How to split a 4K Dolby Vision source such as Tivo EDGE to a 4K TV and to secondary rooms' 1080P TVs including Netflix & Amazon Prime and RF remote control
This article sets out to show which exact combination of components and settings I used to successfully allow my wife and I to watch the same thing on TV simultaneously, even when we're not in the same room. My home already had a 100' HDMI cable and a 75' CAT5e cable strung to two upstairs rooms, but our recent upgrade our Family Room TV to our first 4K TV meant I had to re-do EVERYthing about the way I was getting video upstairs. My old 1080P splitter certainly wasn't going to do.
This is not a sponsored post, all items were purchased by TinkerTry, LLC.
If our situation is similar to your situation, this article could be VERY helpful to you. I went down many online rabbit holes reading all sorts of schemes to handle today's reality of High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection. Folks have written a lot about defeating HDCP / stripping HDCP, / bypassing HDCP, but I wanted to see if I could get what I needed for my home without resorting to anything like that. I had SO many issues with the variety of 4K splitters I tried that didn't work, so you better believe it was quite a relief to find a solution that was both affordable and relatively simply. I'm always a fan of having as few points of failure as possible, and I was strongly motivated by my wife to avoid having to re-do any 75 or 100' lengths of wiring that involved creepign around our attic, especially since we recent re-did a section of popcorn ceiling where my leg went through from the attic from a mishap some years ago. Oops.
What works for us are fairly simple, affordable, and legal devices that are readily available on Amazon and other sources. It took months and a LOT of trial and error and frustration, as it was fairly easy to get video working in the remote rooms, but what was missing was audio when watching paid TV like Netflix or Amazon Prime on the TiVo. Argh. After many weeks of struggle, my sudden ah ha moment was to replace the remote room's HDMI audio with the digital audio coming from my TiVo EDGE's Opitcal TOSLINK connector. A quick search revealed exactly such a device exists. Tada! That was the final, crucial piece in this grueling-to-assemble puzzle, felt so good to see it all work out in the end.
My methods don't seem to be a strategy for remote video/audio distribution that I could find anywhere online, so I'm hopeful others will find that this article spares them of considerable frustration. Listed below, you'll see the exact pieces that worked for me. Your results may vary, especially if your situation isn't identical. HDMI TVs handshakes can be finicky, and new hardware versions and software/firmware versions come out products like these splitters and extenders. Also keep this in mind, while 4K 1x2 HDMI splitter might work fine, the 4K 1x4 HDMI splitter from the same company might not, something I learned the hard way!
After wrapping this project up, I actually bought a spare 4K splitter to have this extra on-hand, should one of my two splitters fail down the road some day. This is intended to greatly reducing the chances that I'll ever have to venture down this massive time-sink of trail-and-error misery again, and/or annoy my family again with sometimes multi-week delays in ordering that are rather understandable, given the pandemic era we're still very much in, spending extra time at home.
So let's get going, here's my list of stuff.
One 65" 4K OLED TV
OLED65CXPUA LG CX 65 inch Class 4K Smart OLED TV w/ AI ThinQ® bought at $650 off on Cyber Monday at BestBuy
Features HDMI 2.1, and is said to be 120 Hz FreeSync and G-Sync capable, which is not something I've tested since I don't own any such GPUs.
- One TiVo EDGE
FYI, what TiVo designed for multi-room viewing is the TiVo MINI VOX, each room with independent video and its own remote. But what if you just want to share what you're watching, like my wife and I sometimes enjoy doing? It's quite possible. Did you know you can pair multiple RF remotes to one TiVo EDGE? Their range is quite good, and they seem to easily work across multiple floors in my home. We don't want to pay for a subscription for an additional TiVo, so I'm pretty happy with this new configuration. So we now have the following home theater in our home. While a 4K and Dolby Atmos receiver with HDMI eARC would be preferred, using just the optical connector to our 11 year old Sony STR-DA5600ES Amplifier continues to do Dolby 7.1 quite nicely for us, after tweaking some lip sync timing, a common issue with HDMI audio.
TiVo Edge for Cable | Cable TV, DVR and Streaming 4K UHD Media Player with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos
- One Cyberpower UPS
CyberPower CP1350PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS System, 1350VA/810W, 10 Outlets, AVR, Mini-Tower,Black
- Two 4K HDMI Splitters
ROFAVEZCO 4K HDMI Splitter 1x2 HDR Vision Atmos 18Gbps- HDMI Scaler 4K 1080P Sync,4K HDMI Splitter 1 in 2 out 60Hz 4:4:4 HDCP2.2, EDID Scaler Panel Switch,Firmware Upgrade,USB Power,Windows IOS,Mini Case SP12H2
Mine are in a cascaded configuration, with the first one (attached to the TiVo) is set to EDID 4K which supports HDR Dolby Vision & Dolby Atmos too! The 2nd splitter is set to 2K, avoiding the COPY1 function in attempts to avoid possible learning issues after power outages. This first splitter also has the SCALER DIP switch set to OFF for HDMI OUT1 that goes to my 4K TV, and ON for the HDMI OUT2 that continues to the Injector. Why didn't I just go with the 1x4 version of this EZCO switch? Because then I wouldn't be able to inject Toslink digital audio into HDMI signal sent off to the remote TVs. Why inject digitial audio to replace the HDMI audio stream to the remote TVs? Because I had no sound over HDMI on those remote TVs when the TiVo edge was outputting Netflix or Amazon Prime content, perhaps an DRM/HDCP issue, not 100% sure. All I know is that this injection configuration actually works.
