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Old Feb 20, 2008, 12:02 AM   #1
richpjr
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I need more HDMI ports!

I just picked up an ATV today and am now one HDMI port short on the back of my Onkyo receiver. I have the ATV along with an HD Cable box, XBox 360 and and Toshiba A35 HD-DVD player. Since I guessed wrong in the format wars I'll be picking up a PS3 as well in the very near future. I have a 52" Sony XBR4 that also has open HDMI ports, but I really like having everything run through the receiver and using a single HDMI cable to the TV. My wife HATES having to mess around with a bunch of controls and just selecting a source on the receiver and letting it "drive" is a very big deal for her.

Since I'll have 5 devices and only 3 HDMI ports, which devices would you put on HDMI and which on component/optical? The XBox 360 seems obvious to stick on component since it's just for gaming. The Toshiba and the PS3 seem like logical choices to keep on HDMI for HD movies. That leaves the ATV or the cable box on the last HDMI connector. Which one would you put on HDMI?
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 12:31 AM   #2
cowm007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richpjr View Post
I just picked up an ATV today and am now one HDMI port short on the back of my Onkyo receiver. I have the ATV along with an HD Cable box, XBox 360 and and Toshiba A35 HD-DVD player. Since I guessed wrong in the format wars I'll be picking up a PS3 as well in the very near future. I have a 52" Sony XBR4 that also has open HDMI ports, but I really like having everything run through the receiver and using a single HDMI cable to the TV. My wife HATES having to mess around with a bunch of controls and just selecting a source on the receiver and letting it "drive" is a very big deal for her.

Since I'll have 5 devices and only 3 HDMI ports, which devices would you put on HDMI and which on component/optical? The XBox 360 seems obvious to stick on component since it's just for gaming. The Toshiba and the PS3 seem like logical choices to keep on HDMI for HD movies. That leaves the ATV or the cable box on the last HDMI connector. Which one would you put on HDMI?
I'd probably go with HDMI for the PS3, the  TV and the Toshiba HD-DVD. I'd leave the cable box and the XBox 360 on component. My reasoning is that TV doesn't usually come in full 1080p/i resolution, nor does it necessarily have a high quality audio steam. Same for the Xbox 360. So component should be more than enough.

The other's can benefit from the HDMI connection since it carries both the digital video and audio signals. HD movies have 5.1 surround and 1080p steams and the  TV is starting to adopt that with the new rentals and the new HandBrake for ripping.

You could always look at an HDMI switch if you can't decide. But that probably won't help the remote situation you described.

As a side note, you should look at the Logitech Harmony remote controls for your wife. I could never explain to my parents how to work different remotes for their media center but ever since I got them a Harmony they do everything without a problem. Basically you just configure the remote on your computer. You add the models of your devices to the software, and then create activities like "Watch DVD" or "Watch TV" and the remote takes care of changing everything to the correct setting. It makes a lot more sense to people than "Input 1 is for TV, and Input 2 is for DVD...". And if something goes wrong, you press help and it asks you some easy questions like "Is the TV on?" and you answer them to fix the issue. Very user friendly.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 01:03 AM   #3
powerbook911
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Monoprice has nice and affordable HDMI switches.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 01:04 AM   #4
jonthegeologist
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the solution...

I'd get yourself an HDMI switch (such as the XtremeMac one here : http://www.xtrememac.com/xtremehd/switcher/index.php). It looks great with your Apple TV (same footprint) and gives you 4 extra HDMI slots.

... then get a multi-device, programmable remote. (aside - didn't I hear a rumour on these pages that Apple were developing such a thing?)
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 04:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by powerbook911 View Post
Monoprice has nice and affordable HDMI switches.
Oh my god, these are SO ugly! Is their designer blind? I prefer the one from XtremeMac, really slick design and a good price as well.

I also have a question: I have a Xbox 360, a Playstation 3 and an Apple TV. Do you guys think I should use all optical audio cables for these devices?
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 08:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurry View Post
Oh my god, these are SO ugly! Is their designer blind? I prefer the one from XtremeMac, really slick design and a good price as well.

I also have a question: I have a Xbox 360, a Playstation 3 and an Apple TV. Do you guys think I should use all optical audio cables for these devices?
I wouldn't use optical with the PS3 because you will loose the uncompressed audio. Assuming your receiving can handle uncompressed PCM audio, you will need to connect the PS3 through HDMI to get that. for everything else, optical will work just fine.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 08:33 AM   #7
mr_matalino
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I'd take your cable box to component. 1080i is the max resolution that is available (even if you rent on-demand HD). The only benefit you will get from HDMI on the cable box is the convenience of having video/audio in one cable. Other than that, the picture/audio still look/sound the same.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 09:35 AM   #8
richpjr
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Since I don't have the PS3 yet, I moved the XBox 360 to component/optical and put the new ATV on one of the HDMI cables so I'm okay for now. I tested them both and the XBox looks fine in games. When I get the PS3 I'll more than likely put the cable box on the component and put the PS3 on HDMI.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 10:59 AM   #9
srexy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jurry View Post
Oh my god, these are SO ugly! Is their designer blind? I prefer the one from XtremeMac, really slick design and a good price as well.

I also have a question: I have a Xbox 360, a Playstation 3 and an Apple TV. Do you guys think I should use all optical audio cables for these devices?
Do you see any ugly boxes in this pic? - Get an IR extender and stash your stuff in a cupboard somewhere...

The Monoprice hdmi switcher works great and is in the Harmony Database. I have 3 hdmi components all running through my switcher and it works flawlessly.

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Old Feb 20, 2008, 11:56 AM   #10
richpjr
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I have a built in entertainment center so hiding anything isn't an issue. I thought about picking up an HDMI switch from monoprice (my HDMI cables are all from them), but I'm not sure adding another device to select stuff is real appealing to the wife (and selling her on it is important since she shakes her head at every purchase anyway!). For now, having the XBox 360 on component seems to be working okay. I'll experiment with the cable box as well, but I don't expect to see anything really noticable from it.
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Old Feb 20, 2008, 01:12 PM   #11
srexy
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The Harmony remote was almost a marriage saver in our house.

I've got:

"Watch TV" - switches on: receiver to TV/STB, HDMI switcher to input1, tv to dvd (still need to change that title since I bought the switcher)
"Watch Movie" switches on: receiver to DVD, HDMI switcher to input2, tv to dvd
"Listen to Music" switches on: receiver to DVR (need to change this also but I know what it is ), HDMI switcher to input3, tv to dvd

There are the occasional snafus and I'll either get a shout up the stairs or a phone-call but for the most part it has greatly simplified life - it has certainly tidied up our remotes!

The Monoprice switchers are pretty cheap but I guess if you add in the Harmony remote your S.O. might get a bit antsy.
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Old Feb 21, 2008, 07:38 AM   #12
Jurry
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Originally Posted by srexy View Post
Do you see any ugly boxes in this pic? - Get an IR extender and stash your stuff in a cupboard somewhere...

The Monoprice hdmi switcher works great and is in the Harmony Database. I have 3 hdmi components all running through my switcher and it works flawlessly.

Looks nice indeed! No cables at all, I like that. Doesn't your neck hurt after a while? The television is located relatively high.
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