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How best to split Freeview/Freesat between HTPC and TV

Imy

Established Member
I have completely replaced most of my A/V kit and am in the process of replacing the rest. I have a new TV coming on Saturday which has both Freeview HD and Freesat HD tuners and I'm in the middle of a new HTPC build which will also have both types of HD tuners.

I haven't watched any broadcast TV in years and don't own any of the cables so am at a loss as to what I need to buy. The other problem is I live in a block of 6 flats and each one only has one LNB from the communal satellite dish.

What I want to know is there a way to have both types of tuners in both the TV and HTPC connected to the 2 wall points; one of which is the TV aerial socket, and the other for the dish.

I presume I need some kind of splitter device? I read that the splitter should be passive if I'm placing it near my equipment as I don't have access to the dish/antenna. Also which cables do I need to buy with what connectors?
 

logiciel

Moderator

Imy

Established Member
Thanks logiciel.

I forgot to ask but I read somewhere splitters can cause signal degredation. Where possible would I be better off just unplugging one cable and plugging the other?

So for the satellite cable I need a switch not a splitter? What would happen if I used a splitter like this one (bare in mind I'd either be using the TV's tuners or HTPC ones but not both at same time):

2Way Satellite Splitter : Aerial Splitters : Maplin

If I must use the switch, is there an IR-capable one available?
 

logiciel

Moderator
Anything added into the system will inevitably have some effect, but the extent of that would vary according to the circumstances.
For the aerial you could do the plug-unplug method.
If the aerial splitter did have some effect you have the alternative of an aerial amplifier with two or more outlets.
Plug-unplug is not practicable for satellite, though a splitter is a possibility, but a switch would be more reliable and would cost little more.
How does IR come into the plan?
 

Imy

Established Member
Oh I was just thinking if the satellite switch had IR capability to switch, I could use my Harmony remote to get it to switch outputs between TV/HTPC.

I'll go for a switch then for the satellite feed. I read on a site that using an aerial splitter would mean only 40% of the signal strength going to each device so I'll stick to swapping the TV aerial cables over for now. I wouldn't be able to place a signal amplifier anywhere near the antenna and I read advice not to place it close to receiving equipment. No idea about the accuracy of any of that really.

With regards to the cables, I came across a link to these on this forum:

Are they considered to be high quality - without getting into stupid price territory?
 

logiciel

Moderator
No, I don't think you'll find that kind of switch with remote control!
Harmonys efficiently control anything with original IR control, but the original has to come first.
Aerial splitters are perfectly normal and the only thing that matters is whether they give you the picture - no need to get involved with percentages - they either work or they don't.
Aerial boosters with two or more outputs are also standard and can be located anywhere without any problem of side effects, so that's another one not to be concerned about,
Martin is a good friend to the forum and his company sells only reliable products.
Unless the circumstances are quite exceptional there's no need to spend more than a pound or two on any cable though.
 

pedro2000uk

Distinguished Member
Oh I was just thinking if the satellite switch had IR capability to switch, I could use my Harmony remote to get it to switch outputs between TV/HTPC. Someone should make one of those :smashin:- can't think of anyone that does

I'll go for a switch then for the satellite feed. I read on a site that using an aerial splitter would mean only 40% of the signal strength going to each device so I'll stick to swapping the TV aerial cables over for now. I wouldn't be able to place a signal amplifier anywhere near the antenna and I read advice not to place it close to receiving equipment. No idea about the accuracy of any of that really. Not if you use decent gear & decent cables

With regards to the cables, I came across a link to these on this forum:

Are they considered to be high quality - without getting into stupid price territory?

Using decent cables & a good quality splitter or if needed, a decent 1-2 RF distribution amplifier like a Global ... that will do what you want- some made up TV fly leads turn out to be just 2 wires inside or otherwise crap & there are poor RF Dist amps & splitters which will give the above reported poor results.


Those from Satcure are made from Webro WF100- that's what we use on installs - it's all near pure copper & otherwise well made & I would say that you are better off using F connectors as much as possible - at least to the RF dist amp or splitter.
 

