PC DVR to 2 TVs - best way?


Senior Member
I have a MythTV DVR (combined backend/tuner and frontend/video output) near the main TV. I am upgrading and thinking about how to output to the other TV. Running another PC as a frontend would make things easy but I am trying to avoid that for now to keep the cost down.

The run between locations is about 100' by the time it gets routed through the attic, etc.

Also thinking of moving the backend/frontend to the wiring closet which would put it about 30 ft from the main TV and wouldn't change the run to the second one much. IR input is currently connected via USB but could be handled a number of ways - repeater, serial IR device, or USB via router running dd-wrt.

This is first time working with HDMI - current equipment is all older composite stuff. My very limited knowledge of HDMI makes me think I need a splitter with active booster, at least for the long run. Should I be looking at something other than HDMI?

I have seen some good deals on video cards with only a HDMI output. Should I be trying to find a card with other outputs as well. If so, what outputs? VGA? I doubt I will find much with HDMI and composite/Svideo and that doesn't seem very useful anyway.

The motherboard has VGA video but I am not sure how to use that in combination with a video card. I think I could just use the TV as the monitor for software installs, etc that I can't do remotely.


Active Member
Are the TVs the same resolution? Is the audio requirement the same on both Tvs?
I don't believe you could do dual HDMI without using a splitter because of primary audio output issues - really all of your options are dependent on this. I've been able to get away with using HDMI to my main TV and optical to the receiver along with VGA/analog to a bedroom TV, but my sound card was able to do dual output as well. In the end...it's just messy if you need anything more than a simple clone. I don't use my setup like that anymore and instead use an old laptop for Internet TV in the bedroom, but I keep it in the rack with all my other equipment. All communication is done with the free version of Girder between PCs and a USB-UIRT.


Senior Member
Yes, I was thinking the resolution of both TVs and the sound requirements would be the same (i.e. clone). It seems (from very little investigation) that even if the TVs capabilities are different, if both are HDMI they will scale as needed to display 720p, 1080i, or 1080p signals. Due to length and bandwidth issues and this being from OTA signals (ATSC) I will be using 720p or, more likely, 1080i. 100' seems doable.

I have an old laptop with MythTV that I could use for a front end. But that means getting a TV with VGA input option. This limits the models available but give more flexibility. Just trying to figure out what I should be looking for in hardware so I don't end up with too much useless hardware or problematic limitations in the future.


Senior Member
HDMI will not auto-scale to two different resolutions - this is a function of the negotiation between the TV and the device. If you need to run on two different resolutions, you need to set the source to the lowest common denominator, or buy a scaler.

There are plenty of splitters and even HDMI extenders available - I have one here that does 160' over a single Cat 5 and supports HDMI 1.4 - many of the better options are dealer only items, but if you're interested in seeing what's available, drop me a PM.


I've found that if you have a pretty decent htpc,scoop up The Ceton Quad Tuner, a cable card from your local cable company, an Xbox 360 and you can steam recordings and watch live tv on your Xbox 360 and your htpc @ the same time.


The Ceton option as well as HD HomeRun Prime are good solutions for what you want to do.
If you don't need to use both locations at the same time, you could easily run CAT6 from the current location to the 2nd TV and use an HDMI over CAT6 extender.

Use a Monoprice selectable 2 port HDMI switch and then you can direct the output to either TV.
Here is the cheap version that you need to do minor mod to reverse it and make it a 1 in X 2 Out instead of the 2 In X 1 Out the way it comes.

For more expensive but ready to go with 2 outputs: