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Thread: How To Connect Cable/Antenna/Satellite To TV With One RF Input

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default How To Connect Cable/Antenna/Satellite To TV With One RF Input

    I am currently using a standard definition dishnetwork dual receiver. The remote location, connected using a standard cable (no box at this location) is now the site of a new HDTV with only one antenna in connection. I don't want to upgrade to HD cable and would like to connect an outdoor antenna to use for OTA HD signals.
    With only one cable input, how can I switch easily between OTA HD and regular Dish.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    5,059

    Default

    Ouch. Watching standard def satellite signals on an HDTV connected via an antenna input? That's like feeding cheap gas to a Ferrari! But there are a couple of options if you feel you must hook it up this way.

    The best option would be to get an HD satellite set top box. The second best option would be to use the component video (best), s-video (second best) or composite video (third best) outputs from your current SD box, instead of the coax output - which types of connections are available on your box may vary, depending on which receiver you have, but you should have at least one of these options. By using the coax output on the DISH set top box, you are not only losing lines of resolution from an already degraded standard def signal, but you are also losing stereo audio - you get a max of 330 lines of video resolution and mono audio when you use the coax/RF output of the DISH set top box as the signal has to be modulated and demodulated (audio/video signals are combined then split back out at the source). This leaves you with crappy audio and video that will only look crappier (technical term) when you blow it up on a large screen HDTV. Better to go with the component, s-video or composite video outputs from the set top box instead, if you can run a new set of wires. Don't forget to run a separate stereo audio cable for the audio signal.

    The simplest (but lowest quality) way to go would be to get a simple high bandwidth (1 GHz at least) coax splitter/combiner: plug in the coax feed from the DISH box to one input on the combiner and the antenna feed to the other then do an "auto add" or channel program on your TV to add all available channels. The DISH box should only be putting out a signal on analog channel 3 so that should not interfere with the high VHF and UHF over-the-air DTV channels in your area. If this fails (although I doubt that it will), then you'll need to get an A/B antenna switch, plugging the set top box output cable into one input and the antenna into the other (but then you'll have to remember to switch back and forth).

    Here's a link to a basic splitter/combiner that would work for this purpose:

    http://www.amazon.com/CHANNEL-2532-2...480736&sr=1-12

    Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

    -CB
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Posts
    2

    Default

    Thanks for the suggestions. I am going with the SDTV connection from DISH now because they are asking an arm and a leg for HD upgrade, in addition to increased programming costs and the loss of a discount i am currently receiving. My bill would basically jump $30/month. I have tried negotiating to no avail and think when my discounts run out later this year, i will have better luck.

    As for the cable input, I have a dual receiver that is currently hooked up in another room and so i cannot run composite cables between the box and the HDTV. I am stuck with the current cable unless I can move the dual box closer to the new TV.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    5,059

    Default

    OK, well try the splitter route and see how it goes. Not sure how close you are to local HDTV broadcast towers, but for best results you might want to put your OTA antenna outside on the roof. Inside antennas work OK if you're close to the broadcast towers, but if you're a little further out then nothing beats height and unobstructed paths to the broadcast towers. Check www.antennaweb.org or www.tvfool.com for details on your proximity to local towers as well as recommendations for what type of antenna you'll need. You can actually combine the DISH signal with an OTA signal on a single coax cable using a diplexer on the roof, but then you'll need another diplexer inside the house to separate out the signal again.

    Actually, come to think of it, you should be able to put your antenna on the roof, combine DISH and OTA signals with a diplexer using your current satellite coax cable, put the second diplexer inside in front of the DISH dual DVR to split it back into DISH and OTA components, then combine that OTA signal with the coax output of your dual output DISH box using the splitter/combiner and use this to feed your HDTV. Then you could use the current cable connection to your HDTV exactly as is without the need for more cables in the room that has the HDTV in it. We have a few tips on installing/using an OTA antenna in this article:

    Get Your HDTV for Free

    Don't forget that if you go this route, every satellite receiver in your house will need that diplexer to separate out the OTA and DISH signals. Hey, you might find you like the free stuff enough to just cancel your pay TV service entirely.

    BTW, a diplexer looks the same as a splitter/combiner but it's actually different. A regular splitter/combiner cannot be used to combine satellite and OTA signals as the signals will interfere with each other. Here's a basic diplexer that should work fine:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...SIN=B002TSKPDI

    Good luck...

    -Chris
    Chris Boylan
    Editor in Chief
    Big Picture Big Sound

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