My Dream–Easy to use, minimal wires, multi-sources watched from multiple TVs

I am not a HiFi or AV buff.  I just want to be able to watch TV with a decent setup.  My goals are:

  • Must be able to watch from family room then later go and watch in bedroom
  • Must be able to watch Foxtel (pay TV) from at least these two rooms, including changing which channel to watch
  • Would like to support various other input sources such as VCRs and DVDs (the VCR was binned when it broke)
  • We got a video camera (a surveillance system) to put in the baby’s room – baby monitor with full video and night vision – which has been really useful I must say to check on kids without disturbing them

Note, I don’t want the Foxtel multi-room solution.  It involves having two IQ boxes, one per location.  This means if you record a problem on one box, you cannot view it on the other box.  This violates the desire to move rooms and pick up watching from wherever I was up to.

When we got our current house built, we put antenna cable to 8 different points around the house, with the intent of being able to use this to distribute the various AV sources out to different rooms.  We got a 4 input composite video RF mixer box that could convert the Foxtel, DVD, “baby monitor” etc into TV channels.  We could then watch the different sources on any TV in the house (once tuned up appropriately to the extra channels).  This actually was ideal – easy to use (just pick a different TV channel) and not many cables.  The only problem was the picture quality varied from pretty ordinary to down right terrible!

The main family room was OK (it had all the equipment locally, so direct wiring was possible to 5.1 sound system and plasma screen) – but the bedroom we ended up getting an AV transmitter/receiving unit (5.8Ghz?) with IR return.  This has worked OK.  Sometimes it does get temperamental however with interference.  With all the other RF in the house (cordless phones, Wifi, baby monitor etc) I guess its not surprising there is interference.

So my quest now is to work out how to do it all again now using the current state of the art in TV technology.  I plan to write up blog entries as I go in case of any use to anyone else.  These will however be the view of a novice, learning the technologies as I go, and often writing up about stuff I read rather than experience.  (I cannot afford to go buy equipment just to try things out!)

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