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I have a home theatre projector in my basement and right above it is our family room.

What I want to do.
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I would like to put an HTPC in my furnace room which is right behind where my Projector and A/V receiver are and below our family room. An HTPC that could service both my home theatre and my family room

So from the HTPC, I would like to run an HDMI cable to my A/V Receiver downstairs and a second HDMI cable upstairs to my family room tv. I would control the PC with a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse from either location. The HTPC would also run iTunes, Sonos and AirVideo applications.

So my questions:
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Do you think I would have any problems with Bluetooth Keyboard and mouse working?
Are graphic cards available with two HDMI outputs? If not, how could I do what I want? Would an HDMI splitter be the way to go?
Any additional words of advice?
 

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Bluetooth is probably not robust enough for your needs. All the galvanized steel ducting in the furnace room could cause Bluetooth problems for sure. :eek: If you have copper water pipes in there too that's even more troublesome.

The nVidia GT line of graphics cards are often found in dual-HDMI-output form, and the software allows separate or cloned output of the same desktop.
 

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Thanks stampeder.

I was thinking of putting my Sony PS3 in the room and trying to control it with my Bluetooth remote from both locations. Do you think that would be a fair test to see what type of success I would have with a BT keyboard and mouse?

Also are you sure about the dual HDMI output? Lots have dual DVI output but I didn't see on with dual HDMI hence why I asked about a splitter or possibly dual graphics cards?
 

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I have a similar setup. A HTPC in basement under stairs. What I did was buy a 4 port HDMI splitter (IO). One to Pioneer HDMI AVR, one to main floor 47" LCD (25 feet), one from AVR to Optoma Projector (25 feet) and one to local monitor (for HTPC maintenence). When putting in the HDMI cable to main floor, I ran a USB extension cable to the MS IR receiver (25 feet in total). This all works very well as I didn't want to turn on the AVR (when watching TV on main floor) unless I was watching a movie on the basement projector.

Perhaps cheaper is to just run ethernet and use a XBOX 360 4G or DMA 2100 to use Media Center to the TV (both of which I also have).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Danno100,

Thanks for the thoughts. After reading your post, I realized that I would probably like to send output to my PC which is in my office beside the family room.

So, I think the HDMI splitter route is the way to go.

I'm still debating the control aspect of it.
 

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Danno100 said:
I ran a USB extension cable to the MS IR receiver (25 feet in total)
I started by using a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse combo and was not happy with the sometimes flakey response lag or with other ocasional oddities.

Your USB extension cable idea is very similar to what I switched to in my HT room that works excellently: I use a Logitech multimedia RF keyboard and mouse, and I strung a long USB extension so that the RF receiver sits on a table beside our seats so that they are never more than about 4 feet from the receiver at most. All the cabling is hidden. The wireless keyboard and mouse never miss a beat!
 

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I second the notion of using a LAN-based solution with a master backend downstairs and client front ends at each point. All our various Linux and Mac machines are client frontends now of my MythTV master backend server in the basement, but the front end clients don't have to be computers since certain game consoles are supported.
 

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I like the master backend concept also. My homemade Win 7 "server" has a powerful CPU, 6 GB RAM, 4 TV tuners, and 8 TB of storage. All content in the house is in one box (no RAID, but all backed up with JBOD's).

Pluses of a direct connect to multiple TV/displays:
1. Whatever plays on your HTPC, will play on the display device.
2. Fast response.

Negatives of direct connect to multiple TV/displays:
1. Cabling complexity. In addition to HDMI, you need IR receiver to control backend.
2. Some video cards (my ATI 5670) has audio issues if it "sees" a TV that doesn't support DTS (won't install 5.1 sound on server).
3. Only "one" channel available (plays everywhere).

Pluses of a thin client (extenders):
1. One cable to extender (ethernet).
2. Avoids above audio issue.
3. Each extender can play different content simultaneously.

Negatives of thin clients:
1. Extra expense for thin client itself.
2. May not run all video/audio codecs available on server.

I have six extenders, all hard wired. I have both methods running in my house.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I have used lots of media extenders over the years including Xbox, PS3, Dlink, Roku, Apple TV, Sonos and a few others I've forgotten. Part of my goal is to consolidate!
 

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Well, SageTV does have a new extender (HD300) available on September 10th. So if you drop one of those $150 boxes at each TV, you only have to provide network access at each location...
 

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I assume you want HDMI to carry the audio as well?

Read the audio specs for the cards/MBs you are looking at very carefully since there are likely to be restrictions on the audio.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Yes. I think the HDMI splitter is the way I will go.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Update:

I bought a HDMI Matrix Switch with 4 In and 2 Out this past weekend. It works great.

I now have my PS3, and Bell HD PVR feeding both my upstairs and downstairs televisions.

PS3 is controlled flawlessly by Bluetooth, Bell HD PVR by UHF and IR remotes.

Next up is connecting an HTPC. I am looking at using a Bluetooth Keyboard/Mouse for controlling but I may decide to use a RedEye to control everything via IR.
 

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Hugh, I don't know if you are going to be using your HTPC with a TV tuner card. But you mentioned putting the HTPC in your furnace room. Don't be surprised if you are using a TV tuner card if your signals get interference.
I had my mythtv box about 4-5 feet from my furnace, nice little shelf under the stairs, fire it up, wavy signal, move the box next to the tv (litteraly 3 feet up through the floor and a foot to the right (closer to the furnace on the y axis) and presto clean signal.
Just an FYI

TLDR; furnace room might cause signal issues with HTPC and TV tuner card
 

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Remote controls...

Regarding non-bluetooth controllers, you might want to look at one of the original Logitech Mediaboards (see here .

Unlike the black "Pro" bluetooth model, it uses 2.4Ghz. Doesn't have massive range (30ft) but also doesn't require line of sight and should work through walls (mine does). You can probably get one on eBay if the usual sources don't have them anymore (seem to be discontinued/out-of-stock).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
update: I installed the RedEye device this weekend which allows me to control my matrix switching device from the second room. Next step is deciding on an HTPC but I'm getting there!
 
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