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Just Add Power HDMI over IP - techncial discussion


Nded
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At the request of some C4 Forum members, I have created this new thread to discuss the new HDMI over IP solution that was first introduced here in a different thread. Here is the post that I made to introduce the topic:

First post and first thread started here. I've really learned a lot from this site over the past few months.

Here's my question:

If I am converting an HDMI signal to travel over dual cat6 cable' date=' is it possible to switch the pairs using a higher-end ethernet matrix/router? I realize the switches firmware would have to force the pairs to stay together at all times.[/quote']

My first post too! It is possible to do exactly what you've imagined on a Managed Ethernet Switch with RS232 control for your C4 interface, but not with those dual CATx baluns. Instead of HDMI baluns, you need to use HDMI over IP devices. HDMI over IP technology lets you build a virtual HDMI Matrix solution that can support practically any number of HDMI inputs, and up to 200 HDMI outputs. The same input can be shown on multiple screens at the same time (within any HDCP enforced limits on # of simultaneous screens). Here's a picture of a 5x5 layout, but the 24 Port Managed Ethernet Switch in the diagram could easily handle your 10x10 scenario:

home-theater-matrix.jpg

There are lots of Managed Ethernet Switches on the market, just make sure you pick one with an RS232 control port (hard to make it work with C4 otherwise). The switch must also support VLAN and IGMP protocol, but you don't have to fork over the $$ for Gigabit support, as 100BT is more than adequate for the job.

You can find more schematics and details on our website at http://www.justaddpower.com/VBS-Suite-for-High-Definition/View-all-products.html . It is hoped that we can get support from the C4 dealer community for this breakthrough implementation of High Definition video that can be "right sized" for any whole home installation. Please ask any questions you have. We want to demonstrate the potential this new technology offers, and hopefully well be able to encourage a dealer/developer to be the first to write a C4 Driver for the Just Add Power solution.

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I've extracted the following key technical points from the original thread:

I see how this is working. At first I thought it was a 1:1 relationship of transmitters:receivers. It's actually 1:many.

-VLAN capabilities are required to ensure only one transmitter per VLAN.

-RS232 is required to dynamically create the VLANs as required.

Next we need a C4 driver.

This is a very interesting idea because it uses the network switch as the matrix instead of another device. What needs to be decided is wether this makes sense from a cost perspective? What's the least expensive switch that can be used? $250 per transmitter or receiver sounds reasonable (24 port Catalyst 2960 ranges from $500-$1700 on eBay).

Netgear 10/100 managed switch (Prosafe 24 port - FSM726) w/VLAN and Rs232 is $240 on their website. http://www.netgear.com/Products/Switches/FullyManaged10_100Switches/FSM726.aspx

Audio Authority 6x7 matrix is $2799 (essentially 7 transmitters). Baluns for the receiver end are extra @ $200 each. You're still limited by the number of receivers and transmitters with Audio Authority.

I'd love to see the quality of the Just Add Power. These also include audio?

nded: Can you give me an example of the commands used to dynamically create the VLAN on a particular switch? You'll need DriverWorks to create the driver.

Let's say a switch with 24 ports. All on the same VLAN. Now I want to do the following:

-VLAN1: ports 1, 5, and 16

-VLAN2: ports 10 and 24

-VLAN3: all the others

I'll try and download the manual for the netgear switch.

Another benefit to this approach is that input devices do not need to be centralized. For example, there may be a cable box in the living room, another in the bedroom and a DVD player in the den.

Another disadvantage is that each transmitter and receiver requires power, unlike other solutions that require power only at the transmitter end. Unless the transmitters and receivers support PoE?

nded: Can you give me an example of the commands used to dynamically create the VLAN on a particular switch? You'll need DriverWorks to create the driver.

