Planning for my new Audio / Video Setup

This blog is called the random musings.  This post is a great example.  One of things I am planning for is to prevent lock in.  Your cable company, your satellite tv provider, want you to be a customer for life.  If you want an idea of how badly, just try and cancel your service.  After I canceled DirecTV, I wrote this. To customer retention specialist everywhere: Really aggravating process.  I don’t mind using their services; however, I want to make sure it is easy for me to switch, well, in case they start (continue ..) price gouging.   I start with my  AV-receiver as the heart of my system, then the speakers, the TV and then I lay out how various providers connect to them.  And I need an easy to use remote control setup to control it. My last setup seems simple compared to what I am planning for next.  I need internet protocol, irc, rf, bluetooth and who knows what else kind of control.  Alexa and the Google Home product come to mind. I need a centralized data store for all this audio and visual content. I plan on hardwiring the biggest data hogs so that I don’t have to worry about wireless access degradation.

Today, I have a Windows 7 machine that I use as an Home Theater PC (HTPC) and a jukebox.  Mickeysoft has pretty much abandoned Windows Media Center, so our doing OTA recording on this machine looks dicey in the near future.  TV has a line going through it.  Sound is fantastic, bought, it takes up a lot of room.  We got rid of DIRECTV and set up a laptop to stream Netflix and play movies.  I did this so as not to interfere with the  HTPC recording.  Disk, arm contention and all that jazz.   Having a HTPC as part of the system has worked out great.  With it, I was able to say, I really won’t miss Directv that much.  I am worried that all the vendors know this, and they want to sell you proprietary boxes. Well, not worried, but wary.  My prefered method of accessing new services is through a HTPC, so I don’t get locked into proprietary devices.  It also can make accessing by remote a little cleaner.  My baseline for audio over these services is dolby 5.1.  But life gets complicated.  To run Netflix with 5.1, you have to use Windows 10.  This is an example of the kind of thing I plan on working around.  One of the things I can’t work around is the fact that if you try and buy a non 4k tv, it is probably not going to have the bells and whistles that you want.  Not being able to get a few of the things you want is a pretty common occurrence. The big providers have no incentive in doing anything that makes it easy for people to plan make own systems.  I say we draft the Netflix guy for president. He really popularized an easy, inexpensive alternative to what is easily one of the biggest industries in the world.  That is genius.  I rant to easily!

Streaming and Possible Data Caps and 4K TVs

We love streaming. We are seeing some great movies with the Netflix DVD plan.  I miss maybe 3 or 4 shoes that I don’t get, but it’s more than offset by being able to watch Kimmy, Evil (House of Cards) and a zillion other things.

So I go to look at TVs.  4K TVs are the rage.  We set Netflix Windows 10 app to play at High Quality, up to 3GB per hour in data.

Comcast has capped data usage at 1 terabyte per month in 20 states or so, so I am using that as my monthly budget.  I have seen articles that say they will offer data beyond the cap at an extra $50 a month, but, Comcast is the last company I want to give more money to.  3 GB per hour or 333 hours to use a terabyte of data.  A high estimate of our streaming usage is 5 days a week, 4 hours or 20 a week or 80 hours a month.  80 hours of Netflix at High is 80 x 3 or 240gb or around 1/4 of the cap.  So cap wise, we look okay.

To stream 4k, they say you need a good internet connection.  Our speeds are not bad.  We stream at high quality, Dolby 5.1 and our current TV is 1080i, or half the bandwidth of 1080p.  We when we first start streaming a show, the quality is not so good.  Okay, they use a lot of compression in streaming, and they do a lot of tricks to conserve bandwidth.  I think of it like this, they do not paint all the pixels in the background for the first bit of viewing, until they figure out how to paint them on the screen correctly for this particular show.  On our TV, it only paints half the pixels of HD 1080p, and the quality at the beginning is low.  HDR basically quadruples that.  I have heard mention of HDR streaming is crap.  I goggled “tips for streaming 4K”.  I was not impressed with what I saw.  Pretty much useless drivel.  So it’s June in 2017, streaming 4K does not look like a real possibility.  There is another technology called HDR that has promise to increase video quality, however, in both cases 4K and HDR, the content available with these technologies is low.  I doubt many OTA broadcast stations will offer any 4k soon.  I would be surprised to see even 1080p in the near future.

(see http://www.liveproductionblog.com/why-are-there-no-1080p-tv-channels/)

My bottom line, if you a cord cutter, wait on 4K and HDR.

