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Old 01-12-2009, 01:41 PM   #1
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Default DirecTv box and 2 monitors

Is it possible to have 2 monitors hooked up to 1 box and watch 2 different channels? If so, how?
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Old 01-12-2009, 01:54 PM   #2
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With all of the DirecTV receivers I've personally seen, no. They typically contain only a single tuner, and moreover, have only a single cable running out to the LNB. The DirecTV service broadcasts in both horizontal and vertical polarizations, and the selection between the two is made at the LNB itself, based upon a bias voltage sent up the line from the receiver. Thus, even if you had a dual-tuner receiver, if it has only one LNB connection then only half of each transponder (IOW: half the channels) would be available at any given time.

Typically, multi-room DBS packages include one receiver for each TV, a twin-LNB dish, and an intelligent splitter. One LNB is permanently set to H, and the other to V, and both feed the splitter (which is actually a switcher). Each receiver connects to an output of the splitter, and based upon what channel you're trying to watch, the splitter detects the polarization that the receiver is requesting and switches the appropriate LNB out to that receiver.

One exception here is that the high-end HDDVR receivers will let you stream pre-recorded programming over the network regardless of what the primary output is doing. So if you have a PC driving the second TV, you can do it that way. Sadly, I don't think they support WMC extension to things like the Xbox360, but perhaps one of the various slingbox-style devices might work here?

Note that most of the third-party (local) distributors will give you the receivers for free when you sign up for a multi-room programming package.
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:21 PM   #3
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That really stinks. I do have a pc driving the smaller monitor and can always use my sligbox on it but the pic unfortunately isn't anything to brag about. What I would like to do is be setup for baseball season and next foorball season and be able to have 2 games on at once.

Is my only option to call DirecTv and get another box in the living room?
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:22 PM   #4
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wanna buy a cheap HR10-250?
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:25 PM   #5
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wanna buy a cheap HR10-250?
Now what would that allow me to do besides record. I have a PC and xbox 360 in my media center, couldn't I use one of them to record tv?
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Old 01-12-2009, 02:25 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by levnubhin View Post
That really stinks. I do have a pc driving the smaller monitor and can always use my sligbox on it but the pic unfortunately isn't anything to brag about. What I would like to do is be setup for baseball season and next foorball season and be able to have 2 games on at once.

Is my only option to call DirecTv and get another box in the living room?
Yes.

You need something to tune the second channel.

I know the Fios boxes let you watch one channel and record another, but not display both twice. I doubt they allow picture in picture to watch two channels on one screen.

One box cannot output to two screens, with two different channels.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:39 PM   #7
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I know the Fios boxes let you watch one channel and record another, but not display both twice.
(...)
One box cannot output to two screens, with two different channels.
Most cable-company DVRs are the same way, as are the newer TiVO boxes. (How the hell is TiVO still in business?) They have two tuners so you can watch one and record another, but only one output.

Some Googling did turn up an interesting find. Philips used to make a receiver called the DSR-660 that had two outputs and two remotes, and was specifically intended for dual-TV use. Link to the manual. It's been obsolete for a while, I expect it was probably cheaper to just buy two simple receivers. You'd still need a dual-output LNB either way. But who knows- perhaps there were others, and perhaps they're on eBay.
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Old 01-12-2009, 03:57 PM   #8
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I dont really understand the "dual outpot lnb". Currently I have an HD box in the living room and 3 standard boxes in the bedrooms. When I look at the satellite there 4 lines coming out of it. Would the piece that the living room(HD) or any of the other lines hooks into have to be replaced to be able to accommodate another line for another box?
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:08 PM   #9
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wanna buy a cheap HR10-250?
How much?
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:14 PM   #10
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How much?
i'd do fiddy shipped if you know it's what you want.

incidentally, TiVo is still in business because their interface is the BIZZOMB.

I had a FiOS DVR and it resulted in a broken window and later a broken lawn mower. Seriously though, it sucked so hard I was very excited to spend several hundred dollars on a tivo HD. oh and did I mention it's super easy to add space and remain in warranty on a Tivo HD? and the unlimited streaming netflix?

and the adorable corporate logo?
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:15 PM   #11
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I dont really understand the "dual outpot lnb". Currently I have an HD box in the living room and 3 standard boxes in the bedrooms. When I look at the satellite there 4 lines coming out of it.
Ok, first off, do you understand the concept of H/V polarization? Imagine that there's a little guy inside the LNB, and he's holding the internal receive element in his hand. When you want to watch channel "X", he holds the thing in a certain orientation. When you want to watch channel "Y", he rotates it 90. If you are familiar with optical polarizers, it's the same thing only with RF instead of light. It lets you re-use the same set of frequencies for a whole second set of information. (Technically, they use left and right circular polarization, but I'm stuck on the old lingo which was derived from terrestrial VHF, where it really is H and V proper.)

