bohemiancoast: (Default)
[personal profile] bohemiancoast
OK. So when the dust settles I will have the following kit (pro tem because obviously I need a new amplifier but you know, time, energy and money).

A Sony Bravia Monolith telly, so called because it is a black slab in the ratio 9:4:1 and every set comes with a free ape throwing bones in the air*. It appears to have 4 HDMI inputs, 2 SCART inputs, ethernet, USB, VGA input, aerial, component in, composite in, optical audio (in? out? who knows?), L/R audio

*mine is called Jonathan

A V+ box. 1 HDMI, 1 component, 2 scart, 1 optical audio, L/R analog audio, aerial.

A Sony BluRay player: 1 HDMI output, 1 component output, 1 composite output, coax digital audio out, optical audio out, analogue stereo out, ethernet. I probably should have bought a PS3 instead, which would have solved a number of problems. But there we go.

A Wii, for which I have purchased a component cable.

A PS2. Scart though I think in truth it's composite plugged into a scart adapter.

An aerial on the roof! TV has Freeview HD built in. Obviously everything's on my cable box anyway...

Some sort of streaming solution that allows me to stream any video that I can play on my Mac to my telly. Doubt this is an Apple TV. But I honestly can't see what the problem is -- I basically want something that's like Airfoil except for video -- so that I can just set something playing on my Mac and then beam the picture to my telly. I *think* Apple are about to do this for iPad/iPhone to TV weirdly. But resolution is much smaller than telly.

Airport Express: optical/analog audio out so I can stream iTunes to speakers.

An ancient valve operated av amplifier, with *eight* sets of stereo line in, stereo phono in, 5.1ch analogue audio in, no optical input of any kind and -- steel yourselves for the wonder -- Dolby prologic decoding. The nine inputs are labelled with labels like "Phono", "VCR", "Tape", "Tape Monitor", "Tuner", "VCR Aux" and "Laser Disc". Bless.

Essay question -- how do I cable everything up to maximise video and audio quality, have everything work, make the business of switching between sources as simple as possible, and route all the audio through my 5.1 setup?

What I *used* to do was shove everything into a Scart and audio box (£50 from Maplins) that prioritised the gaming signals over the vcr signal over the dvd signal over the cable box signal. So I just needed to turn on the source I wanted to use and the audio and video routed automatically -- but if I was using DVD source then I switched to the separated 5.1 audio produced by my obsolete but lovely sounding NAD DVD player. Critically it meant that other people could access whatever source they wanted by turning on the source and the TV -- something which appears to not be beyond people.

Oh god I'm doomed.

Date: 2010-09-02 08:08 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
I have a similar setup.

_If_ your TV has audio out then you can route everything into it, and then route the audio out to the amp. Personally, I ended up buying an amp with multi HDMI inputs and routing everything through that - it takes 4 HDMI, and multiple composite and component inputs, and routes them all to a single HDMI output (and surround speakers).

An Apple TV may be just what you want. As I mentioned in email this morning, I use a hacked old one. Alternatively, I was recommended some cool kit on this post earlier (I'm assuming he has you friended).
Edited Date: 2010-09-02 08:09 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-09-02 08:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
I do indeed

Date: 2010-09-02 08:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bopeepsheep.livejournal.com
I'll be interested in the answers you get, because we're contemplating exactly the same mess o'cables right now. (Our ape is named [livejournal.com profile] smallclanger and if he throws anything near the new TV again he'll be an extinct species, I can tell you.)

Date: 2010-09-02 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bopeepsheep.livejournal.com
Yes, yes, I know you're there saying useful things, but unless you can actually make [livejournal.com profile] narenek commit to the speaker system he wants and then come round and physically juggle all the cabling for us, I'm no better off for knowing this. :) I think when we actually have the amp-subwoofer-thing and speakers in the building it will become easier to work out how it needs to be arranged, but until he picks one... no.

(To complicate things further, there's a new TV/DVD combo appearing upstairs this weekend...)

Date: 2010-09-02 09:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
I'll prod him ...

Date: 2010-09-02 08:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
http://www.play.com/PC/PCs/4-/14932894/AC-Ryan-Playon-HD-Mini-ACR-PV73200-Network-USB-Media-Streamer/Product.html

Its not wifi but apart from that should do what you want ....

Multiple sources - I have a 5:1 hdmi switch box - one of these in fact ...

http://www.tmfsolutions.co.uk/Octava.htm

Date: 2010-09-02 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
hmm for the spliting off of audio - it gets more expensive if you aren't routing every thing through an AV amp ...

Date: 2010-09-02 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
(My Amp has HDMI in-out) ...

Date: 2010-09-02 08:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
doh - being stupid ... just plug audio into your amp for items that want it not through HDMI ...ie Optical, Phono etc ...

Date: 2010-09-02 08:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
This all makes sense in my head - Its what I have set up - ask me if a more coherant answer is required

Date: 2010-09-02 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
amp has *no digital inputs of any kind* not even optical. I mean, I do know that an HDMI amp has got to be part of the answer. But you know. More money.

