Can you use one streaming box for two TVs?

Here’s a question that came from our customers. I guess one of our longtime Solid Signal fans got a pretty nice gift recently, a top-of-the-line streaming device. Rather than fit every TV in the house with their own streaming box, they asked,

Is there a way I can use my streaming box for more than 1 TV? Really I would love to use the same cable I use for satellite TV if that’s even possible.

And so was born another episode of “StoriesFrom the Front Lines.” Shall we dive in?

Using one box for two TVs

Yes, it can be done. There are some limitations though. You can use an HDMI splitter like any of these to split the HDMI cable’s output to multiple TVs. In this case I tend to tell people that the cheaper splitters are better. They’re more likely to pass signals through without a lot of trouble. More expensive splitters tend to strictly enforce copy protection standards. I’m not saying you should make illegal copies of things, of course. I’m saying that cheaper splitters are better in this case.

You may find that in order to feed the streaming signal to two TVs, they must both be on. This is another copy protection issue, and it’s something that’s built deeply into the HDMI standard. If you find that you get a black screen when you try to stream, try turning everything off, turning both TVs on, and turning the streaming box on. It will probably fix the problem.

Putting everything on the same cable

There’s where it becomes a little difficult. Without a fancy headend system costing tens of thousands of dollars, it’s not possible to put it all on the same cable. Longtime satellite TV fans may remember when it was possible to use diplexers for a purpose like this. Those days are long past, because satellite TV technology has changed. Both DISH and DIRECTV now use systems that take up more of the frequency range on the cable. So, there’s not a lot of “room” on the cable for anything else.

If you have a long distance to cover, you might want to consider this HDMI to coaxial cable kit. With it, you should be able to run coaxial cable up to 600 feet and still get the picture and sound from the streaming box. It will need to be a separate cable from the one you use for satellite TV, but at least it’s something. It will help you deal with distance limitations. Plus, you can use “any old” coax cable, meaning you could possibly make use of existing wires in the walls from old cable TV installs.

Better options?

Of course by now you’re asking the same question I did, which is why this person simply doesn’t want to put a low-cost streaming box at every TV. I don’t have an answer for that. It would seem to be the easiest thing to do.

I also know that Hopper 3, DISH’s super DVR, will let you use Netflix and other streaming services right through the guide. So that may be a good option as well.

No matter how you want to use your home theater equipment, we’re here for you! If it’s possible, we will help you make it happen! Shop the great selection at Solid Signal, or call us at 888-233-7563 for any pre-sales questions you may have!

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.