Upgrading old multi-room setup

scottishwildcat

Novice Member
[ Hi... new member here and not sure where best to post this, so please advise if I need to move it, or maybe a mod could so if required... ]

Just looking for any thoughts or advice before I think about "calling a man"...

Our house was built with an RF-based video distribution system - diagram attached. There's a satellite dish connected to a Sky+HD box in the dining room on the ground floor (while the main living space is on the first floor - spot the flaw here?). As well as being connected to a TV via HDMI, the RF Out from the Sky box goes to the Return socket on the wall plate, which feeds a distribution amplifier in the hall, which sends the picture to all the other RF sockets in the house. We use a Magic Eye to control the Sky box from those other rooms (well, actually some old video senders with the video cables disconnected).

This setup has served us fine since we moved in. We really only watch TV together, so only being able to watch the same thing in every room is fine. The downside, of course, is that apart from the TV that's connected directly to the Sky box in the dining room, the picture is SD with mono sound in every other room.

That also wasn't a problem until recently. The biggest telly we'd ever had was 32", the others were all 16", and an SD picture is perfectly watchable on all of those, at least to our non-HD-spoiled eyes 😎 But now we've gone and picked up a 48" in the Black Friday sales, and it's clear we need to up our game somehow...

The "simple" solution would be to upgrade our Sky+ to Sky Q, and attach Mini boxes to the other TVs we care about. If we did this, I'd want the main box moved from the dining room to the living room, but the dish is already in the perfect spot for that, so presumably it shouldn't be a massive job to drill the new holes.

But Sky Q is considerably more expensive, it relies on good fast broadband throughout the house to work well (which we sort of have, most of the time), we don't desperately need the ability to watch different things in different rooms, and it leaves you locked in to a dish that only works with Sky Q (so I've heard, may be wrong on that one). And I know the Sky Q UI is rather divisive compared to the Sky+ one, which, knowing my wife's aversion to change, sounds like the sort of thing that could end up as grounds for divorce. So I'm nervous about going this route 🤫

Any thoughts on alternatives?

At worst, I suppose all we'd really need is the Sky+ box moved to the living room, and some way to send the picture either in HD or SD to the other rooms. My aforementioned wireless video senders can already do that, but even though they're 5GHz ones, there's so much other radio interference around these days that it's hard to get a decent picture with them, especially on the ones farthest from the base unit. (HD video senders still appear to be as flaky as they are expensive, though, so I presume they're not really worth considering?)

Since the living room is directly above the dining room, I assume another option could be just to run an HDMI cable up the wall from the Sky box to the living room telly (and possibly on to the bedroom above that, too). Then we could presumably still use the existing Return socket arrangement in the dining room to send the picture to the other rooms... but to be honest, it'd probably be fine if even just those three TVs were in play, as they're the three we use by far the most.

Any other thoughts welcome, even if it's just "stop mucking about and just get Sky Q, it's great". (We do want to keep Sky rather than switch to another provider, but if there's any technical or usability reason another provider would be better, I'd think about it...)
 

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AmericanAudio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Easy answer is 'stop mucking about and beat sky up for a deal on SkyQ'

And I prefer the UI on SkyQ to HD, it doesnt take that long to pick it up.

If you talk nicely to the sky installer (independant or Sky) they should be able to fit a hybrid lnb (the bt on the end of the dish) that gives the option of 2 SkyQ and 2 SkyHD output. Least you then have options.

The alternative answer is move the HD box and rejig the cabling, add in a Cofdm / Freeview HD modulator, feed it the HDMi outout from the SkyHD and then you can have a SkyHD channel in Freeview HD with similar control as you have now. Just in 720P HD.

However, cost to rework the system could be similar to the cost of changing to Q for a year.

C.
 

scottishwildcat

Novice Member
Easy answer is 'stop mucking about and beat sky up for a deal on SkyQ'
Thanks for the suggestions, couple of other things to think about there. I'm certainly starting to lean that way, not least because my Sky+HD box is 10 years old at this point. So the HDD will probably die soon anyway, and any second-hand one I bought to replace it would already be 5+ years old so wouldn't have that many more years left in it either.
 
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