FYI, I get a little confused when I see YouTube saying look at this 4K (Ultra HD) content, which they scale down and show on my PC at 480i. The videos are nice, but, I know I am watching 480i.  I think they should say, your equipment can’t handle the 4K

Via Slashdot :

The latest televisions have more pixels than ever. But can your eyes detect the difference? The answer is yes — if you sit close enough. Old TVs had 349,920 pixels. High-definition flat screens bumped up the total to 2 million. Ultrahigh-definition sets inflated it to 8 million. And manufacturers are now experimenting with 8K TVs that have an astounding 33 million pixels. More pixels render hair, fur and skin with greater detail, but the benefit depends on viewing the screen from an ideal distance so the sharpness of the images is clear, but the tiny points of illumination aren’t individually distinguishable. According to standards set by the International Telecommunication Union, that ideal distance is 3 times the height of an HDTV screen, 1.5 times the height of a UHDTV screen and .75 times the height of an 8K screen (Editor’s note: the link could be paywalled; here’s a PDF copy of the newspaper). Given those measurements, viewers should sit 6 feet away from a 50-inch HDTV with a 24.5-inch tall screen. But they should sit just 3 feet from a UHDTV of the same size, closer than most Americans prefer.
I like sitting more than 6 feet away!

Component List of new System

AV receiver
Add on Remotes
TV
HTPC / Sling / Hulu / Youtube /
Proprietary boxes
Audio Juke Box

Networking and Connecting you sytems

Room Layout

Audio Specs

dolby 5.1
Stereo

Video Specs

HTPC Specs

hdmi, optical, rgb, …. display port ??
Data store specs

Notes

http://www.intl.onkyo.com/downloads/manuals/pdf/tx-nr545_bas_adv_manual_en.pdf  maybe $500.  UGH, they have iphone by no android

Not powerful enough, I need a 100 watts

Rated Output Power (North American)
With 8 ohm loads, both channels driven, from 20-20,000 Hz; rated 65
watts per channel minimum RMS power, with no more than 0.7% total
harmonic distortion from 250 milliwatts to rated output.
Surround Mode Output Power ()
(6 ohms, 1 kHz THD 0.9%) 115 W per channel)

Onkyo receiver Highlights

● Equipped with 7 ch amplifier
● Supports playback in Dolby Atmos format which
provides 360-degree placement and movement of
sounds including overhead sound
● Dolby Surround listening mode expands 2 ch, 5.1 ch or
7.1 ch source to available speaker configurations
● Equipped with 4K compatible HDMI IN/OUT jacks
● Supports the HDMI Standby Through function which
allows signal transmission from players to the TV in
standby state
● Supports HDCP2.2, a strict copy-protection for providing
high quality content (HDMI IN1 to IN3/HDMI OUT)
● Supports ARC (Audio Return Channel)
● Supports USB storage playback
● Supports variety of network functions such as Internet
Radio, DLNA, AirPlay etc.
● Supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth®
● Bi-Amping capability
● A/V Sync Function to correct deviation of audio and
video
● Multi-zone function which allows you to play a different
source in another room from the main room
● 32 bit DSP (Digital Signal Processor) with excellent
calculation performance
● Music Optimizer™ for compressed digital music files
● Phase Matching Bass System
● Automatic speaker setup available using supplied
calibrated microphone (AccuEQ Room Calibration)
● Supports playback of MP3, WMA, WMA Lossless,
FLAC, WAV, Ogg Vorbis, Apple Lossless, DSD, Dolby
TrueHD via network and USB storage device (the
supported formats will differ depending on the use
environment)

Cabling comments via BLU

Run conduit with pull strings so you can easily install whatever you
need and remove it later when you decide to replace it.

I am sorry, but I completely disagree.  Even with modern Wifi, I can get
much better throughput using physical wires if for no other reason than
each link can be switched and therefore isn’t “shared”.  With Wifi,
every device is sharing the medium.  I.e., I can get 20-30Gbps aggregate
across my 1Gbps physical network, versus maybe 1.2Gbps across my 1200AC
Wifi.  And let’s not even start with interference from my neighbors!
Indeed.  I’m thinking not just IP, but also possibly HDBaseT.  I’m going
to run separate Cat5e for my PoE security cameras (which only need 100mbps).
Cat6a throughout.

Over the top

OM3 multimode with LC connectors can handle 25, 40, 50 and 100G ethernet at
100m. One pair per room should be fine — but really, the
switch cost will be nasty for all the ports you don’t use.

 

 MediaMonkey
http://www.mediamonkey.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=88680&p=440215#p440215
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