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My mini alternative

Discussion in 'TiVo Mini' started by Austin Bike, May 24, 2013.

  1. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    I really wanted a mini for my shack in the backyard, but I do not have a 4-tuner Tivo.

    The $250 price (with lifetime) was reasonable, but unfortunately it would be a lot more because I would have to buy a new TiVo as well.
    I started looking around and found an HDMI wireless transmitter:


    This is $150 and *generally* has the range that I need. Watch the video to see some of the issues that I am still working out..

    But once that was installed I realized that the IR transmitter in the unit does not work because Tivo uses a dual-band IR. So I had to get one of these:


    The net price is ~$180 for the two devices and it took only a few minutes to get them working together (once I had both).

    The picture is less than spectacular (even though I am getting 720p) there are some blotchy artifacts that I get from poor signal. I think that possibly getting a longer cable and moving the shack unit off of the TV and onto the wall closer to the door might be good.

    The Tivo has dual HD outputs (HDMI and component) so I run component to the TV and HDMI to the broadcaster. HDMI has its own set of issues with handshakes and there are still some things to work out there, but generally everything is working like I need it to.

    Here is a video that walks through what I did:


    I think within a room this would be great for hiding the Tivo and having a TV mounted on the wall.
  2. moyekj

    moyekj Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    So you can only get 720p because of weak signal?
    Do you know if this device uses 2.4GHz or 5Ghz band? (I didn't see that spelled out in the specs).

    Did you consider a Slingbox solution instead which then also gives you capability to view from anywhere around and away from home?
  3. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    The transmitter is 5ghz which means it won't interfere with most wifi. I changed out the HDMI splitter with this one:


    The problem I was having with sync is gone, an active splitter must keep a signal going the whole time and a passive must cut out.

    I am running 720 because both TVs only run 720, one is a cheap 32" and the other is only 29".

    Slingbox was not a great option because of cost and also I really didn't want a complicated box outside.
  4. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    5Ghz also means that the range for high bandwidth is severely limited.
  5. jbenda

    jbenda New Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    I might try this same solution.

    How far apart are the transmitter and receiver and how many walls/obstacles are between them?
  6. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    They are ~25-30' apart. The signal goes through a window on the house and a screen on the shack so there is complete line of sight. I believe that with some cabling I could get the 2 units ~5-8' closer to each other. Right now there is still some pixelation at times. Not a big deal right now as I work out the bugs (and the 100F days start closing in) but with cooler weather in the fall and football season coming, I need a cleaner connection.
  7. dsnotgood

    dsnotgood New Member

    Aug 25, 2010
    why not just buy a long HDMI cable and snake it / bury it and be done with it? they sell 100ft ones for pretty cheap and you won't have any signal issues.
  8. supasta

    supasta New Member

    May 6, 2006
    My thoughts exactly. OP, was there a reason for the wireless HDMI over a long cable (HDMI or COMPONENT?
  9. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    There are also devices called BALUNs that can transmit HDMI over cat6 cable up to 300 feet.

    I had a wireless HDMI transmitter before TiVo allowed streaming and I had a ton of problems with it. Constantly needed to be rebooted or fiddled with to get working. PITA and I was relieved when TiVo added streaming capabilities to TiVo so I could get rid of it.
  10. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Mostly because I was running this outside of the house, across the deck, through the yard and into the shack.

    I was not excited about running a cable all that way and have to deal with cutting into some walls, etc. to make it happen.

    This fall we are going to have a major remodeling job and I am thinking about running two CAT 6 cables out there, one for internet and one for HDMI. Both are wireless right not and having hard cabled solutions would be better.

    This was mainly an experiment.
  11. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    After fighting with some of the wireless issues I broke down and got the 100' cable. This weekend it will be drilling, digging and running cable. Just plugging it in to check the signal was amazing, HD just like being in the house.
  12. Davisadm

    Davisadm TiVo is awesome!!!!!

    Jan 18, 2008
    If you are going thru the trouble of drilling, digging, & running cable, I would recommend you run PVC conduit, thru which you can run the coax and 2 ethernet cables. That way you are covered for any possible future upgrades.
  13. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    Good idea.

    We are having a major remodeling in the fall that will include replacing the deck in the video with a stone patio.

    I plan to have PVC run out to the shack at that time and some other work done. For now I am not even planning to install wall boxes and plates, just drill the hole and caulk it up because we'll be ripping out all of the drywall and redoing all of the cabling in the fall. Why spend several hours doing it now when I can have a professional do it for me in the near future.

    And, that cable is FAT. Because of the distance I went 22AWG.
  14. Digital Man

    Digital Man Member

    Jan 2, 2013
    Yes, running conduit is a great idea. When I built my home theater I ran conduit everywhere. That way I can always replace wires or add more wires just by pulling them in.

  15. motech

    motech Member

    Jun 9, 2011
    A decent hdmi balun and ir kit along with cat5 runs time and labor might not be worth it compared to getting a premier 4 with a tivo mini. Especially if you can sell your premier.

    I wish we could just hack the mini to work with premiers.
    I have two premiers and would love a mini in my kitchen that pulled a tuner off whichever tuners are are available between my two premiers.
  16. Austin Bike

    Austin Bike Member

    Feb 9, 2003
    The reality is that with the fact that this is living outdoors, (and we only have wifi out there at this point), putting a physical box in the shack is probably not a good long-term solution. It can get humid in texas. 2 years ago we had almost 100 days over 100F. In the winter it can get down to 30F. The fact that the TV is out there and not crapping out is amazing.

    Running a cable is the simplest solution. Buying another premier and a mini just to get tivo out there for the 2-3 months a year that you can be outside is spending $1000 to fix the same problem that $100 cable and a a $30 IR blaster can solve. I have time on my hands, so installing the cable is just my time at this point, there is no cost. In the fall, when they can wire it up right, it will be part of a major remodel, so in reality the cost is essentially zero at that point.

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