TiVo Series3 Multi-Room Viewing Is Here! (sort of)

While twiddling my thumbs waiting for the official Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) and TiVoToGo (TTG), I went ahead and cobbled together my own very nice MRV solution.

I’ve read online that the max distance for a non-amplified HDMI cable run may not meet my needs, but quite a few vendors offer long HDMI cables. So I took the plunge and paid $51.01 (including shipping) for Monoprice’s most expensive 35′ HDMI cable. That allowed the living room Series3 to power the 42″ plasma locally via component, while simultaneously powering the 30″ bedroom HDTV via HDMI (with the help of a $5 13/16″ drill bit) as shown below. Video and audio come through very well, and there’s no indication that the source TiVo is out of range.

The next challenge is remotely controlling the TiVo… And at the same time this plan was percolating, Monster offered me their Harmony-powered IR+RF remote (AVL300) for review (MSRP $400). I’ve programmed it to control the bedroom TV via IR and the livingroom Series3 via RF. Response through the walls and around corners has been instantaneous, again with no indication the TiVo is located somewhere else.

Overall, this solution is very nice. I’m enjoying the immediate playback from a remote DVR, including HD content… unlike TiVo’s Multi-Room Viewing which doesn’t always stream (standard def content) real-time without having to wait for the buffer to build. I also like the idea of having one DVR to manage, though I’m limited to recording on the two Series3 tuners. (I still have a Humax DVD-burning TiVo in the bedroom… for now.)

So what’s next… I haven’t tacked down the HDMI cable yet or dressed up the hole in the wall. I intend to explore more solutions for controlling the TiVo from another room, since not everyone is in the market for a $400 remote. Smarthome offers several possibilities, at lower price points, such as IR over Coax and the Powermid IR/RF set. Also expect a full review of the Monster remote in the next month or so. I can already tell you that I really appreciate the small five-way joystick and prefer the matte grip over the Harmony equivalent (890).

10 thoughts on “TiVo Series3 Multi-Room Viewing Is Here! (sort of)”

  1. PS In the last 24 hours something weird has happened. My Series3 remote no longer controls my Series3 when the switch is on 1, and the Monster remote has also stopped. (The remote works on 2.) However, the Series2 remote controls the S3 on both 1 and 2. Have no idea what’s going on and settings indicated my remote code is still on zero. Maybe Megazone has some ideas…

  2. I did something similar with my Series 2 TiVo, I used a TV Spider to broadcast my TiVo on channel 125 to all TVs in my house using the existing coax in the wall. I also hooked up a RF Remote Converter that allows each room to have a separate TiVo remote that controls the one TiVo. The TV Spider doesn’t allow HD but for a Series 2 TiVo it works well.

  3. Not a bad plan. I’ve been using a Slingbox Pro to send the S3 signals around and taking my laptop into the bedroom. Good throughput with just a WiFi connection…

  4. AG, Awesome link – thanks! I think I know what happened. When I had the TiVoHD in here for review, I programmed the 1 switch for a different code to control it… and totally forgot about it. I reset that to code 0 and everything is fine now. I think the Harmony/Monster issue is related to losing sync with the little RF puck. I’ll futz with that in a bit.

    Bravo, We too use the PRO and S3 – for our den TV on a 21″ LCD monitor. And using the laptop in the bedroom when Melissa is watching something lame like Dancing with the Stars. ;)

  5. Glad to help. I had the same problem when setting up my Harmony 880’s to work with my multiple S3s.

    For what it’s worth, I went high end on video distribution. I have two S3’s, a cable box and a DVD Changer running through a Neothings Borrego 8×4 matrix switcher running to the centrally-located TV and to three other zones. Each zone has its own Harmony 880. The Borrego, by the way, was fairly economical. Gets me full-blown HD video distribution for approximately $1250, not including the cost of running RG6 to each zone.

  6. Dave I have a similar setup for my Tivo Series 2. I’m using the 8 device One For All 9910 IR/RF remote in the bedroom coded to work exactly like the 8910 in my living room. You can get both remotes in a combo deal for $50 from Amazon. I used free JP1 software to program them exactly the way I wanted including start up macros. Like your experience there is no difference in response time in the bedroom and living room. JP1 software and instructions are here: http://www.hifi-remote.com/jp1/

  7. Mike, that’s a nice price for that functionality. The problem I think I’m going to run into by not going the IR over Coax route is that both my TV’s are Panasonic and when I’m not in the livngroom, I really want the plasma off.

  8. I have used both IR extenders (X10 Powermid, Terk, etc) and the URC-9910. All are pretty spotty for me, even one room away. Sometimes they work fine, other times its a struggle. They all do RF in the 400-450mhz range, which I think is the trouble. I have no trouble with 2ghz phones or wifi.

    I don’t know what the Harmony uses. However, I really would like to find a remote or extender that was rock solid and used a higher frequency. An IP/Wifi based unit would be optimal.

  9. I believe Harmony and Monster use Z-Wave which is in the low 900s MHz. I never did get around to troubleshooting the remote. When I get home, I’ll have to fix it.

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