- Two 5V Power Adapters
CanaKit 5V 2.5A Raspberry Pi 3 B+ Power Supply/Adapter (UL Listed)
That's right, the EZCO splitters don't come with adapters, so I went with some quality power supplies with integrated noise filters, as I bumped into some strange issues when using some power bricks I happened to have laying around. While I'm not a fan of the Micro USB form factor as they don't lock in place particularly well and are vulnerable to damage due to lateral foroces. To mitigate the risk, I used a little bit of cable management and straight relieve to be sure things stay put, even when moving nearby things around.
- One TOSLINK Digital Audio to HDMI Injector
J-Tech Digital 18Gbps Digital/Analog Audio HDMI Embedder Inserter Support 4K@60Hz 4:4:4 HDR CEC HDCP2.2/1.4 with TOSLINK Optical 3.5mm Audio Input Options [JTECH-18GAE]
I set the slider switch to Optical.
- One Orei HDMI Extender
HDMI Extender Balun by Orei Upto 330 Feet 1080p Signal Over Single CAT5e/CAT6 Ethernet Cable, Deep Color, One to Many, IR Control (EX-330(Upgraded))
comes with power supplies and a Transceiver and Receiver pair, plug them in, and it just works, even with my 75' or so of older CAT5e cabling. Suprisingly, there is actually a pricier 4K-capable version of this OREI extender that can supposedly still use just a CAT5e cable, not something I've tested. The other advantage of that step-up model is no latency, lossless uncompressed video, and improved audio support, "Works with all HDMI 1.3, 1.4 and 2.0: Supports 3D andLPCM,Dolby-AC3, DTS7.1, DSD/Dolby /DTS-HD master audio." Mine doesn't support those standards, but I don't have an amplifier attached to my distant TV that would support those standards anyway. I'll still be testing it at 1080P soon though, and will update this article accordingly if I'm impressed by it.
- One 100' Active HDMI Cable
Monoprice HDMI High Speed Active Cable - 100 Feet - Black, 4K@60Hz, HDR, 18Gbps, 26AWG, YUV, 4:4:4, CL2 - Cabernet Ultra Active Series
While the cable I've been using for about 7 years is no longer on sale and I cannot find my receipt, this cable seems to be a newer, more-likely-to work variant at about about same price I paid back then. I had to get from my family, through to my basement, into a conduit to my attic, then back down to my 2nd floor room. Go with the shortest length you can get away with.
- One 75' CAT5e Ethernet Cable
Cables Direct Online Snagless Cat5e Ethernet Network Patch Cable Black 75 Feet
The exact cable I ran about a decade ago is a mystery, but this cable is equivalent. If you think you might use 4K video in the remote rooms someday, you really should use a CAT6, CAT7, nor even CAT8 cable for much more bandwidth and more brand choices of extender.
- Five 1' HDMI Cables
Monoprice High Speed HDMI Cable - 1 Feet - Black| Certified Premium, 4K@60Hz, HDR, 18Gbps, 36AWG, YUV, 4:4:4 - Ultra Slim Series
- One 1.6' HDMI Cable
4K HDMI Cable 1.6 ft High Speed (4K@60Hz, 18Gbps) HDMI 2.0 Cable - Supports 4K HDR, ARC, 3D, HDCP 2.2, 2160P, 1080P, Ethernet Compatible UHD TV, Blu-ray, X-Box, PS4/3, PC (1.6 Feet, Slim)
This cable goes from my 2nd 4K splitter to my CAT5e extender, where 1' just wasn't quite long enough, and 1.6' worked out nice, with a little less slack than I would have liked.
- One 10' 18Gbps HDMI Cable
4K HDMI Cable 10 ft High Speed (4K@60Hz, 18Gbps) HDMI 2.0 Cable - Supports 4K HDR, ARC, 3D, HDCP 2.2, 2160P, 1080P, Ethernet Compatible UHD TV, Blu-ray, X-Box, PS4/3, PC (10 Feet, Slim)
This cable goes from my first 4K splitter directly to my 4K LG TV, and needed the extra length to handle my articulated wall mount, and has the 18Gbps bandwidth capability that Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos requires, should I ever get such a receiver someday.
- One 2010 vintage 55" Sony Bravia KDL-55HX800 1080P TV from 2011 getting demoted from the family room to an upstairs room.
- One 2011 vintage 22" Samsung UN22D5000NF 1080P TV staying put in another upstairs room, with PIP for simultaneous use as a secondary computer monitor.
