Solved: Is there such a thing as an **Automatic** RF/coax A/B switch (Automatic RF bypass)? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
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EDIT: Didn't even need, see post #20.

I don't see any general cable forum around here so I have to post this here. This is regarding cable, both SD /analog and DTV/HDTV.

Has anyone ever heard of an automatic RF coax A/B switch? I really really need one.

Here's the story: One of my previous STB's (from Cox, an old Motorola) had an awesome RF bypass feature on it. It was great because you could simply turn the box off and immediately be switched to basic cable. That way you could record one channel while watching another (basic cable of course). You could also set a timed recording on the STB and set a VCR/DVR to record the STB during that time (premium channel), then the STB would turn off and the VCR could later record a basic cable channel tuned to it using its own tuner.

The reason this had to be done was because of the a-hole networks making all of their programming go anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes beyond the allotted time! Timed STB recordings cannot overlap, but a VCR/DVR has no problems with it because its own tuner is used. So if premium channel X ends at 9PM, that means you also have to set the timer on the STB for the program airing after that, the program beginning at 9PM in order to get the ending of the program that was "supposed" to end at 9PM! Therefore any channel that you really did want to record at 9PM was screwed because the STB would still be on the wrong (previous) channel.

With a VCR or DVR, (and without an STB, recording a basic cable channel), this screwed up network dilemma is generally a non-issue because you can set them to record basic cable channel X from 8 to 9:02PM and no big deal if you may miss the first 2 minutes of any 9PM time slot program you need to record. (Know what I am saying? wink.gif )

This is the reason an STB must be easily automatically "removed" from the recording setup. Hence the great RF bypass feature.

Well, that STB died and the jerks at Cox replaced it with a very similar one, but with RF bypass disabled! (Continuing on with their conspiracy to try and force all customers to fork over more $ for a dual-tuner DVR where this issue is irrelevant).

I have wireless A/B switches where I can bypass the STB, but they are manual, they require you pressing the "A/B" button on the remote.

Is there one that will automatically switch from "A" (RF STB output) to "B" (basic cable line) when the STB turns itself off after a timed recording? I hope to God there is. redface.gif

This says "automatic" but they of course don't give any info about it at all. Not even any images so you can't even see the connections.

I appreciate any info, thanks.

ADDED: What about this?
http://www.monroe-electronics.com/CATV_PAGES/switches.htm . "625A", the second one on the page.
http://www.tonercable.com/Products/625a/
"The 625A’s sense input circuit monitors horizontal sync pulses on the video modulated RF carrier and automatically switches to the secondary input upon a decrease or loss. The relay remains in this with the secondary input connected to the output, until the sync pulses on the video modulated RF carrier return. This causes the primary input to switch back to the output connection."

"........provides automatic 2x1 RF/IF switching controlled by the loss of video modulated RF carrier. The 625A’s sense input circuit monitors syncpulses on the video modulated RF carrier and automatically switches to the secondary input upon the loss. It remains in this state until the sync pulses on the video modulated RF carrier return, causing the primary input to switch back on."

What concerns me about that is its max input, only +15dBmV. But I don't remember how dBmV translates to a +15db cable amp I'm using. That of course has to be added to the original signal coming from the cable company and I don't know what that is.

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-Clint
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 06:30 AM
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You can buy a remote-controlled A/B switch (IR Control) and a programmable remote control with timer features. Then, you could have the remote do the switching, at preset times.
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post #3 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 08:42 AM
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We have 12 tuners in our "whole house DVR" serving 6 TV's and programming over run has never been an issue. In fact, we schedule recordings to start 10 minutes earlier and end 10 minutes earlier. And some recordings that are aired after a notoriously over run programs like Survivor after 60 minutes which is usually 90 minutes long, we extend those recording times, or include the following program in the recording schedule.

So, to answer your question, there is a solution to your quest, but it is a little more than just a switch, it is a PC, and everyone has one.

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post #4 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

This says "automatic" but they of course don't give any info about it at all. Not even any images so you can't even see the connections.

That one works by sensing incoming signals, specifically older game consoles that used RF output (SNES/NES, Atari, Sega Genesis, those types.) It switches to them when you turn the console on.

I don't think it'll work for you, as from what I gather you want something that switches outputs. That one switches inputs.
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post #5 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 10:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kenglish View Post

You can buy a remote-controlled A/B switch (IR Control)
Thanks for the reply.

