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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new to this forum and am looking to see if anyone has any experience with the Marantz AV8801 relative to it's video switching performance. Notice that I said performance, not capability. I know that it has numerous HDMI ins and 3 HDMI outs. The issue is whether or not the unit actually does what it advertises without any handshake issues.

I currently have a dedicated home theater with two displays, an LG 55" LED tv and an Epson projector which projects onto a 106" screen that drops down in front of the tv. Until recently, I have been using an Outlaw 950 as my processor and an OPPO BDP-103 for my Blueray Player. We also have Directv. I bought the OPPO hoping that I would be able to utilize it as my video switcher, connecting both my tv and projector via its HDMI outs and feeding the audio to the 950 via coaxial from both the Directv and OPPO units. Sadly, when I utilize my Directv in this configuration, I cannot get the premium channels to pass through. I talked to OPPO about it and they acknowledged that they have had some reports of this issue and were working on it, but not to expect a quick fix.

I then decided that it had been a long time since I had bought a new processor and opted for the Outlaw 975. The plan was to feed both the OPPO and Directv into the 975 and split the signal with a splitter or switcher. This proved even more problematic than routing through the OPPO and I had all kinds of handshake issues, from the dreaded HDCP warning to intermittent audio.

Right now, I have the OPPO routed directly to the project via HDMI, with the sound being passed to the 975 via it's second HDMI output. The Directv is routed to the tv directly through the 975 and directly to the projector via its Component outputs. This works, but I just feel that I'm not getting the resolution or sharpness that I get with the HDMI direct. (May just be my imagination, but I don't think so.)

Enter the Marantz AV8801. It certainly has many more features than the 975. But, I probably would not even consider it, if I thought it could not do the video switching that I need in order to exclusively utilize HDMI.

So, does anyone have any experience with this unit and its switching capabilities? Any feedback would be appreciated.

By the way, I still have about 15 days left to return the 975, if I choose to do so. I hate to do it because I really like doing business with Outlaw. They have extraordinary customer service and, I feel, excellent products. But, it might be time to step up a notch or so with my prepro.
 

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I have no experience with Outlaw gear. I've had both good and bad experience with Marantz's HDMI switching. More good then bad, 90/10 I'd say. Unfortunately HDMI as a standard just can't seem to get it together with the industry as a whole and make EVERYTHING play well together. So no matter how much you spend on a product to due your switching there is a chance that you will bring home a source that it doesn't play well with. In reality Component "cables" will look just as good as an HDMI "cable". The issue is that without a sole stable HDCP'ed HDMI connection, DRM (handshaking) will get in your way and ruin your experience and 99% of sources won't output 1080P over Component.

- Make 100% sure that all the settings in your Outlaw processor are correct.

- Issues can occur with the order in which you turn on your components. This takes a lot of testing or previous experience to get right. Often issues are fixed by having the display turn on followed be a few second delay and then the switching device. But mileage will very a lot here from setup to setup. This would be achieved in your ProControl programming.

- Occasionally you can even have a problem with a cable. Not one you'd ever be able to detect unless you bit tested it though so all you can do is try switching everything out.

- Is your DirectTV box brand new (not a refurb they gave you as new or one that you've had for a few years?

- Make sure the receiver is set up for the correct passback EDID (resolutions).

That all being said if your current setup is not doing what you want then you need a fix. I see the Outlaw 975 does not have Two HDMI outs? When using HDMI the most important thing is to KISS. You want to go...Source -> Processor -> Displays and no trying to branch off anything in analog. The DRM just tends to jump all over that. I've even seen issues where a source will bug out until you reset it just from switching to an analog input and then back again because it's assuming you are trying to hack the DRM (or it's just poor engineering). And, that's when it is wired straight and simple Almost everyone in the industry hates HDMI as all it's done is cause problems. I"m guessing that passthru switching isn't top on the list at OPPO (Although I here they make a great product). If you go Source -> Processor -> 1IN/2OUT Splitter -> Displays, that "should" work. Basically the more connections and loops you have the more likely you are to have HDCP issues. The Marantz AV8801 is overkill imo if all you're looking for is something with 2 HDMI outputs you could get the for a LOT cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Jon, thanks for your response and info. Everything you have described is pretty much what I've experienced. We did try the Source -> Processor -> 1IN/2OUT splitter -> Projector/TV route. We used a Transformative Engineering HDS-12 for the splitter. It's supposed to be a good unit, but we had tons of issues trying that configuration. We also tried a fairly elaborate matrix switcher that I felt was overkill. That was no better than the splitter. I've switched cables around so often, I've lost track. So, that's why I'm considering something manufactured specifically with 2 HDMI outs. The satellite box is directv's new genie. So, I don't see that as a problem. I've considered the Marantz AV7701, but figured if I was going to step up there, I might as well go on to the AV8801 and get the other features it offers as well. The AV7005, though it has 2 HDMI outs, seems to have had some handshake issues of its own. So, therein is why I'm kind of looking for some input from those who may have some hands on AV8801 experience.

All of your comments about HDMI are almost exactly what my installer said. He hates it. I didn't really get the majority of my equipment from him, but he wired the home theater in our new home and sold and set up the Pro Control remote. He thought the switcher might work, but no cigar. So, its been fun. Again, thanks.
 

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AV7005, AV7701 and AV8801 probably all have similar switching issues. Maybe try Onkyo/Integra? I know the Integra Processors have always been loved.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You know, if I run the Oppo and Directv to the 975 and utilize only one display through the one HDMI out everything works fine, either display. Sadly, I have two displays.
 

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Yea, it's because the two displays are passing back different info to one port and confusing it I think. Get something with multiple outs just to see if you can get it working from somewhere with free no hassle returns. Or try a fully buffered switch from Key Digital. Or two of there 1x1 buffer units. They can fix a LOT of HDMI problems.
 
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