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Simplest way to play video through multiple screens.


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The gist of it is that I may need to send the exact same video feed to 10/15 TV screens and a projector for my next theatre piece, and I haven't the foggiest idea what the cheapest way to do it will be! I've got a laptop to play the video from, which has both VGA and TV-Out outputs. The signal just needs to be sent to each machine through a standard Yellow RCA lead (I forget the actual name, really ought to remember that) and each of them must play (roughly) in sync with each other.


Anyone have any knowledge of this? I'm guessing that simply splitting the cable won't work, but I may be wrong!


Thanks in advance,




EDIT: Oh, and it's got to be cheap-ish as this is for an A-Level Drama piece

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"Simply splitting the cable" sometimes works, if the cable lengths are short, there aren't many receivers and you're not using very high-quality footage.


So I'd suggest trying it beforehand - you get some signal degradation, but it may be good enough for your piece.


Things to be aware of:

1) It's completely outside the recommended usage.

2) The image may become blurry and may go black & white due to the filtering effect of too many receivers.

3) You may get double and triple images due to reflections.


If it isn't good enough, then you're looking at hiring signal distribution amplifiers.

Not cheap, but there will be a few places that hire them - look for local A/V companies.


Don't be afraid to use different inputs on various parts - send VGA to the projector, and Composite to everything else.


With regards to the names:


The co-axial connector is an "RCA"

The signal going down it is "Composite" (and in the UK, it's PAL Composite)

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Thankyou very much for that, very helpful :) I may try a combination of these, possible splitting outputs from a signal distributor or something along those lines. Good idea with the projector and VGA, also.


You can pick up cheap'n'cheerful video distribution amplifiers for not much these days; this item;


splits 4 ways, and will set you back £10.


Or this one goes 7 way for £25;



You could combine one or two of those with splitting the cables, to try and get an acceptable quality.

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You can also daisy chain the power on the £25 CPC one and it has video in and out connections on the ends, so you loop power and video out of one and back into other which saves using multiple power supplies. Having used the £25 one it works fine, with no particularly noticeable issues IIRC.
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I'm pretty certain the £25 one didn't come with one. It also uses something like a 2 pin Molex like you'd get on a PC, so we had to snip the end off the PSU, cut the supplied link lead in half and solder onto the PSU, although you could probably just buy the connector separately and crimp it on the end.
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  • 2 weeks later...

How about getting a couple of 8 way aerial coax splitters (I've seen them going for as little as a tenner each lately), daisychaining. To achieve the input grab an old beaten up VCR, plug your RCA straight into the back (or use a scart converter - couple of quid maximum), tune the VCR channel to 'AV' and plug your coax splitters into the VCR's output.


It's a bit of a messy way of doing it, but very cheap/if not free depending on how many things you can scavenge!

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I think either method would work well, using the video amplifiers or using a video to get the signal into the RF world and then using a domestic style splitter.


However you would be advised to be very careful with your cables in all scenarios, ideally you want to use some nice 75 ohm cable which has a good screen for use with the video amplifiers method, or nice RF coax if you use the other method. Make sure your cables are as short as possible and keep them clear of all other signals and mains cables to avoid interference, you might notice strange black lines on the screens or ghosting etc.



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  • 1 month later...

Right then, it's all over!


Play went superbly and the video worked a treat thanks to your help. I purchased that 4-way amplifier from the excellent CPC and a whole bunch of cable for it. I had 5 screens in the end, 1 of which was piggy backed (using the appropriate piggy back cable) from another. I managed to get a quick pic of the set but this was after someone had pinched all my floor lights (A-Level drama pieces, not quite enough to go around).




There are a couple you cant see there.


Used them effectively - created a powerpoint presentation with some very nice visuals on. That program is underrated, people don't realise you can do a lot more than "whoosh" on it! Loaded up all the sound cues in there as well so my sound man could just hit the right arow key when I told him to and play with the fader.


All in all a success. Thanks, Blue Room.

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