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(Note: if you already have an HDTV in every room and CAT5 to those same locations, then don't read any further. Put a Roku PhotoBridge at each location and get full audio/video/webcams at each location in High Definition. Full HD media network specs here)

Standard Definition Video Distribution and Control

The Problem

You have one room that has a VCR/DVR, Satellite/Cable, and perhaps a Roku PhotoBridge. You want to be able to see and control those same devices from another room. You consider standard definition (480i) acceptable for the other rooms.

The Solution

Use a video distribution system that sends the video sources over specific channels to the other rooms. In the other rooms the video sources may show up on channels 23 and 27, for example. Use coaxial cable between the rooms. Use a UHF- or cable-ready TV in the other rooms. An IR receiver in the other rooms will transmit remote control signals to the room where the equipment is located.

The Details

Purchase a Channel Plus 3025 distribution box for the room with the video equipment. You will also need one IR emitter for each of the devices you want to control. For each of the other rooms, purchase a 2133 IR Target.

Connect each of the video devices to the 3025. You may need to use S-Video to Composite converters for equipment like the PhotoBridge which does not have composite output. These converters are inexpensive (<$5).

Select channels for the equipment to use. Pick carefully to find channels that have as little interference as possible. I have a lot of strong TV signals in my area, but was still able to find some good channels. If you have a problem, you can by filters to remove noise from a range of channels, then select those channels for your video equipment.

Run coax to each of the other rooms. Channel Plus recommends using a dedicated run to each room. I have a splitter taking one output and sending it to multiple rooms. I have only tried controlling it from one room, which works fine so far. I may yet have to convert to one-run-per-remote-room in the future.

Attach the IR targets in the remote rooms. They go on the line between the coax and the TV. You'll need a short piece of coax to connect from the IR target to the TV.

If you distribute a PhotoBridge video signal this way, be sure to select "Composite 480i" as the video output format in the menus. This works with the S-Video to composite adapter described above.

At this point you should be able to tune the TVs in the other rooms to the desired channels and watch the video source from the other room. You should also be able to control the equipment in the other room (changing the satellite TV channel, for example). If you operate a VCR, the operation will be completely silent in the remote room, an eerie but pleasant experience.

Conclusion

By using a video distribution system, you can watch and control video equipment located in one room from multiple other rooms. The signal is standard definition, but if the target rooms have just SD TVs, then this isn't a problem.
Last modified on 18 Mar 2007 by AO

Copyright © 2016 Andrew Oliver