Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

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Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby lostnaz » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:29 pm

All my RCA jacks on TV are used for a DVD-R player/recorder. Can I hook up Roku to my Cox cable box? There already is a VCR hooked up to cable box but if it would work, I would be willing to swap out for Roku.

Running out of places to try.....any help appreciated. TV is not HD, so HDMI will not work.

This is a second TV so looking to stream Netflix and HuluPlus like I have in Living Room, but on non HD TV.

Thanks!
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby kumasuki » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:15 pm

lostnaz wrote:All my RCA jacks on TV are used for a DVD-R player/recorder. Can I hook up Roku to my Cox cable box?

You need a composite (RCA) switch - connecting the Roku via another device (DVD player, cable box, etc) will likely result in picture distortion.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby lostnaz » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:43 pm

kumasuki wrote:
lostnaz wrote:All my RCA jacks on TV are used for a DVD-R player/recorder. Can I hook up Roku to my Cox cable box?

You need a composite (RCA) switch - connecting the Roku via another device (DVD player, cable box, etc) will likely result in picture distortion.


kumasuki....So the Roku is hooked up to the switch and then an RCA cable outputs to what?

I was wondering if I can run the Roku to my dvd recorder (source in) and use that as an rf modulator? It has options for other auxillery inputs. The dvd recorder is hooked directly to the RCA inputs on the TV.

Thanks for your help....
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby mkiker2089 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:47 pm

The general consensus is no, you can't hook it to anything but a TV. People have tried and Netflix's DRM prevents it. You'll get a distorted unwatchable picture. The other channels may work but since Netflix is the big draw I'd assume you want it to work.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby kumasuki » Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:18 am

lostnaz wrote:kumasuki....So the Roku is hooked up to the switch and then an RCA cable outputs to what?

Roku --> switch --> TV
The purpose of a switch is connecting more than one device to a single input on a TV - so you can put both the DVD player and the Roku on the switch and then output to the TV (using the TV's RCA inputs). There are also switches to hook up 3 or even 4 devices to 1 input.
lostnaz wrote:I was wondering if I can run the Roku to my dvd recorder (source in)

This would be no better than trying to go thru the cable box.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby renojim » Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:56 am

I have both of my Rokus connected through VCR/DVD combo units with no problems. I'd say there's a good chance you can connect it through your DVD recorder.

-JT
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby sinman1 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:21 am

I could be wrong, but I'm almost certain that I connected my Roku thru my dvd recorder with RCA plugs when I first got it. I haven't tried anymore tho.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby krisbee » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:28 am

The Roku is supposed to have Macrovision which varies the line level and messes up some devices. It is an intentional error put into the signal to deter copying. Some devices ignore the error and you'd never know it was there. When a device is plugged in directly into a TV this issue isn't present.

The best thing to do is buy a composite a/b switch at radio shack for $20 and be done with it. You will get three or four inputs, and have no issues at all. They work great. Remember, you are already sacrificing picture quality using composite (as I am as well), so don't degrade the quality any more than it needs to be by going through another device.

Unless you are trying to save the video you are watching on the DVD Recorder, in which case - do what you will. In the old VCR to VCR days they used sell a box to defeat Macrovision in case you had your signals going through multiple devices...
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby mchasal » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:48 am

I also have Roku going through a VCR. I'm using it as an RF modulator to distribute the Roku feed to secondary TVs in the house, works fine. I believe Macrovision only affects an actual recording, not just the device passthru.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby kb01 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:07 am

I just use an old fashioned RCA switch (with manual buttons) for my setup. It supports up to four separate devices and I've never had any problems with it.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby SuetyStanes » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:32 am

mkiker2089 wrote:The general consensus is no, you can't hook it to anything but a TV. People have tried and Netflix's DRM prevents it. You'll get a distorted unwatchable picture. The other channels may work but since Netflix is the big draw I'd assume you want it to work.


I'm not sure this is true. I've seen posts on these forums from others plugging it into a DVD player or VCR and working.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby mkiker2089 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:44 am

I've also seen posts where people have run into macrovision issues with Netflix content. Macrovision does exist on some of their movies.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby SuetyStanes » Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:07 am

mkiker2089 wrote:I've also seen posts where people have run into macrovision issues with Netflix content. Macrovision does exist on some of their movies.


I guess I haven't seen those. I was mostly quibbling about this:

mkiker2089 wrote:The general consensus is no, you can't hook it to anything but a TV. People have tried and Netflix's DRM prevents it.


Which I don't think is true, as stated. Maybe some of the content on Netflix (Starz content only maybe?), but not some Netflix DRM. And "general consensus" doesn't seem to hold true either.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby lostnaz » Wed Feb 16, 2011 11:27 pm

Thanks...using a switch sounds fine, just want to hook it up correctly.

Ok, so it would be Roku --> switch --> TV input. Then I would move the dvd recorder rca cables that are in the "tv input" to the switch so the dvd recorder can still get a signal to record from the TV? Then use the a/b switch to move between the dvd recorder (for playback or recording) and the roku? Confused about where the recorder cables should be and if the switch will interfere with recording from the TV to the dvd recorder.

Not looking to record from the Roku.
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Re: Can Roku be connected via Cable box? Help please...

Postby kumasuki » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:01 am

lostnaz wrote:Ok, so it would be Roku --> switch --> TV input. Then I would move the dvd recorder rca cables that are in the "tv input" to the switch
Yes, one set of R/W/Y cables connects the Roku to the switch and another set of R/W/Y cables connects the DVD recorder to the switch; and a 3rd set of R/W/Y cables connects the switch to the TV (where the DVD device used to connect directly).

lostnaz wrote:. . so the dvd recorder can still get a signal to record from the TV?

Not exactly - in so far as the DVD recorder does not 'get' anything from the TV itself (even under your original arrangement). DVD recorders get TV signals either from an antenna being connected to it or from your cable TV provider - in which case a heavier RG58 cable (the one with the needle sticking out) is connected to the back of the DVD recorder. This should be the case now - and needn't change.

P.S. it's possible to have a splitter on the cable installed by the cableTV provider - in this case the cable can be directly connected to both the TV and the DVD recorder (they each have a tuner). Some like it that way so that they can watch TV without the DVD recorder being on all the time. Without a splitter, all TV transmissions are coming through the DVD recorder whether you're recoding anything or not. (Either way, none of this needs to change to have the Roku and DVD recorder on a switch.)
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