as Firmware that’s running on each connected Source, Sink (Display, AVR etc.) and the Matrix all have to interact.

I’ll email over some suggestions.

Joe
 

ashman66

Standard Member
Hagglelad,
No I havent resolved the flickering issue, this essentially means that my matrix is pretty much useless.
I am pretty annoyed with the whole situation and wish I hadn't ever bought the damn Octava matrix.

Joe had informed me that they have a new model which might resolve the problem and has promised to swap mine for the new model however its been over two months and I am still waiting.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
The first couple of the revised HDMX44CAT-UK have just been shipped – the next batch of stock will leave Taiwan this week and folk on pre order will start receiving them early next week.

You may still have the issue as it may be Display rather than Matrix related – yours would not be the first system where you have to consider swapping out one of your Displays if it won’t play ball with the rest of the kit once you have something more complex than just Source > Display.

Joe
 

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