I looked at the Netgear manual and got them impression that the command set was sytactically obtuse (if a Netgear rep wants to help me overcome this objection' date=' I'm all ears). For now I'm hoping to get somebody to focus on the IC Intracom $249 MRSP 24 port switch. There is a PDF for the IC Intracom switch available at http://www.icintracom.com/global_catalog/manual/523554_manual.pdf .

Here are my quick observations from an implementation perspective (commands are listed in ASCII, but I can help convert to HEX if needed):

Page 17 - COMM settings are 115200, N, 8, 1

Page 18 - We can disable the password and timeout features, so the C4 RS232 connection can live "forever"

Page 20 - Setup/configuration of the number of transmitters is accomplished with the command "VLAN add <vidlist> [<portlist>']". The structured part of my brain says we should tell owners to start with putting their transmitters in port 1 and go "up" and put their receivers in port 24 and go "down". For example, if a client has purchased 5 transmitters (think of it as 5 HDMI channels), they plug them into ports 1-5 and the following 5 commands would be issued once to configure the switch:

VLAN add 1 1

VLAN add 2 2

VLAN add 3 3

VLAN add 4 4

VLAN add 5 5

Page 21 - Assigning the Receivers to the desired Transmitter VLAN channel is accomplished with the command "VLAN PVID [<portlist>] [<vid>]". Here are some examples of the commands that would need to happen "live" to change channels:

VLAN PVID 24 1 {port 24 watching channel 1}

VLAN PVID 24 2 {port 24 watching channel 2}

VLAN PVID 23 2 {port 23 watching channel 2 also}

VLAN PVID 16 5 {port 16 watching channel 5}

We have the talent in house to demonstrate this RS232 control with a basic Windows GUI at CEDIA, but I'd really like to partner up with a C4 implementation. Even if it wasn't fully populated for all the possible permutations. We haven't finalized the booth configuration yet, but my best estimate is that we will have 5 inputs, and 9 screens, so from a minimalist perspective, we would need to have 45 commands in the C4 driver for the show (ports 16 through 24 for the 9 Receivers, with 5 channel change commands for each port). We could manually initiate the 5 'VLAN add' commands to perform the initial setup.

I don't know what all is involved behind the scenes to build a C4 driver, but come on, 45 lines of already identified code can't be that hard to do. If the programming language supports variable arrays, then the subroutine to build the port/channel VLAN PVID command should only take a few minutes. It would be nice to have friendly names on the inputs/outputs (Blu-ray, Vudu, Living Room, Kitchen, Master Bedroom, etc...), but we could talk our way around the rough edges of the example C4 interface it if it just shows 5 inputs and 9 outputs.

Let's say a switch with 24 ports. All on the same VLAN. Now I want to do the following:

-VLAN1: ports 1, 5, and 16

-VLAN2: ports 10 and 24

-VLAN3: all the others

The manual indicates you can include multiple ports in a VLAN PVID command. I will have my hands on the switch on Tuesday, and will confirm the multiple port syntax. For now, here would be the line by line commands (ASCII not HEX) to do what you want in the example:

VLAN PVID 1 1

VLAN PVID 5 1

VLAN PVID 10 2

VLAN PVID 24 2

VLAN PVID 2 3

VLAN PVID 3 3

-

-

-

VLAN PVID 22 3

VLAN PVID 23 3

I'll try and download the manual for the netgear switch.

Well, if you can follow their command syntax go for it!

Another benefit to this approach is that input devices do not need to be centralized. For example, there may be a cable box in the living room, another in the bedroom and a DVD player in the den.

Don't forget the XBOX in the kid's bedroom, and the TIVO HD in the master suite. There's no practical limit to the number of receivers.

Another disadvantage is that each transmitter and receiver requires power, unlike other solutions that require power only at the transmitter end. Unless the transmitters and receivers support PoE?

Did you see our "Statement of Direction" for adding PoE to the solution?

