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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Tivo in closet [Mar. 2nd, 2004|12:43 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
A few weeks ago I bought two 70 foot rolls of RG-6 coax and some ends.

Today after work, sick from El Burrito and bored, I finally got around to putting the ends on the cable and relocating my noisy Tivo from behind my TV to my server closet. I forgot about the IR problem, so for now I have to open up the closet door and bounce the IR signal off the wall, but it works.

Since I already have a server in the server closet, and I have my quiet Roku HD1000 and Squeezebox, I can write some software for either to accept IR signals (documented APIs for both, IIRC) and send them over the network to my closet server, which will IR blast them at the Tivo.

Unfortunately there appears to be some blurriness in the red channel now. Previously I was only using coax into my Tivo, and S-Video out. I might just have to get a 70 foot S-Video and audio cable, if only I were confident that'd help. Maybe I just won't care... it already looks like ass on my TV, analog cable through Tivo MPEG compression, scaled up to 65".

I was also too lazy this wiring project to do anything creative with the cables... they're just running along the edge of the walls and across the hallway (covered with a rug).

But my living room is nice and quiet now! I should get a book and go read in it.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: dina
2004-03-02 12:59 am (UTC)

In an ideal world...

Too bad you'd be distracted by the noise of my laptop grinding away.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-03-02 01:12 am (UTC)

Re: In an ideal world...

The server closet is getting full, but maybe I can stuff you in the vacuum closet. It even has a little light in there! And blankets and shelves.
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[User Picture]From: jwz
2004-03-02 01:14 am (UTC)
My understanding is that S-cables aren't so good for long hauls (more than 12' or so), but I might be wrong about that.

But, if you're sending baseband (as opposed to RF) over coax, you should be able to go a long way without signal loss. Did you put the connectors on well? Did you break the shield somehow?

You need DSS and a DirecTivo, anyway: standalone Tivos have cheap-ass MPEG encoders in them, but DirecTivos just copy the bits from the satellite stream to disk, and the upstream encoders are much higher quality.

I think there exist standalone IR-repeaters that don't involve computers.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-03-02 01:29 am (UTC)
Did you put the connectors on well? Did you break the shield somehow?

More than likely. This was only my second time making coax, and the first time as an utter disaster, so you can imagine I didn't get much better.

You need DSS and a DirecTivo, anyway: standalone Tivos have cheap-ass MPEG encoders in them, but DirecTivos just copy the bits from the satellite stream to disk, and the upstream encoders are much higher quality.

Yeah, I should... but then I'd need the Tivo close to the TV again because I'd want component into my HDTV. (I'm assuming the DirecTivos have component outputs, since Satellite is supposed to be better quality?) Or if the DirecTivo outputs DBI, I could run long DVI and then get a DVI to HDTV scan converter. (my TV doesn't have one built-in)

I think there exist standalone IR-repeaters that don't involve computers.

Oh, I know... tons. I'm a sucker for doing things the stupid way, though.
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[User Picture]From: vanbeast
2004-03-02 01:17 am (UTC)
Eep. A 70-ft s-video cable without some pretty hefty shielding is going to be rather unpleasant. Broadcast quality s-video cable typically recommends a maximum run length of approximately 60 feet.

If I recall correctly, and its been a couple years since I've done this so its quite possible I'm not, the color channels aren't separated over coax. So if you're experience a blurriness from just one of your colors, it isn't likely to be related to the cabling.

Hook up the tivo (or any other source) with a 6-foot hunk of coax and see if you get the same thing. If it keeps occuring with different sources, and if it's gone when you switch to composite inputs, it's probably the demodulator.
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From: billemon
2004-03-02 01:30 am (UTC)
feed the s-video to a video card on one of the machines in the closet, and watch it on your super quiet workstation? or feed it back out a tv-out on that?
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[User Picture]From: idigital
2004-03-02 02:25 am (UTC)
I've been wanting to get a Squeezebox for quite some time but I've not been sure if it's worth it.

What do you like about yours? Is the sound quality okay, and stuff?
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[User Picture]From: brad
2004-03-02 10:14 am (UTC)
Honestly I haven't used it much. Seems okay, though.
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From: justgags
2004-03-02 06:38 am (UTC)
In your quest for silent computing, thought you might be interested in this:

http://www.voodoo.ca/systems/f50.aspx

No fans at all!
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[User Picture]From: travisd
2004-03-02 07:21 am (UTC)
From what I've read/experienced, by using the RF Out from Tivo you also give up stereo audio. I know that when I switched to the A/V outs the audio improved dramatically.

I was going to put in a link to a BlackBox product, but the link didn't work.

The product number though is IC449A if you want to go to BlackBox.com and search. It basically extends S-Video and Stereo Audio over Cat-5.

Send a video signal and two audio channels from S-video equipment up to 1000 feet over 4-pair CAT5 cable and save!
• Eliminate the expense of coax and break the distance barrier of 300 ft. (91.4 m).
• Ideal for use in classrooms, presentations, videoconferencing, video kiosks, home audio/video systems, and more.
• Use with S-Video equipment, such as DVD players, VCRs, satellite receivers, laptops, LCD projectors, plasma screens, and more.
• Move and connect video equipment to any modular outlet easily.
• Guaranteed for life!


About $85 ea -- I think you would need a pair (it's not clear if this is a set or a single module).

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From: (Anonymous)
2004-03-02 09:28 am (UTC)

replace the coax first

Try another stretch of coax first, that's cheapest. If the problem persists, then go on to to the other stuff. Maybe try one of those $10 cheapie video amps from radio shack too.

http://pdxscitech.pitas.com
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