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HDMI versus RGB and Stereo Audio

davegrovdavegrov Junior MemberPosts: 114
I am working with a client whose home is 4 years old and not wired very well for either HDMI or Analog Audio/Video. From my initial assessment I can get CAT5/6 to most locations. Some have limited access or one existing CAT5/Coax to the locations.

If you were designing the job would you sell HDMI or Component Video. Clients budget is tight and I am debating the trade offs between cost, reliability and future proofing. With HDBaseT just around the corner is the expense of HDMI worth the cost. HDMI switchers (any brand) are high dollar. Add in the converters and the cost gets real high relative to the cost of the project. Long runs of HDMI work, but are very sensitive to many factors. Initial design calls for 3 zones and 2-3 sources, a home theater and a mini theater in the family room with a locally sourced Blu-ray. Future growth might be adding 3-4 more audio/video zones and 1-2 sources.

I know having CAT6 (2-3 runs) will future proof the current design.

Thoughts, opinions, experiences, pros, cons and actual experiences are all helpful. Product suggestions appreciated.


  • Spire_JeffSpire_Jeff Formerly Caffeinated Programmer Posts: 1,917
    My opinion would be to go with Component video. If you have devices capable of handling surround sound/digital audio in the rooms, you could always use a balun that does component video with digital audio. Use a component switcher for the video and a composite switcher for the digital audio.

    HDMI distribution and tight budget don't belong in the same job at this time. You can wire for it in an attempt to be ready for the future, but there is no guarantee.

  • bwestlakebwestlake Junior Member Posts: 82
    Component on Cat-5/6

    We use baluns routinely with component matrix switches. They work great as long as you use quality products. If you need 1080p you can add an HDMI Fury 2. I cannot wait for the end of the HDMI fiasco.
  • TurnipTruckTurnipTruck Junior Member Posts: 1,485
    Component video. Period. HDMI was not designed to be a multiple-endpoint format. Attempts at it are simply that, attempts.
  • Brooks WhitefordBrooks Whiteford Whiteford Systems Posts: 37
    With the right hardware, HDMI can work. There are a lot of things that come into play, including making sure the hardware handles HDCP well, and transports the audio and video formats you need. You did say you were on a tight budget, so component video may be the way to go. I would recommend an Autpatch Optima or one of AMX's "over Cat-5" products as it sounds like you're looking to do things over Cat-5.

    Long story short, with the right equipment, it can be done!
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Old Timer Posts: 4,584
    Oh, it can be done, but with the current state of the technology and standards, IMO it's not very cost effective to do it. The amount of time you would spend fussing with it and making sure every device was perfectly compliant would eat your profits real fast, to say nothing of the devices you buy that say they will work, but leave out some important factor that requires you to replace them, etc., etc.

    The biggest issue is HDCP compliance, and, as it's been said, it simply was not designed for multiple endpoint installations (and, in fact, could very well have been designed to deliberately preclude them). If you want the job to go smoothly and easily, stick with component.
  • AuserAuser Junior Member Posts: 506
    bwhiteford wrote: »
    With the right hardware, HDMI can work.

    True, but whether it should be used still needs to be evaluated on a case by case basis. You have to decide whether the benefits outweigh the drawbacks (cost, slow switching speeds, possible instability, ...) when launching into a system design.
  • viningvining X Member Posts: 4,368
    The HDMI over IP solution provided by "Just Add POwer" and now "Audio Authority" are farely inexpensive solutions over a single CAT5/6. I did one install with the JAP products and a Cisco switch which so far has worked well although I haven't really pushed it to see if it breaks. It does make me a little nervous and I would feel more comfortable it were component video switching but since some devices won't output 1080P content as 1080i on componant jacks you have no choice if you want to send HD.

    Even if and when the HDBaseT is released it will no doubt have the same HDCP key end point issues but who knows maybe not. The idea of installing a LED TV and sending AV & power over a single CAT5/6 with no other wires would be cool.
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