Advice on house video distribution - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 05:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I am exploring the idea of switching from cable to satellite due to the constant price increases. The only reason i keep cable, is that i get video in every room without having a box at every tv. Can i switch to satellite without the cost being more then cable? Here are my requirements:

BTW - I have searched the forums, but i can't find any clear concise suggestions.

Here are my specifics

1. I have 8 televisions, but only watch 2 or 3 at a time.
2. I have OTA HD - I don't need cable/satellite HD but if it comes for free I will take it.
3. Home built DVR at main TV - captures OTA HD and cable SD (2 tuners)
4. RG6 and Cat 5E at all televisions (home run to basement)
5. I do get QAM HD on TVs now - only half of my TVs are HD though.

What I would like:

1. DishTV or DirectTV feeding all televisions (instead of cable)
2. OTA HD feeding all TVs that can get it
3. Hardware installed in basement - maybe only a small extender box at each TV - not big sat box.

Questions:

1. Most TVs have just one coax input - is it possible to modulate the OTA HD and SD signal on that one line, and have the TV see both? I guess that OTA HD is different then QAM - so i would still have to switch internally on the TV between SD and HD input for the COAX

2. I am tying to avoid the cost of extra Sat boxes, and the need to have them in every room

3. If i wanted HD Sat, is there any option to get this to at least one or two TVs - if sat boxes are in basement?

Hopefully my questions make sense - basically we just want 100 channels of TV with network HD - although seeing other things in HD would be nice. If I can't do any of this, i will just stick with cable for another year and then drop it later for just HD OTA and Hulu. For now, I have to keep the daughter in Disney channel.
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 09:39 AM
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ZvBox has a modulator for coax which does only 720p. But the difference between 720p and 1080i is not that noticeable unless you have a very large screen.

If you Google hdtv modulator you will get other hits, but most are somewhat expensive.

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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I keep hearing people say that 1080i and 720P is not that noticeable, but on a 24" I can see it very clearly. Another reason why i stick with HD OTA - the QAM signal is not as nice either. But I can tell 720 and 1080 apart very easily. My living room TV is 61" rear projection and I have 42" and down in other rooms.

But what i really want is a way to redistribute satellite to 8 rooms - especially if I have only 2 or 4 receivers. I know I can only watch 2 or 4 separate shows at at time. Also, can inject the HD OTA signal in the same line and view it on my HD receivers?
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 04:58 PM
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My 2 cents... if your objective is to save money, I'd stick with what you have. HD distribution is complicated and expensive.

Re: satellite vs. cable, I think that "the grass is always greener" -- the cost when you normalize everything is pretty much the same. To the extent that there are small differences in the monthly, the up-front cost of new satellite receivers (even with the new subscriber deals) + the cost of whatever distribution gear (and wiring if you don't do it yourself) is going to be way more than you might save.

For example, that ZvBox referenced above costs about $1,000 per channel (for the low end model). If you want to be able to watch 3 sources at a time, that's $3,000. That would allow you to save $5/mo x the 5 extra TV charges that you'd avoid = $25/mo. Breakeven time would be 120 months, or 10 years.
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 05:55 PM
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Couldn't he do (2) of these http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...eq=1&format=2?

He could use one switch to 4 tv's and the other to the other 4 tv's? He would only have to use 2 DTV boxes and could also hook up 3 other sources to each "zone". Someone correct me if I am wrong.

War Eagle!
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auburnu008 View Post

Couldn't he do (2) of these http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...eq=1&format=2?

He could use one switch to 4 tv's and the other to the other 4 tv's? He would only have to use 2 DTV boxes and could also hook up 3 other sources to each "zone". Someone correct me if I am wrong.


Do you have 1 Cat-5 in each location only? If you had 2 in each location then I think you could do what you ask pretty cheaply. Of course I speak from experience as I ended up running more Cat 5 (after the drywall) to do what I wanted. You might want to consider that as a possibility. It opens up a lot of options for you.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-01-2010, 06:47 PM
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If you don't NEED Hd on all TVs, go with Dish and get the ViP722 DVR. It has an HD output (HDMI/component) for TV1 and a Home Distribution analog/modulated coax output for TV2. You can split that and run it to all TVs in the house. TV2 remote is RF so just carry the remote with you from room to room. And you get to watch any show on the DVR in any room.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-02-2010, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lembor2 View Post

Do you have 1 Cat-5 in each location only? If you had 2 in each location then I think you could do what you ask pretty cheaply. Of course I speak from experience as I ended up running more Cat 5 (after the drywall) to do what I wanted. You might want to consider that as a possibility. It opens up a lot of options for you.

