Best setup for syncronized audio and video for sports events and movies 3 big TVs with Sonos


I renovated my house, And I have 3 big 70"+ TVs, two inside the house, and a Samsung Terrace outside by the pool. For the soccer world cup, any other sports event, or even movie night, I would like to have all TV playing the same video signal at the same time. As for audio, I purchased and will get installed soon Sonos speakers indoor and outdoor (Arc + 2 rear 1SL on the two indoor TVs +1 sub, just 2 outdoor speakers for outdoor TV), so I think I should be able to pick any TV as the main source and get Sonos to play that audio everywhere, but I guess I can leave each Sonos "home theater" play his own audio from the corresponding TV. In the figure below you see my house plan, with the red dots being the location of the 3 TVs. The The bigger dot is where I would like the "main" TV (or main location), in the sense that I would like either to mirror the signal from that main TV to the other 2 TVs, or I would like to use that as the main location in which I have my laptop sending a movie to the 3 TVs using a 3-way splitter. Honestly, the laptop is probably not needed but sometimes is just easier to use it to control stuff (plus if I play youtube videos at a party I can use adblocker). Wire distance between main location and the other indoor location will be 46 feet (going through the attic and including descending from the ceiling), while to main to the outdoor location is 30 feet. The questions are:

1) would you use HDMI cables? in which setup? Would you use a powered extender? I heard past 20 feet quality progressively drops and above 50 feet is crap.

2) the "main" TV and another TV out of the three TVs are 4K 120fp, the third one is 4k 60fp. Should I get a 120 hz HDMI cable? Do they even stream Netflix or soccer events at 120hz? I guess it could be an investment for the future to have 120hz, since I don't want to have to pay to rerun those attic cables again

3) Should I pick any TV as the main source and get Sonos speakers grouped to play that audio everywhere, or should I leave each Sonos "home theater" to play his own audio from the corresponding TV, or it doesn't matter?

Thank you

Best

 


11 replies

You should approach this as a small commercial bar project, not a home audio/video project. You’ll have major audio and video sync issues with the wrong approach. If you are using separate cable boxes or TV Apps to play the sports events they will not stay in sync for long. I’ve seen cable boxes drift several seconds apart within a few minutes of starting the same feed. If you have SONOS playing audio from only one of these feeds the audio and video could drift several seconds out of sync for two of the sets. On some rare occasions you may even have different commercials sent through each cable box.

With the right cables you can run HDMI to all of your sets. Hundreds of feet is not so easy. I recommend running some fiber optics to the TV’s as a hedge against future developments.

Use a central HDMI multi-output switch to distribute sources to the TV’s during “party mode”, don’t attempt to synchronize TV Apps. Certainly. you could use a local cable box, video source  or TV App when viewing in a single room. The central switch will go to an HDMI input on the each TV’ and each TV’s eARC port will go to it’s supporting SONOS player.

I think that it would be hard to justify for a small “commercial” project such as this, but you can look at the Just Add Power line of video distribution for a different approach. The idea is that each source and each display is connected to a “box”. Once the system is setup any source can play on any combination of displays and they’ll all be in sync. This easily scales to many dozens of sources and displays. I think that this would be best installed by a pro.

Thank you, you see to agree with me with an HDMI splitter. So I have this questions:

  1. Do I need a laptop or similar device to send signal to a 1-in-3-out HDMI splitter, correct? Seems that is the only way.
  2. Best Buy Geek squad just told me that going to the outdoor TV requires a significant cost because a lot of drywall needs to by cut (there is no walkable attic on the addition on the bottom part of the picture above, it has flat roof). Therefore, on that HDMI splitter, can I just add a HDMI wireless transmitter and add a waterproof HDMI receiver on the outdoor TV? Would that be reliable with minimum lag?
  3. Instead, if we forget about HDMI, is there a reliable way to mirror a TV to other TVs, maybe if they are all of the same brand? The indoor TV is Samsung 75" Class QN90A Neo QLED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV. Outdoor I am planning to buy a Samsung Terrace. 
  4. As for Sonos, I am not worried, this morning Geek Squad came and said I can just group all indoor and outdoor Sonos and make one Arc the main, so sound is syncronized. As long as video is close to be syncronized I should be good, right? Please let me know if Geek Squad told me wrong. 

    Thank you a lot!!!
    Best

Thank you, you see to agree with me with an HDMI splitter. So I have this questions:

  1. Do I need a laptop or similar device to send signal to a 1-in-3-out HDMI splitter, correct? Seems that is the only way.

