May 03, 2010
by Arlen Schweiger
Because the speakers are all stereo pairs, the Yamaha unit is a stereo receiver, as opposed to a more robust but costlier surround-sound processor. Niles volume controls in each spot also make adjusting music levels a snap.
The multiroom video installation was just as simple, save for some trial-and-error on the Blu-ray distribution (see sidebar). From the Audio Authority piece in the rack, two Category 5 (Cat 5) Ethernet cables carry component video and audio signals to each TV (AVC even added extra Cat 5 and coaxial cable for future use). The well-labeled MX-900 remote in each room makes switching between sources easy. And unlike a fancy touchscreen, as Merz notes, if the handheld remote drops on the tiles and breaks, it doesn’t break the bank to replace.
Blu-ray on the Cheap, on the Fly
One A/V component that did not get rack-mounted in the basement is a Samsung Blu-ray player. The high-def disc player sits near the 46-inch Samsung TV in the living room armoire, where it can still be concealed.
Just because it’s not in the equipment rack doesn’t mean discs are limited to playback on the living room TV, though. Audio Video Concepts managed to route the Blu-ray content to other sets in the house, as distributed video was a big request of the homeowners. Getting the system right, however, took a few practice swings, according to Merz.
“We located the Blu-ray player in the living room so we could hook it up via HDMI for 1080p video resolution, but we also distributed it with Niles baluns and sent the audio down to the Audio Authority [matrix switcher] via component cable and that’s available around the house,” Merz says. The only issue? Other TVs receive the distributed video via Cat 5 cable that carries component video, so resolution is maxed at 1080i—still HD, just not optimized to the Blu-ray or TV resolution.
Finding the right disc player was challenging enough, says Merz, as others dropped the component video when they were hooked up locally for 1080p before AVC found the sub-$300 Samsung 3600 that could do the job.
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.