Based on the Netgear FSM726 setup manual (here) the commands appear to be:

[setup vlan2=ports 1, 5, 16]... vlan1 seems to be reserved so we won't use that one.

configure

interface ethernet 1/1

switchport access native 2

exit

interface ethernet 1/5

switchport access native 2

exit

interface ethernet 1/16

switchport access native 2

exit

exit

[setup vlan3=port 10 and 24]

configure

interface ethernet 1/10

switchport access native 3

exit

interface ethernet 1/24

switchport access native 3

exit

exit

All others remain on the default VLAN1

When the devices are powered off, I'd suggest setting the VLAN for each back to the default VLAN1. Instead of using the 'native' command you could use the VLAN tag/untag. Using the tag and untag may be better because you can go through all the ports untagging them from a particular vlan before tagging the new ports.

For simplicity, it also makes sense to create a vlan for each transmitter since only one transmitter is permitted in each vlan.

It would be fun to make a driver for this.

Edited by Nded
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Ed

good idea to start a new thread.

By the way, I've seen my dealer use the driver assistant wizard in composer. If your PC will accept commands via IR it would be very easy to create this as a proof of concept until a serial driver is created (just thinking about your time constrainst until CEDIA). With IR you dont need the driver works sdk.

Edited by bog
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What about non-HDMI (i.e. component video) sources? If there are any, then they would need to have a component video transmitter in order to be switched. Or a component video --> HDMI converter box?

Based on the trend towards HDMI in everything (and dropping component ports off the new devices), I think the converters will be the way to go, unless we see a major demand for a native component model. You can get a Component+Audio>HDMI at Monoprice for under $40 (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10114&cs_id=1011406&p_id=4631&seq=1&format=3#specification) and there are also VGA+Audio>HDMI Converter in the same price range (http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10114&cs_id=1011404&p_id=4629&seq=1&format=2). I'm going to test the stereo port on those VGA>HDMI adapters to see if they would work for connecting legacy audio devices into a whole house distribution system.

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If your dealing with integrating an even older legacy Video device (Composite or S-Video), the best deal I've found is $65 at http://www.cecompass.com/cvbscompositevideos-videorlstereoaudiotohdmiconverter.aspx . You gotta know that it won't look nearly as good as the Component and VGA devices, at least they have the possibility of producing a hi-resolution output.

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ok dumb question(s)

Assume basic setup of 1 sat receiver, one basic cable feed, one dvd, one HTPC, and 6 TVs.

Would I be able to distribute the basic cable through the Cat 6 wire?

(assume some TV,s do not have HDMI input) I presume that the TV would have to be set to channel 3 for all other sources in example?

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ok dumb question(s)

Assume basic setup of 1 sat receiver, one basic cable feed, one dvd, one HTPC, and 6 TVs.

Would I be able to distribute the basic cable through the Cat 6 wire?

I know of no device that converts a basic cable 75 Ohm signal to an IP/Ethernet signal. There are some CATV to CAT5 baluns (look at Muxlab part # 500302), but that costs nearly $100 per pair to implement, plus you would still need a CATV splitter in your structured wiring closet. It would be a lot more economical to pull 75 Ohm coax to each room.

(assume some TV,s do not have HDMI input) I presume that the TV would have to be set to channel 3 for all other sources in example?

The HDMI over IP solution is not practical for legacy televisions. While you could connect the HDMI output of the HDMI over IP Receiver to something like an HDFury to convert the HDMI signal to a format that would work with a legacy TV, it's going to look pretty bad when you convert HD to SD.

Back to your basic setup, if we replace the basic cable feed with one or more digitial cable boxes, those device could be connected to the HDMI over IP network quite easily. The question in this case is whether or not they can live with a limited number of CATV tuners. If the owner wants to be able to "surf" the cable channels independently/simultaneously in each room, then running the basic CATV coax is still a good idea (which can coexist with the HDMI over IP solution).

