Sending DirecTV to Two Televisions

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Updated 05/25/2011: Save yourself time, money, and frustration by checking out my latest solution.

A couple of months ago we added a small LCD HDTV to the bedroom. We’ve done fine with just a DVD player and an indoor HDTV antenna, but I wanted to be able to watch DirecTV programming in the bedroom (it’s expensive enough, why be limited to one television?). Rather than deal with another receiver I decided to find a way to route a signal to the bedroom from our only receiver.

The setup is relatively simple, but before you decide you might want do this it’s important to know that you can probably use a different method to run HD signals, while my current method only provides SD.

I ran an RG6 coax cable under the house from the receiver to the bedroom. My receiver does not have a coax output, so to make this work I had to add a composite to RF modulator. It works well enough but next month I may go another route (and the cost will be close to that of the coax cable and modulator).

The next step will be to replace the coax and modulator setup with Cat5e and a pair of HDMI to ethernet converters. I’ll also need an HDMI signal splitter to provide output to both the TV in the living room and the one in the bedroom.

There’s one more piece I had to buy. My receiver supports a remote RF antenna, but the DirecTV remote I was provided is IR only. I purchased an IR/RF remote (with antenna) for about $25 on Amazon. It works great in the bedroom – just as well as it does in the living room.

Update: A few weeks after setting this up I encountered a problem that I should have anticipated. We rented a movie over DirecTV’s Video-On-Demand. When I tried to play the movie the DVR showed a message that the video could not be played because it could not retrieve DRM information from the display. The DVR was expecting to get the DRM information via an HDMI link. The simple solution was to turn on the television in the living room. I just left both TVs on – I didn’t try turning the living room TV off once the movie started playing. It’s possible this has something to do with a mix of HDMI and composite outputs. I wouldn’t expect that pay-per-view movies can’t be viewed over composite only, but since I didn’t test this I don’t know for certain.

>> Continue to Part 2

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