Sky Multiroom

If you already have a Sky subscription and pay an additional £10 per month (at the time of writing) you can have an additional viewing card that gets the same programmes as your existing card. This means that you can have a Sky+ twin-tuner Digibox installed (with a quad-output LNB on the dish) and keep your old Digibox for use upstairs, for example. Or you can simply buy a new or used Sky Digibox to use with your existing one. You will also need a twin-output or quad-output LNB on your minidish. If you want more outputs you will need a dish with a 40mm clamp and an OCTO LNB (8 outputs) or a QUATTRO LNB and a "multiswitch". These are available with up to 16 outputs. The equivalent of having 16 outputs on an LNB.

However, one of the conditions for the multiroom "mirror card" is that BOTH of your Sky Digiboxes must be connected to the same phone line. If you were planning to install your second Digibox in a bedroom, this, together with the LNB cable, could be difficult to achieve, and messy!

BUT - the diagram, below, shows that you can install BOTH receivers in the main room so all you need is a single coaxial cable going to the bedroom.

Sky Multiroom

(Diagram taken from the eBook "Piping TV Around the House" by kind permission of the author).

If you connect everything as shown, you'll be able to tune in the signal from both Digiboxes and the VCR and the Freeview box upstairs but you'll only be able to control the standard Sky Digibox from upstairs via the Remote Extender. However, if you use a "Plus Combiner" you should be able to control both.

How do Sky know if I have both Digiboxes connected to my phone line?

Sky can send a signal via satellite to tell each Digibox to "phone home". Sky's computer can see the phone number and the serial number of each Digibox. (If your phone number is normally withheld you must enter the 1470 prefix in the menu of each Digibox!)

Why does Sky insist that I have both Digiboxes connected to my phone line?

It is to stop you from lending your Digibox and mirror card to someone else who ought to be paying the full subscription.

Click HERE for more information.

How often do Sky check this?

Nobody knows for certain but my guess is: about once a month.

I can't fit an extension phone socket. The master socket is too far away. Is there a wireless solution?

Do a search for "Wireless phoneline extension". There's is a kit which plugs into the mains socket and sends the phone connection through your 230 volt house wiring.

So can I take my Digibox and card on holiday without Sky finding out?

Only if it doesn't coincide with Sky's monthly (?) check. If they find your Digibox is not connected, they will send you a warning letter. If they find it's not connected a second time, they'll probably invoice you for TWO full subscriptions, backdated to the day you signed the contract.

Is there any workaround?

Only a very long phone extension lead!

However, it may be feasible for you to leave both Digiboxes connected at home and take a different Digibox on holiday with one of your viewing cards. You would then be able to watch only the non-premium channels.

There is, of course, a good argument for NOT leaving anything plugged in while you are away from home. The Fire Brigade and the Police recommend unplugging everything, on the grounds of safety. Unfortunately, Sky's lawyers would probably eat you for breakfast.

Wher do I put the new card?

If you are (for example) upgrading a standard Digibox to Sky+ at the same time then your existing card MUST be activated in the NEW Digibox and the multiroom card MUST be put in the existing Digibox. If you do it any other way, the Sky computer system gets confused!

Now all the equipment is in the main room where you will (hopefully) have a phone socket (double adapter needed) and a power socket extension. The sketch, above, shows a "typical" installation but, of course, there's no such thing as typical. It probably won't work with your equipment!

If you have a Freeview receiver, connect the aerial to it. That ensures it gets the best possible signal. If you don't have a Freeview receiver, remember that analogue TV will be discontinued soon. Plan ahead!

Ideally, everything should be "daisy-chained" so you get a choice of viewing upstairs. Also, in an ideal situation, everything should be connected to the main TV set via Scart leads, to ensure the best picture and stereo sound. The Sky Digibox has to be "scarted" to the VCR unless you reverse the order and connect the VCR after the SKY1 Digibox, in which case you can use RF (but the picture will be worse and you'll get mono audio from Sky). The same applies to Freeview. Use Scart if possible.

By now you are realising that this doesn't quite fit with what you have or want to do! I know you are going to ask: "How can I wire up MY equipment?" But I'm not an expert so please don't ask ME. I suggest you make your own sketch like this and upload it to a web site. Then post your enquiry in a discussion forum. Be sure to indicate ALL inputs and outputs on your sketch AND the make and model of each item, clearly labelled. Believe me, it will be worth it because those who are experts will have a much better chance of telling you the correct connections.

The main advantage of having the equipment downstairs (apart from less clutter in the bedroom) is that you have only one cable going back to the bedroom. You can use this with a "magic eye" remote control extender so you can change channel in the bedroom.

TV link

If you also want to control the VCR, Freeview and DVD (not shown) then you'll need a "TVlink Plus" as well as the "magic eye" system. The "TVlink Plus" has additional infra-red "blasters" that you can position for the other equipment to "see".

tvlink plus

Instead of running the RF2 cable direct to the bedroom, you could run it to a suitable Distribution amplifier ("amplified splitter") which is compatible with the remote extender systems, or to a "Loft Box". You could then feed two or more bedrooms with the signals from the main room and be able to control the equipment.

OK, there are endless possibilities but I'm going to stop here before I confuse myself!

Please DON'T email ME for advice. Go pester the equipment suppliers, read the eBook or ask in the forum.

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