Living room HTPC vs long HDMI / USB ?

Burticus

Supreme [H]ardness
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Nov 7, 2005
Messages
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Soooo.... the upgrade season is upon us, and once again I ponder the need for a HTPC in my living room on the nice 65" 4K TV.

I have had several in the past but those were not gamer caliber, basically media playback boxes. Got a Roku for that.

I have played with Steamlink app on the TV from my PC in my office and it is "just ok". For some games it's fine, but there is definitely lag, and the xbox wireless controller from LR to office gets a little sketchy at times, misses button presses etc. I tested running a 20' USB extension into the hallway to be closer, and plugging USB hub into that for wireless keyboard /mouse and joystick. It works but is unsightly and not wife friendly.

So I could either buy high quality HDMI 2.1 35' extension cord, plus similar amount USB, run it through my wall (already doing ethernet this way so just have to make hole bigger) and hook it into my receiver. USB cable would allow me to add a hub to the LR end point and use keyboard/mouse/joystick. $200ish? Also not sure how this would jibe with being hooked up to my 4k monitor in office on DP. Plug / unplug HDMI as needed? Hmmmm

Or with my upgrade round, cycle out a mid-grade system and hide it behind the AV cabinet (will probably be too big and have to be on the side... wife might not be pleased). Ideally a MITX rig would be great here, but that is $$$ and I will have hardware to re-purpose. The sticking point is GPU.... they are stupid expensive nowadays, and my 1080ti is only really good for 1080/60, maybe some 1440 with lower details. IF I move than into HTPC then I am stuck with a GTX 960, which can do my 4k desktop for WFH duties, but is not so great for games (let's be real, not good).

BUT if I went with cables, and sold the 1080ti I could get a 4070ti and blast ray tracing awesomeness to my big TV @ 1440/60 high.

Decisions decisions....

Thoughts? Comments?

PS - feel free to visit my FS thread so I can afford all this nonsense! :) Some stuff is getting parted out for sure.
 
One possible thing would be to shift xbox wireless controller from LR to office to be LR to LR, maybe your tv support bluetooth ? An amazon-google little usb android tv dongle would, one big difference could be to have less wireless involved for the network if possible has well.

Playing directly PC on the tv (with either long cable or an HTPC) would be quite more "comfortable" and better in my experience, could be me, could be my setup, could be because I have one step wireless, but remote play (tried many different things) has often an issue come up and I would imagine if you play a lot you mass it out or would not be bothering versus the amount of time you actually play, but for someone really gaming casual, that does it to play a little amount just a few time, it make up for a poor ratio of issue less playing / time involved
 
One possible thing would be to shift xbox wireless controller from LR to office to be LR to LR, maybe your tv support bluetooth ? An amazon-google little usb android tv dongle would, one big difference could be to have less wireless involved for the network if possible has well.

Playing directly PC on the tv (with either long cable or an HTPC) would be quite more "comfortable" and better in my experience, could be me, could be my setup, could be because I have one step wireless, but remote play (tried many different things) has often an issue come up and I would imagine if you play a lot you mass it out or would not be bothering versus the amount of time you actually play, but for someone really gaming casual, that does it to play a little amount just a few time, it make up for a poor ratio of issue less playing / time involved

BT only solves the controller lag, not the steamlink lag. I was playing some Yakuza 0 this way and even with the extension cord for the USB receiver, the lag on the steamlink app made me miss stuff on the QTEs and fights. FPS? Forget about it.

I guess I can look into long HDMI and USB, it's just with upgrade cycle, I would have most of the parts I need to do something close range to the big TV
 
And opticals long HDMI-USB if things did not change recently are from cheap, I think usb via ethernet could be an option, considering how pricey those are:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=16377
$188 usd for a 33 ft extension, 216 for an 65ft
GAH .... WTF? I can't just buy a 35' usb extension cord? What about something like this (yeah I know it shows 32 ft), just need it for keyboard/mouse/gamepad not a hdd

https://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Active-Extension-Cable-Female/dp/B01L81WQ2O
 
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GAH .... WTF? I can't just buy a 35' usb extension cord? What about something like this (yeah I know it shows 32 ft), just need it for keyboard/mouse/gamepad not a hdd
If what you need is short enough (if the wireless got there I imagine it is ?) you can go regular non-optical cable yes for sure much cheaper, but when I looked for something long a year ago it was quite expensive
 
I've been considering doing the same, but the lengths of wire I need are around 75 feet.
Is there any reason I can't use something like this
https://smile.amazon.com/MutecPower-Active-Extension-chipsets-Booster/dp/B07MFW8RB7/ref=sr_1_2?crid=269Q5GND3KDU9&keywords=75ft+usb+3+extension&qid=1675965139&sprefix=75ft+usb+3+extension,aps,151&sr=8-2
for USB and then connect a (powered) usb hub to it?

The optical HDMI cable is weirdly cheaper.
My biggest issue setting up my TV as a 4th monitor would involve Audio I think, but I'm sure there's a way to make that work.
 
Where is the system located and is it ok for it to be hot and loud? Cables are always king, if you can route another cable through the wall that's always going to be a great option. That hole and presumably a new cable will outlast your next build. Check how long the runs are and make sure whatever cable is rated at the appropriate distance/gauge.
 
