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Hood

Video Storm/NetPlay With Control4

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Hi all,

Building a new home and at the point of needing to complete my pre-wire/rough-in.  I reached out to a Control4 dealer for a setup recommendation.  His proposal was predominantly Control4 kit (specifically for video and audio whole house distribution).  I've been trying to research options to reduce cost as the Control4 kit (video matrix, audio matrix, audio amps) were pushing the total cost too high.  That's when I came across the video storm/netplay alternative on these forums.

Here is how the house audio/video situation is planned:

  • 16 Audio Zones
  • 3 rooms with TV (Samsung, Vizio, LG) and surround sound (centralized audio amplifiers with speaker wire to speakers in each room from centralized media rack) - these rooms also include whole house audio included in the 16 zone count
  • Audio Sources:  Primarily Amazon Prime Music and local iPhone/iPad devices
  • Video Sources:  DirecTV, Apple TV, 4K Blu Ray Player - Centralized location

So, here is my question for those of you using video storm for both video and whole house audio distribution:

1. What Control4 and Video Storm hardwire is required to make this setup/distribution work?  I basically want to be able to send any listed video source to any TV and any listed audio source to any audio zone.

2. How should I prewire back to my control rack in a centralized media rack location?  I think I need to run Cat6 from each TV to the media rack for video distribution.  Not sure what jumpers or whatever might be required in the media rack for the amplifiers that feed both the whole house audio amp and the amps/receivers for the 3 TV rooms.

3. How does Control4 fit into this equation?  Are you using the touchpad (or C4 remote) to control the video and audio sources to each zone or do you use the NetPlay interface?  If using NetPlay interface, what is the point or benefit of even having it integrated into Control4 (in other words, what is Control4 adding to the equation). 

4.  What about volume?  How is volume in each zone controlled?  Is netplay doing it or is Control4?

5.  How would you recommend getting a video doorbell integrated with all this?  The Control4 mini-DS2?

Sorry for all the beginner questions, but I want to get this right since you only get one chance before all the sheetrock goes up.

Thanks in advance,

Stephen

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First off, run multiple Cat6 cables to each TV location, 1 is not enough.  Or better yet, install 1 1/4" conduit from each TV location back to media closet.  That is fully future proofing your TV locations.

Second, Control4 will be the brains of your home and will control all installed and configured devices whether using the app, remotes or touch screens.  The behind the scenes involvement from C4 is seamless to the end user.

Third, for Netplay, you will need a HDMI Encoder (choices on Videostorms website) for each video source that you have.  I've counted 4 from above.  Shineco makes a 1RU, 4 Channel Encoder that would suit you fine.  Then you'd also need to choose a decoder for each TV display location, also on the website.

Fourth, for Audio, I would recommend the Videostorm 16x16 Audio Matrix with NAB100.  This gives you your 16 zone count but also, most importantly, the audio switch has built in audio delay, which would be a must.if you are centralizing everything.  When Video gets encoded, runs through a network, then gets decoded near the display, this will accumulate latency and will cause audio lip sync between what you see and what you hear.  This switch solves that so everything is timed aligned and in perfect sync.  This is not something that just works out of the box, it must be configured properly.

PS: Another strong feature of that audio switch is the built-in announcement capability.  Upload whatever audio file you want to save on its storage and recall the announcements within C4 programming with a single line command.  No muss or fuss.  What you were listening to comes back on automagically.  I find this feature blows even C4's announcement agent and other equipment out of the water.

Video doorbell will need to be IP in order for that to be used as a source within Netplay.  Then it can be selected for full screen view, just as if you selected a cable box.  The PiP functionality works awesome as well for things like doorbell announcements, spying on the little kids in the playroom, etc.  Plenty of use cases.

 

I think I answered it all from above.  Anything else just fire away.  There are a good amount of VS users on this board. 

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any wire you run for internet or video run 2. For video if you want the best run fiber it can be had inexpensively now. VS also allow you to bring your own hardware now to. With a shield TV at each TV and VTX for each source you will be good for just about any situation. However for your main tv plan to keep a blu-ray as local to the tv as you can to ensure you have the least complicated video path possible. Most good players also have dual hdmi so you can run sound separately to really simplify the video path.

 

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Thanks for the detailed replies.  Extremely helpful.

Yes, for the wires to each TV, I'm planning on 3 Cat6, 1 RG6 and 1 fiber optic.  However, I wanted to clarify that Video Storm only needs 1 of the Cat 6.

As a follow up, how is the video/audio switching controlled - Control4 or Video Storm?  I'm trying to understand if the Control4 touchscreen (or remote) will be my primary device or will I be using an app to control tv/audio and then the Control4 touchscreen for everything else.  Ideally, I want one device (1 ring to rule them all...), but wasn't sure if that's how this setup works or not.

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On 1/18/2019 at 11:06 AM, Hood said:

Thanks for the detailed replies.  Extremely helpful.

Yes, for the wires to each TV, I'm planning on 3 Cat6, 1 RG6 and 1 fiber optic.  However, I wanted to clarify that Video Storm only needs 1 of the Cat 6.

As a follow up, how is the video/audio switching controlled - Control4 or Video Storm?  I'm trying to understand if the Control4 touchscreen (or remote) will be my primary device or will I be using an app to control tv/audio and then the Control4 touchscreen for everything else.  Ideally, I want one device (1 ring to rule them all...), but wasn't sure if that's how this setup works or not.

correct vs only need 1 cable. could even be the fiber if you wanted the fastest network connection. C4 will control every aspect of the VS system. More of the advanced features do have to be custom programmed but its fairly easy.

