Satellite in other rooms around your home
There are six ways to do this :
• Run a room to room stereo lead for Radio.
• Buy a Sky Gnome for TV sound and Radio in the house and garden.
• Use a room to room Audio/Video Sender link.
• Buy a second receiver/digibox and connect it to your existing dish.
• Buy a Sky Link remote extender and run a UHF cable to a second TV.
• Use a low power FM Transmitter (designed for use with an iPod).
Why bother to send satellite around your home?
Because it's absolutely brilliant! Imagine walking from the kitchen to the lounge or to another room and still being able to follow a talk, an interview or news item as if the radio had moved with you. It is so handy to have the freedom to get on with things around the house and not be tied to one room, and yet still listen to an interesting programme! Please look carefully at the following ways to send satellite around your home (and garden too) and if you want anything explained more clearly please get in touch!.
'Two into one'
Stereo Phono plugs
A Sky digibox can feed more than one audio system. All you need is screened twin audio cable (connected using Phono plugs) and a pair of 'Two-Into-one Phono adapters' fitted at the back of the digibox. Alternatively, fit 'stackable' Phono leads to the audio output on the satellite receiver. The audio cable can be run from room-to-room with no loss of sound quality.
Cable, plugs and adapters are available from Maplin Electronics.
For their catalogue, telephone 0870 429 6000. Or try www.maplin.co.uk
It may help you if I list the items I used (with the Maplin catalogue numbers), so here they are:-
- Phono plugs Gold plated, Black & Red, Cat. No. FK18U and JH94C
- Two-Into-One Phono Adapters, Cat. No. YW39N ( Gold plated, Cat. No. N84AN )
- Twin Screened Audio Cable, 100m reel, Cat. No. PU66W
You'll have to make up the long leads by soldering on the Phono plugs. If this is a problem, don't despair. Someone in your church should be able to do the soldering, or measure the lengths required and ask a TV repair shop to make up the leads for you.
We have two stereo systems, one in the lounge and one in the kitchen. Both are fed by one Sky digibox, which could easily feed more audio systems. With one Sky digibox, only one radio station can be played on all the stereo systems at a time. Also, one system can be left switched off while listening to the other.
Sky Gnome has speakers in the back
These are no longer available from Sky (since September 2007) but are easy to get on ebay for around £40.
This wireless device runs on rechargeable batteries and has a range of around 30 metres. It looks like a small triangular shaped radio and has a control panel and two speakers built into its 'sides'.
It allows you to listen to any TV or Radio broadcast that your Sky box is tuned to. It has a volume control and channel changer and is compatible with any Sky box. It has a button allowing you to turn on your digibox remotely. We have just brought one from ebay (December 2008) and it's brilliant! So good to be able to change channels remotely. It works all around the house and right to the end of our garden - which is about 30 metres long. If you want Christian Radio anywhere in the home then you must get one of these!
More details can be found at www1.sky.com/skygnome .
Satelink Transmitter and Receiver.
They have audio and video phono
sockets on the rear
There is a wide range of Audio/Video wireless links available. They consist of a transmitter that you connect to the digibox, and receiver in another room, which you connect to a TV or stereo system. Most allow you to change channels on your Sky box from the far room.
Besides wireless links, there are also wireless speakers and wireless headphones. These can also be used to send the stereo sound from your satellite receiver to other rooms in the house. I haven't brought either of these, but if you have, and want to write a short review for this site please get in touch via the contact us page.
A few Wireless Links will only send sound when sending TV pictures. If no video signal is detected they shut down their audio outputs. This is no problem if you're sending TV pictures and sound but, if you want to use your sender for audio only, provide the Wireless transmitter with a video input from the digibox. And then simply leave the video output from the receiver un-used. The video signal for the station logo for that particular channel will be sufficient to keep the Link working.
Some really good news is that a new generation of 5.8GHz Video Senders is now available. These cost more (around £70) but offer seven frequencies (so no interferance with other wireless devices) and have a range of 120 metres.
Here are some Wireless links you might like to consider:
- Maplin sell a range of 2.4GHz and 5.8Ghz Audio/Video Senders from £35. More Details
- Beststuff Offer a Sender for £45. Check it out at www.beststuff.co.uk/video_senders.htm
- Argos have several different TV and Video Senders in their catalogue.
If I connect two stereo systems, can I listen to the same CD on both?
Yes, if your amplifier has a 'tape out' connection. Firstly, connect the satellite receiver to the hi-fi amplifier. Then connect the room-to-room stereo lead (or Wireless Link) from the tape out socket on the amplifier by using '1 into 2 Phono adapters'. The other lead from the adapters goes to the tape deck as before. This will enable not only the same radio station to be played on both systems but also the same CD.
If you get a Wireless Link please send me a review via the comments page. It will be helpful to let others know (through this website) which Links will remotely control the TV and which can send audio only.
Comment from Trevor J. Lyne: I tried Maplins video/audio sender - L68AQ. on offer @ £39:99 Good quality within the church hall - tested to about 25mtrs distance but zero results through just one wall. Most disappointing as was a good price and had scart sockets (one output and two inputs) which allows adaptors to be used. Looks like hard wiring required for overflow rooms!
