Split signal or pass-through?

I have a Dish DVR and just purchased a set-top DVD recorder.

At the moment, I have S-video output from the Dish running to the DVD burner input and S-video from the DVD-burner running to the TV (60" rear projection, HD “ready”).

The Dish doesn’t have component output so S-video is the best option.

The way its hooked up now, the DVD recorder has to be turned on to watch satelite. I don’t think that’s a problem. Might eat a little extra electricity while watching TV but so would a powered S-video splitter.

My questions are:

  1. Which would give the best picture at the TV: running the S-video from the Dish through the DVD recorder to the TV like it is now OR splitting the S-video from the Dish and running separate cables to the TV and the DVD recorder? (FYI: the TV has enough inputs to have the Dish and DVD recorder on separate ones)

2, If I split the S-video, can I get away with a Y-cable or do I need a powered splitter/amplifier?

  1. If I need a powered splitter, what’s are some good ones and where are good places to buy? I’ve found many on-line so I don’t really NEED this info, just if someone knows of a killer deal.

  2. A lot of the S-video splitters are sold for hooking up multiple monitors to PCs. Any reason not to use one of those for a TV? More just a general interest kind of thing, but many say they have absolutely zero degradation but also say things like only good up to 800x600. That seems like either a contradiction or just re-stating some inherent limitation of S-video and nothing to do with the splitter.

My answers are:

  1. The best picture would be achieved by providing a seperate S-video signal to each input on your TV.
  2. A powered splitter/amp or possibly an AV receiver.
  3. Rat Shack has some powered splitters that work fairly well.
  4. The resolution limitation is based on the frequency of the signal, the greater the resolution the higher the frequency. An AV receiver is the best approach but requires the component be powered on at all times.
    The laws of physics require that anything in the signal path will degrade the signal.

“When one engine fails on a twin-engine airplane you always have enough power to get you to the scene of the crash.” /.

Thanks Pipermanid! That helps a lot. But I have a followup/clarification question.

Since anything added to the path will cause some degradation, will a splitter (eg. from RS) cause less/same/more degredation than the S-video pass through of the DVD recorder? I realize that there may be wide variations between brands/models of DVD recorders which make a generic answer impossible.

Everything will degrade the signal, it’s the law. The degradation is a function of noise, whether introduced by cable length or transistor noise in the AV receiver, splitter/amp.
A splitter/amp’s noise is tied to the quality of the component. The AV receiver approach will generally provide the least noise.

No but, yeah but, no but… /.