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splitters and HD DirecTV

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by crashdown, Dec 3, 2007.

  1. crashdown

    crashdown New Member

    Dec 3, 2007
    I've had a very simple DirecTV setup for years: a good workhorse DirecTivo connected to my main television (in the living room), and connections to two small televisions in other rooms (the bedroom and office) via splitters, such that whatever plays on one TV plays on all of them. That setup works very well for me, since I live alone and often have two or three televisions going at once as I walk from room to room cleaning or doing other stuff. I've had a high-definition flatscreen for about a year, and I've finally decided to take the plunge to DirecTV HD. (I'm going to go with an HR20, unfortunately--one of the reasons I've been dragging my feet is my reluctance to leave TiVo behind.)

    I've asked DirecTV twice about whether I can have a similar setup with the new HD box and gotten two different answers: one person told me that it would be no problem, and the other told me that it would be impossible. I'm not an electronics wizard, but I suspect the truth is somewhere in between: I hypothesize that I *can* get the two other TVs to play what the main one is playing, but that it will be difficult. But maybe it *is* impossible; the two little TVs are decided not high definition (they're small ten-inchers that are at least ten years old). Can what I want be done? What are my options? I realize that this isn't strictly a TiVo question, but I beg the forum's indulgence; there's a lot of collective wisdom here, and I'd like to tap into it before the DTV guy arrives to ruin my life. Thanks!
  2. jautor

    jautor Also wants a pony

    Jul 1, 2001
    Houston, TX
    Assuming that the connections from your DirecTiVo to the other two small TVs is a coax run (with splitters) using the channel 3 modulator built into the DirecTiVo, then the answer is yes, you can do that. Two issues:

    1. The DirecTV HD receivers (either the HR10-250 TiVo or the HR20) do not have a built-in channel 3/4 modulator. So you'll need to buy one - get one with MTS stereo and S-Video input from Radio Shack for around $30.

    2. When you're watching HD content, the image on your other TVs will be squished, cropped or otherwise imperfect... Absolutely usable setup for passive viewing, but not ideal. It works better if the 2nd TVs are 16:9. You may be able to play with the 4:3 / 16:9 settings on the receiver (also depends on the behavior of your main HD set) to perhaps get a letterboxed version on the 2nd set...

    And yes, I've been doing this with all three of the models you listed! :)

  3. crashdown

    crashdown New Member

    Dec 3, 2007
    That's great--thanks, Jeff. My current plan is to (1) assemble what I need (that would be the radio shack thing), (2) print out what information I get from this thread, (3) bully the DirecTV guy into doing it, and (4) hope they send a DirecTV guy who is halfway intelligent and willing to deal with me. I'm not worried about the picture on the other two sets being imperfect--I use the one in the kitchen while I'm cooking and the one in the office while I'm working or Interneting. I can always replace one or both sets if I find it intolerable. Good--I feel a lot better now. I just didn't want to clutter up my already cluttered house with extra receivers, especially since I can only watch one channel at a time in the first place (and especially when what I usually am doing is watching TiVo content, not live TV in the first place). My experience with DirecTV techs has not been uniformly pleasant, but maybe I'll get lucky this time. Thanks again!
  4. newsposter

    newsposter Poster of News

    Aug 18, 2002
    SE PA
    interesting they told you the hr20 wouldnt work....with all outputs 'hot' all the time, it's easier than the hdtivo to hook up!
  5. crashdown

    crashdown New Member

    Dec 3, 2007
    Yes, well, I've noticed that DirecTV often gives me the exact opposite of the right information, but they're not reliable enough at that for me to count on it!

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