A standard LNB has one output. When you change channels on the receiver, it sends a signal to the LNB telling it whether to output the horizontal or the vertical spectrum. Half the channels are vertical, half are horizontal.

Some LNBs have two outputs, and each one is switchable. If you have two receivers, you just connect one to each output, and the two outputs switch as needed to meet the demands of each receiver.

For more than two receivers, the most common solution is a switchbox. This will have two inputs, and each input will run full-time in H or V. Then a bunch of outputs, one per receiver. (or two, in the case of DVRs)


These are of course broad generalizations. There are all kinds of funky dishes nowadays since the HDTV birds are in a different orbital slot, so you've often got two or three seperate LNBs in a single dish, and so the switchers and multiplexers are more complex. But long story short- somewhere in your system is a device that senses the requirements of each receiver and directs the correct signal to it. Here are some examples: DirecTV and DSS, FTA Multiswitshes Multi switches DiSEqC

I think they've even got one really odd looking 5-LNB unit that has muxes built-in, so a single wire can service all the receivers, through a certain amount of black magic. (only works with newer receivers, older ones require outboard selector hardware)
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Old 01-12-2009, 04:21 PM   #12
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Ah memories.

I remember when my dad and I got the dreaded letter from DTV that they want to see us in court. We filed it away and never looked at it again
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:08 PM   #13
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incidentally, TiVo is still in business because their interface is the BIZZOMB.
Yeah, I know.

I had a second-gen (ethernet enabled) TiVO back when I used standard-def cable. The user interface was awesome, the remote was great, and it let me transfer media which I'd recorded to my PC with no bullshit DRM.

When I switched to HD, I had a problem. My old TiVO only had SV and composite inputs, so I couldn't TiVO HD. This had always been a problem, actually. When I was recording digital SD, it had to go through decompression and a D-A conversion to get into the TiVo, then an A-D conversion (and recompression) to get recorded, and then decompression and D-A again for playback. Put simply, the digital channels looked like ****.

So I had two choices- I could buy an HD Tivo (at the time, they were $600, and even today they're still $300) or I could rent a DVR from the cable company. The cost of renting the DVR, as compared to the normal HD receiver, was something like $8 extra per month. In other words, it was actually less than just the TiVO monthly fee alone, and I didn't have to spend $600 for a box.

And with the cable company's DVR, even standard-def digital channels got recorded in their native format, so the A-D / D-A and transcoding sequence was eliminated, which greatly improved the quality of the SD digital channels.

Yes, I know that the new $300 TiVO has two built-in tuners, thus eliminating the need for a cable box. However it still requires that I rent two CableCARDs from the cable company. And while the FCC requires that the cable company must give me the cards in lieu of a box if I ask for them, it does not require that they not charge me an astronomical fee for them. It costs nearly the same amount to rent a pair of CableCARDs from Comcast in Port Charlotte as it does to rent an HD DVR. Again, add on the TiVO fee, and TiVO costs more.

Now, I have to admit that the UI was never as nice on the CC's unit. It didn't have a good search function, there was no predictive recording, and the grid view was slightly sluggish.

But it was cheaper, produced higher quality output, and required no setup on my part. Which set of criteria do you suppose most average consumers would apply?

And that's why I'm surprised they're still in business.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:18 PM   #14
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so I have a new TiVo HD and the picture quality is stellar. HD is HD, no compression for recordings. There's not even a quality setting for HD. SD does have a quality setting, but FiOS starts out with such a good PQ that even a slight reduction is still acceptable.

Even compared to the Verizon DVR, I'd rather pay for cable cards and the tivo service and the tivo itself. their DVR was THAT bad.

tivo also has good interoperability with streaming media like youtube and netflix and amazon unbox. and did I mention tivo natively supports online scheduling now? oh crap I'm on vacation and want to record X! no problem.

of course a lot of my gripe is FiOS specific, but that's what I have. btw, how hard is it to implement a list of "favorite channels" that can be set forever? I hate flipping through 12 jesus channels and 18 shopping channels.
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Old 01-12-2009, 05:51 PM   #15
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Well, the HD channels are still compressed, they're just not being uncompressed and then re-compressed. Sounds like the digital SD channels still are, which sux.

