Do I have to use an A/B switch to switch between cable inputs?
April 2, 2004 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Is there away around using an A/B switch for my digital cable? Here's the deal, the Cable In on my television is malfunctioning. I get intermittent reception, almost as if the cable is not making full contact. I have a VCR, DVR and DVD player. The television only has one set of A/V inputs, which are currently being used by the DVD player. The DVR is not compatible with the DVD player, so I can't run them through the same A/V lines. I went to Radio Shack and the only solution they could come up with was using an A/B switch, which requires me to physically switch between the DVR and DVD player. Isn't there any other technology that would not require me to get off my lazy butt and walk across the living room when I want to switch between television and a DVD? I've been unemployed for four months, so buying a new t.v. is out of the question.
posted by Juicylicious to Technology (8 answers total)
Are you just running the composite video in -- just one cable with a jack that looks like a stereo patch cord?

If so, you *might* think about getting a cheap, used A/V receiver. These have video switching built in. Dunno how cheap you could get one though.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:39 PM on April 2, 2004

Response by poster: "Are you just running the composite video in -- just one cable with a jack that looks like a stereo patch cord?"

I'm not sure. The digital coaxial cable runs directly into the television. The A/V cables (3) run into the A/B switch and then out to the t.v. I'm not sure what composite video in is?
posted by Juicylicious at 8:43 PM on April 2, 2004

Know anything about soldering? May not be as hard as you think to repair an internal connector on your tv.


Internal connector, as in an input connector. Anything else is dangerous and hard to do.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:20 PM on April 2, 2004

Do you own a stereo that has video inputs? The last couple I've owned have video inputs corresponding to the audio inputs, and let the stereo act as a hub for video as well as audio.

The one I have now has all its video input going completely unused, and merely has my computer and a CD player plugged into it. For watching DVDs I just use the TV's built-in speakers, which seems to be heresy for a lot of folks. If you own a similar receiver, you could connect the its AV output to the TV's AV input and let the stereo do the switching.

If you have a fancy 5.1 surround setup, it seems likely that it would have the video inputs. I bought my receiver for $40 used and it has all sorts of video stuff and digital inputs and such, so I don't think getting such a receiver would set you back a lot.
posted by mragreeable at 9:44 PM on April 2, 2004

Be really careful about working on your own tv. I'm not an electronics person, but I'm told there's shit in there that can kill you dead even if it's unplugged.

If you're running 2 audio and 1 video cable out of the cable box (and out of the dvd deck), and all of the connectors look like this, then you're connected with composite video.

Any a/v receiver should be able to switch multiple sources of audio+composite. Run them both into the receiver on whatever inputs you want, and then there will some sort of video out to connect to the tv. There will either be audio out jacks next to that, or use the OUT or RECORD jacks for the tape loop to send sound to the tv (though even cheap-ass skanky speakers will almost certainly sound better than those in the tv).

(most a/v receivers can also switch s-video too)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:19 AM on April 3, 2004

I know you said you're unemployed, so this may be unobtainable, but they do make wireless A/B switches. You have a remote and you point and click it.

That being said, they are CONSIDERABLY more expensive than the push button kinds, or even the automatic kind, that sense which input has data on it.
posted by ajpresto at 3:27 AM on April 3, 2004

I have a bunch of stuff hooked up to my television: cable box, VCR, DVD player, and a number of game consoles. For $35 at Radio Shack I bought an automatic switcher and have never looked back. Like ajpresto said, it detects which input has data on it and makes the switch accordingly. Best A/V investment I ever made outside of, you know, the TV, VCR, etc. themselves.
posted by Servo5678 at 6:30 AM on April 3, 2004

Does your VCR have 2 inputs? If so Run:

Cable Box -> DVR -> VCR1
and VCR -> TV
posted by stew560 at 10:53 AM on April 8, 2004

« Older Looking for a ESP Eclipse Semi-Acoustic guitar   |   Is that the ending, or did I lose a page? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.