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The following is extracted from the original thread:

Ed,

If I understand the approach correctly, one nice aspect about your solution is that the switch's ports can be used for both HDMI sources as well as outputs. So the advantage over a fixed 8x8 (or NxN) switch is that you have flexibility in adding inputs and outputs as long as the switch has enough total ports. And if it doesn't then you buy a larger switch, and use the existing switch elsewhere in your network. On the other hand if your switch has unused ports, you can use them for other networking needs.

Is that right?

Do you have actual experience with the Intellinet 500456 switch and found it to be reliable?

Eventually you'll get the drivers to work for one or two supported switches and then this solution becomes quite viable once field proven and shown to be reliable.

Bebster,

You are pretty much correct. The only thing I'd change is the part about what to do when you outgrow the switch. It is my understanding that most managed switches can support bridging VLAN's, so all you have to do is add the second compatible Managed Switch. There is no need to swap out the first switch to grow the system.

Let's consider the $249 24 port switch from IC Intracom, or the $240 24 port switch from NetGear. If you decided to dedicate that switch to HDMI switching, you could support any of the 23 possible TX/RX combination from a 1 Input X 23 Output configuration to a 23 Input by 1 Output configuration (technically you can also use the 2 1000BT uplink ports so they both are actually 26 port switches with 25 possible matrices). This type of total flexibility is just not possible (dare I say inconceivable) with the hard-wired matrix products. Just try going back to the matrix switch manufacturer and asking them if you can upgrade that 4X4 Matrix to a 4X6? How about finding a 5X9 or a 10x10 on the shelf anywhere?

We will be demonstrating this solution with the HTTP GUI at CEDIA next month, but I'd love to partner up with a C4 dealer to make something happen in the next 30 days. So far I have not heard from any C4 dealers wanting to collaborate, but I hope to hear something soon. I'm guessing a lot of the dealers are not regularly reading the public side of the forums. I would appreciate it if Alan or one of the other dealers who has been following this thread could put up a notice on the dealer side that Just Add Power is looking for somebody to work on this and turn it around quickly.

I have an update on Bridging VLAN's when you want/need to expand an HDMI over IP Matrix beyond the capacity of the first switch.

If you want to use Just Add Power HDMI over IP Matrix switching across multiple switches, it is reccomended that the switches you select are ones that support the Network Standard IEEE 802.1Q VLAN's. This is because the 802.1Q VLAN's allow static port based VLAN's to commumicate across a shared backbone connection. Otherwise you would have to use additioanl dedicated ports on each switch for bridging each HDMI over IP Transmitter. For those of you that enjoy technical details, there is a good document covering this topic at ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/networking/software/AdvTraff-Oct2005-59908853-Chap02-VLAN.pdf (pages marked 2-5 and 2-6 illustrate the concept).

The Netgear FSM726 $240 switch does list 802.1Q in the product specifications online, with support for up to 64 VLAN's (reference http://www.netgear.com/Products/Switches/FullyManaged10_100Switches/FSM726.aspx?detail=Specifications ). Theoretically, you could bridge 11 FSM 726's together to support a 64 Input by 200 Output HDMI over IP Matrix. Depending on the nature of the traffic, it may be more practical to "limit" this hypothetical HDMI network to about 20 Inputs for heavy duty applications. On the other hand, The IC Intracom switch does not specifically list the 802.1Q specification in the online documentation. Some of the other IC Intracom switches do appear to support 802.1Q, so it might just be an omission in the online documentation. I should have some of the IC Intracom switches in my hands on Tuesday. At that point we can test them to see if they are "limited" to HDMI over IP applications that can can live within the 26 port limitation (i.e. build your own right-sized whole-house HDMI over IP matrix with any combination of TX and RX units and up to 26 total allowed such as 16 TX HDMI channels and 10 RX HDMI display devices).

If you are in the mood for some power shopping, you can browse a listing of over 1,600 Network Switches and Hubs that support IEEE 802.1Q VLAN's at http://www.epinions.com/Networking_Hubs_and_Switches--ieee_802_1q_qos/sec_~product_list/pp_~1#list !