 

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Very helpful, 

I have a similar situation where a customer has a conference room and wants to see 4 video cable box sources on one 85" screen. I'm assuming for this configuration a Cat6 from TV to the rack room/switch for wring will do to cover 4 source PIP. 

My materials should be the following...
1 - Video Decoder (VRX040) for the Samsung 85" display

2- 4 HDMI encoders (1 for each cable box) OR the Shineco SNK6214

3-One Netplay license (comes with VRX040) 

I wouldn't need a Netplay Manager, right? I mean the control4 system would handle all the Netplay configs, right?

 

Thanks for the clarification...the Videostorm site is a little confusing...

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1 minute ago, poseidonsystems said:

What simple device are we talking about? That integrates with Control4?

I added a sample above about the time you posted. It's a dumb device, but has IR support. But if you just need 2x2 you can feed it from a matrix and loop it back or use splitters on your sources already going to your matrix and feed this then output from this to the matrix. Just leave it set to 2x2.

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1 minute ago, Pounce said:

I added a sample above about the time you posted. It's a dumb device, but has IR support. But if you just need 2x2 you can feed it from a matrix and loop it back or use splitters on your sources already going to your matrix and feed this then output from this to the matrix. Just leave it set to 2x2.

Gotcha, I'm looking for a device that can be expandable to add in more TVs and have flexibility with two cat5e/Cat6 wires to each TV. The project will easily expand to 15 TVs that will required the 2x2 PIP set up that I think Videostorm will be a flexible solution. Does that sound right?

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1 minute ago, poseidonsystems said:

I'm looking for a device that can be expandable to add in more TVs and have flexibility with two cat5e/Cat6 wires to each TV. The project will easily expand to 15 TVs that will required the 2x2 PIP set up that I think Videostorm will be a flexible solution. Does that sound right?

Yes. I'd wager it's the most flexible and offers some features that are well suited for an office or a client that has a "conference room" in their home. You may want to reach out to VS and give them your specs. Their product for encoding and decoding can do multi channel and video walls in addition to the tiling. The audio matrix also give you a lift if  you want to stream audio with a larger concurrency.

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Matrix manager needs to run on one of the decoders to "manage the matrix switching".  Now you could run the one VRX as an endpoint and the manager, but I wouldn't recommend it.  If the system is going to expand, start off right and get 2 VRX's (1 for endpoint and 1 for matrix manager)

PiP will most likely crash eventually, if you're running it all on one box.  Too much overhead if you ask me.

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6 minutes ago, lippavisual said:

Matrix manager needs to run on one of the decoders to "manage the matrix switching".  Now you could run the one VRX as an endpoint and the manager, but I wouldn't recommend it.  If the system is going to expand, start off right and get 2 VRX's (1 for endpoint and 1 for matrix manager)

PiP will most likely crash eventually, if you're running it all on one box.  Too much overhead if you ask me.

By 'Matrix Manager' do you mean Video Storm NetPlay Manager? (http://www.video-storm.com/proddetail.asp?prod=nvmm) ..

"If the system is going to expand, start off right and get 2 VRX's (1 for endpoint and 1 for matrix manager)"
You mean I need 2 VRX040's for 1 display to show a 2x2? Sorry, just got a bit confused by this comment too.

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Yes, Netplay Manager.  This can run concurrently on the VRX040, if desired.  I don't recommend it.

You would need the following:

qty 1- Netplay manager

qty 1- Compatible decoder for 85" TV= VRX040, NVidia Shield, Amazon Fire or Sony TV (if the 85" is a Sony, that's a plus right there, you'd just need the license for the TV, ~$90)

qty 1- 4 channel HDMI Encoder= Shineco or others.  I've used URay several times before, their RTSP streams have problems, so use the TS stream if going this route.

If required, qty 1- CMX1616A2 audio switch with NAB100

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4 minutes ago, lippavisual said:

Yes, Netplay Manager.  This can run concurrently on the VRX040, if desired.  I don't recommend it.

You would need the following:

qty 1- Netplay manager

qty 1- Compatible decoder for 85" TV= VRX040, NVidia Shield, Amazon Fire or Sony TV (if the 85" is a Sony, that's a plus right there, you'd just need the license for the TV, ~$90)

qty 1- 4 channel HDMI Encoder= Shineco or others.  I've used URay several times before, their RTSP streams have problems, so use the TS stream if going this route.

If required, qty 1- CMX1616A2 audio switch with NAB100

Ok gotcha, 
When you say "Yes, Netplay Manager.  This can run concurrently on the VRX040, if desired.  I don't recommend it." So the TV is a Samsung 85" TV so I went with a VRX040 for the decoder on the Samsung 85" but do i need to get a netplay manager too? Is that what you mean?

I see you also have the CMX1616A2 audio switch with NAB100....There are ceiling speakers that are run back to a 70 volt amp with an RCA in. The customer wants to be able to choose from 4 different sources to hear the audio in the ceiling speakers so I'm assuming the CMX.. audio switch will do the trick here.
 

I also called Videostorm and emailed them and had no luck, I'm guessing it's a small support shop over there...

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Yes small shop but good support.

You'd need a VRX040 or other decoder and the netplay manager.  The manager is what c4 talks to in order to switch, do pip, etc.  The manager then in turns sends its commands to appropriate decoders (VRX040).

If it's a single zone, then the CMX isn't required.  You could use the audio output from the tv then.

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