Date: 2010-09-02 09:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
As I said just run your audio cables from the DVD directly to the amp as normal - should work the same way as before ...

Date: 2010-09-02 10:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
Ah but DVD player with separate output has gone to great AV junkyard in the sky because its picture playback was barely adequate on our old telly and obv. totally hopeless on 1080p. So I'm back with prologic decoding and I am *not happy*. Anyway. Not this month.

Date: 2010-09-02 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
Doesn't need to be wifi as the router is *right by the cable box* for some reason. Router has 3 ethernet ports too. Telly & Bluray are using two, though it seems a bit overkill as they're addressing the same content in very similar way (the Bluray is slightly better at it).

Date: 2010-09-02 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
Then the Playon box should do what you want...

Date: 2010-09-02 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
I think I already have one of those. Or perhaps two. I'm reminded of the way that Sony couldn't get their heads round teletext whole decades after everybody else knew how to make it work well and fast.

Date: 2010-09-02 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] von-krag.livejournal.com
I shove everything through a pre-pro http://emotiva.com/umc1.shtm HDMI handles both sound & video, the pre-pro does scaling & up conversion the video to the TV sound out to the amps then to the speakers, airport express gets both airfoil & airtunes. This works really well but I'm thinking of the new Apple TV just for Netflix & iTunes streaming.

Date: 2010-09-02 10:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
Yes, that would do. $700! But it does actually appear to largely solve the cable problem.

Date: 2010-09-02 10:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] von-krag.livejournal.com
I looked real hard at just a new AV receiver but this gave the most flexibility plus it let me keep my old really good amps. I don't think I'll go 3D anytime soon (ie: never) but I love getting all my SD & HD from all sources out to my TV looking great plus HDMI just works w/new sound encoding. One cable to the tube rocks, all though I've never turned the internal speakers.

Date: 2010-09-03 07:14 am (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Alternatively, £300 would get you one of these:
http://www.richersounds.com/product/av-receivers/sony/strdh810/sony-strdh810
which would replace your current amp. Seems to be the latest version of the amp I have.

Still not cheap though.

Date: 2010-09-03 11:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
£300 appears to be the standard price for a basically competent AV amp that sounds good. You can save a little by getting a previous model. And indeed, the amp that is now antediluvian was about £300 new as I recall. About 20 years ago.

Date: 2010-09-03 12:26 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
Yeah, the price for "decent amp" seems to be pretty static. Which means that it's a lot cheaper than it used to be once we take inflation into account :->

Date: 2010-09-03 12:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cpt-buggernuts.livejournal.com
Just out of interest. What's the problem with apple tv?
I ask because we're thinking about getting one, now the price is dropping, as an 'on demand' device for film rentals etc (An external hard-drive, an x-box 360 and some third party software serving for all of our non-digitally purchased media streaming needs).

Date: 2010-09-03 11:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
It doesn't play DivX XVid or X264 MKV's which accounts for around 90% of stuff you are likely to get on the internet for starters (outside of the iTunes Store)....

Well it does if you want to do some serious hacking but given there are cheaper things (see above) that do this out of the box ....

Date: 2010-09-03 11:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cpt-buggernuts.livejournal.com
Well as I said (albeit clumsily), the X-Box 360 is already streaming all that.

Date: 2010-09-03 11:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bohemiancoast.livejournal.com
Interestingly, the rather shite DLNA in the TV appears to cope with DivX, or at least with the one DivX download I tried it on (a series which I was all set to buy on DVD before discovering that the DVD didn't include the pilot or all the original music. As Andy Inahtko said this morning, ~"the problem is that people want cars and the industry offers pogo sticks. Given the choice, people choose to steal cars rather than buy pogo sticks."~ I really don't download if I have any reasonable legitimate alternative). So that might be ok. I'm fervently aware that I wouldn't have to worry about Apple TV if the TV actually *did* what it *says it does*. See Dave's post below.

Date: 2010-09-03 09:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexmc.livejournal.com
I'm trying to read this and make sense of it but my head hurts too much.

Perhaps I'll just have to buy separate tellies/amps for computer generated video and LPs and such.

Date: 2010-09-03 11:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] gaspode.livejournal.com
I'm working on an online version of the 'I've got it - How the **** do I watch it' workshop I ran at Redemption 09 and Odyssey. I'll let people know when I post it. Its a non geeks guide to Home Cinema and digital media ....

Date: 2010-09-03 12:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alexmc.livejournal.com
I'm exagerating slightly. I can set up my Hifi and video to *my* satisfaction - but not always easily enough for everyone else in the house to use.

Date: 2010-09-03 12:25 pm (UTC)
andrewducker: (Default)
From: [personal profile] andrewducker
That was my main impetus to route everything through the amp - it meant that changing from DVD to Virgin box was just a case of pressing a single button on the amp remote control, whereas in ye olden days you'd have to switch over the TV to a different input, depending on whether the device was using SCART, Component or HDMI. Having it all routed through a single point was much less confusing for Julie and my old flatmate.

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