Sending (and Controlling) Multiple HDMI Sources to Two TVs in Different Locations


Updated 10/29/2012: I ended this project about a month ago. My final setup worked but overall it was still an ad-hoc solution that should have been more elegant. There were multiple points that could have failed and resulted in additional costs to restore the same functionality. In fact, this happened a few times. One time the HDMI extender died. Another time I had a port on the HDMI switch fail and then finally the replacement HDMI switch was zapped by a power surge that also damaged a TV).

My current solution is much simpler. Instead of sending the signals for various devices to the bedroom I opted to purchase another Apple TV. Most of the time we only use the Apple TV in the bedroom, we rarely use the Tivo even in the living room, and it’s not unusual for me to simply rip a new DVD to a format that can be viewed from the Apple TV via iTunes.

This project has been on-going since we moved into our house. I’ve built upon it using different gear and methods but only recently have I finally hit upon a configuration that not only works, but works very well.

Initially, I was only trying to send the signal from our DirecTV receiver to two televisions. I began by running an HDMI cable to the living room TV (where the receiver was located). The second signal went from the receiver via composite to a converter/booster that sent the video over standard RG6 coax to the bedroom. We were able to control the receiver in either room by switching to an RF DirecTV remote (though it took some work to get it right and even after my last post we’ve still had some issues from time to time).

This worked OK, and was better than nothing. However, the signal going to the bedroom TV was SD only. In addition, if we wanted to watch a video-on-demand movie from DirecTV then I had to leave the living room TV on so the receiver would get the HDCP signal from it (otherwise, the movie wouldn’t play due to a lack of copy protection).

The next step involved going through a couple of HDMI splitters and HDMI-to-ethernet adapters, which I used to send the signal over Cat5 to the bedroom, instead. This was a drastic improvement and what we used for some time.

Over several more months we eventually accumulated an Apple TV, which we kept in the bedroom for Netflix along with a standard DVD player. In the living room we had the PS3 setup for Netflix, DVDs, and BluRay. But then…

Using the PS3 become a very frustrating experience. It often required software and firmware updates when we were ready to watch something since I rarely turned the system on to play games. That meant we’d have to wait a while for it to finish updating. I also started having problems with drive corruption. So when the PS3 wasn’t working I had to either move the Apple TV for Netflix or go to the bedroom. We had the same issue with DVDs, too.

I’ve since pulled the PS3 out of line (it’s relegated to where my other consoles are located). Eventually, I’ll get a BluRay player to replace the DVD player.

I’ll wrap this up by explaining what I can do now, and then I’ll list what I’m using. At this time the DirecTV receiver, new Tivo, DVD player, and the Apple TV are all located in the living room. These devices are connected to an HDMI switch that provides four inputs, two outputs, and the ability to mix and match them as desired.

The signal goes from the HDMI switch and out to the living room TV over an HDMI cable. The bedroom HDMI connection runs into an HDMI-to-ethernet adapter, which connects back to an ethernet-to-HDMI adapter in the bedroom.

To handle the use of remotes I’ve setup an IR repeater, which is working great for all device remotes.


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