Imy

Established Member
I ended up ordering a bunch of WF100 cables from Satcure (both for satellite and TV aerial). Fitted F-connectors for the satellite cable and regular (whatever they're called) connectors for TV aerial.

I think I've paid more for the plug fittings than the cables and I know they would be easy to fit myself but after fitting 28 banana plugs recently, I'm fed up of it!

I'm still a little stumped on precisely which splitter (for TV aerial) and switch (for satellite) to get. I have no idea what would be good quality and how much amplification I need if any.

I live in a block of 6 flats, 2 per floor and I'm on the 2nd (top) floor. The TV aerial and satellite dish are shared between the 6 flats. I have a wall plate in my lounge with a TV+FM point and a satellite point connected to one LNB.

I've done a quick diagram below of the relevant wiring in the lounge:

av_wiring.png


I would appreciate some more recommendations on actual switches/splitters/signal amplifiers
 

Ghostleader

Prominent Member
For the T.V. aerial side of things I would recommend a small active booster/splitter with variable gain control, if your signals fine just keep the gain dial turned down to the min. Google: SLX Gold booster, models are cheap & fully screened inside & have TETRA noise filters on the inputs.
 

pedro2000uk

Distinguished Member
There's only one manual 2 way satellite switch that I know of.. you should see it on ebay or Maplits etc.. for about a fiver.
 

logiciel

Moderator
The one I linked to in post#2 perhaps? £5.50 so correct on that point also.
With all due respect to Martin of Satcure, 3 ready-made 1 or 2 metre satellite cables and three ready-made 1 or 2 metre aerial cables from the local general store, would have been perfectly satisfactory, for maybe twice that, around a tenner.
The general store would also have a wide selection of aerial boosters and splitters, as would EBay again: 2-Way Signal Booster.
I've had a lot of these sorts of cables and devices, and had maybe a couple of failures, but not enough to be concerned about.
Longer lengths of cable and more complex setups might justify spending a lot more.
 
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Imy

Established Member
Thanks logiciel; I was just seeing if there were any alternatives to that switch.

Satcure were a bit pricey on their TV aerial cable I thought but it was late and I want em by Saturday when the TV arrives. The satellite cables seemed cheap enough @ 72p/m. I liked that I was able to get some of the cables with right-angle connectors too as my wall plate is quite high up the wall so it should be tidier.

Are TV cables like HDMI with the signal being digitally encoded so it either works or doesn't?
 

pedro2000uk

Distinguished Member
The one I linked to in post#2 perhaps? £5.50 so correct on that point also.


Sorry Logiciel - I missed that with there beng several links thre- but yes that's the [only] one.

With all due respect to Martin of Satcure, 3 ready-made 1 or 2 metre satellite cables and three ready-made 1 or 2 metre aerial cables from the local general store, would have been perfectly satisfactory, for maybe twice that, around a tenner.
The general store would also have a wide selection of aerial boosters and splitters, as would EBay again: 2-Way Signal Booster.
I've had a lot of these sorts of cables and devices, and had maybe a couple of failures, but not enough to be concerned about.
Longer lengths of cable and more complex setups might justify spending a lot more.


Sorry Logiciel 2.. he's obviously got some decent AV gear & going to a general store for rf stuff is something you wouldn't encourage [we wouldn't] [especially on AVForums] - you are very likely to end up with 2 wire fly leads & any brand RF amp.

We get paid to clean up poor/ noisy RF distribution circuits in houses/ apartments pubs etc.. & see all this time & time again- & you only need one peice of RF crap in the system to cause problems plus you don't know how weak or noisy the RF is to start with as it's most likely from a multiswitch with noise from sat/ rf & fm muliplexed & then split. Ideally you want it well away from ever clitching or causing any noise that can effect the other AV gear.

I didn't know Satcure did leads like that - to me you are far better with those WF100 made up leads if you don't want to sit there making leads up than going to an AV specialist & getting their really mega priced stuff but in nice packaging.

I also like the fact that you can get them in different colours.. if you think of the rats nest most media systems end up with - very good for tracing coax & keeping it neat.