Where is the system located and is it ok for it to be hot and loud? Cables are always king, if you can route another cable through the wall that's always going to be a great option. That hole and presumably a new cable will outlast your next build. Check how long the runs are and make sure whatever cable is rated at the appropriate distance/gauge.
I already have ethernet going through my office wall, under stair carpet, into my living room. Downsides are I will have to get a different wall cover panel (or just leave the hole behind my couch, always an option :) ) and have to snake more wires under the new carpet. Doable just not enjoyable. But hey for grins I put HDMI and USB long cables on my wish list, maybe someone will do me a favor and buy them for my BD :)
 
I'm by no means an expert as I've wired one house with ethernet but it should be trivial to get a wall plate to accommodate another ethernet cable, hdmi, etc. Since you already have a cable there it should be simple enough to pull another cable (or multiple) through the same run. It's also not necessarily a big deal to go one floor down from the attic in an interior wall if you're not wanting to drill more holes in the floor. You can also run hdmi over ethernet although I haven't done it myself so I'm not sure how finicky those devices are.
 
I can vouch for the Ruipro brand of fiber optic HDMI cables I currently have a 100 foot one ran in my basement and doesn't miss a beat. has been in place for nearly a year already. Money well spent!
 
I just did this. Tried steam link on a google TV and also tried it on my old HTPC which had a 1080ti in it, which doesn't have the balls to play games at 4k these days. Steam link is awful, there are no two ways about it.

I ended up running three cables to my lounge, an optical HDMI and an optical display port for VR and a CAT6A cable for USB. The HDMI and display port cables cost an arm and a leg but I found a reasonably priced USB over cat hub that has 4 ports and it works really well.

I leave the HDMI cable permanently plugged in as the three displays in my office are DP. I use DisplayFusion to switch to the TV and it all works really well, especially with the DisplayFusion phone link app and you can disable the confirmation in DisplayFusion's advanced settings.

Even after paying out the ass for the cables it still works out way cheaper than upgrading my old HTPC which was a 7700k + 1080ti. With GPU prices right now its hard to justify a separate HTPC. I'm also using it for media playback as it seems to be the only reliable way to get full 4k + HDR + Atmos with higher bit-rate audio. No other device supports bitstreaming of Atmos with Dolby Digital HD+ or DTS-X, (The LG TV I have, Chromecast ultra, Google TV, and even my old Xbox One X has trouble fully supporting Atmos) they all seem to be limited to the lower bandwidth codecs like AC3 Dolby Digital+ or plain old DTS.
 
Soooo.... the upgrade season is upon us, and once again I ponder the need for a HTPC in my living room on the nice 65" 4K TV.

I have had several in the past but those were not gamer caliber, basically media playback boxes. Got a Roku for that.

I have played with Steamlink app on the TV from my PC in my office and it is "just ok". For some games it's fine, but there is definitely lag, and the xbox wireless controller from LR to office gets a little sketchy at times, misses button presses etc. I tested running a 20' USB extension into the hallway to be closer, and plugging USB hub into that for wireless keyboard /mouse and joystick. It works but is unsightly and not wife friendly.

So I could either buy high quality HDMI 2.1 35' extension cord, plus similar amount USB, run it through my wall (already doing ethernet this way so just have to make hole bigger) and hook it into my receiver. USB cable would allow me to add a hub to the LR end point and use keyboard/mouse/joystick. $200ish? Also not sure how this would jibe with being hooked up to my 4k monitor in office on DP. Plug / unplug HDMI as needed? Hmmmm

Or with my upgrade round, cycle out a mid-grade system and hide it behind the AV cabinet (it will probably be too big and have to be on the side... wife might not be pleased). Ideally, a MITX rig would be great here, but that is $$$ and I will have hardware to re-purpose. The sticking point is GPU.... they are stupid expensive nowadays, and my 1080ti is only really good for 1080/60, maybe some 1440 with lower details. If I move that into the HTPC then I am stuck with a GTX 960, which can do my 4K desktop for WFH duties, but is not so great for games (let's be real, not good). Learn more.

BUT if I went with cables, and sold the 1080ti I could get a 4070ti and blast ray tracing awesomeness to my big TV @ 1440/60 high.

Decisions decisions....

Thoughts? Comments?

PS - feel free to visit my FS thread so I can afford all this nonsense! :) Some stuff is getting parted out for sure.
I'm trying to plan whole new setup to my living room. Is this the best way to do everything? I would like to install all my hardware inside the TV table so everything including the PC would be out of the sight. Also PC noise would be reduced to zero. Second and the traditional place for PC would be below that table where the PC display is, but like I said then the PC can be seen. This would be better for mouse, keyboard and display though since extension cables would not be needed. Only long HDMI cable to the AVR or short HDMI cable to the projector and long audio cable to the AVR. As for now I only have iPad and the HTPC which is about 5 years old. I might replace it too with a parts with lower power consumption. The HTPC takes now 4W when power is off, 6W when in sleep mode, 42W when idling and 47W when watching 1080p mkv movie. So I will have to buy everything else. The HTPC would be on 24/7 and it would have Win7. Music files would be in system SSD and movies would be in 4TB WD Green which I would configure to go to sleep when not in use. The 4TB HDD would also be shared in the home network so I can download or configure the files on that from my laptop (either Macbook Air Retina when they come or Win7 laptop). HTPC would be running XBMC for movies and I would control it with iPad app. HTPC would be running iTunes for music and I would control the iTunes with iPad (Apple Remote app). HTPC would be connected to the AVR with HDMI and also with SPDIF so that I can listen music at the same time I watch TV or play games. I plan to buy Yamaha AVR and they can't have audio from one HDMI and video from another so I must use SPDIF. PC is used for photo/video editing and gaming. It will have 4770K overclocked, GTX 770, 32GB RAM, SSD for Win7 and few other HDD's for files so the PC has way too high power consumption to be run as HTPC too. Mouse and keyboard needs USB on the table where the PC display is so USB extension cable is needed (FPS games need wired mouse and keyboard since wireless have lag). Haven't yet decided if I'm going to use wireless headphones or if I need a cable for audio too. HDMI from AVR to projector would be around 15m long. USB extension cable and cable for display from PC would be around 10m long.
 
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