 

 

And typical HDMI source is fine.  A single cable box, game console, firetv, etc.  I use an nvidia shield 95% of the time, but also have an xbox and firetv connected.  You would want to use an HDMI matrix, rather than splitter, if you have multiple sources.

One thing to consider when splitting a single source to multiple sinks (TVs) is that the lowest common denominator of video quality will usually be selected.  For example if two of the TVs are 4k with HDR10, but the third is 1080p….you’ll get 1080p everywhere.  So you want an HDMI splitter/matrix that will take the higher quality and downgrade to the low quality where needed….or get TVs that are all the same quality.

 

 

  1. Best Buy Geek squad just told me that going to the outdoor TV requires a significant cost because a lot of drywall needs to by cut (there is no walkable attic on the addition on the bottom part of the picture above, it has flat roof). Therefore, on that HDMI splitter, can I just add a HDMI wireless transmitter and add a waterproof HDMI receiver on the outdoor TV? Would that be reliable with minimum lag?

 

 

I think this really depends on the particular system you use. Mine are all wired, so I don’t have a recommendation here.  If you do use a wireless system though,  and planning to use a Sonos amp for the speakers, you will likely want to get something like an HD Fury Arcana with it.  Otherwise you will have to send audio to the TV from source over wireless, then send audio from the TV (HDMI-ARC) to the Amp, likely using another HDMI wireless connection that can handle ARC.  If you place an Arcana before you send HDMI to the TV, it can extract the HDMI-ARC signal before going to the TV.

 

  1. Instead, if we forget about HDMI, is there a reliable way to mirror a TV to other TVs, maybe if they are all of the same brand? The indoor TV is Samsung 75" Class QN90A Neo QLED 4K UHD Smart Tizen TV. Outdoor I am planning to buy a Samsung Terrace. 

 

Not that I’m aware of.  I’m personally not a huge fan of TVs made for outdoors.  Regular TVs hold up better than you would expect and are much cheaper.  I have two, and one finally went after 2 years, though I don’t think it was due to the elements really.  Paid less than $300 for a 55 inch, and will replace it with another relatively cheap TV in the fall when we start using it again for about the same price.  If the TVs last 2 years each, I can replace it several times and still be saving money in the long run.

 

 

  1. As for Sonos, I am not worried, this morning Geek Squad came and said I can just group all indoor and outdoor Sonos and make one Arc the main, so sound is syncronized. As long as video is close to be syncronized I should be good, right? Please let me know if Geek Squad told me wrong. 
     

 

No, not really.  Sonos speakers are bonded together as rooms (Arc + 2 rears + sub, for example) and those speakers will always play together in synch.  You can group 2 or more rooms together to play streaming audio in sync, as Sonos will necessarily buffer the audio to keep everything together.  If your playing TV audio, Sonos plays the audio in the room connected to the TV immediately to stay in sync with TV.,but other rooms will still have that buffer delay, so they will be out of sync with video.  Also, Sonos grouping only does stereo audio.  if you want a room to play 5.1, atmos, etc, it has to get the audio from it’s connection to a TV.

 

So as @buzz  suggested, better to look at this as using HDMI to connect all your TVS and audio together in sync, rather than using HDMI for video and Sonos wireless for audio.  It does seem a little odd to have 3 rooms playing in sync that aren’t actually grouped together in the Sonos app, but it’s actually easier to use over all.  I just have each TV set to the right HDMI input, then use that TVs remote to control the volume in that room.

venexiano,

There are HDMI switches with multiple outputs. For example a 4x2 switch has four inputs and two outputs. Any input can be connected to any combination of outputs. You could use a 4x4 and ignore one of the outputs.

Wireless HDMI exists, but I would work very hard to avoid using this. Here is one example. I have no experience with this unit. Note that it is 60GHz and the distance rating is “line of sight”. 60GHz does not penetrate walls very well, if at all. Even if there were no walls a person walking between the transmitter and receiver could disrupt the signal. At this point, 120Hz video is not supported.

I don’t know if the Geek Squad has this in their bag of tricks, but there are very small optical fibers that can easily be hidden, often under a layer of paint or in a crack around some molding.

Yes, a SONOS Group can deliver synchronized audio, however, there are some fine points. The player connected directly to the TV will deliver audio slightly sooner than the other members of the Group. This would probably not be a big deal for the outside TV because it is acoustically isolated from the others, but the two inside TV’s are effectively in the same space.

Above I mentioned that the TV sources (cable boxes, ROKU, AppleTV, TV App etc.) may not remain in sync while playing the same program. This would likely create major lip sync issues, because the SONOS audio will be synched to one of the TV’s and the other two TV’s video will be more or less free running. With respect to the cable boxes, each cable company and cable box model will be different in this respect.

