Adding Multi-room to a satellite system

First Considerations

Remember – if you have 2 satellite boxes, each can be operated independently, so can be on DIFFERENT channels. 

If you have ONE satellite box and a Modulator  system as described below, ALL your Tvs will show the SAME channel

Because of the cabling required, I would only advise a modulator or switched system for 4 or more rooms as the costs would probably be lower if you had individual satellite boxes.

If you already have a distributed aerial system to each room , then the modulator system is worth considering as ALL tvs will have the new channel.

If your foreign channel system has an expensive subscription, that would be another reason to go with the modulator system, to avoid duplicating the subs  cost. 

For all the options below: 

independent = each receiver can be on a different channel

non-independent = all receivers are on the same channel

Digital Modulator(non-independent)

These have only been available at a reasonable price for a year or so. The unit can modulate the sound and picture onto an aerial frequency, so your tv can tune it in, just like any other Freeview channel.

Quality: The results with this are very good quality and work fine on any (including big screen)  HD tv with Freeview HD tuner  ( some models  will not work on tvs with the older Freeview SD ( not HD)  tuners. )

Changing Channel in the second room: the Digi Modulator has a built in remote feature, you simply need to purchase a second remote control for the satellite box

Interference from telephone masts in the TV band IS possible but is easier to deal with , using the digital modulator than it is with the older analogue one, as it affects fewer adjacent channels. 

Analogue Modulator (non-independent)

These have been around since the days of video recorders. The unit can modulate the sound and picture onto an aerial frequency, so your tv can tune it in, but as the signal is analogue , your tv must have an analogue tuner. Most tvs now have both, but do check this as some only have the digital tuner.

Quality – this is an analogue device and designed to work with limited bandwidth ( 4.5MHz) where Digital is typically 22 Mhz up to and beyond 1 GHz bandwidth.  the picture is ok on smaller screen tvs, but is not HD quality.

The TV band is now shared with the telephone 4G network, making interference quite a big problem. If you do suffer waving patterns or are unable to find your channel, this could be the reason, a bell filter may be necessary to eliminate it. 

Careful adjustment is required with analogue modulators to get the best results, this is not made easy as you adjust the modulator typically situated in the Lounge, but the picture you are judging is in a bedroom upstairs….. difficult! requires a LOT of time & patience.

Changing Channel in the second room: most Analogue Modulators have a built in remote feature, you simply need to purchase a second remote control for the satellite box

HDMI Cable (non-independent)

This is ideal if the second room is a short distance away. Bear in mind that the signal must be split, different Tvs behave differently to signals that are split. Use a powered splitter and 99% of these “odd” problems go away, a powered device will cost around £40 retail, the HDMI lead cost depends on the length and quality. Cheap leads work ok but are not so resilient to rough handling and especially to sharp bends ! Also bear in mind that most leads are NOT meant to be used outside and will deteriorate in sunlight due to UV rays, then will fail as water penetrates the outer layer, if you do have to lay a cable outside, simply hide it from the direct sunlight if possible. 

Quality: Top class , no issues

Changing Channel in the second room: there is no means of changing channel from the second room, so you would also need a remote RF  sender device like the Pyramid and purchase a second remote control 

HDMI Matrix (non-independent)

Same idea  as above, but you can add other inputs and outputs. Used in Pubs and Clubs  mainly, you can  have a matrix which takes for example the signals  from 2 Skyboxes, 2 satellite receivers, IPTV box and a  DVD unit to any or all of 4  – 10 rooms

Quality – as with HDMI cable or splitter – top quality on any screen size

Changing Channel in the second room: Different models have various features some do have the separate IR channel back to the matrix, some don’t – those that are meant for Pubs n Clubs – centralised  control .

Connecting your Digital Modulator

The Technomate Digital Modulator. Lowest priced Full HD COFDM modulator, works with Freeview HD tuner fitted Tvs. The output channel can be edited “named” so it appears in your Freeview list.

Your satellite box connects to the INPUT via HDMI and the OUTPUT goes either direct to the second tv or to a distribution amplifier  

How to Connect your Analogue Modulator

Popular product by triax, the TRI-LINK , analogue modulator, (requires TV with analogue tuner ) run a cable to the TV, insert the “magic eye” remote sensor  and you can watch the same tv channel in another room.

Here the Tri-Link is used to send both Sky AND French  TNT signals to a second room

Adding a distribution amplifier to the Tri-LInk means you can have the TNT signal in all rooms with aerial provision.  

Fit a remote sensor on the TV end of the cable and you can control  the satellite box from the second room ( any room with TV aerial point )

TVM modulator – popular model from Global Electronics

Using an HDMI Splitter (non-independent)

There are Splitters – one box to many Tvs  simultaneously

There are Switches – one box to each  tv at a time

Be sure to use a POWERED device, 2 way passive splitters sometimes work but can cause problems such as failing to display if  resolution changes on a channel change. A typical 4 way splitter from Amazon, or Kenable would be 30 to 40 pounds.

Buy good quality leads especially if they are long ones, the cheap ones are prone to break if bent through too sharp an angle

TIP: if connecting to a TV HDMI port and there is not much room between the wall and TV, buy a right angle coupler Don’t BEND YOUR CABLE.

Changing Channel: There is no built in means of changing channel so you will also have to buy a RF remote  extender to do  this, ( and another satellite box remote of course ) see Kenable products

This is just one example splitter, there are many, be sure to buy one compatible with your type of TV HD, UHD, 3D……  

A multi-satellite Switch (independent)

This is the system used in shops displaying many different sat channels or in blocks of flats where one dish serves tens or even hundreds of receivers

These are usually designed to work with “Quattro” type lnbs, but for the ultimate control where one or more satellites have lower signal strength and need really good lnbs there are multi switches that work with quad lnbs

This type has only 4 cables on each lnb and can avoid the usual diseqc switchgear being out in the weather. The majority of the cabling can be done inside. 

There are models from Johansson, Triax, Whyte and Televes for up to 4 satellite inputs and 4,8,16 or  more….. outputs, which may be cascaded.

A separate power unit is supplied for this equipment.