Updated June 2011: After reading this article, please check the extensive comments section below for answers to frequently asked questions.
Want to watch Sky TV in your other rooms for free? The solution isn’t perfect, but it works. Please note that I have only tested this on a standard Sky box. Could those of you with Sky+ or Sky+HD either confirm or deny whether this works for you as well? Many thanks. Update on 18/06/11: For Sky+ please scroll further down the article for more information.
This article assumes you already have:
- A Sky box installed and working in one of your rooms
- A basic working knowledge of coaxial (TV aerial) connectors
Now, you have two options;
1) Get Sky multiroom which is “£10 a month per additional box on top of your Sky TV subscription and mirrors your channel package” yet enables you to “enjoy different Sky TV programmes in different rooms at the same time”. At £10 a month per additional box, this is quite costly, I think you’ll agree.
2) Use the method I am about to explain. below. In Sky-speak, you’ll still “get all your Sky TV channels on another TV ” like in option 1 but you won’t be able to “enjoy different Sky TV programmes in different rooms at the same time”. However, you’ll be pleased to know that after initial setup costs, this method is free; no extra subscription charge per month.
What you’ll need
Assuming you’ve chosen option 2 (good choice, I might add) then you will need to buy the following:
- Plenty of coaxial cable for what you require
- 1 Marmitek Powermid Receiver
- A Marmitek Powermid Transmitter for every room you want to get Sky TV in
- An additional ‘Rev8′ Sky remote for every room you want to get Sky TV in
- An aerial booster which splits the signal into at least 4 more cables
Regarding the Marmitek Powermids, I recommend the Marmitek PowerMid XL infrared extender set from Amazon.co.uk which gives you 1 transmitter and 1 receiver. If your Sky box is hidden away in a cupboard then you can connect an optional Marmitek IR Eye infrared extender cable to the receiver and you can control your Sky Box without having to open the cupboard doors. If you want to extend Sky to more than one extra room of your house, then you’re going to need additional transmitters.
You need to run a coaxial cable from one of your RF Output ports on the back of your Sky box, to the aerial input on the booster/splitter. Then you just add additional coaxial cables running off from the splitter to the different rooms in your house where you want Sky TV.
Additionally, you can also blend or merge your terrestrial signal with your Sky signal, using a simple 2-way splitter before feeding the cable into the input. This enables you to watch different terrestrial TV channels in any room with the addition of Sky.
After the Digital Switchover: If you blend your Sky signal (from the RF Output) with your terrestrial signal, you can also receive Freeview. Even before the switchover, this is currently possible. You just hook up a Freeview box on your other TVs like you normally would, and you’re away. If you’ve got TVs with Freeview built-in, you don’t need a box.
A little snag
Sky of course, don’t want you to do this. They want you to get Sky Multiroom and pay them an extra £10 a month. You may need to enable RF Output on your Sky box. To do this, press ‘Services’ on the Sky remote, then type 4 0 1 and press ‘Select’ then select Option 4 “RF outlets”. This should enable you to watch Sky TV on any other room in your house via a coaxial cable.
The End Result
Remember those Marmitek Powermids? You just plug the receiver into the mains and set it up so that it is facing your Sky box. You then simply place a transmitter in each of your rooms next to your TV, facing towards you. With your additional Sky remotes, this enables you to change your Sky TV channel on your Sky box, without being in the room where the box actually it is.
Important note: If people are watching Sky TV in multiple rooms, then they will have to watch the same Sky channel, as if you change a Sky channel with the remote, you will change the Sky channel on all the TVs watching it. Feel free to do what you want with terrestrial though.
The Digital Switchover and more
Once you have all your equipment set up, you’ll have to re-scan your channels to find your Sky signal. It will appear on analogue due to the RF Output on the Sky Box being analogue. In areas which have not switched over to digital, you can stick the Sky channel on anything you want. Personally, I stuck the Sky channel on channel 6. So I had BBC 1, BBC 2, ITV 1, Channel 4, Five, and the Sky Channel on 6.
After the digital switchover, you will only be able to get channels 1 to 5 on digital through a digital set-top box (a Freeview box), or through your TV’s built-in digital capability. Channels 1 to 5 will disappear on analogue, but your Sky channel will remain on channel 6. So in effect, you don’t need to mess about with analogue again. You will, however, need to re-scan for digital channels each time they alter the signal when turning analogue off in stages (as the specific frequencies of channels on digital are changed to boost signal strength).
Specifically for Sky+
Patricia got in touch with me about Sky+ and came up with the following solution:
It worked ok on my Sky+ box but it took some time to find RF outlet on the new type menu: So…SERVICES down to OPTIONS > SETTINGS press select >> PICTURE…(put in ) 401 ..select ..scroll along to RF out …select
If there are any mistakes in this article, please let me know and I’ll endeavour to correct them as quickly as possible. I hope you’ve found this information useful.
See also: You might also be interested in one of my other posts, ‘Tips to speed up your home network‘.