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Got the dreaded email saying that Charter is going all-digital in my area. I have 12 TVs and 16 total outlets in the house distributed over 3 floors. Currently have been living with the reduced number of channels where I didn't have one of my four dvr/hd boxes. However, going to 12 boxes is a non-starter for me both on principal and cost. Am looking into "cutting the cord" options, but that is not an immediate possibility (until at least the next season of King of Thrones is done!).


My house was built "way back" in 2001. Each outlet is fed by coax, which all is distributed out of a single closet. There are four single-run Cat5 cables, one of which does support one of the TVs. I have a menagerie of TVs (about half are HDMI-capable), 2 aVs, 2 smart DVRs (wireless). I do not have an HTPC, but have a great server that could power one.


My question is - aside from moving - where do I go from here?


Nirvana for me would be an HTPC with a cable card that could distribute up to 4 different signals back out into the coax on either an SD or HD basis and controlled by an iOS app. My fallback would be to attach an appleTV to each TV and blast it through the wireless network. Budget is a concern here.


What's the best strategy to do here assuming I will be keeping cable for the foreseeable future?
 

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You're not going to like any of the answers if a $99 AppleTV per TV would break the budget...


In order for you to get anything resembling an HD distribution system, your first issue is going to be dealing with non-HD / digital TV's. Beyond that, figure out how many simultaneous users (meaning, different content viewed at the same time) you actually need.


A really good solution for low-stream count and high source:display ratios are the ZeeVee HD modulators. And those are ~$1000 / each... An HTPC with cablecard(s) and an extender/receiver at each TV may be your answer, but you're going to be spending quite a bit on that infrastructure.


You should also take a look at the TiVo solutions which may be a lower total cost than renting the same capabilities from the cableco - and be a turnkey solution you don't have to build and maintain. And don't underestimate the "maintain" costs (time / money / frustration / family-members-threatening-you-with-knives...).



Jeff
 

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Jeff - thx for quick response. And, no, the apple TVs won't break the budget, I was just hoping to come up with a solution that would still also pipe SD to the 6 or so sets that aren't HD! I guess my fear is a lot of these solutions I've seen in other posts start getting into the 5 figures and that's probably where I draw the line. And, as supplemental information, I'm looking at 4 max simultaneous users (could make it three and if I risked my life 2 if needed). It might not make sense, but have a 3-person family in a too-big house and we're all over the place and like to have CNBC, sports, etc.


So...


Looked at ZeeVee before and it seemed like I needed one modulator set for each simultaneous user PLUS a multiplexer switch if I wanted to route the signals to different TVs, which - at the number of outlets I was supporting - a 5 figure endeavor. Has that changed?


How much would the HTPC set up run? (Fully knowing that this will be a "project" which the knives will be out).


I haven't looked at the TIVO setup in a while - I had TIVO at one point, loved the UI, but had bought it for the remote file transfer which would take a day to download one TV show! Will need to take a look at that again. Would a SlingBox or SiliconDust be a solution here?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dnspade  /t/1521279/charter-goes-digital-need-to-ctl-alt-del-my-distribution-strategy#post_24447364


Jeff - thx for quick response. And, no, the apple TVs won't break the budget, I was just hoping to come up with a solution that would still also pipe SD to the 6 or so sets that aren't HD! I guess my fear is a lot of these solutions I've seen in other posts start getting into the 5 figures and that's probably where I draw the line. And, as supplemental information, I'm looking at 4 max simultaneous users (could make it three and if I risked my life 2 if needed). It might not make sense, but have a 3-person family in a too-big house and we're all over the place and like to have CNBC, sports, etc.

Nope, not unreasonable - one stream per household member +/- one is a good rule of thumb anyway...
Quote:
Looked at ZeeVee before and it seemed like I needed one modulator set for each simultaneous user PLUS a multiplexer switch if I wanted to route the signals to different TVs, which - at the number of outlets I was supporting - a 5 figure endeavor. Has that changed?

It's still $1k-ish per HD channel - but there's no multiplexer or other switching gear needed. And if you take over the coax completely (meaning, not connected to CATV), then it's easy to also insert as many SD channels, too. But, no, for 4 channels it's like $4k, not >$10k
Quote:
How much would the HTPC set up run? (Fully knowing that this will be a "project" which the knives will be out).

No idea, as it will depend on what the distribution method is, and whether or not there are "receiver" units at each display required to catch / decode the content. That's one of the nice things about the modulators - once you encode, the built-in TV tuner takes care of the decode on as many displays as you want.
Quote:
I haven't looked at the TIVO setup in a while - I had TIVO at one point, loved the UI, but had bought it for the remote file transfer which would take a day to download one TV show! Will need to take a look at that again. Would a SlingBox or SiliconDust be a solution here?

They might be, but look at the networked TiVo solution and their new Roamio boxes, too. Turnkey...



Jeff
 

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Holy **** 12 TVs and you're talking about cutting the cord?!? A TiVo Roamio and TiVo Minis would be the ideal solution, although you are looking at $250 per mini and $1100 for a Roamio Pro (that includes the subscription). The only limitation there is that you can only have 10 TiVos active on one account, so you need to get rid of two TV's or have them on traditional cable boxes with no DVR functionality. Since they work through MoCA, the wiring is drop-in plug and play. The TiVo Roamio Plus and Pro also supports TiVo Stream, so maybe two of the TVs that aren't often used could be replaced, as needed, with iPads. Anything else is going to be insanely expensive or very difficult to set up/maintain. Renting from an MSO would likely cost you around $110/mo in box fees for 10 TV's. The TiVos would cost $3350 up front, but have no additional monthly fees, and whole-home HD DVR service available in any room.
 

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I'd suggest that first thing you look at before doing anything is HOW you and others in the house watch TV now. If you are a channel flipper, or someone that has a TV on for background noise, going a streaming route may be difficult. Second thing to explore is how much you record. A HTPC could be loaded with a number of tuners and as long as disk space is available you can record a great deal. Is OTA an option?


I suggest you narrow down what would be an acceptable way to view TV and then go from there. If you went the Apple route you could buy a season of what ever shows you really feel you need. Might still be cheaper than cable. I'm not a big Apple fan, WD is my streamer of choice, and if it was not for the fact I like to have a basic cable station running in the background I could easily drop my SAT service and get by with OTA and network delivery. If you are Linux savy you might want to look into Flawless Server.
 
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