Best Method? - Long Cable Run via Thunderbolt - Matrox Triple Head

Discussion in 'Multimedia, Projection, and Show Control' started by voztimbrada, May 17, 2016.

  1. voztimbrada

    voztimbrada Member

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    Hello All,

    All you video folks out there, I could sure use some advice on this. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    I'm doing a video projector install in a theater soon, and I know there are a number of different ways I can wire this set up. I'm just trying to figure out the best way, while still maintaining a reasonable budget, bearing dependability in mind.

    We need to run a total of six projectors. The plan is to run two matrox triple heads, each controlling three projectors. Output from the computer is two thunderbolt ports. Cable runs are 50 to 100 feet to get to each projector, and the projectors have HDMI inputs (no DVI). We'd prefer to run a digital signal, as we want to project in 1080p. The long cable runs and the limited inputs are the challenge here.

    So, based on what I know about the matrox triple head, I think the chain will have to be something like this:

    Computer (Beefy Macbook Pro)-
    Thunderbolt to Display port -
    Into the triple head -
    Out of the triple head-
    DVI - D to to HDMI -
    HDMI to HDMI over Cat6 -
    Cat6 back to HDMI -
    into the projector

    Obviously I would have to run two of these set ups, with three HDMI to Cat6 coming out of each Matrox triple head.

    I hate to convert the signal so many times, and I worry about signal strength, although the HDMI to Cat6 will help with that. But this hypothetical set up just seems like a bit of a mess.

    I looked into optical thunderbolt cables, but a 100 foot cable is $500 - $600. For one of them. Ouch. And my understanding is thunderbolt can only run 50 to 100 feet if you use an optical cable. Otherwise, it maxes out at 10 to 12 feet.

    I wish matrox made a triple head unit with HDMI inputs and outputs on it.

    I'd love to use as few adapters as possible. Maybe some sort of video distribution unit? Based on my proposed outputs/inputs and the matrox set up, is there an easier or simpler way to do this?
     
  2. voztimbrada

    voztimbrada Member

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    I also just found a 100 ft. DVI-D to HDMI cable online, which would simplify this set up some. But, would I need a signal booster in the chain?
     
  3. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    A signal booster is never bad. I have a 100' DVI cable running to a projector and to be safe I put a booster at the end with 1 more connection after that to get from DVI to HDMI and it works like a charm.

    I would go:
    PC > TH2G > 50/100' DVI Cable > BOOSTER > DVI to HDMI Short > Projector
     
  4. Scarrgo

    Scarrgo Well-Known Member

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    I googled, and they do make an all HDMI unit...I have seen a local church here would go SDI for there long runs and convert back at the projectors...
     
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  5. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member

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  6. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    You think the tech is finally there to run a secure wireless signal?
     
  7. BillESC

    BillESC Well-Known Member

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    I've already done it in several churches.
     
  8. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    I guess that would be the best place to try it as they would see a lot of people with different wireless interference.

    No issues in quality or drop outs at all?
     
  9. voztimbrada

    voztimbrada Member

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    Thanks for the advice, and for sharing your own experience, Amiers. It's good to hear that it's been done with success. That sounds like a reasonable approach, and the signal booster is probably one of the keys to ensuring success. Your suggestion also cuts out the Cat5/Cat6 element, which is one less conversion to deal with, which eases my mind a bit. One less junction where things can go wonky, ya know? At any rate, thanks for taking some time to help me out. Much appreciated!

    Thanks, Scarrgo. I'm googling it myself, but I can't seem to find it. The matrox website doesn't seem to list it, but it's very possible I could just be missing it. I would LOVE an all HDMI unit. That would be ideal in this situation. Where did you find it?


    Wow! I hadn't even considered this. So you say you've installed this in several different environments, and had success? Would you say it's pretty stable?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2016
  10. Scarrgo

    Scarrgo Well-Known Member

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    Just google triplehead2go hdmi, several options come up in the $300+ range

    The church outputs hdmi out of rack ( it is a single run, one projector) to sdi to hdmi into projector,

    I would think you could do this with multi runs out of an th2g, but I can not say 100%, you would have to test that...but you are buying lots of parts....

