Can I upgrade my Crestron System to Support HDMI and 3D?
If you have an existing Crestron installation which is more than 2-3 years old the chances are that it will be running analogue video and will not be ready for the new digital HDMI connections or 3D. This means that you will not be able to get the best results from the latest range of flat screens and projectors.
We can upgrade your system to enable the use of the latest 1080P devices like Blu Ray players, Sky HD and Apple TV. We can also enable 3D and even in some cases 4K resolutions (the next step up in HD content)
The connection/resolution that we can achieve will depend on the type of cable infrastructure that you have installed in your property.
So how do I find out what my infrastructure supports?
We can get a good idea of what your existing set up it using for video distribution by looking at the equipment rack and locating a video distribution amp or matrix switch.
Common examples are:
The above systems will most likely use a 3-core or 5-core mini-coaxial cable to transmit either SD video and audio or HD video and audio to the rooms. We cannot use this cable to distribute HDMI/3D so we need to look for another cable type.
Hopefully if your original system was installed by a forward thinking installer then they will have pulled some network cable or even HDMI cable along with the mini-coaxial.
Check behind the TV’s in the rooms that you want to upgrade and see if you can find either an ethernet network point, an HDMI cable or socket or a TV aerial socket.
If you can find one or more of these then there is a good chance that the other end of that cable runs back to the main equipment rack and we can use it to distribute HDMI and or 3D or 4K.
Great, so what next?
Next we will need to locate and test those cable links.
Cat5e/Cat6 network cables
These are ideal for distributing HDMI and depending on the grade of cable we can also get 3D or 4K to the screen. Using Crestron Digital Media 8G we can also extend the reach of your Crestron control system, allowing us to reliably control your new HD/3D TV.
We will use a tone generator and probe to locate both ends of the cables and then use a network cable tester to check the integrity of the 4 pairs of copper cores inside.
Next we will rig up an HDMI test kit to establish what resolution we can pass over the cable and whether it will support 3D or 4K as well as full HD/HDMI
Coaxial TV/SAT cable
Thanks to advances in balun technology we are now able to distribute HDMI over certain types of coaxial cable.
Like with the network cable we can use a tone generator and probe to locate the cable ends and then we can use a separate tool to test for short circuits or breaks in the cable. Providing that the cable passes the test we can then test out its ability to transmit HDMI signals and HD resolutions
Unlike with the other cables we cannot easily use a tone generator and probe so we will need to actually connect the cables at both ends and try to pair each one to a room. Once we have done this we can test the cables ability to handle different resolutions and 3D/4K.
So now that I know my system can support HDMI, what are my upgrade options?
Assuming that your infrastructure will support Full HD & 3D content, the first thing to decide is what new source devices do you want to use?
Will you want 3D capable Blu-Ray players? Will you upgrade to Sky+ HD/3D? Or will you stick with 1080P content for now?
Next we need to replace your old video matrix switch or distribution amplifier with a new HDMI one. We can sometimes offer trade-in deals on these components. Tell us the make/model of your video switcher when you call.
If you have CAT5/CAT6 cables then we can use Crestron Digital Media or HdbaseT technology.
We strongly recommend using Crestron Digital Media if budget allows as it provides instant switching and gives us installers a great set of software tools to more reliably configure and maintain your system.
Crestron Digital Media
Then we can upgrade your displays. When using a Crestron control system we recommend using a professional grade screen such as the Panasonic TH range or one of the LG LED range which include a serial port for reliable 2-way control from our Crestron processor.
What about my AV Receiver / Processor?
If your system includes a cinema or surround sound set up you may need to upgrade your AV receiver to one which supports the latest HDMI features such as 3D and HD audio formats. We recommend AV receivers from Anthem and Denon among others. If you have an AV Receiver by Arcam see our page here about upgrading Arcam AV Receivers to HDMI and 3D.
The final step will be updating the program in the system to control your new source devices, video switcher and displays. If you have a copy of the existing code or have access to it then this will significantly reduce the cost.