A growing number of people are turning to Google to search for an Alternative to Sky Multiscreen, perhaps this is because they feel that they are already paying Sky TV enough money through their monthly Sky Tv subscription and that the additional £11.25 per month just to watch their existing Sky Subscription package as a multiroom subscription is just too expensive to be able to watch Sky in more than one room. Unfortunately there is no way of simply cloning the existing Sky viewing card, in order to be able to buy a second Sky Box cheaply, as it would require a second card to be able to watch the subscribed Sky channels, so what other alternatives are there to Sky Multiscreen / Sky Multiroom?.
Fortunately, there two other perfectly legal ways in which you can watch your existing Sky Box in more than one room, and you will still be able to use the Sky Remote Control to change channel, view the Sky TV EPG and access the onscreen menus, without paying any extra subscriptions or paying Sky TV £11.25 per month for Sky Multiscreen.
Unfortunately, one drawback in using other Alternatives to Sky Multiscreen, is that it will not be possible to watch different Sky Channels in different rooms, so for example you would not be able to watch UK Gold in one room and then Sky Atlantic in another room, at the same time. This is because we will be using the signal from the existing Sky Box and sending it to one or more different rooms, so all of the rooms will be watching the same channel, and viewing exactly the same program.
Whilst this drawback may be an issue for the larger family, who all want to view different Sky Channels in different rooms, it will probably still be an attractive Sky Multiscreen alternative for single people, or couples who simply want to extend their Sky Tv viewing to a Bedroom, Kitchen, Study or Conservatory, and will also probably still appeal to families with young Children who want to monitor and control their Child’s TV viewing, it may also find a place in a holiday let, where the landlord wants to be able to extend the TV system to a bedroom in order to give more viewing flexibility to their guests, without having to install a second aerial or satellite dish. Owners of small B&B’s could also use these systems to provide a bonus Movie, News or Sports channel to TV’s in their guest rooms, from a remote Sky Box.
So lets discuss the available alternatives to Sky Multiscreen / Sky Multiroom
The humble Video Sender has been around now for several years, however the earlier models were riddled with problems and quickly gained a bad reputation for poor quality video and sound, and operating on a 2.4Ghz frequency they began to experience interference due to the growth of Wi-Fi systems which operated on the same 2.4Ghz frequency. Video Senders also used to suffer from interference from Microwave ovens, and the combination of this and Wi-Fi quickly drove most owners to resign their 2.4Ghz Video Sender Kits to the Cupboard.
However times have changed and technology has moved on, and the early 2.4Ghz Video Sender systems have been replaced by modern 5,8Ghz Systems, which are immune to local Wi-Fi and Microwave Oven interference. The higher power afforded by the 5,8Ghz system also means a better range, and a more stable signal, which also results in better picture quality and less break up.
Some new high speed Wi-Fi systems are also using the 5.8Ghz band, however the Video Sender systems come with a switchable frequency control, so if any interference is experienced between the Video Sender and Wi-Fi, then the channel on the Video Sender can be changed, and separation between the two systems re-established.
The Video Sender system consists of a kit of two pieces of hardware, a transmitter which connects to the Sky Box (or other medium), and plugs into the A/V terminals. An infrared dongle, also plugs into the transmitter box, and is positioned close to, or over the remote control sensor on the actual Sky Box. The second unit, a receiver, is positioned closed to the TV set in the second room, and once again the unit is plugged into the A/V sockets on the Television. The Video sender will then relay picture and audio to the A/V channel on the TV, pressing a key of the remote and pointing it at the receiver unit will also allow the channels to be changed, Sky EPG to be accessed as well as any onscreen menu from the second room.
If Sky Box reception to more than one extra room is required, then additional Video Sender receivers can be purchased, as required and several receivers can be run from one transmitter simply by selecting the same frequency on the receivers.
The only negative about the Video Sender system, is that it uses the component A/V ‘Phono’ sockets to send the video signal, and this may not be compatible with some Sky Boxes without the use of an adaptor. The lack of HDMI socket connection also means that the remote TV will be limited to the quality of the A/V outputs on the equipment and it will not be able to transmit in HD quality.
Video Senders are not just limited to working with Sky Boxes, they can be plugged into anything with A/V sockets, including CCTV Camera’s, Virgin Media / TIVO Boxes, DVD Players, Media Players, Openbox systems etc.
New onto the market in 2015, is a LAN Network based Video Sender system called a Full-HD HDbitT HDMI 1080P Extender which uses Cat5 and Cat6 style cables to transmit the Audio and Video from one room to another. Because this system uses a physical network it is often more stable than Wireless Video Senders over long distances, and unlike the Video Senders above, it will connect directly to an HDMI socket on the Sky Box and feed HD Video at up to 1080P quality along a line length distance of upto 120 Metres!. Full Infra Red control is also maintained, so you can change channel, access the Sky EPG and use all of the features available on the Sky Remote Control.
However, if you don’t like the idea of running long lengths of Cat5 network cable around the house, from room to room, then the System also has another advantage – it can be used with traditional Internet Routers and Powerline Network Adaptors to connect point-to-point with no loss whilst maintaining HD quality, so you can use your existing wired LAN internet network to also transmit video from your Sky Box from room to room.
From experience of using the HDbitT HDMI 1080P Extender system myself, I do however recommend using either a dedicated wired LAN network to link two or more HDbitT HDMI 1080P systems together, or using a Powerline Network System, rather than an existing internet network, as occasional video glitching was witnessed during heavy streaming or downloading over the internet, due to the lack of network capacity available over the cables. I personally now use a Sumvision 1000 Mbps Mains Powerline Kit to connect the HDbitT HDMI 1080P Transmitter and Receiver together, in order to view my Sky Box on a TV upstairs and this method seems to work flawlessly. If you intend on using an existing Powerline Adaptor Set, then please ensure that it works at a minimum of 500 mbps speed (1000 mbps is recommended if using 1080P video quality)
Sadly the HDbitT HDMI 1080P Extender system will not work over Wi-fi, so you will not be able to connect it over any Router Wifi, only a physical internet network LAN cable system or Powerline Mains Adaptors will work. However there are Wireless Versions of the HDbitT HDMI 1080P Extender system, now available, which produce a completely wireless system, albeit more expensive than the standard basic system.