TV over Ethernet????

So... I had long considered using my desktop as a PVR. Already have a cable modem, I would really just need a Video Card and a splitter.
That would take care of getting the signal to the computer, but... what about getting it to the TV?

I already have a CAT5 cable going to the TV. The desktop actually plus into a router, and from that router the CAT5 goes to a switch beside the TV. The Xbox and DVR both use that cable. I don't want to run a Coax cable through the attic.

So... Can I run a TV signal over Ethernet? What would I need? Some sort of Coax-to-Ethernet adapter? Do they even make these?

BTW, If I do this I was thinking of running MythTV or something to record my shows... But... can that run in the background 24/7, with users logging on/off? Many people use this PC with diff accounts, so if logging off causes MythTV to shut down, it may not be worth it.
Who is Participating?
arthurjbConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Exactly, and with a software package called DVArchive and another called Womble, you can download the video from the replaytv, (and upload to it) and  create dvds from the downloaded shows.

Certainly, the replay tv option is not the most glamarous, but except for the mostly free software, you have everything you need already, without having to run any wires or buy any boards...

I have one to watch TV over my home network and even outside of my home network. I can even control my DirectTV / TiVo box!
zacdlAuthor Commented:
I would prefer not to pay for anything though, plus I don't need to have access away from home.
Cloud Class® Course: MCSA MCSE Windows Server 2012

This course teaches how to install and configure Windows Server 2012 R2.  It is the first step on your path to becoming a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE).

>Can I run a TV signal over Ethernet? What would I need? Some sort of Coax-to-Ethernet adapter? Do they even make these?

Video signals are intended to run through shielded cables not cat 5, I have seen adapters to allow you to use cat 5, such as thiese;

But then you still have to get the audio to the tv also.

In my opinion you would be better off to get an ATI All-In-Wonder card which outputs an rf tv signal, meaning that you only have to run a single coax to the tv.  This card will also take the cable signal and can be setup as a personal dvr.

The box that you use for tv should be a dedicated box, since recording and playing video takes a lot of processing power, your users would notice the slowdown, as would the tv viewer(s).

On another note, it is a tough job and takes a lot of tweaking, which is why most people don't do it this way (yet).  
I'd actually recommend looking into getting a mod chip in that Xbox (or softmodding it - from what I hear you can softmod these days and still use Xbox live) and using Xbox Media Center to play the recorded videos over the network via shared folders.

As for the processing power - it's not that much if you purchase a video capture card with a dedicated MPEG2 chip.  Plus, playback if it's just a shared file isn't that resource intensive either.  Hauppauge's PVR150, 250, etc. cards all use hardware capture chips - they're also the most supported by software like MythTV.

zacdlAuthor Commented:
So, I would have to save all the shows to the PC, send it to the Xbox, then send it to the TV? That means I would have to buy a TV Card for the PC as well as modding the Xbox, instead of just needing the TV Card.
No matter what, if you want to do this, you will have to buy a tv card for the pc.  
The ATI All-In-Wonder comes with all the software necessary to set up a pc dvr, including the program listings, just like on a cable box...

I missed the xbox part of the equation.  

There are some mod chips that would allow you to transfer the tv shows to the xbox via the existing ethernet network.  But an expert would not tell you that you should break license agreements to get to your solution.  Installing the chip requires electronic knowledge and soldering ability, and a small mistake will ruin the xbox.  Also if you use xbox live, the system can ban boxes that have been chipped.  In some countries the mod chips are illegal...

The proper solution would be to upgrade to an xbox 360 and use the media center;

You will still need a tv card for the pc, but you won't have to run any other cables, just install the software from the second link above, and you wll be able to send video, pictures, and music through the xbox 360 to the tv...