I already have one of those. ^
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and a programmable remote control with timer features. Then, you could have the remote do the switching, at preset times.
Interesting idea. I have a URC-9911 and even with all its features, I'm shocked to see no timer anywhere. I searched the manual and all I saw was the "Sleep" function and that working along with any device's own Sleep function. So I guess that won't work. frown.gif I also have a Sony RM-AX1400 and no timer on it. We have a plethora of other remotes around here but I believe the extent of any timer on them is the simple 'Sleep' button.

Do you know of a cheap/basic remote that has a programmable timer?

Thanks.

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post #6 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by blueiedgod View Post

We have 12 tuners in our "whole house DVR" serving 6 TV's and programming over run has never been an issue. In fact, we schedule recordings to start 10 minutes earlier and end 10 minutes earlier. And some recordings that are aired after a notoriously over run programs like Survivor after 60 minutes which is usually 90 minutes long, we extend those recording times, or include the following program in the recording schedule.
Thanks for the reply. Well, programming overrun isn't going ever be any issue with WH DVR's and 12 tuners is it. wink.gif I don't have that option.

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So, to answer your question, there is a solution to your quest, but it is a little more than just a switch, it is a PC, and everyone has one.
Not an option because I don't want to have to put a PC in my bedroom just to activate a timer. There has to be a simpler way (like Ken mentioned).

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post #7 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 10:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

Not an option because I don't want to have to put a PC in my bedroom just to activate a timer.

You don't have to have the PC in the bedroom. A simple media extender (you can use an xBox 360) will work. The PC can reside anywhere in the house, it just needs the tuners and software.

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post #8 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

This says "automatic" but they of course don't give any info about it at all. Not even any images so you can't even see the connections.

That one works by sensing incoming signals, specifically older game consoles that used RF output (SNES/NES, Atari, Sega Genesis, those types.) It switches to them when you turn the console on.

I don't think it'll work for you, as from what I gather you want something that switches outputs. That one switches inputs.
Thanks to you as well for the reply.

"Semantics" maybe? I would think what I need needs to switch inputs, right? A and B are the inputs and I need something to switch those, correct?

Thanks.

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post #9 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 10:53 PM
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"Semantics" maybe? I would think what I need needs to switch inputs, right? A and B are the inputs and I need something to switch those, correct?

Actually, yeah, you're right. I see how you want it set up now.

The question is whether that switch will switch back to basic cable from the wall when you turn off the cable box, since there is nothing to turn on there. I think it only switches when it senses a new signal. I don't know what it would do with a continuous signal.

For $8, I'd give it a try.

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post #10 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

Not an option because I don't want to have to put a PC in my bedroom just to activate a timer.

You don't have to have the PC in the bedroom. A simple media extender (you can use an xBox 360) will work. The PC can reside anywhere in the house, it just needs the tuners and software.
Well that sounds better, but I'd prefer a much simpler/cheaper/easier method of a remote control with a timer, or better yet if such a thing I was originally asking about exists. But I'll keep that in mind as another option, thanks. wink.gif

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post #11 of 20 Old 09-10-2013, 11:00 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you all think about this please, would it work? (I added this to my original post).

http://www.tonercable.com/Products/625a/

"625A", the second one on the page:
http://www.monroe-electronics.com/CATV_PAGES/switches.htm

"The 625A’s sense input circuit monitors horizontal sync pulses on the video modulated RF carrier and automatically switches to the secondary input upon a decrease or loss. The relay remains in this with the secondary input connected to the output, until the sync pulses on the video modulated RF carrier return. This causes the primary input to switch back to the output connection."

"........provides automatic 2x1 RF/IF switching controlled by the loss of video modulated RF carrier. The 625A’s sense input circuit monitors syncpulses on the video modulated RF carrier and automatically switches to the secondary input upon the loss. It remains in this state until the sync pulses on the video modulated RF carrier return, causing the primary input to switch back on."

What concerns me about that is its max input, only +15dBmV. But I don't remember how dBmV translates to a +15db cable amp I'm using. That of course has to be added to the original signal coming from the cable company and I don't know what that is.

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post #12 of 20 Old 09-11-2013, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post

Well that sounds better, but I'd prefer a much simpler/cheaper/easier method of a remote control with a timer, or better yet if such a thing I was originally asking about exists. But I'll keep that in mind as another option, thanks. wink.gif

Don't know about your method being simpler. If you already have a PC, presumably the one you typed this all up, and it is running Windows 7 or Vista, then you are 90% there already, as it is already pre-loaded with the software needed to make whole house DVR work, and will natively support encrypted cable in HD, not just analog.