I should add an ironic epilogue to all this. For the past six months, I haven't even had cable, much less a DVR. My Xbox360 is now the primary video source, streaming media from another PC which is a dedicated torrent-downloading box.

Say I'm away from home and I want to watch X. No biggie, I'll download it when I get back. Or I'll just VNC into the PC and start downloading it before I get back. In fact, I just did that, as this thread made me remember that Robot Chicken is back on.

Say I'm at home, but I was a retard and forgot that the new episode of Mythbusters aired an hour ago. No biggie, I'll just download it.

More importantly however, say I want to watch Season 5, Episode 2 of Star Trek TNG ("Darmok", original airdate September 30, 1991). No problem, I'll just download it.

Or say I live in the United States and I want to watch the new episode of Top Gear that aired a few hours ago (which is to say, a few hours from now) on BBC2? No prob- download it.

It's an interesting commentary when I must resort to Piracy not because I'm cheap, but because it is quite literally the only way to watch what I want on TV.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:05 PM   #16
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Ok, now tell me how you would have all this setup and how can I record live TV on my pc

HD satellite box
HP tower with Media center. HD video card
Xbox 360

Currently everything is connected straight to the TV (video wise) all audio to the stereo. The PC and xbox are connected to the internet.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by levnubhin View Post
Ok, now tell me how you would have all this setup and how can I record live TV on my pc
How I would do it personally?
HD satellite box
Sold on eBay along with dish and LNBs, subscription canceled.
HP tower with Media center. HD video card
HD video card removed and sold on eBay. Hard drive re-formatted with regular XP (I hate Media Center) with WMP11 installed and configured for library sharing. μtorrent installed on PC for p2p media acquisition. All downloaded content goes into a shared folder, and thus automatically appears on the Xbox with no user intervention.
Xbox 360
Connected to TV via component or HDMI (as appropriate) and to audio decoder via TOSLINK. Connected to the same Ethernet switch as PC, and configured to play media from the PC's hard drive.



Currently everything is connected straight to the TV (video wise) all audio to the stereo. The PC and xbox are connected to the internet.[/quote]


If you're asking not how I'd do it, but how I'd do it if I wanted to create extra work for myself by having to record all of my own content before I can view it (rather than letting a bunch of teenagers I'll never meet do the hard part for me free of charge), it'd depend on your video card. But go on Google and search around, as tons of folks have done this. There are several free software packages to turn the PC into a DVR. Once you've got it interfaced to, and recording from the Sat, getting it out to the Xbox is relatively simple.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:36 PM   #18
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Xbox unfortunately only has the a/v output. No HDMI or toslink. I deffinately want to keep my Sattelite so I'll just look for a program that will allow me to record tv with my pc.
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Old 01-12-2009, 06:50 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by levnubhin View Post
Xbox unfortunately only has the a/v output. No HDMI or toslink.
Assuming it's a 360, it supports component, and VGA with the right cable.
Component cable
VGA cable
Most, if not all of the component cables come with an optical TOSLINK output on them. Not sure about the VGA ones.

So far as I'm aware, all Xbox360s came standard with an HDMI output on the back of the box itself, right below the big connector where the analog video cable plugs in:



Quote:
I deffinately want to keep my Sattelite so I'll just look for a program that will allow me to record tv with my pc.
Like I said, I have no first-hand experiance with this as I no longer use cable or satellite at all. But there is a thriving DIY-DVR community out there.




edit: Stupid me- you probably have a first-gen Xbox360 with no HDMI. Here you go: http://www.xboxer.tv/2008/02/the_mad..._hdmi_con.html
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:14 AM   #20
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I just took a better look at the a/v cable and what do ya know it has a toslink port, Its on the cable itself not the machine. I never noticed it. Nice find on the HDMI converter. I will deffinately get one of those when I get a new TV. Current TV dosen't have HDMI ports.

As for the whole recording TV with my PC thing, I figured it out. When I bought my Dell laptop 2 years ago I ordered an external TV tuner with it. So I hooked it up to my media pc, downloaded the drivers and I can now record live TV and program future recordings with Media Center. Media Center also downloaded the DirecTv channel guide, so with my 2nd monitor I can setup recordings without disrupting whats being watched on the main screen. Its a little more work then if I had a DVR but its free.
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