Comment from Daniel Shaw: I bought a Wireless Video/TV Link from Maplins, and it does exactly what it says on the tin and works perfectly. HOWEVER, there is one major drawback :- It interferes with wireless ethernet networking signals. It took me a while to figure out. I had my computer working wirelessly upstairs connected to my BT HomeHub. Suddenly, (after switching on the Wireless Video/TV Link) my computer upstairs could not see any network at all. After a few days of scratching my head I realised it was the Wireless Video/TV Link which was interfering. I now only switch it on when I want to watch TV upstairs then switch off in the morning. I sometimes then have to reset the networking connection between upstairs and downstairs, using the right click and 'repair' option on the network connection. This usually works, if not, a restart does the trick. You have been warned!
My own experience: I use a Netgear DG834G Wireless Router for my computer wireless network at home. For satellite radio I use a Labgear WSV100 2.4GHz wireless link. This Labgear link has the facility to select from four frequencies (channels), enabling me to avoid conflicts with other wireless devices. All works fine if I use frequencies one or two, but three disables my wireless mouse and four stops my wireless laptop seeing the internet. So, the moral is: buy a wireless link which offers a choice of operating frequencies - the more the better. Next time I think I'll go for one of those new 5.8GHz links with a range of 120 metres.
If you find you can't listen to Christian Radio because another family member wants to watch Satellite TV then buy another digibox. You can connect this to say, a micro hi-fi system in the dining room or kitchen (or both) so you can still enjoy Christian Radio while they watch their TV in another room! This won't require another dish - just the fitting of a multiple LNB (the bit on the satellite dish that receives the signal). Ask a satellite installer for details.
Sky multiroom is simply an additional digibox that uses the same dish. It costs £50 for a second box and an extra monthly rental of £10 and is only available to Sky subscribers.
This is an infrared sensor (eye) which sends commands remotely back to your digibox. To transmit these commands it uses the same UHF cable which has to be run from your digibox to the remote TV. There are a variety of makes. More details can be found on specialist websites. I suggest you take a look at www.satcure.co.uk where they list various makes on their catalogue page.
Belkin FM Transmitter
These are designed to transmit stereo sound from an MP3 player (iPod) to a car radio or FM radio at home.
But they can be used to transmit from a satellite receiver to your FM Radio too.
They come in many forms, have a range of around 30 feet, and run on AAA batteries or car power adapter.
These FM Transmitters are now legal (since 8th December 2006),
say they must have a 50 nanoWatts power limit and carry a CE mark.
But, I have encountered two problems.
1. Signal strength from the Sky box causes distortion.
I have just tried out two FM Transmitters and although they both work, the audio output level from my Sky box is too high, causing distortion most of the time (unless there's a quieter moment in the broadcast). I've tried both a cheap one (£10) and the one recommended by UCB from Tech Focus.
The only way to get rid of the distortion is to reduce (attenuate) the audio level from the Sky box before it gets to the FM Transmitter. I've succeeded by using a series resistor of 22K with a 4.7K to ground. This has to be done on both channels, so four resistors in all. I have mounted them in a small plastic box with Phono sockets for input (from the Sky box) and a 3.5mm stereo jack socket as an output (to the transmitter). See photo.
Resistor network reduces the Sky box
audio output for the FM transmitter
2. Can't find a suitable mains adapter.
Now, the batteries will only last 6 to 8 hours of operating time, so it would be very helpful if a mains adapter could be used instead. But those I've tried so far cause mains hum or switch-mode interference which renders them impractical. So, if you are using a transmitter successfully with a mains adapter, please let me know. I'll be glad to hear about it and I'll pass on the details here.
The adapter sent by Tech focus causes a real racket - totally impractical - yet comes with the set recommended by UCB!
Another option is to use rechargeable AAA batteries. No mains hum, just the bother of charging and changing them every few days.
I wonder if there is a Transmitter that can cope with the high level of audio output from a sky box and can also be used with a mains adapter - let's hope so. Please let me know if you have found one.
Thanks to Tony Pollard who told me of his experience with a mains driven FM transmitter: "You ask if anyone has successfully used a FM wireless transmitter (originally designed for an MP3 player), using a power supply in the home without a hum. I have been experimenting and find that a CB or Ham radio power supply works on a 'Griffin' wire FM transmitter without hum. I found the best one to be a Manson communications power supply. The downside is the power supply cost around £80. I have already got one for Ham radio, but a bit expensive to link music from a satellite receiver. I have tested on both a Pioneer HiFi Tuner and a cheap FM radio both with successful results. My only problem now is to link to a HiFi in the far side of the house and keep legal. Unfortunately the range of the 'Griffin' is only about 10 feet. I would be grateful of details of any UK legal MP3 FM transmitter that allows the greater range. NB my test source was UCB radio taken from the Satelite receiver via a cheap Audio AMP then into the FM transmitter.