- Two TiVo LUX Remotes
TiVo LUX Remote| Tivo Edge and TiVo Bolt, Video Streaming, Voice Command, See in The Dark Display, C00305
That makes 3 RF remotes paired with our TiVo EDGE that seem to work flawlessly, even with voice commands, even through the floor and walls. Left in each of the upstairs rooms, with the volume and power set to control the local 1080P TV. A common experience, despite different brands of TV, very family friendly.
The products listed in this section below didn't work for my use case, they probably work just fine for other more common, exactly-as-intended use cases. They are likely perfectly fine products. While I’m a bit embarrassed to share this list, the hope is that I can spare others from some trial-and-error hassle:
Which HDMI splitters did I try that didn't work (blank or flickering or corrupt video) for my particular, somewhat unusual remote TV application?
- TESmart HDMI Splitter 1x4, 1 in 4 Out UHD 4K@60Hz 4:4:4 Supports HDCP 2.2, 18 Gbps, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Lpcm 7.1 with Smart EDID Managerment for Diff
- Monoprice Blackbird 4K Pro 1x4 HDMI Splitter with HDCP 2.2 and EDID Support
- Orei 4K 1x4 HDMI Splitter Duplicater by OREI - with Down Scaler 4 Ports with Full Ultra HD, HDCP 2.2, Upto 4K at 60Hz, 1080p & 3D Supports EDID Contro
- eSynic 1x2 HDMI Splitter, 4K HDMI Splitter 1 in 2 Out HDMI Amplifier Adapter Aluminum Ver 1.4 HDCP with Power Adapter Supports 3D 4K@30HZ Full HD1080P
- evesun 1x2 HDMI Splitter 1 in 2 out 1080p HDCP 2.2 4k2k Ultra High Definition Splitter HDMI Box DVI 1.0 3D
- KELIIYO Hdmi Splitter 1 in 4 Out V1.4b Powered Hdmi Video Splitter with AC Adaptor Duplicate/Mirror Screen Monitor Supports Ultra HD 1080P 2K and 3D R
- Htselere HDMI Splitter 1x4 4K@60Hz 4:4:4,18Gbps,HDCP 2.2,HDMI 2.0, Auto Scaling, SPDIF 5.1CH Audio, 4 Port, 1 in 4 Out
- gofanco Prophecy 1x4 HDMI 2.0 Splitter 4K 60Hz HDR Compact USB Powered Auto Scaling Wall Mount, YUV 4:4:4, 3D, HDMI 2.0a, HDCP 2.2, EDID, 18Gbps, Low
Note, this gofanco worked well with particular power supplies that I tried, but I'd still occasionally get flickers and static periods on the larger remote TV, probably due to the very long HDMI cable length. In the end, it turned out I needed two 1x2 splitters instead of 1x4 splitter anyway, to be able to replace remote TV HDMI audio with TOSLINK digital audio, as seen pictured above in my wiring path.
Which extenders did I try that didn't work with my particular CAT5e cable?
- J-Tech Digital HDMI Extender By Single Cat 5E/6 Full Hd 1080P With Deep Color, EDID Copy, Dolby Digital/DTS
- HDMI Extender with Loop-Out Local Display, 1080P Transmission up to 196ft/60m Over Single Cat6/6a/7/8 Ethernet Cable with IR Blaster and Receiver Cables (LKV372pro)
- Orei EX-330(Upgraded) HDMI Extender Signal Over Single CAT5e/CAT6 Ethernet Cable up to 330', Deep Color
Note, this EXACT description above doesn't include have the wording "EX-330(Upgraded)" at the end, and didn't work for me. Note that despite the apparent functionality change, the Amazon listing still says "Date First Available December 1, 2016". The newer version that says "EX-330(Upgraded)" in the description does work for my needs, and is listed and pictured in the article above.
- SIIG 1x4 HDMI 4K @60Hz HDR Splitter w/EDID Management | YUV 4:4:4 8-bit | YUV 4:2:0 10bit | HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2, 18Gbps | Auto Scaling, Low Heat, Casca
- 4K@60Hz HDMI Splitter, avedio links HDMI Splitter 1 in 2 Out, HDMI2.0b Splitter for Dual Monitors Only Duplicate/Mirror Screens, Support HDCP2.2, RGB
- HDMI Extender with Loop-Out Local Display, 1080P Transmission up to 196ft/60m Over Single Cat6/6a/7/8 Ethernet Cable with IR Blaster and Receiver Cabl
- HDMI Extender Over Single Cat5e/6 Cable, Full HD 1080p, EDID Copy, POC, USB-Powered, HDMI Transmitter and Receiver Kit
I also tried this booster to see if it would help get the 100' HDMI cable run working with more brands of splitters, nope:
- StarTech.com 115 ft/35 m HDMI Signal Booster - 1080p Signal Repeater - HDMI Inline Amplifier & Extender - 7.1 Audio Support (HDBOOST)
I also tried this device to see if blank video and/or audio on the remote TVs could be resolved, nope:
- J-Tech Digital HDCP Converter Downgrade HDCP v2.2 to v1.4 for 4K x 2K @60HZ Supports 3D, CEC, Dolby DTS LPCM and More
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Jan 07 2014
Somebody asked, does anyone know of an HDMI splitter that strips HDCP 2.2?