Need several remote-controled switch boxes
December 10, 2010 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Need help with AV switchbox selection

I am setting up a game room with several consoles new and old.

At present my TV has enough HDMI inputs (360 and PS3 only) but for component inputs (PS2, X-Box), for standard RCA inputs (Nintendos and PS1, etc) and even coaxial inputs (Atari, Intellivision, Colecovision) I need multiple inputs.

I am hoping to control all of this with a Logitech Harmony remote, so ideally the switchboxes I get should be IR remote cpable.

My problem is I cannot find switchboxes with enough inputs (I am thinking I will need at least 8 RCA inputs), and I am concerned if I get two switchboxes the remotes will be keyed the same so I will not be able to remote control them.

More I cannot find remote control Coax boxes.

Has anyone done something like this and have recommendations for switch boxes for me to purchase?

Thank you for your help!
posted by bodgy to Technology (3 answers total)
Boy, this sounds like it's going to be complicated.

For the eight composite inputs, can you use cascading IR-controlled switches of varying brands (to ensure that they don't use the same IR codes)? That would mean plugging one switchbox into another, which might degrade the signal.

I'm also not sure that a Harmony remote is up to the task here. They're good for somewhat complicated setups, but the "activity" model might break down with something like that.

The coax only systems already allow you to piggy-back another RF input, don't they? Do they also let you choose which channel they use (I recall some old systems letting you pick channel 2, 3, or 4)? You could set each system to a different channel then have the remote automatically tune tot that station, assuming that your TV has an analog tuner.

Maybe it's time to put the actual systems in a display case and move to emulation. These setups can't ever be totally automated anyway, since you'll have to physically get up to turn on the consoles and switch games.
posted by The Lamplighter at 4:06 PM on December 10, 2010

Emulation is a great idea for some of these machines, both because it simplifies cabling, and because it gives you a head start on maintaining the ability to play these games once the consoles eventually die.

I would look at the necessity of using the remote for all the switching. If you are going to sit down for some classic gaming action, you must go to the machine, blow on the cartridge and then turn it on. So it's almost an extra step to use the remote control to fiddle with the switcher when you can just turn a dial while you are standing there.

For the coaxial games, you should actually be able to just chain them together with splitters. As long as only one of them is on at a time, I don't see any conflict arising. *IF* that works, you can solve some of the rest of the problems by putting the other composite games onto coaxial converters and sending them through that network.

And I believe that there are cheap adapters available to turn s-video into composite and back again. This might open up one or two inputs on the TV. (You can buy an s-video output cable for the PS1, too.)

Finally, if you are a person who doesn't mind some soldering, you could probably buy an appropriate 8 way switch and a switchbox and built what you need. Using relays even, if you are so inclined.
posted by gjc at 4:53 PM on December 10, 2010

Another option, which might actually be able to accomodate a (relatively) insane number of inputs without too much complexity, is to use a real AV receiver instead of a switch. They often have a LOT of inputs, and will convert different signal types.
posted by The Lamplighter at 5:36 PM on December 10, 2010

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