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Multiroom alternatives for Virgin Media and Sky: what’s available?

Multiroom alternatives for Virgin Media and Sky: what’s available?

Hi there, I’m wondering whether you can help me - is it possible to watch Virgin Media in my bedroom using a digital video sender? When I had Sky previously, I was able to plug one into my Sky set-top box and one into my TV upstairs, allowing me to watch Sky upstairs without an additional set-top box. Is this possible with Virgin Media?


Laura Snowden, via email, Friday 25 March, 2011

Our digital TV expert says...

Thanks for this really interesting question Laura - I’m sure many Virgin Media ( customers are in a similar position and are looking for an alternative to a Virgin Media multiroom subscription.

An AV sender allows you to wirelessly transmit the sound and video from any device to another room

Though not endorsed by Virgin Media, the good news is that I have found a few products that work with the cable TV service from Virgin Media, and will allow you to send the signal from your set-top box to another TV in a different room. These devices are called “digital video senders”, or AV senders.

Below is some information about a few products that may be suitable, as well as a few that are compatible with Sky’s satellite TV service.

What is a digital video sender?

A “digital video sender”, or an AV sender as they’re sometimes known, will allow you to wirelessly transmit the sound and video from any device to another room in your home.

The AV sender transmits the signal from your DVD player, video recorder, camcorder, digital Freeview set-top box, Sky or Virgin Media box to any room in your home; be that the bedroom, kitchen or even outside. There is no wiring required - the signals are sent wirelessly through most walls, ceilings and doors. Some senders even give you the ability to change channels from the other room via a remote control.

Digital video senders have several benefits, allowing you to:

  • Avoid costly monthly multiroom subscriptions
  • Avoid drilling holes and trailing cables all around your home
  • Link a security camera to a video recorder in another room.

Before purchasing one however, there are a few disadvantages to digital video senders that you should be aware of:

  • While an effective solution, video senders do not guarantee a 100% perfect picture on another TV - the only way to ensure this is a wired connection
  • They can interfere with your broadband wi-fi, and other devices that use wireless signals, such as baby monitors, mobile phones and microwaves
  • If you live in a block of flats, your neighbours’ wireless devices (and their digital video sender if they have one) may also interfere with your signal.

While some devices allow you to change channel, there are some cheaper video senders that don’t offer this option. For those that don’t, it’s worth bearing in mind that if you want to watch something else you will have to actually go to the original set-top box to change the channel.

Virgin Media multiroom alternatives

If you’re a Virgin Media customer, signing up to a multiroom package will cost you up to an extra £11.50 a month per additional set-top box, on top of your monthly subscription. However, getting a digital video sender may work just as well and help you save on costs.

Electronics retailer Maplin recommends two digital video senders that are suitable for use with a Virgin Media set-top box:

Nikkai HQ+ 5.8GHz Video Sender Kit

  • Brand - Nikkai
  • Guide price: £49.99
  • Available from - Maplin - order code A86KH
  • More information - Unlike others that operate on 2.4 GHz, this video sender works on the 5.8GHz frequency. Many household appliances like wi-fi, cordless phones and microwaves use the 2.4GHz frequency, so they would interfere with a standard video sender. Because this Nikkai model works on a higher frequency, you will experience interference-free viewing. And its long 400ft range means crisp video and high-quality stereo signals all over the house. This product comes with one transmitter and one receiver. If you need additional receivers,
    you can purchase them using order code A87KH at Maplin.

DigiSender X7 Wireless Video Sender Kit

  • Brand - AEI
  • Guide price - £99.99
  • Available from - Maplin - order code A53HL
  • More information - This device incorporates DigiEye remote extender technology, which lets change channels from another room. It is compatible with most digital satellite and cable set-top boxes, and uses a minuscule amount of signal to avoid degrading the picture quality on your main television. However
    it operates on the 2.4GHz frequency, so may interfere with
    your wireless devices. This product comes with one transmitter,
    one receiver and a remote control.

Other digital video senders are on the market, though not are all compatible with Virgin Media - check with the retailer before purchasing anything.

Sky multiroom alternatives

Sky customers can also use digital video senders as an alternative to costly multiroom subscriptions. Both of the senders listed above will work with Sky set-top boxes, says Maplin. However this cheaper version is also available:

Nikkai Audio/Video Sender Kit 2727

  • Brand - Nikkai
  • Guide price: £24.99
  • Available from - Maplin - order code L24AU
  • More information - Simply plug the transmitter into your Sky set-top box and the receiver into the scart socket of the TV you want to watch. The audio and video will then be transmitted from the source device to the second TV wirelessly. The device also relays signals from your remote control back to the source so you can use your remote to change channels from the other room. If you need additional receivers, you can purchase
    them using order code A86CR at Maplin.

All of the products listed above have been recommended by electronics specialist Maplin, however cannot guarantee that these digital video senders will work with your set-top box. We suggest contacting your digital TV provider and/or set-top box manufacturer directly before purchasing any hardware.

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