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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: FarmerPete on December 18, 2014, 12:13:58 PM

Title: Two TVs & 1 Set of devices
Post by: FarmerPete on December 18, 2014, 12:13:58 PM
Not sure if this is a good MMM question, but I'll ask it anyways.  I recently bought a second TV for the basement*.  Long story short, my son was getting old enough that I couldn't watch/play violent stuff around him, and thus I now have a TV in the basement.  The upstairs has a surround sound system installed.  I've got a Home Theater PC, PS3, PS4, DVD player, and (gasp) VCR to hook up.  I'd really like a way to have one set of devices for both TVs.  I'd like to be able to use the HTPC, PS3 & PS4 on either TV.  I'm wondering if anyone has setup a system like that.  I'm thinking of something like a MONOPrice Matrix 2x4 HDMI switch.  I'm just weary of adding more complexity to my current system.  I've got a 7 year old Harmony remote that makes the upstairs TV with the receiver easy enough for my wife to use, but adding in a Matrix switch...I dunno.  Anyone ever setup a system like this before or have any advice?  I'm a very technical person, but my wife is not.

I might like to setup surround sound on the downstairs TV, but that might be impossible.  I've got an old Sony receiver that's in storage along with a set of speakers, but it's pre HD and only accepts a single optical or digital 5.1 channel signal.  I could (in theory) hook up the basement TV via HDMI to the matrix HDMI switch and then route the audio from the TV to the receiver via optical cable.  The problem I ran into (and why I replaced this old receiver) is that since the TV only has two speakers, when it negotiates over HDMI with the device, it says "I only have 2 channels, so only send me 2 channels of audio please!".  It then outputs 2 channels to the receiver via the 5.1 optical link.  The only time I would actually get "surround sound" was when I used the built in digital tuner for over the air broadcasts.

Depending on the final solution, I may try to relocate some/all of the devices to a closet/basement.  I like the idea of minimizing the room down.  Since 99% of our content is digital, we don't need to mess with optical disks unless we're ripping a new disc, and I can do that from any computer.

*Yes, I know that having two TVs is two more than I need.  I just want to be as efficient with my secondary devices as possible.  I don't have cable/satellite, and we mostly watch Netflix/Amazon streaming.  I've got a home server with hundreds of our DVD rips on it, and 100+ movies converted to Vudu/UV.
Title: Re: Two TVs & 1 Set of devices
Post by: Cromacster on December 18, 2014, 01:31:34 PM
The only item I considered doing this was with a home theatre PC.  Though just doing a HTPC is relatively simple with the proper graphics card and wireless peripherals.

The game consoles would be the trickiest.  PS3/PS4 remotes are bluetooth now (?) I'm not sure what the range would be, especially through a floor.
Title: Re: Two TVs & 1 Set of devices
Post by: FarmerPete on December 18, 2014, 01:48:53 PM
The two rooms are fairly close.  I've had really good range with my PS3 controllers.  I've yet to unbox the PS4, but I assume similar results.  I suppose I could get the new PS TV and use the "Remote Play" feature for the PS4, but I hate to buy more devices. 

Uggh.  I want minimalism and lots of technology at my fingertips everywhere all at the same time.  Can't compute.  Bad command line.  Please try again.

Title: Re: Two TVs & 1 Set of devices
Post by: Cromacster on December 18, 2014, 02:00:53 PM
For the consoles/DVD player the HDMI switch will probably be your best bet.  For the HTPC it will probably be easiest to just get a graphics card with 2 HDMI slots, or two graphics cards...If you don't already.  In the end you still will need two universal remotes if you expect your wife/kid to watch the other tv at the same time.  Other than that the HDMI switches are fairly simple to operate.  But routing the cables could be difficult if its a finished basement and depending on the location of the TV upstairs.

When I was house shopping, one of the houses was setup where all the media devices were in a utility room and used an IR blaster.  Wouldn't be the most convenient for DVD/blu-ray.  But I haven't used one of those in probably over a year anyway.  But yes, for simplicity sake and for a clutter less look, it was a sweet setup.  Whenever I finish my basement I will probably choose to do something similar.

Note:  HDMI cables do have a limit for how long they can be.  I don't remember the distance exactly, but it's relatively short.