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Help wanted in medium-ish-sized church's move to HD

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Old 01-04-2009, 04:46 PM   #1
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Default Help wanted in medium-ish-sized church's move to HD

Hey all, I work for the projector team at my church and we're kind of kicking around the idea of getting a new projector this year. Initially, I thought I had a rough idea of what we want, but with the recent developments in HD, I've become overwhelmed.

We have a second-story cantilever sound/video booth at the back of our ~600 capacity auditorium (FOH). Our primary projector is at the end of a 100 ft cable run and sitting on the edge of a cloud (in the ceiling). This projector is pointed to the main screen at the front of the auditorium ~75-ish ft away. Normally, we use this setup just with PowerPoint and another program on a computer via VGA, but with the switch to HD, the standards are changing for the "extras." Also, we are using the passthrough on our primary projector to drive a secondary projector, but this may change based on what new primary projector we get.

Currently, our computers are connected to the projector with VGA. In the distant future, I see us adding a BluRay Player, an HDTV receiver, and maybe some other things. Right now, that "other" category might include allowing the youth group to play video games and the inevitable "Hey, can you guys play this?" (Who knows what "this" might be.) Initially, I was thinking that we would also want to be able to support SD inputs, but I'm beginning to wonder if that's really necessary.

I was thinking that we would want some combination of component and perhaps HDMI run into a consumer level switcher run into one cable to the projector. Then, we would have our computers run through a VGA cable to the projector. However, this raised a bunch of questions in my head.

How likely are we to need to support SD sources?

Is there such a thing as a component/HDMI switcher?

Would such a switcher be legal?

Can HDMI work over a 100 ft cable run?

What about the joys of HDCP, and could that create problems?

What about DVI and the emerging DisplayPort technologies?
(I know that there are DVI to VGA adapters, but I've recently heard of computers with DisplayPort (and DVI?) that don't work without HDCP)

How is audio run through most HDMI devices?
Note:
We need to break our audio out before we run the video to the projector.
All audio is run through an analog sound board in the booth where all devices would be via 1/4" headphone, RCA (red and white), or XLR.

Does anyone have any suggestions for us while we are in the planning stages?

Thanks a ton to anyone who can help make this process easier. Feel free to ask questions, as I'm sure I haven't remembered to include all of the necessary information.
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Old 01-04-2009, 05:33 PM   #2
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First off I moved this to the projector sub-forum where you may get better response.
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How likely are we to need to support SD sources?
As soon as you don't allow for this, you will need it.

Quote:
Is there such a thing as a component/HDMI switcher?
There are component and HDMI switchers. I don't know of any combination units. See: Are You Out Of Inputs?

Quote:
Would such a switcher be legal?
Yes. Now did you really mean a component to HDMI converter or HDMI to component converter? Those exist also.

Quote:
Can HDMI work over a 100 ft cable run?
Yes and they make boosters also.

Quote:
What about the joys of HDCP, and could that create problems?
Yes it could. What they may be will depend on the particular equipmemt used.

Quote:
What about DVI and the emerging DisplayPort technologies?
(I know that there are DVI to VGA adapters, but I've recently heard of computers with DisplayPort (and DVI?) that don't work without HDCP)
The DVI to VGA adapters are for the analog version of DVI. DVI digital is the same as HDMI less the video and a different connector.

Quote:
How is audio run through most HDMI devices?
The audio comes through the HDMI cable.

For your application I would lean toward component cables unless you are going to get a 1080p projector. With a 1080p projector, I would think HDMI will be required. VGA is not a bad option either for either a 720p or 1080p projector as VGA will handle both if the equipment does.

I would look at a complete HTPC that has a Blu-ray/DVD drive and burner to be the computer for the system. I would get one that has all of the meida card slots built in and has a wireless keyboard and trackball. It could also have a SD capture card so as to provide a SD input capability. It should also have a ATSC tuner for your HDTV over the air capability. Those HTPCs will also record and burn DVDs. The HTPC could be the central source for your projector. My HP z560 HTPC has digital audio, optical audio and complete 7.1 analog audio outputs, so the audio break out would be a snap. You probably would want a newer version, but here is a link for the z560 info: Two Outstanding HTPC Values
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Old 01-04-2009, 07:23 PM   #3
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For SD, what would the best type of cable to run to the projector for maximum compatibility and quality? Composite? Since most projectors that I've seen run component and composite into the same inputs, would it be best to run SD composite into the RCA and add an HDMI run for HD? Do most projectors have both HDMI and component/composite?

As far as the component/HDMI conversions, I had thought that an HDMI or component switch filled out with HDMI to component adapters or vice versa as necessary would work best, but wasn't sure if such converters existed. Then, we would add either an HDMI or component cable run as necessary to supplement our existing VGA run.