I am ruling out wifi HDMI, as you said it wont pass the wall or door to go outside.

@buzz : thank you, its getting clearer. I still do not understand why Sonos have a delay when grouped. I thought Sonos was famous for being able to syncronize the audio. If an Arc is connected to a TV and is group with other 10 Sonos devices (including other Arc), my understanding is that they would be perfectly syncronized, since they are on the same wifi netweork and syncronization was done by the Sonos system. Now you are saying there is a delay. Can you quantify it? is it based on distance from the Arc. I am so surprised about this delay. Again its not a big deal for this multi-TV setup since I can have each of the 3 TVs (that all get the same signal via HDMI) provide the sound to each subset of sonos. But in general, I thought I was able to have all inside and outside house playing symultanously at a party. So if I get spotify in one TV that sends to 1 arc and I group all Sonos in 1 group, is there a delay? Is the same true if I use spotify on my cellphone?

@melvimbe :  1) Do you have an example of “HDMI splitter/matrix that will take the higher quality and downgrade to the low quality where needed”

As for HDMI: do you think I can do those 35 feet and 45 feet without signal loss?

Also I am a bit confused on the ARC+AMP setup. So I have this ARC connected to each tv, then on the cabinet of the “main” TV (big dot in figure) I will have the Amp, that connects to two outdoor speakers. How does the amp connect to the rest? just wifi right? so Amp just needs power on those cabinets right? plus of course wires would have to go to outdoor speakers. I heard it is better if one of the Sonos is Network wired, so should I bring a cable to the AMP? The AMP and the ARC on that main TV cabinets are gonna be the closest to my COX wall outlet, so I guess I could maybe ask contractor to get me a LAN outlet net to cox outlet to bring Router signal behind drywall to AMP and ARC? Should I bring it to AMP or ARC?

Thank you

venexiano,

Pure audio, such as playing a disk file, Line-In source, or a music service always incurs a 75ms latency (time delay if you like). Of course, one would not notice an additional latency of 75ms when playing a music track recoded decades ago, but a Line-In source might be a problem if you play the source directly through an A/V receiver (no latency) and through a SONOS Line-In. The latency allows SONOS to handle routine network problems without any audible consequences. As you build a Group of players there is still a 75ms latency and all members of the Group will be time aligned with each other.

When SONOS soundbar is attached to a TV, the 75ms latency interferes with lip sync and  is reduced to about 30ms. This creates a potential issue if the TV Room is Grouped to other rooms because the latency will be 30ms to the surround room and 75ms to other members of the Group. If it is possible to simultaneously hear the TV room and another member of the Group, the Grouped room will seem a little “late”.

This is not always an issue, but one needs to be aware of the potential. For example, it is unlikely that a listener will be able to simultaneously hear your outside Room and an inside Room. The two inside rooms, however, are not very isolated from each other.

@buzz Great explanation. Is there a way to increase the latency of the Arc to 75ms to match the latency of all the other ones that are grouped with it? Also, why can the two play 1 surround (linked as HT to the ARC go down to 30 ms latency, while the rest of the speakers cannot go below 75 ms? 

Yes, there is a TV Dialog Sync adjustment for the Surround Room.. Obviously, this will impact the lip sync for the ARC/TV room, but you can match the Group.

Keep in mind that audio travel in air is pokey slow at about one foot per millisecond. Consider the following situation where speaker ‘A’ and speaker ‘B” are 30 feet apart, wired to the same amplifier and playing the same source. A person standing near ‘A’ will claim ‘B’ is 30ms late. A person standing near ‘B’ will feel the same about ‘A’ . A person standing at the midpoint will claim ‘synchronized’. All three observers will be correct.

The surround speakers are assumed to be in the same room as the front speakers and a 5GHz direct link is used between the surrounds and ARC. Since short distances are involved and 5GHz does not propagate well between rooms, Interference is less likely and less robust buffering is still low risk.

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You may want to hang fire with the ARCs until there's a proven fix for the surround/ sub dropouts that appeared with the 14.6 update.

Or at the very leas be prepared to remove them if you encounter the issue.

 

@buzz thank you. Why can the two play 1 surround (linked as HT to the ARC) go down to 30 ms latency, while the rest of the speakers cannot go below 75 ms? 

@melvimbe It would be amazing if you could help me with the question above, please, thank you a lot.

The front and rear speakers MUST be time aligned. Since there are at max the soundbar, rear speakers, and a SUB, and all are at close range, the more robust 75ms latency does not offer any networking benefit, but the 30ms does improve lip sync in the surround room.

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