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Two TVs, one room - CNET

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Forget picture-in-picture; how about two full-size TVs in the same room?

Flat-panel TVs have become cheap enough that you can buy two medium-sized TVs for the price of one large TV. A quick search on Amazon found that for the price of a 52-inch LED LCD, you can get two 46-inch plasmas. Or, you can add a new, smaller TV to supplement a TV that only costs a few hundred dollars.

Why, you might ask? A better question: what will you need (you will use them), and more importantly?

First of all, I want to say that, except for a boring thought experiment, I actually did this. it is

. My setup is not a typical setup, nor is it something that many people cannot achieve, but it does explain why two TVs are needed. My main display is

(Again, this is just an example, you can easily use two HDTVs to complete the operation of two TVs). In most cases, I use the projector for everything: watching TV, watching movies, playing games. It is the latter that makes the second TV useful. In games such as "Star Wars: The Old Republic" or "Battlefield 3", there is a lot of downtime. Of course I don't play these games (otherwise, I will do other things), but my brain likes multitasking. I connected an old 42-inch LCD monitor and placed it on the side of the main screen. Apple TV is connected to the TV, so I can watch Netflix. For example, I recently watched "Friday Night Lights" (Friday Night Lights) for the entire five seasons while upgrading the bounty hunter in SWTOR.

Another use might be sports. Run two games at the same time, so you can monitor both games without having to switch back and forth. Think of a sports bar or Vegas. There is a TV wall that can broadcast all games at the same time. In this case, the "wall" is just two TVs, but you get the idea.

This is a bit tricky, depending on what you want to perform. I will leave the choice of TV to you, because this is the biggest expense. To me, large large TVs and smaller "satellite" TVs make the most sense. Personally, I don't think it makes much sense to buy two TVs of the same size, but each has its own advantages.

The source is the hard part. In the example above, my main display (projector) is connected to a receiver that can switch all signal sources. The second TV is directly connected to Apple TV. If you want to watch Apple TV on a big screen, you must swap HDMI cables. Not ideal, but it is simple and cheap.

One of the easiest ways to get content on an auxiliary TV is a simple antenna. All modern HDTVs have a built-in HDTV tuner. You should be able to get free high-definition images. For more information, please check my

. Another option is a Blu-ray player with two HDMI outputs.

If your dream is to get all the signal sources on two TVs at the same time, you need a Matrix HDMI switcher. The matrix switcher has multiple inputs and multiple outputs. I have found

The price on is $39. It has four ins and two outs, each output has an independently selectable signal source, and all are carried out remotely. It supports 1080p and is small enough to fit behind other devices. They have other models with other functions, and other companies are producing matrix HDMI switchers, this is just a good example.

The tricky part is the audio. For games, it is not a big deal to transmit two audio streams at the same time. In my case, HTPC runs through my 5.1 system, while Apple TV runs through smaller TV speakers. I can pause or mute the TV when I need to hear important content in the game. Here, treating one as the "primary" TV and the other as the secondary TV can make things easier.

If you want two equally important TVs, but still want decent sound, then sending the audio output of the TV as an audio source to different inputs on the receiver is the simplest solution. Then, you only need to switch the input on the receiver to listen to the TV you want. Please note that the audio return channel (on HDMI) does not work here because you are using a matrix switcher for HDMI.

Using this method, the speakers can still work on the TV, so you can also use it as an option.

The final consideration is to control everything. If you buy two TVs of the same brand, no matter you press any button on the remote control of one TV, the same operation (such as volume, mute, etc.) will be performed on the other TV. For this reason alone, acquiring two different brands may be a good choice. However, it is not that simple. Some remote controls can be used across brands. Vizio and LG remotes often control each other's TVs, as do some Samsung and Sony models. It may be worth visiting your local TV store to test the remote control of the TV you are considering (assuming the store


Unless you don't mind throwing a bunch of remotes (what is the meaning of a group of remotes? Packed, swarmed or murdered?), a decent programmable remote may be crucial.

There are some custom installation options to execute IR commands via wire, but at that point, I suggest you consult a professional installer.

There are hardly two TVs in a room for everyone, and I certainly don’t want to persuade anyone to try. I like watching TV and playing games at the same time. If you think you also like watching TV and games, then this article is for you. Have you set up two TV sets? how did you do it?

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