For HDCP, would it make most sense to do our best to get an HDCP-compliant projector and try to avoid HDCP devices if possible for maximum compatibility?

For audio, I'm not 100% sure on how things are cabled, but currently we are only running stereo audio. I guess my question could have been better phrased as, "Do most devices that send audio via HDMI have alternative output options?"

As for an HTPC, we probably won't be able to swing that as we just got a new computer last week, and getting that approved was no picnic. Also, a new projector will set us back a couple grand plus another grand for the lens.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:50 PM   #4
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Quote:
For SD, what would the best type of cable to run to the projector for maximum compatibility and quality? Composite? Since most projectors that I've seen run component and composite into the same inputs, would it be best to run SD composite into the RCA and add an HDMI run for HD? Do most projectors have both HDMI and component/composite?
Assuming the computer is going to be attached to the projector, I'd get a capture card for it. Then you could attach the SD source to the computer. I would not run SD connection to the projector.

Most installations such as your will utilize a separate scaler box like the Dvdo scaler. All inputs go into it and they are scaled to the resolution the PJ needs. That way the PJ can be set to a given input and left, so there is no need for remote switching of inputs.

By using the computer, you could use it in lieu of the scaler.
Quote:
As far as the component/HDMI conversions, I had thought that an HDMI or component switch filled out with HDMI to component adapters or vice versa as necessary would work best, but wasn't sure if such converters existed. Then, we would add either an HDMI or component cable run as necessary to supplement our existing VGA run.
By using a scaler or the computer it will do all of the necessary conversions.
Quote:
For HDCP, would it make most sense to do our best to get an HDCP-compliant projector and try to avoid HDCP devices if possible for maximum compatibility?
It would always be best to get HDCP complient equipment.
Quote:
For audio, I'm not 100% sure on how things are cabled, but currently we are only running stereo audio. I guess my question could have been better phrased as, "Do most devices that send audio via HDMI have alternative output options?"
Yes most, if not all, source equipment will have stereo analog outputs.
Quote:
As for an HTPC, we probably won't be able to swing that as we just got a new computer last week, and getting that approved was no picnic. Also, a new projector will set us back a couple grand plus another grand for the lens.
If you just got a new computer for attaching to the projector, then it could be used by adding a tuner card if you want OTA HD and a Blu-ray drive to it.
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Old 01-06-2009, 04:04 PM   #5
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Just curious, do you have a projector in mind for this?
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Old 01-09-2009, 03:32 AM   #6
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I agree that a switcher or scaler would be ideal, but I don't think we'll be able to pull that off. One product that I've seen is the FSR Compass 100, which would be exactly what we're looking for, except the $5000 price tag is far out of our price range for the next year or two. This is due to the fact that we just bought a new computer and we are probably going to have to buy a new projector (and lens) before the end of the year.

The idea of adding cards and drives to the computer is an interesting idea. We would have to see how those things would behave with our dual screen setup (1 control/preparation screen & 1 display screen).

Also, we don't have a specific projector model in mind yet. I'm mostly doing preliminary research into what specs we might want/need to replace our current equipment.
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Old 01-11-2009, 07:03 AM   #7
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I'm just thinking that 600 people and a distance of 75 feet might be much for a home setup style projector. I'm no expert so I could be wrong, I just wouldn't want you to get a FP that didn't meet your needs.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:29 PM   #8
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Don't quote me on this, because I'm not completely sure what our setup is now, but I think that what we would be looking at is a professional-grade projector (maybe ~2000 lumens?) plus a long throw lens. Also, the 75 foot measurement was an estimated guess. Eventually, we're going to have to get tape measures out and measure all of the applicable distances and angles, but we haven't done that yet, so all I have are my estimates.

Our auditorium layout is kind of unusual and hard to describe. I would include some pictures or drawings, but I don't have any and if I tried to draw anything, it would probably just confuse everyone. Plus, I don't think that they would help to answer my original questions, which were more about distance, connectors, and conversions.
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Old 01-13-2009, 01:32 PM   #9
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Right now, this is what I'm thinking our best course of action.
1. Meet with our team to decide if we think we can make a case for the FSR Compass 100.
2. If so, try to get the highest resolution, DHCP-compatible projector (and lens) for our money with either or both HDMI and component video (with preference probably toward component with backward-compatible composite). We would probably get this at the end of the year or early next year.
3. Acquire BluRay player and other "extras" (either computer internal or as a stand-alone unit (with HD tuner?)) and attach them via semi-temporary component or HDMI cable run.
4. Purchase the FSR Compass 100 (or similar device) and route all computers and other devices through it. We probably won't be able to get this for about 2 years, by which time our needs will probably have changed and so will our priorities.
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