A Discussion on PIP

Picture In Picture (PIP) is a feature furnished on most TVs today, but the ability to use this feature can be severely curtailed for those people that are forced for whatever reason to only cable or satellite service. Some TVs will also call this feature Picture On Picture (POP) or Dual View.

In order to make PIP work there has to be two sources, one for each window. Conventional TVs have been doing this with two tuners for years so there is a tuner for each window. Chances are, your new TV will have two NTSC (analog) tuners in it. Some of the older TVs required the internal tuner for one PIP window and an external source, like a VCR, cable box, satellite receiver, etc. for the other window.

Cable Service
But that assumes you are going to get your programming Over The Air (OTA) by use of the NTSC tuners. What if you get your programming from a cable box or satellite receiver? Basically you still need two sources, one for each window. If you have cable then it is possible to split the incoming cable to feed both the cable box and the TV antenna input. This will allow the analog cable channels to be received by the TV and thus supply two sources. Analog cable channels via the TV internal tuner in one window and the cable box in the other window.


Satellite Service Only
If you have satellite service and no other possibility of getting service from OTA or cable, then to get PIP to work you will need two satellite receivers, again one for each window. What many people do is keep their SD satellite box for the PIP receiver when they upgrade to a HDTV receiver. It is not as costly as you might think with the extra satellite receiver only costing about an extra $5 per month. It does require an additional cable to be run if there are not sufficient cables already at the receiver locations.

The question always comes up, “Do I have to have two receivers?” The answer is yes, although there are Dish Network receivers that are furnished with 2 tuners (meant for two rooms) that will work if you are using that service, the Dish 322. The problem is it’s a Standard Definition (SD) unit and not High Definition (HD) so it might not be what is needed for the main satellite receiver for your HDTV. What can be done is to install the 322 in the bedroom, or other room that you have another satellite receiver and feed your HDTV from the 2nd room output of the 322. The simplest  connection between the remote 322 and the HDTV can be the RF output of the 322 connected using a RG6 coax cable.  If you are more picky you can use an A/V cable (Red-Wht-Yel) if desired, but chances are the coax RF signal will do just as well in the reduced PIP window.


Now that will work for people that use Dish Network, but as of this date Directv does not offer a two room receiver. So the use of 2 receivers will be required.  The second receiver could be located in a second room so it could be used for service in that room when the PIP service is not required.  Again, the RG6 coax method of interconnect should be fine for PIP service.   If you locate the second receiver remotely, you will want to add a method of being able to use the remote control for the PIP receiver.  This would not be of concern if the second receiver is mounted in the same area as the main receiver, but you would want to be sure that the remote for your main receiver did not operate the PIP receiver.


Now the IR equipment used in the above illustration can be purchased in a kit from Xantech as a kit, purchase model number 172-94/RP.  Xantech has other style IR sensors and equipment that may also be used.

Some HDTVs will not allow a HD source to be used with a PIP window. These TVs will require a SD video connection out of the HD receiver for the HD receiver to be viewed in a PIP window. Other HDTVs will allow the HD source in the main window only. The main window is the one that has the sound. These TVs will require a SD video connection out of the HD receiver for the HD receiver to be viewed in a PIP window if the swap function is desired. Finally, there are the HDTVs that will allow HD material in either window.
PIP can be very useful, especially during football season, but it is also a bit of a pain if you don’t have OTA or cable service.

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