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HTPC to multiple HDTV ?? - Suggestions please

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hey Folks,
I am trying to setup a HTPC that I could use to serve two HDTV's - so far my plans have failed for various reasons. If you guys can give any tips or have tried it please post your feedback.


Configuration:
- My box has Intel i5 Processor
- 8 GB RAM
- 128 GB SSD & 500 GB 7200 RPM Disk
- On board HDMI
- Radeon HD 6450

The specs may not look too good but I am hoping this is enough for my target.


What I want :
I am running a 30 feet HDMI cable from my HTPC to bedroom room and it is connected to my living room using other HDMI output. I want to be able to run XBMC to stream content to my TV in bedroom and in my living room I sometime use my HTPC to watch movies. Its just like sometime my wife wants to watch TV in bedroom while I am watching a movie in living room or probably doing development on my Development VM.

So far I have tried two ways to achieve it.

1- I initially tried to run VMWare Workstation 8 with an XP guest running XBMC in it and stream directly to bedroom, but turns out VM cannot directly send signals to my PCIe card. The only way to do is using the VMWARE ESXi and I don't think I am ready for that.

2- I tried to setup it using multiple monitors setup. I tried a few multi monitor softwares as well (Fusion & Actual Multiple monitors) and I placed a full size XBMC on one TV and the other desktop remained connected to my living room. However when I switch OFF one tv, Windows 7 assume the TV has been disconnected and it messes up everything and brings back the XBMC on Monitor 1 and screws up the whole thing. Switching TV back on does not help and all the windows are on just one desktop again.


Do you guys think there is a way to achieve this? I really do not want to use mouse to move windows here and there and just want to use my iPad to control the XBMC.


Any help, suggestions and links are welcome.

Thank you Guys.
post #2 of 18
get a powered hdmi splitter ??
http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=101&cp_id=10113&cs_id=1011301&p_id=5418&seq=1&format=1#largeimage

Sorry in advance if this does not help
Edited by Juggalo23451 - 10/10/12 at 8:49pm
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post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you Juggalo -- I know about these splitters but I don't think they will help me. Since i want to send two different streams to two different HDTV's from one HTPC - These splitters may have helped incase I wanted to send the same stream to two different HDTV's
post #4 of 18
This will be very difficult, if at all possible. IMO just make a traditional small HTPC. Personally I very small form factors for HTPCs... here is a sample...
Cheap HTPC (Click to show)
PCPartPicker part list

Memory: G.Skill NS 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3-1333 Memory ($19.99 @ Newegg)
Storage: Samsung Spinpoint M7E 320GB 2.5" 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive ($59.99 @ Newegg)
Other: M350 Enclosure with PicoPSU-80 and 60W adapter KIT ($69.99)
Other: ASRock E350M1 AMD E-350 APU (1.6GHz, Dual-Core) AMD A50M Hudson M1 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo ($94.99)
Total: $244.96
(Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available.)

Case
Mobo

Run something like XBMC on it and it will be fine. thumb.gif
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post #5 of 18
Add a network'd media box ?

dunx
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post #6 of 18
I have gone through similar issues on my HTPC while setting up dual digital port output to small monitor and projector. The only way not to make Win7 recognize if a monitor is on or off is to feed it via a DVI connection, which does not have the #HPDET pin (hotplug detect). However, to be sure this works you should use the HDTV DVI input (if available), or set the HDMI input in DVI mode (can be done on my Samsung UE22C4000 on HDMI1 jack). If input mode cannot be set on the TV, you should use a video chipset (Intel HD Graphics or basic AMD Radeon with onboard DP/HDMI) which cannot switch DVI ports to HDMI mode. You'll have to connect TV to the DVI port via a DVI-HDMI adapter, that way your HDTV will be detected as HDTV but on DVI, which disables the #HPDET check. Nvidia Geforce/Quadro cards (and maybe mid-high Radeons with multiple HDMI/DP++/miniDP++ connectors) can switch any port to HDMI mode if they detect a HDMI-capable display connected to it, even on the DVI connector via DVI-HDMI adapter, but in your case you have a HD6450 so this is not a problem (I had it connecting my Onkyo TX-NR906 to the Quadro 4000).
Of course, with DVI connections you have to feed TV audio through another line (SPDIF/analog), but it is the only way to get a dual-screen setup that doesn't mess up desktops when turning one monitor on or off. rolleyes.gif

For HTPC I use Mediaportal and it has some features to select the startup screen on a multi-display configuration, but a stable one: obviously if you set it to run on display #2 and then you launch it by mistake with only one monitor active, it reverts to display #1
    
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post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for replying. I have been searching google for "Serving 2 HDTVs with one HTPC" and turns out this is a difficult call to make it work. Just like pm40elys40 mentioned there is just very sleek chance. I wonder why VMWare doesn't support sharing PCIe card with guest OS.

@pm40elys40: Great tip - I will look into it further. I might have to sit down and write a small custom c# app to detect when TV is switched on/off and close/on the XBMC and send it to other desktop. That seems like the easiest way to go ahead.
post #8 of 18
Maybe VMWare Workstation supports VM display selection on multiple displays within the same graphics adapter (while Win7 abstracts extended desktop setup from the cards installed in the system). On WS7 I can switch the XP32 guest between display 1, 2 or both, but I fall in the 1st case (one card).
    
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Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
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Onkyo TX-NR906 Logitech MK520 Enermax EPM1000AWT Platimax 1000 Xigmatek Windowed Elysium Black 
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post #9 of 18
best response = build a small cheap HTPC, have fun doing so and post the pics when you have finished biggrin.gif
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by phill1978 View Post

best response = build a small cheap HTPC, have fun doing so and post the pics when you have finished biggrin.gif
He already did?
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