Would a splitter work?

Connect incoming signal to input, and split the output between the cable box, VCRs (one connected directly to coax, and one connected to the cable box) TV... whatever else. If the signal coming in is weak, then you will need a drop amp.

If you want to remain coax everything, a better approach would be to use the splitter to split the incoming signal to the Cable box and the VCR, but place a combiner between the cable box and the VCR. One leg would connect to the cable box output, and another to the direct feed from the splitter.

Set your cable box to output to ch3 or 4, whichever is not used for boradcasts, and program vcr to record off ch 3 or 4 for cable programs, and direct tune non-cable.

Each recording/viewing device will have a dedicated feed from the coax. You'll just have to select inputs to feed the playback from the VCR, DVR, Cablebox at the TV.

Problem I forcee with a remote control is that it has to be placed strategically to work, as there will be no one to notice that someon threw it into the couch, and placed newspaper or magazine over it, or otherwise hindered its ability to send the signal.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #13 of 20 Old 09-12-2013, 12:24 AM - Thread Starter
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"Semantics" maybe? I would think what I need needs to switch inputs, right? A and B are the inputs and I need something to switch those, correct?

Actually, yeah, you're right. I see how you want it set up now.

The question is whether that switch will switch back to basic cable from the wall when you turn off the cable box, since there is nothing to turn on there. I think it only switches when it senses a new signal. I don't know what it would do with a continuous signal.

For $8, I'd give it a try.
Yeah that is a good important question. I guess I could ask the seller and hope for a reply.

Oh well, these appear that they will not work because I believe they all have just one RF connector (two connectors, but one source). You can see a better image of one here. They appear to have some kind of A/V (proprietary?) input from kinds of game consoles. So there doesn't appear to be a way to have two RF sources hooked up to it. mad.gif

What do you think of post #11?
......................................

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post #14 of 20 Old 09-12-2013, 01:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Well that sounds better, but I'd prefer a much simpler/cheaper/easier method of a remote control with a timer, or better yet if such a thing I was originally asking about exists. But I'll keep that in mind as another option, thanks. wink.gif

Don't know about your method being simpler.
Sure it would; a single remote control, or a type of switching device like I mentioned in post #11. Those would be far simpler than having to keep a PC on all the time.

Quote:
If you already have a PC, presumably the one you typed this all up, and it is running Windows 7 or Vista, then you are 90% there already, as it is already pre-loaded with the software needed to make whole house DVR work, and will natively support encrypted cable in HD, not just analog.
I use XP and I have no WH DVR.

Quote:
Would a splitter work?
Well I have to use a splitter anyway. The original coax from the wall has to be split so "A" (let's say basic cable) and "B" (STB output) can go to A&B on the A/B switch's inputs.

Quote:
Connect incoming signal to input, and split the output between the cable box, VCRs (one connected directly to coax, and one connected to the cable box) TV... whatever else. If the signal coming in is weak, then you will need a drop amp.

If you want to remain coax everything, a better approach would be to use the splitter to split the incoming signal to the Cable box and the VCR, but place a combiner between the cable box and the VCR. One leg would connect to the cable box output, and another to the direct feed from the splitter.

Set your cable box to output to ch3 or 4, whichever is not used for boradcasts, and program vcr to record off ch 3 or 4 for cable programs, and direct tune non-cable.

Each recording/viewing device will have a dedicated feed from the coax. You'll just have to select inputs to feed the playback from the VCR, DVR, Cablebox at the TV.
I don't know, would it? wink.gif I guess I'm getting old, I can't visualize that. I'm going to have to draw this and see it graphically.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that setup would not be able to record premium channels from the STB, right? My DVR (it's a Mag 2160A/513/515, etc*.), needs to be able to record both basic cable, and premium from the STB. If the coax is split so that only one coax feed goes to the DVR then of course that's the only feed it will be able to record, right?

Would this fix that issue ^ ? : "...a better approach would be to use the splitter to split the incoming signal to the Cable box and the VCR, but place a combiner between the cable box and the VCR. One leg would connect to the cable box output, and another to the direct feed from the splitter."

