A Request for Advice – A Device Hub for All My Stuff

Since I’ve created this custom desk command center and since we’ve emptied out our basement — which includes getting rid of the “plague couch” that was down here — I’ve since moved my Xbox to the computer desk, thinking that having it closer to me might result in my using it more. Currently Ol’ Boxy is accessed through an Elgato HD60S connected to the PC via USB, which means that in order to use it I have to fire up software on the PC. The reason I’m using this roundabout method and not just jacking the ‘Box into another HDMI port on one of my three monitors is that I don’t have a proper audio solution for it; were I to just hook the Xbox to a monitor, the audio would be pumped through the crappy monitor speakers, and that’s no bueno. I could use headphones, but seeing has how I have this nice 5.1 surround-sound system in a basement office that’s 2 floors away from everyone else, it seems like a waste of power to do that.

So I am turning to you, dear Internets, for advice on how to set up a PC and console that share both a monitor and a sound system, preferably without breaking the bank. Here’s the details.

Crappy PowerPoint Presentation, which is a redundant statement.

I’m looking for that star, a device that will accept HDMI input from the Xbox and PC, and will export video in one direction and audio to another. The Xbox’s audio can flow through the HDMI. The PC, however, is currently using a 5.1 speaker setup where each channel (front, rear, center, subwoofer) have their own 3.5″ plug connected at the back of the tower, and that’s the fly in this particular ointment.

In searching around, I’ve found devices such as this one for a mere $22 USD:

This has 3 HDMI in and 1 HDMI out, which will certainly handle the video portion, but the audio seems to be the weak point for everything I have been able to find. Here, there’s a 3.5″ outbound jack which will certainly not cut it, but also an optical-out port, which should. My problem is the current speaker design which uses those individual 3.5″ plugs.

Here’s the ideas I am leaning into right now:

  1. Using the device above, I would need to get another audio device which supports optical-in, like a sound bar. This jacks up the price significantly as I’d want one with a subwoofer. Then I would have 2 devices which each need a power outlet, something I am finding in increasingly short supply. I would also have to rely on PC’s audio-over-HDMI which is a wildcard, as I’m not sure about the quality of using the video card as a sound card, especially when the video card is already dedicated to, you know…video games.
  2. I would need to find another audio device which supports all-in-one audio-video, allowing me to plug in my speakers and subwoofer. I can’t seem to find anything short of a full-on home theater receiver, and that’s a significant price increase.
  3. Something else, suggested by you, the reader.

Please, if you have any suggestions, sound off in the comments or hit me up here on Twitter. If offered via Twitter, I’ll update this post with info you provide in case anyone else finds their way here with similar issues.

Thank you in advance!

Sound off!

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