Edited by Nded
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Is Jumbo Frames a feature that you use to improve throughput?

No, we do not use Jumbo Frames. We do not have any need to improve throughput with this implementation of HDMI over IP, as there is more than adequate bandwidth on the standard 100BT Ethernet. There is a detailed write-up about the IEEE 802.1Q Frame Size (reccomended minimum MTU is 1504 Bytes, min Frame is 68 Bytes, max Frame is 1522 Bytes) at http://www.cisco.com/en/US/tech/tk389/tk689/technologies_tech_note09186a0080094665.shtml#frame2

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Thanks for posting on here Ed! I was looking into getting a component matrix, but I don't think so now. This is almost exactly what I've been looking for (though I'd really like to buy the cheap baluns and hook them to a re-programmed router).

The great part about this solution is it's scalable. I'm sure that this will be the route that I'm taking with my new home.

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Thanks for posting on here Ed! I was looking into getting a component matrix, but I don't think so now. This is almost exactly what I've been looking for (though I'd really like to buy the cheap baluns and hook them to a re-programmed router).

The great part about this solution is it's scalable. I'm sure that this will be the route that I'm taking with my new home.

Thank you for the vote of confidence. With any luck we'll have a C4 driver available for you at that time!

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The following is extracted from the original thread:
Ed,

If I understand the approach correctly, one nice aspect about your solution is that the switch's ports can be used for both HDMI sources as well as outputs. So the advantage over a fixed 8x8 (or NxN) switch is that you have flexibility in adding inputs and outputs as long as the switch has enough total ports. And if it doesn't then you buy a larger switch, and use the existing switch elsewhere in your network. On the other hand if your switch has unused ports, you can use them for other networking needs.

Is that right?

Do you have actual experience with the Intellinet 500456 switch and found it to be reliable?

Eventually you'll get the drivers to work for one or two supported switches and then this solution becomes quite viable once field proven and shown to be reliable.

Bebster,

You are pretty much correct. The only thing I'd change is the part about what to do when you outgrow the switch. It is my understanding that most managed switches can support bridging VLAN's, so all you have to do is add the second compatible Managed Switch. There is no need to swap out the first switch to grow the system.

Let's consider the $249 24 port switch from IC Intracom, or the $240 24 port switch from NetGear. If you decided to dedicate that switch to HDMI switching, you could support any of the 23 possible TX/RX combination from a 1 Input X 23 Output configuration to a 23 Input by 1 Output configuration (technically you can also use the 2 1000BT uplink ports so they both are actually 26 port switches with 25 possible matrices). This type of total flexibility is just not possible (dare I say inconceivable) with the hard-wired matrix products. Just try going back to the matrix switch manufacturer and asking them if you can upgrade that 4X4 Matrix to a 4X6? How about finding a 5X9 or a 10x10 on the shelf anywhere?

We will be demonstrating this solution with the HTTP GUI at CEDIA next month, but I'd love to partner up with a C4 dealer to make something happen in the next 30 days. So far I have not heard from any C4 dealers wanting to collaborate, but I hope to hear something soon. I'm guessing a lot of the dealers are not regularly reading the public side of the forums. I would appreciate it if Alan or one of the other dealers who has been following this thread could put up a notice on the dealer side that Just Add Power is looking for somebody to work on this and turn it around quickly.

I have an update on Bridging VLAN's when you want/need to expand an HDMI over IP Matrix beyond the capacity of the first switch.

If you want to use Just Add Power HDMI over IP Matrix switching across multiple switches, it is reccomended that the switches you select are ones that support the Network Standard IEEE 802.1Q VLAN's. This is because the 802.1Q VLAN's allow static port based VLAN's to commumicate across a shared backbone connection. Otherwise you would have to use additioanl dedicated ports on each switch for bridging each HDMI over IP Transmitter. For those of you that enjoy technical details, there is a good document covering this topic at ftp://ftp.hp.com/pub/networking/software/AdvTraff-Oct2005-59908853-Chap02-VLAN.pdf (pages marked 2-5 and 2-6 illustrate the concept).