    Hope this helps

    Sean...
     
  11. voztimbrada

    voztimbrada Member

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    Okay cool. I'll check that out. And I'll definitely consider the HDMI to SDI approach. Thanks for taking some time to give advice. Much appreciated!
     
  12. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I'd be concerned about the scalability of a wireless solution.
    While it might work acceptably for a single link, the chances of having 6 concurrent, colocated links working well are low. There's only so much spectrum to go around...

    For my 2 cents (AU - so about 1.5c US), DVI cables are a pain in the behind. Just bite the bullet and use HDBaseT, it works, it's fairly reliable, and enough people know how to troubleshoot it to be able to service a system.
    Use DVI M to HDMI M cables from the triple head into the transmitters and HDMI M - HDMI M between receivers and projectors and be done with it.

    We have dealt with boosters for DVI. They were a reasonable solution while nothing better existed. Times have changed...
     
  13. voztimbrada

    voztimbrada Member

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    Thanks for the advice, Chris15. Funny, my wife is Australian, and we go there a couple of times a year, so your "2 Cents" joke was well played. Heh, heh. I researched HDBaseT after reading your post, and it looks like that might be the most worry free solution. I was also concerned about multiple wireless connections bouncing around in the same room, as you mentioned, so I'm thinking a hard wired connection might be best here.

    Looks like HDBaseT lends itself well to this application. I had already looked into HDMI over Cat5/Cat6, but I'm not sure if all HDMI over Cat5/Cat6 situations are necessarily HDBaseT, or vice versa. At any rate, it wasn't hard to find online, and the pricing for transmitters/recievers, while a little higher than expected, is still doable for me.

    Thanks again for taking the time to share some advice.
     
  14. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I just got a pair of Kramer PT-571/PT-572 HDMI over Cat 5 extenders. They are tiny, rugged, have decent mounting options for installed use, and seem to work well. They recommend shielded Cat 5e or Cat 6, but they will work over UTP. What I particularly like is that you only have to power the system from one end if the cables are under 270 feet. B&H Photo carries them.
     
  15. voztimbrada

    voztimbrada Member

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    That's a great recommendation, FMEng. Thanks for the find. I also like the price tag, since in my situation, I'll likely have to buy six of them. So, have they behaved consistently for you?
     
  16. FMEng

    FMEng Well-Known Member Fight Leukemia

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    I have only used them twice, in portable setups, so far. The cable was STP of 120' length and there was no visible degradation at 1080p. I have had good luck with other Kramer products, too.
     
  17. Jammer

    Jammer Member

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    Curious if anyone has ever just located the computer/media server near the projectors and run it remotely from the control station using another computer via
    DMX/ARNET/SACN or something like MS Remote Desktop or Any Desk? I think some of the media servers have a remote app.
     
  18. Amiers

    Amiers Renting to Corporate One Fixture at a Time.

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    With any kind of remote app there will be a delay. If your not worried about it being timed down to the millisecond I think you could get away with that but the wireless remote in is just as easy to fail as any other connection physical or not.
     
  19. Jammer

    Jammer Member

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    Was thinking via crossover wired ethernet, would save from two cable runs to one and no HDMI/CAT5 converters, but maybe same issue.
     
  20. egilson1

    egilson1 Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Keep in mind HDMI are not very reliable connectors. You can shell out a lot of money on components only to have a hdmi connector fail just because you moved the device a few inches. It was design to be a consumer product. DVI connectors are much more robust. Same signal, better connector. I wasted 2 days a few weeks ago chasing a problem with an led wall (yes, this rigger occasionally dabbles in video) using hdmi extenders and cat 6 only to realize it was a flaky hdmi connector that had been working fine for 2 days until it didn't.
     

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