I have 11 identical cable boxes (located together) going to 11 tvs, the remote controls all of them. I want to operate the boxes independently, 11 boxes, 11 different channels. Ideas how to accomplish this?
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You didn't give the model number, or the cable provider. From JPEG title, model is Motorola DCX 3200?
Throwing a list of ideas at you.
- Something to temporarily cover the infrared sensors on each box that you don't want the remote to control at any given moment?
- Similiar to idea #1. DSLReports forum post seems to indicate that if you plug a headphone jack into the EXT IR IN, this will block the regular front IR sensor. I guess as a poor (wo)man's solution you could plug 3.5mm headphone cables into all of them and then unplug only the one you want to control at any given moment. But this would require accessing the back of the units all the time, and unduly stressing the ports.
- There is an EXT IR IN (External Infrared Input), a Serial connection, and a USB port. Random forum guy had success with Spectrum cable. One IRBlaster.info page says to email if you have a DCX3200, because only "some" work. This page, on the same site, says "The EXT IR IN port on the Motorola DCX3200 and RNG150N boxes is not active. We recommend our USB IR Repeater or Dual Frequency IR Kit to locate this box behind closed doors".
- 32-bit Windows or any Mac OS X with appropriate IEEE1394 hookup should be able to do channel changes unless the cable provider disabled the port, as people have successfully captured video via this Firewire connection. But I dunno about trying to control multiple per computer.
With most cable providers you'll need to get 11 licenses in order to decrypt the video at each box. The alternative, which is what I do, is to use a video modulator (for SD video) or HDMI distribution box to send the same signal to all the TVs and then use an infrared distribution system (mine is hard-wired) to get the remote control signal to go back to the single cable box. For times where I want to watch a different channel from what is provided on the main system, I use a Fire Stick, or I use my over-the-air TV antenna mounted on my roof.
There are so many options for video that you don't always have to rely on the cable or satellite box for everything. Also, my "cable" company (AT&T Uverse) provides an app that lets me stream any channel I want, so I effectively get all the cable boxes I want, anywhere I want, for no extra money.
I misread the original post. It now appears to me that all you are asking about is how to control the VCRs with identical remotes, and have the remote from each room only control one of those eleven VCRs, and not affect the others.
If I am now understanding this correctly, this is a pretty simple problem to solve using "infrared flashers."
I mentioned in my earlier post that I use these flashers, but in my case I created a circuit that merges together the wires from each hard-wired IR receiver and routes them all to a single flasher in front of my single cable box. In your case, you want to do what is actually simpler: take each incoming wire (or incoming wireless signal) and attach an IR "flasher" to each one. These flashers are then stuck on to each cable box's IR receiver, using double-stick tape that is part of the flasher. The back side of the flasher is covered so the light doesn't reach the other equipment.
With this arrangement, each receiver is controlled only by the remote in a specific room, and the others will not respond to any remote except for the one that is routed to the flasher for that box.
An even better arrangement, if your equipment supports it, is to plug the output of the IR receiver directly into the IR port on the equipment. High-end A/V equipment, which is usually designed to be in a separate room and not in the open, often has these IR ports. Back in the day, these were often slightly non-standard and sometimes required a simple level shifter or inverter to complete the interface. Hopefully they are now all standardized.
The advantage of a hard-wired IR port is that it completely eliminates light leakage (sometimes enough light can leak from a flasher to activate a nearby identical box), avoids any issues with overload (the flashers are sometimes too bright when used at point-blank range), and also avoids any problems with the flashers being knocked off, or the adhesive failing.
As others have said, the AVS Forum is the place to get exact model numbers of the equipment you need. Also, you should visit the xantech.com site. They are the company that pioneered this technology.
Last edited by johnmeyer; 13th Feb 2020 at 12:15. Reason: added links
An issue not mentioned is that there no way a single incoming cable line can be split 11 ways. Even if you use a distribution amp, you'll lose signal strength and have additional noise. Also likely the cable company will notice something odd about the signal being sent as most newer cable boxes can send data both ways.