To clarify things: The STB has no ch 3/4 option, it doesn't need it. The (old CRT) TV receives STB output on its ch 3. My 2160A* is essentially a "digital replacement" for my VCR. It works in 'basically' the same manner as far as connections used. The only difference is the 2160A's RF output doesn't work like a VCR's so its composite outputs have to go to the VCR's composite inputs and the VCR essentially only becomes and is used as an RF modulator since its RF out goes to the TV's RF-in (no inputs on the TV). The 2160A's RF out is only an RF bypass, therefore its A/V outputs must be used to connect to the VCR's A/V inputs to see what is actually going on and taking place, and in order to get the OSD from the 2160A. Confused? wink.gif Don't be, because it works great like this. I just need to find a way to do what I described in post #1.

With an RF bypass does, or did, (what the A/B switch now has to do) is the DVR (or previous VCR) records its A/V inputs for premium channels from the STB, but uses its own internal tuner channel #'s to record basic (QAM) cable. But since I no longer have any RF bypass on the STB, I have to currently record everything on the A/V inputs (from the STB) which poses the dilemma described in my first post. Also with this setup you can't watch one basic channel while recording another because the STB has to always be in use because it has no RF bypass. That's why an A/B switch is needed so I can switch inputs to the DVR between basic QAM and premium, but that switching needs to be done automatically instead of manually, when the STB turns off.

Quote:
Problem I forcee with a remote control is that it has to be placed strategically to work, as there will be no one to notice that someon threw it into the couch, and placed newspaper or magazine over it, or otherwise hindered its ability to send the signal.
Valid things, but in my case that would not be a problem. But I still need to know if such a remote can be found.

Thanks. wink.gif

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post #15 of 20 Old 09-12-2013, 09:26 AM
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It is like trying to make an abacus to solve a logarithmic equation. Sure it can be done, but you will have to just through a lot of hoops, when it is much easier to use a calculator.

In your case, VCR/DVR is the abacus, logarithmic equasion is the encrypted TV, and PC is a calculator.

Are you willing to spend $500 on a programmable remote that can do this?

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post #16 of 20 Old 09-13-2013, 04:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Are you willing to spend $500 on a programmable remote that can do this?
Of course not! But I find it hard to believe that a remote with a programmable timer costs 500 bucks. It doesn't seem like that would be that much difference from the programmable commercial skip timer that I have in my OFA URC-9911.

Quote:
It is like trying to make an abacus to solve a logarithmic equation. Sure it can be done, but you will have to just through a lot of hoops, when it is much easier to use a calculator.

In your case, VCR/DVR is the abacus, logarithmic equation is the encrypted TV, and PC is a calculator.
Maybe I just don't understand how a PC is used with this. But I can't see how having to use a PC, and it be on all the time (perhaps even a dedicated new one in the same room, and with a new OS), can be more simpler and easier than a remote, or a device I was originally asking about. Of course if all programmable timer remotes cost a fortune*, then that's OOTQ and that only leaves a switching device.

Can you please comment/answer on the paragraphs that begin with "I don't know, would it?" in post #14? What you described is interesting, but I can't tell if it would work in my situation. Thanks.

Can anyone please look at post #11 and comment on that device? I've emailed the manufacturer but no replies yet.

Thanks.

*EDIT: This looks interesting: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-LCD-Learning-Remote-Control-TV-Timer-Air-Cond-/390385186034 Universal, learning, and timer. $32.

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post #17 of 20 Old 09-13-2013, 08:19 AM
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What do you think of post #11?

I don't know. I have no experience with devices like that. It looks commercial, and the fact that they use a quote rather than prices could mean they don't sell them individually.

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post #18 of 20 Old 09-16-2013, 10:03 AM
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Can you please comment/answer on the paragraphs that begin with "I don't know, would it?" in post #14? What you described is interesting, but I can't tell if it would work in my situation. Thanks.
.

You'd have to set it up to see if it works. In theory it should work.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #19 of 20 Old 09-16-2013, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Clint S. View Post


*EDIT: This looks interesting: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Universal-LCD-Learning-Remote-Control-TV-Timer-Air-Cond-/390385186034 Universal, learning, and timer. $32.

It is worth trying.

6 TV's in the house on FiOS and we only pay $4.99/month to connect them all!!! Power to the CableCard and WMC7!!!
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post #20 of 20 Old 09-17-2013, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I appreciate the input. I just realized that I don't even need any automatic A/B switch nor any learning remote with a programmable timer, simply because I'm recording different inputs for STB-only programs and basic cable. redface.gif

God Bless,
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