Your Digital Media Has Never Looked So Good

Topic Author
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:03 pm

Using RF Modulator

Sun Jun 29, 2008 6:37 pm

I can watch Roku/Netflix on my elderly TV via an RF Modulator. However, when the Roku is connected to the RFM I can no longer receive cable on the TV. If I change channels I just get noise. This is a single channel RFM. If I connect a DVD player to the RFM I can use the TV tuner by simply turning the DVD off, but of course, the Roku does not have an off mode. I also tried connecting the Roku to the DVD player and the DVD player to the RFM, but that didn't work.

I would think that all I would need to do here is change the channel, but it doesn't work. Is my RFM just crap? Do I need a switching RFM. Any ideas?
Posts: 177
Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2008 11:53 am

Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:49 am

If I were you, I'd just get a switch. It's not very elegant because you can't use a remote to do the switching, or if you do, you have yet another remote laying around.

Perhaps using a more sophisticated modulator where you could assign your own channel choice and then use a combiner might work.

However, this is yet another reason why Roku should incorporate an on/off sequence in this box.
Posts: 535
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:17 pm

Tue Jul 08, 2008 11:41 am

Do you have a VCR? You could connect the output of the Roku box to the AV input of the VCR. That would work around the problem of the Roku box being on all the time, you just set the VCR to use the AV input when you want to use the Roku box.

If your VCR has two sets of AV inputs, you could connect your DVD player to the other set of AV inputs on the VCR, and possibly dispense with the RF modulator altogether.
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:44 pm

Sat Jul 19, 2008 9:45 pm

I doubt that would work DVDs can't be usually connected to VCRs (stupid anticopy system)
Posts: 308
Joined: Sun Jul 20, 2008 8:38 am

Re: Using RF Modulator

Sun Jul 20, 2008 12:26 pm

svejk wrote:
I can watch Roku/Netflix on my elderly TV via an RF Modulator. However, when the Roku is connected to the RFM I can no longer receive cable on the TV. If I change channels I just get noise. This is a single channel RFM.

That's pretty much how most low end RF modulators work, not matter what video source you are using them with. While they are a simple/cheap way to hookup video sources (ROKU box, video games, DVD players, etc) to an older TV, they also cause interference with many of the other "channels" on the TV at the same time. So the problem isn't the NetFlix Player per se, its the technology you are using to hook it up to your older TV.

There are many solutions to this problem, depending upon how fancy you want to get (and how much money you want to spend). However, IMHO the cheapest/easiest solution is to just get a manual video switch, and hook both your antenna (or cable) and your modulator box up to that switch. Then you can just flip the switch for which you want to watch. Since TV (video) switches of this sort start at under $10 (and even the ones that handle more than 2 video sources often can be had for under $30), this is a cheap and simple solution to implement. And this solution does save you having to swap cables around all the time. However, such a solution does have one (minor) drawback, because those cheap video switches are mechanical switches. So unless you want to spend a lot more for a video switch with a remote control, you will be stuck with walking up to the TV (to flip the video switch) whenever you want to change between the ROKU box and you other video source(s).

Of course, (if you have the money) you could also consider upgrading your TV to one that has built-in support for directly plugging into the ROKU. For example, a year or three back, I was able to buy a 20" standard definition stereo TV (i.e. not HD, but still a decent normal TV for the price, including stereo sound), for under $150 at Walmart (and such TVs are still available for similar prices, or even cheaper, if you look around). And that TV not only had direct AV inputs, it actually had two sets of them (on in the front and one in the back), in addition to the normal "antenna" input. So I'm able to directly hook up my cable TV (via the "antenna" input) and my DVD player (via one of the TV's video inputs) and my ROKU box (via the other set of AV inputs on the TV). And since this is all directly hooked up to my TV, I can easily choose between the video sources (cable TV, DVD, or ROKU) via the TV's remote (no "interference" at all, nor any need to mess with a "modulator"). Of course, there is nothing preventing you from buying a fancy HDTV if you like, and a newer HDTV will help you be prepared for the newer digital TV that is coming, I'm just pointing out that it's not necessary to spend that much money on a TV just to get video inputs (as cheaper TVs are still on the market).

And many even fancier options are available for a price. For example, there are fancy remote controlled video switches that you can get (so that you could choose your video source from a universal remote control), but they aren't nearly as cheap as the simple mechanical video switches. And it's even possible with some fancy (and reasonably expensive) modulator equipment, to give yourself a special high numbered "cable channels" on your TV while also having the normal cable channels work (so that everything can just be tuned in with the TV remote). But such solutions (while fancy/elegant) are moderately costly (many of the fancier modulators cost more than a low end TV, for example). So unless you really have the money to spend (in which case why not just get a newer HDTV with multiple hookups and be done with it?), going with a simple mechanical video switch (or buying a new decent standard def TV with multiple video inputs), is probably your best bet.

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