Satellite cable splitter box

How do I get HD from one source to multiple TVs? (Morrison's Mailbag)
April 21, 2024 – 08:01 am
How to use a splitter with

When considering acquiring a second HDTV, I discovered that my satellite box cannot send such a signal over the house cable system. In fact, the box has only one HDMI port, so a new distribution system is required to get the HD signal throughout the house.

What are the best options for distributing HD signal from a provider's receiver? Should we just rent multiple boxes or buy a new system?

A complex question, but multiple easy answers.

If you plan on watching different channels in different rooms, generally you'll need a second box. (There are a few exceptions, mentioned at the end).

If you don't think you'll ever have the two TVs on at the same time, then there are a few options. Depending on the size/layout of your house, you could run HDMI cables. These max out at 100 feet or so, and at that length, I've had spotty results. It depends a lot on the cable. You'll also need an HDMI distribution amplifier, which doubles one signal into two. These can be found fairly cheap, though.

If you go this route, has cables and DAs, and for everything will likely run you around $150. You'll need some sort of RF remote to control the box from the second room. There are many of these.

An easier, though slightly more expensive, option is wireless.

I've tested a few wireless HDMI systems, and the best so far is the IoGear. I reviewed it over at HDGuru. It's $279, but works through walls, has two inputs (plus a pass-through in the transmitter), and can even send IR signals, so you don't need a separate RF remote.

Other options

Monoprice 1x2 HDMI Amplifier/Splitter

If you've got a big house, or the layout doesn't allow one of these options, you can also check out HDMI over Cat5. You'll still need to run the cables, but Cat5 is cheaper than HDMI. I haven't tried this method, and reading user reviews of various products shows it may not be as easy as it sounds. If you've done this, please post in the comments below how far and how much it cost you.

Another option, HDMI over optical, can be fairly price prohibitive. If that's the route you're considering, I recommend talking to a professional.

If you've got Dish Network, there are a few options (Will didn't specify in his e-mail). Dish DVRs like the ViP622 and 722 can split their dual tuners to send a second channel/recorded program to a second TV. This is SD only, mind you, but possible. You'll need to run a long composite cable, or do like David did in his, and use an RF transmitter/receiver. Their Hopper/Joey
combo will also do the job, wirelessly and in HD, though there's the cost of the new box and a monthly fee, which brings us back to your original question.

So yes, the simplest option is to pay for the second receiver. In many cases, it might also be the cheapest.

Got a question for Geoff? Click "Geoffrey Morrison" below then click the "E-mail" link in the upper right to e-mail, wait for it...Geoffrey Morrison! If it's witty, amusing, and/or a good question, you may just see it in a post just like this one. No, I won't tell you what TV to buy. Yes, I'll probably truncate and/or clean up your e-mail. You can also send me a message on Twitter: @TechWriterGeoff.

Cable Matters Cable Matters 2-Pack, Gold Plated 3-Way 2.4 Ghz Balanced Coaxial Splitter
Speakers (Cable Matters)
  • The gold plated balanced coaxial cable splitter splits an incoming coaxial signal from cable television (CATV), VCR, satellite receiver, cable box, or antenna into...
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Sobetter 4 Port Distribution HDTV Antenna Splitter Amplifier Signal Booster 7dB Gain Cable Satellite TV Splitter for Outdoor/Indoor TV Antenna - Black Splitter 1 to 4
Speakers (Sobetter INC.)
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Fosmon Distributing, LLC Fosmon HD1831 3-Port HDMI Switch with Pigtail Cable
Speakers (Fosmon Distributing, LLC)
  • Intelligent Function: Smart, automatic operation - has the key-press-switching function
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  • HDTV resolutions up to 1080p, computer resolutions up to 1920x1200
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Portta Electronics & Technology Limited Portta PET0104V 1x4 4-port VGA Splitter 1 PC To 4 Monitors VGA SVGA XGA LCD Video Audio Splitter Box Supports Bandwidth to 500MHz 1080p
Speakers (Portta Electronics & Technology Limited)
  • Easy to Use: Install in seconds, no need of setting. Connects VGA source to four displays at the time.
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  • Supports highest video resolution up to 1920 x 1200 and 1080p Supports highest video Amplifier Bandwidth to 500MHz
Conwork Conwork 2-Pack Gold Plated 4-Pin 3.5mm Stereo Male to 3 RCA Male Splitter Extension Cable for Audio Video AUX Port - 5 feet
Speakers (Conwork)
  • Stereo to 2RCA adapter connects MP3 players, smartphones, tablets, computers or other audio devices with a 3.5mm auxiliary port (AUX) to your TV, AV receiver, and...
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  • Convenient and cost-effective 2-pack stereo to RCA audio adapters provide spare or replacement 3.5mm audio cables to carry with you and keep at the desk or in the...
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