Can you add a security camera feed to your DIRECTV guide?

[size=30]Sadly, you can’t. [/size]

I know a lot of people would like to see the output from their security camera as part of their TV guide, but there are several reasons why this isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Luckily, there are some options out there that can help at least a little bit.

First of all you can’t add anything to your guide.

That’s the first hurdle, and probably the most important. There is no way to hack into your DIRECTV guide to add any sort of content at all. This is done on purpose, since most people “just want to watch TV” and adding that capability might make it too complex for mom and pop to understand.

The exception to this rule is if you are in a hotel environment using the DIRECTV Residential Experience which does allow for something like 30 different video sources to be added to the guide. But, that option isn’t available to regular folks without an expensive server and all sorts of site surveys, so it’s not going to help you.

Second of all, DIRECTV doesn’t use the same sort of modulation system that your TV does.

You’ve probably already figured out that you can’t just connect the DIRECTV cable to your TV and scan for channels and have it work. Even if you have a DIRECTV-ready TV you need a special scheme to hook things up. It’s not like old-school cable TV where it was easy. In fact, even cable TV isn’t like that anymore.

You could set up a headend system in your house to allow your top channels to be visible using a cable-TV-like system which connects directly to the TV. At that point you could also insert your security feed. Unfortunately you would lose the guide, or you would have to buy something special to replace it. And, you’d be paying thousands of dollars, so there’s that.

Finally, if you want HD from your security camera in this scenario, it’s going to cost you.

While a device to let you put standard definition content on a regular cable channel is dirt cheap, doing the same thing with an HD channel usually costs you about $1,000 per channel. No, I am not kidding there and I did not misplace a decimal point. Content providers like Disney and Time Warner are so worried that you’ll steal content that they put all sorts of licensing costs and encryption technologies into high definition. This makes it ridiculously expensive to modulate an HD signal and it means most people won’t ever do it (even though it’s one of the most common requests we have at Solid Signal.)

So, bottom line this seems to be an impossible request. So what can you do? There are two options I would consider.

Just get a security camera that uses an app on your phone.

This is what most people do because you know you have your phone with you all the time, so why worry about having to change channels on the TV? Solid Signal has an astounding number of security and surveillance products so why not take the opportunity to upgrade? That way you don’t even have to change the channel.

If you are absolutely determined to add that security camera footage to your TV, you’ll need two things.

This converter will take your HD signal out of most security cameras and convert it to standard definition. This will let you put the signal on a TV channel without paying an arm and a leg.

This RF Modulator will let you put that feed onto channel 3 on your TV. You’ll also need a set of RCA cables but you probably have those laying around the house from your VCR or something.

Connect everything up and connect the modulator to the antenna input on your TV. Then scan for channels and bingo, you can tune to antenna channel 3 and you’ll have your security camera. You’ll still have to change inputs on your TV or potentially use picture in picture if your TV has that.

I don’t know, though, seems like a lot of work. The app thing sounds so much better, which is why a solution like this just hasn’t caught on.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.