What is Video Distribution? In your typical home, you have a TV with a handful of video components plugged into it. You probably have a Blu-ray player, a Direct TV receiver, maybe an Apple TV and a game console. Hopefully you’ve got some kind of media cabinet to store all these items in, but there’s a good chance they’re all sitting out in plain site, and all the cables are out and attractive looking on the walls.
With Video Distribution, you centralize all the Video components; usually in some kind of media rack or closet. From there, you distribute the different Video content out to the different TV’s in the home. So instead of having all your components under each TV, and cables dangling everywhere, you conceal all the components out of site. The TV sits flush and clean on the wall, and there are no visible cables. An added convenience, is that you don’t need a Blu-ray player, or Apple TV for every TV anymore. You can feed all the TV’s in the home with the same Blu-ray.
In most instances, we run Cat5e, and preferably 2 Cat5e from the media rack out to every TV in the home. There’s a piece of hardware called a HDMI Matrix, or Video Matrix. It’s a fancy name for a switch. It’s kind of like a router for your internet, but it’s for the video components. It has a number of video inputs, and a number of video outputs. So lets say we have a 4×4 Video Matrix. That means you can pug in 4 Video Sources, and out put them to 4 TV’s or displays, including a projector. There’s a very small device that sticks to the back of the TV called a balun. These baluns convert the Cat5e coming from the Video Matrix, into HDMI. So you’re able to send HD content from the Video Matrix over Cat5e to every TV in the home.
A couple of tips on Video distribution. Most people want to have at least 2 satellite/cable receivers, and at least 2 Blu-ray players. If the kids want to watch the Disney channel, and you want to watch the news, you’re going to want two different receivers. The same is true for you Blu-ray players. Next, most people find they want 6-8 video sources. You can save money by buying a 4×4 matrix, but in our experience customers are always disappointed they can’t have 6 video sources. Pay the extra, and get a minimum 6 sources. You’ll use 2 receivers, 2 Blu-rays, and Apple TV or Roku, and a DVR for your surveillance system. Lastly, buy the Video Matrix that supports the number of TV’s you think you might use someday. If you’re only going to use 4 TV’s initially, but know you’ll have 8 TV’s down the road, then buy the 8×8 Video Matrix. It’s cheaper than upgrading later.The Video Matrix, allows you to select the TV you want to watch, and the Video source you want played to that TV. It does the rest of the switching and sourcing to give you the desired content. Now, if you have a Video Matrix, you have to have some kind of Controller like Savant’s Smart Host or Pro Host. This allows you to use a remote, or a smart phone to control the Matrix.