I stand by my previous statement that the pc that you use for media be a seperate box from what you use for your everyday use.  Especialy since you mention that many people use the machine. That way if you crash or reboot your work system, you do not loose the shows being recorded, and you don't slow down either your work or the tv process.
zacdlAuthor Commented:
But do they have a ethernet-to-coax converter?
You will not need a TV tuner card in your PC to watch movies from the SlingMedia Box, I at one time was interested in a solution as you are asking about zacdl and wasn't very lucky and finding anything that worked well enough. Before the SlingMedia box I even tried Wireless video / audio transmitters to do the trick but all those solutions turned out to be junk to put it kindly. Even SharperImage who usually has higher quality products at a much inflated price had a solution that made me disgusted. I myself will monitor this post closely as well, if there is a solution I would like to know it. I mean, my home isn’t wired for Ethernet from top to bottom, but using a wireless game router I can rig it to work. So far, the SlingMedia, although not in High Definition quality like I like, seems to do the trick for me. And with the IR remote I can even remotely control the TV / TiVo / DVR devices!

Good Luck!
I found this, not sure if you conver coax to ethernet then back again if it will work, I would love to know if this would work or not and how quality would factor in? Problem with Coax is you can loose quality and so for the Videophile in me, I wouldn't like this solution...
UPDATE: I asked the seller of the device above if it was possible to transmit video with this convesion device:

No.  This is used for data, ie. Token Ring networks.
Sean Milheim
President, CTO
iDREUS Corporation

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, May 03, 2006 1:49 PM
To: Sean Milheim; Sean Milheim
Subject: Enquiry from SHOPiDREUS.COM

With this can I take my coax connector from my TV Tuner, convert it to
deliver video over ethernet?

Ethernet UTP/COAX Translator
zacdlAuthor Commented:
Good try though...
I even hate spending the $$ on a TV Card. Much less for items for the Xbox too. That is why I am looking for a solution for video over Ethernet. I know it can be done, because there are plenty of people out there who video conference with plain ol' Ethernet.

I will only have about a 60GB partition for the shows too, holds a handful of movies (And many TV shows). Basically all I would need it for- I  don't "pack-rat" recordings. I delete them after I am done with them.
>there are plenty of people out there who video conference with plain ol' Ethernet

This statement is a complete misunderstanding of the technology.

The "video conferencing" setup has a computer which has a tv out put to drive the tv.  There are hundreds (often thousands) of dollars of equipment at each end of the conference.

The "video" does not actualy travel over the ethernet in the same sense that a tv signal travels over a coaxial cable.  The video over ethernet is actually ip packets encoded with information that is decoded into a video signal that travels the last few feet to the tv over a coaxial cable.

If the tv was located within about 6 feet of your computer you could do the same thing without having to buy a bunch of hardware.

No matter what you are going to have to buy a tv card for your computer, how else do you expect the tv signal to go from your cable tv service into youur computer.

This is where tech people have a hard time explaining the deep features of technologies.  Even though the same physical cable brings both tv signals and internet into your house, it does not mean that you computer will be able to decode the tv signal and that your tv will be able to decode the ethernet signal, they are two different and diverse technoligies.

1.  Buy a MPEG2-in-hardware TV tuner (PVR150 from Hauppauge is a good start).
2.  Make sure your video card has svideo-out, or buy one that does.
3.  Put your PC within 5 feet of your TV that you intend to use to watch the shows.
4.  Buy MS Media Center 2005, Showshifter, or similar for PVR functionality.
5.  Buy a remote control compatible with the above.
6.  Manage it, manage software updates, manage administration of it.  


Buy a used TiVo or ReplayTV with lifetime service.

Your choice...

(I own 2 3000-series ReplayTVs and a Media Center 2005 box.  I enjoy the MCE2005 box the most, but I'm pretty it gives me 2 analog tuners and 1 digital tuner, in one device.)
zacdlAuthor Commented:
I already have a ReplayTV with lifetime service, I just hate the software it runs. Plus sometimes it gives me troubles, seems "buggy" at times.
You didn't mention the ReplayTV before.

If the ReplayTV is one of the newer ones that uses ethernet, and is connected to your home network, you can send and recieve shows using it.
zacdlAuthor Commented:
It uses Ethernet. But not everyone has a Replay TV, and I really dislike the interface.
dcliveConnect With a Mentor Commented:
The point, though, is that the ReplayTV can record the show, and then you can pull the data over ethernet to any PC, and then watch the show.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.