[mythtv-users] Is there any way to get more than 1 input from a satellite tuner?

Chris gchris at bellsouth.net
Sun May 28 10:46:35 UTC 2006

> On 5/27/06, Michael T. Dean <mtdean at thirdcontact.com> wrote:
>> On 05/27/2006 01:59 AM, Chad wrote:
>> > I'm in the US, and I'm wondering if there is any way that I'm not
>> > thinking of to get more than 1 channel from a satellite or digital
>> > cable (set top box) system?
>> >
>> > My *limited* knowledge of how this works:
>> >
>> > You have the signal come into the house via a coax cable. Then, to
>> > decrypt the channels you subscribe to, you run that coax into a set
>> > top box, and then run a coax (or composite or svideo + RCA audio) from
>> > your set top box to your TV. With a MythTV system, you run the coax,
>> > composite or svideo (and RCA audio) into your MythTV box (into
>> > something like a PVR-150) and record the output from that box. So,
>> > is that it?
>> Yep.
>> > Does that mean there is no possible way to get 2 channels
>> > at the same time from 1 set top box?
>> Yep (meaning no possible way--unless the STB has dual tuners and dual
>> outputs, at which point it's, for all practical purposes, two STB's (but
>> in one B)).
>> > Assuming I have a PVR-500, can
>> > anyone tell me of a setup they have that differs from the above?
>> >
>> If using cable, the FCC requires the cable company to provide
>> unencrypted analog local channels, so you could just plug a cable into
>> the PVR-500 tuner and it would work for those and any other unencrypted
>> analog channels transmitted over the line (some companies provide most
>> channels, others provide only the locals). If using satellite, you have
>> to get two STB's.
>> Mike
>> _______________________________________________
> Thanks! I was hoping I was wrong, but in a way am glad my guess was right ;)
> Does anyone have any ideas on how to arrange things when using
> multiple STB's? Assuming my Myth box has 3 PVR-500's in it, I don't
> really want to have 4 STB's (including the Myth box) in my living
> room. I can think of 1 option (that is variable) where you put your
> other STB's in some closet and have a frontend-only in your living
> room to display the recordings on the backend. But I was kind of
> hoping for a 1 computer configuration. Any pointers on arranging 3+
> STB's to not look like a monstrosity of STB's?
> Thanks again Mike!
> Chad

The answer to your original question might depend on which satellite 
service you have.  If you were talking big dish, there are commercial 
receivers that can deliver multiple signals simultaneously.  Assuming 
you mean little dish, Dish Network (and probably DirectTV) offers dual 
receivers in a single box.  They are intended to let you watch one 
program (for example) in the den while watching another in the living 
room.  This sounds like what you are looking for, but there are some 
gotchas that apply.

Each receiver requires it's own LNBF (the little amplifier mounted on 
the dish that tunes and feeds the signal down to the receiver) and it's 
own remote.  There are dual and even quad LNBFs, but things can get a 
little grotesque at the dish when you consider HD and multiple 
receivers.  Even if you can keep that reasonable, you will have at least 
one coax feed per signal (probably two for HD) running between the dish 
and your receiver(s).

You then need to control each receiver individually and Dish does that 
by using two remotes, one IR and the other RF.  Managing that with LIRC 
could get pretty ugly.  It's also possible to have two or more remotes, 
either IR or RF that are coded differently but that again could make 
LIRC a challenge.

The usual way to make 2 or more STBs "pretty" is to use STBs that 
respond to an RF remote and hide them some place out of sight.  A closet 
is not a great place because some STBs generate a fair amount of heat 
and it is unhealthy for them to be stacked in a cluster with limited 

One possible solution might be to find out what your satellite provider 
offers for commercial installations like sports bars where multiple 
screens may be in use displaying different programs.  You might also be 
able to reduce complexity by getting network programming OTA from local 
stations broadcasting DT.

With all of the changes going on in both satellite and cable technology, 
I'd be wary of buying too much of anything that might become obsolete in 
a year or two.  Renting rather than buying would probably be the safer 

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