TIP: If you have a spare cheapo 'thin' white flylead that you bought for about 99p/ £1.99 or whatever & don't mind sacrificing it - cut it in half & see what you really bought - :laugh:
 

pedro2000uk

Distinguished Member
...

Are TV cables like HDMI with the signal being digitally encoded so it either works or doesn't?

The simple answer is yes,

... but it's really no for TV [& HDMI] - because of all the processes in the loop from camera to the AV studio to uplink compression to the STB's processing to the screen's processors... & all the lossy compression & decompression & error checking & various company's software & hardware & buffering techniques & processor / chip speeds that you are better off looking at it all more like it's an analogue(y) digital process than just a 1 & 0s process & the same principles of keeping the quality of gear & cables up at each stage apply.
 

logiciel

Moderator
Learnt all that when I was researching for my speaker cable.
That's a very different matter! Quality of speaker cable really is important. I did the same sort of research for my 5:1 installation and came up with something similar to your choice. I was surprised to note that they do banana plugs though.

On the aerial and satellite cables I agree in principle but on the level of a few 1 metre and 2 metre lengths I've almost always been satisfied with those from my local general store - which does tend to go for quality. Now though, aerial cables are hardly used at all, and the only satellite cables I have are direct from the dish and of the usual good outdoor quality.
 

Imy

Established Member
The different colour Satcure WF100 cables would be useful during behind-the-wall installs I bet but I went for all white as it's just in-lounge cabling I needed and I want em to blend in with the skirting. By the way I got an email earlier today to say everything was in stock and should be shipped soon.

I got the speaker cable banana plugs from cpc:

--|AV19160|4MM BANANA PLUG, GOLD, RED | CPC

That was one time I did the connection fitting myself as I had 28 to do and it would've been very expensive to use a fitting service.

The aerial and dish on my roof are big communal ones. Lets hope I get a good signal and a passive splitter does the job. If not only a few quid lost and I'll get a decent booster one.

Thanks everyone.
 
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logiciel

Moderator
What amplifier do you have that still uses banana plugs?
For the aerial, considering the quality of the other items, I'd go for a proper 2-output booster, rather than a £1 (not "£few"!) Y-splitter.
 

Imy

Established Member
Yamaha RX-V767 hooked up to Wharfedale Diamond 10.7/10.CM/10.1 - bananas both ends.

What do you mean still uses banana plugs?

Well I'm going to Maplins in a bit to take a look around. Not as in a rush for the splitter and switch as the HTPC is still being built.
 

logiciel

Moderator
I thought they'd gone out of use. Onkyo recommend against them.
Maplin do the same satellite switch: Switch. They also have a lot of aerial booster/splitters: Booster.
 

pedro2000uk

Distinguished Member
...

Well I'm going to Maplins in a bit to take a look around. Not as in a rush for the splitter and switch as the HTPC is still being built.

No one in the sat/ aerial game tends to use Maplits unless really stuck

Global Invacom aren't cheapo & go with your decent gear-look for this one for the rf dist amp ..
 

logiciel

Moderator
The description is confusing - goes from broadband to UHF and FM, then to Sky - no direct reference to aerials.:confused:
 

logiciel

Moderator
The description.;)

broadband distribution amplifiers
both UHF and FM signals
compatible with the tvLINK
powered from the Sky Set-top Box

UHF is the nearest it gets to aerial.
I'm not disputing your recommendation.
And your comment on the "decent gear" agrees with mine on the "quality of the other items".
They do call for something better than a Y-splitter. :)
 
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pedro2000uk

Distinguished Member
I guess the docs are for professionals / installers sorry..

They are a broadband RF Distribution amplfier [with some extras], - they can be used for Sky RF output distribution from the RF2 output - *they carry the 9v to power the magic eyes* to all outputs & magic eye IR return signals & can just run off the 9v DC on the RF2 output they've provided for the magic eyes, obviously for the massive Sky market.

They can also handle FM where it's plexed in from a multiswitch or stand alone diplexer.

You can run them on a stand alone 9vDC or 12vDC psu - 100mA is ample *or can be powered remotely with inserted 9v-12v.*

There's the new T120 T140 (not sure what the difference is TBH) except they're white.
 
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