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Geeks on my list -- help with cable spaghetti
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.

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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 at 2010-09-02 08:09 pm (UTC)

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 smallclanger and if he throws anything near the new TV again he'll be an extinct species, I can tell you.)


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 ...


hmm for the spliting off of audio - it gets more expensive if you aren't routing every thing through an AV amp ...

doh - being stupid ... just plug audio into your amp for items that want it not through HDMI ...ie Optical, Phono etc ...

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.

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.

Yes, that would do. $700! But it does actually appear to largely solve the cable problem.

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).

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 ....

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.

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 ....

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