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CQC/SageTV and Cable Question
I’ve been scouring the forums here as well as sageTV and AVSforum over the past week trying to get a grasp on setting up HA with CQC, WHS, SageTV, etc. I might add that IVB’s website is uber helpful as well.

I had a couple (probably simple questions) that I was hoping someone could answer:

The following is provided in case it helps in answering my questions (and it helps me keep things straight too)

A/V Distribution
--probably running SageTV
--HDHomeRun capturing 2 OTA HD signals
--HD-PVR capturing Dish HD
--ripped DVD library

4 zones of 2 channel whole house audio

4 HDTVs throughout the house.
1 HD Projector in the basement theater room

“Other” Systems (not all up and running yet)
Z-wave lighting devices (have some already installed and use Harmony 890 currently)
Security system (Installed and operational, but not linked to home automation currently)
Exterior Cameras
Driveway monitoring system

The installation will be in an existing home, but I have excellent access through the crawl space and attic to almost every area. I will have to run all the new wiring, Cat5e or Cat6 seem to be the norm.

1) What advantage do I have in using CQC and SageTV with extenders over CQC and a matrix HDMI switch? If I connect my various sources to the HDMI switch couldn’t I just control them through CQC interface on a touchscreen/remote and bypass the need for the extender? I know most diagrams I’ve seen use CQC and the new Sage HD extenders, but what is the advantage over matrix switching and avoiding the need for SageTV?

2) In reading about distributing HDMI via Cat6, you have to have 2 cable runs per HDMI signal. i.e. if I were to run a HDMI matrix switch, I would need to Cat6 cables per output. Why then is the SageTV extender able to transfer the same signal via 1 networked cable? Are the signals different as far as bandwidth or compression?

I think the answer to both of your questions is the same. An HDMI matrix is expensive and so are the extenders to allow you to do HDMI over a distance. My understanding of the HDMI extenders cabling requirements is that you only need cat5. I know I'm doing component with similar extenders and they work great. They even extend digital+analog audio.

The answer to your second question is that the extended are just using the network for file access and is just pulling the raw file over. A matrix switch is actually sending a video signal over the wire.
OK, I thought maybe I was missing a functionality difference in the matrix switch vs. media extender question. If it's really just a difference of logistical setup or cost, then I think the Sage HD extenders are the better choice.

For the second question, that makes sense now. Essentially the sage serve is sending a raw file over the network to the extender and the extender then decodes and plays the file. I wasn't sure if the role of the extender was to decode the file or if it was more to serve mainly as an interface for menus and options with the output TV. It appears it does both!
If the Sage extenders can do everything you desire, then it is a pretty compelling choice. However, there are things that you might want to display on the TV that the Sage extenders cannot do easily. A switch definitely is more flexible in setting up your system.

For example, what if you want to display the output of your video cameras on the TV. You could simply take the output of whatever DVR you are using and hook it straight into the switch. You could probably also make it work with Sage, but it would require taking the output of the DVR and running it into a analog tuner that Sage uses. Then you would have to create a channel in the lineup that would show the tuner's input. You would also have a second or two delay due to the way that Sage has to record everything to display.

What about playing actual DVDs? If you have a computer that is convinient, then you could use that internal drive and play the DVD through Sage. But if your equipment is hidden away in some out of the way location, you might want to have a local DVD player that can play a DVD and be watched from any room in the house. I've done this exact thing for my parents set up. They use Netflicks for their DVDs. I placed a local DVD player in their master bedroom (which is located on the main level right next to the great room). But they can watch that DVD player on any TV. So they can start a movie in the great room and then retire to the bedroom when it gets late.

Also, with a switch, you can reduce the number of extenders that you need. You'll only need to buy enough to meet the needs of the highest number of concurrent DVR shows that might be watched at the same time. I'll use my parents as an example. It's only the two of them living at home, so I only needed to get two extenders because I use a matrix switch. Without the matrix switch, I would have needed to get one extender for every TV they have. They have TVs in these locations: Great room, sun room, office, master bedroom, master bath, and downstairs theater. So that would have been 6 required extenders even though some would get very little use. So I actually spent less money buying 2 extenders and a used matrix switch than I would have spent buying 6 extenders, and I have more flexibility because I can plug just about anything into the matrix switch and play it across any TV in the house.

The same would probably hold true in your case (having to buy 5 extenders to cover every TV in the house vs buying X to cover every concurrent feed in the house). Of course you also have to factor in wiring costs because to run HDMI (not recommended) or component video (recommended) wires is going to be more expensive than regular Cat5e or Cat6 wire.
Brian - a long time user that rarely messes with the system now
Other systems used:
SageTV w/ cablecard tuner & multiple extenders for viewing
BlueIris and IP cameras for CCTV
Incredible PBX for home phone
Brian, you make a good point. I think the appeal of the HD extender is the local control of non-local or networked content such as ripped DVDs, live TV, photos, etc. Using a simple IR interface seems "easier" than using whole house RF or serial control.

I completely understand the advantage of the matrix switch, I'm not sure why they are so expensive, but I like the appeal of multiple sources connected to multiple outputs.

Any wiring I run is going into an existing home with attic and crawl space access to most, but not all of the house due to a basement. The idea of running 1 Cat5e cable to cover the HD extenders is more appealing than component, or 2 Cat5e to cover HDMI switching plus another to cover IR return to the switch.

I'm open to the idea of incorporating the matrix switch, but I'm concerned it will necessitate more complicated wiring, cost, and require more complicated control as well.
Farm Wrote:I'm open to the idea of incorporating the matrix switch, but I'm concerned it will necessitate more complicated wiring, cost, and require more complicated control as well.

Yeah, that's where I landed as well. I actually had an Autopatch 4YDM that could handle component switching, but the HD100 was far too sexy of an option to worry about that. Especially now that I can rip BluRay and I did the loop-back for the CCTV, I have (nearly) everything I want in the H/T on a single SageTV GUI. It takes 15 mins to rip a physical DVD, which is within tolerance. The things I cannot do are:
- select Sirius or CD for playback in the H/T. I have a laptop that can render CQC which is nearly always with me, so this isn't a huge limitation.
- see what lights are on/gates&windows open/security system, and arm them. Some day Beelzerob will figure out SageStudio, and we'll do CQC within SageTV.

But that's about it. The lack of a matrix switch makes for such simple & easy control, plus this way I got to give Beelzerob the Autopatch :-)
Some of my devices: Sonos, Aeotec zWave, Nest, Rain8Net, Various H/T
What's next: CQC-Voice, Brultech GEM
My vlogs:

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