I do have 2 cat5 at most locations. In one or two I am using one of the cat5 for network already - but most TVs have the 2 cat5 not in use.
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post #9 of 14 Old 06-02-2010, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bb80301 View Post

My 2 cents... if your objective is to save money, I'd stick with what you have. HD distribution is complicated and expensive.

Re: satellite vs. cable, I think that "the grass is always greener" -- the cost when you normalize everything is pretty much the same. To the extent that there are small differences in the monthly, the up-front cost of new satellite receivers (even with the new subscriber deals) + the cost of whatever distribution gear (and wiring if you don't do it yourself) is going to be way more than you might save.

For example, that ZvBox referenced above costs about $1,000 per channel (for the low end model). If you want to be able to watch 3 sources at a time, that's $3,000. That would allow you to save $5/mo x the 5 extra TV charges that you'd avoid = $25/mo. Breakeven time would be 120 months, or 10 years.

I am in agreement with you. If i can layout a few hundred... fine, but not a few thousand. Even if i had that kind of money, I don't need to spend it on distribution.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-02-2010, 10:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auburnu008 View Post

Couldn't he do (2) of these http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...eq=1&format=2?

He could use one switch to 4 tv's and the other to the other 4 tv's? He would only have to use 2 DTV boxes and could also hook up 3 other sources to each "zone". Someone correct me if I am wrong.

This looks like an HDMI switch... I can't pull HDMI cables to all my TVs.
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post #11 of 14 Old 06-02-2010, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asm2000 View Post

I do have 2 cat5 at most locations. In one or two I am using one of the cat5 for network already - but most TVs have the 2 cat5 not in use.

HDMI 1080p balun extender

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post #12 of 14 Old 06-02-2010, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asm2000 View Post

This looks like an HDMI switch... I can't pull HDMI cables to all my TVs.

You can also use this: http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2
You can use cat 5 cable over the long runs. With this switch, you could break it up into 2 "zones" like I said earlier and have up to 6 sources to each zone. You would need 2 of these boxes if you wanted to run a cable box to more than 6 TV's.

War Eagle!
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-06-2010, 06:37 AM
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Have you looked at http://www.justaddpower.com ?

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post #14 of 14 Old 06-08-2010, 10:51 AM
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Here's what I did, yesterday in fact.

My house didn't have any outlets for tv, the original coax in the house was pulled up from the floor and was only available in a couple of rooms. I got rid of that and as needed I would pull 2 RG6 coax and 2 or 4 Cat5E cables to each room that would need it. I would terminate all of this in the basement.

Had Dish network installed with 2 receivers, this gives me 3 distinct satellite channels I can watch on an unlimited (within reason) number of tv's.

1 211k solo receiver. TV1 with HDMI in living room. Will add an external HD to turn it into a DVR without monthly fee.

1 222k Duo receiver. TV1 to HD tv in bedroom, TV2 backfeeds to my homerun coax in basement. This is the input for a splitter which feeds all other coax to the rest of the house. Any tv connected to it will get an SD feed of TV2 when tuned to channel 73. All these tv's can only view the same channel however. I currently have 3 tv's using this. The receiver came with 1 UHF remote and I ordered 2 more so I can keep 1 remote per tv and not carry it throughout the house.

I have the receivers in the same room, but I use monoprice product id 6532 (can't post url) to hook up my monitor upstairs to my pc in the basement. You could do the same thing for an HDMI connection from the sat boxes. You would just need 2 free cat5e cables per hdmi cable. With a UHF remote or an IR extender you could put all of the satellite equipment in the basement and distribute it that way.

Also note that both HD outputs (HDMI + component) on the receiver are hot so you could use an extender to drive 2 HD signals at once and distribute it that way as well. Of course you still have the restriction of viewing the same channel at the same time.
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