The Netgear FSM726 $240 switch does list 802.1Q in the product specifications online, with support for up to 64 VLAN's (reference http://www.netgear.com/Products/Switches/FullyManaged10_100Switches/FSM726.aspx?detail=Specifications ). Theoretically, you could bridge 11 FSM 726's together to support a 64 Input by 200 Output HDMI over IP Matrix. Depending on the nature of the traffic, it may be more practical to "limit" this hypothetical HDMI network to about 20 Inputs for heavy duty applications. On the other hand, The IC Intracom switch does not specifically list the 802.1Q specification in the online documentation. Some of the other IC Intracom switches do appear to support 802.1Q, so it might just be an omission in the online documentation. I should have some of the IC Intracom switches in my hands on Tuesday. At that point we can test them to see if they are "limited" to HDMI over IP applications that can can live within the 26 port limitation (i.e. build your own right-sized whole-house HDMI over IP matrix with any combination of TX and RX units and up to 26 total allowed such as 16 TX HDMI channels and 10 RX HDMI display devices).

If you are in the mood for some power shopping, you can browse a listing of over 1,600 Network Switches and Hubs that support IEEE 802.1Q VLAN's at http://www.epinions.com/Networking_Hubs_and_Switches--ieee_802_1q_qos/sec_~product_list/pp_~1#list !

Here's the tech notes from Cisco that pertain to this issue: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/hw/switches/ps708/products_tech_note09186a008059a9df.shtml

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Ed

Are the install and configuration documents available for these products online?

The install document that is included with the HDMI over IP devices is available at http://www.justaddpower.com/Documents/projector-connector-HDMI-IP-installation.pdf

Thre is no configuration of the Just Add Power devices. They are truly Plug-and-Play with nothing to be changed or tweaked.

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I just went thru the netstreams dealer certification, and there ip based distribution is very cool and is probably were we are all going to wind up technology wise for video distribution. the ability to input any source like a VCR with composit video and have it come out the other end as a component connection is very handy. But with all that said at nearly $900 per source and $900 per TV and the requirement of Layer3 switches this system is very expensive. Netstreams does not make a hand held remote but can use a pronto, and does not have a on screen GUI, and relies on 3rd party for lighting,hvac,ect I have thought about writing a driver to use netstreams for video distribution with control4 but haven't had the time or motivation

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Thre is no configuration of the Just Add Power devices. They are truly Plug-and-Play with nothing to be changed or tweaked.

How do they get assigned IP addresses?

All the HDMI over IP Transmitters and Receivers are shipped with static IP's set in the factory. We asign them in the 192.168.168.xxx range.

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Interesting yes. But having to play games with the switch config to get this to work leaves much to be desired seems like a hack to me......

Everything we are doing is what the Managed Switches are designed to do. No modifications or hacks to the factory settings are required. We are just using their standard features to achive a superior result.

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I just went thru the netstreams dealer certification, and there ip based distribution is very cool and is probably were we are all going to wind up technology wise for video distribution. the ability to input any source like a VCR with composit video and have it come out the other end as a component connection is very handy. But with all that said at nearly $900 per source and $900 per TV and the requirement of Layer3 switches this system is very expensive. Netstreams does not make a hand held remote but can use a pronto, and does not have a on screen GUI, and relies on 3rd party for lighting,hvac,ect I have thought about writing a driver to use netstreams for video distribution with control4 but haven't had the time or motivation

I can't help you with the time, you already have a lifetime supply, but perhaps we can do something for the motivation piece of the formula. Does having the price of the solution dropped by about 2/3's or more give you some motivation? The MSRP for the HDMI over IP Transmitters is $299 and the HDMI over IP Receivers is $250.

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