In the good old days of analog television you could buy a television set with two built-in tuners that effectively split the incoming signal from the RF input and allowed you to have picture-in-picture with two different broadcast channels.
Of course nowadays it's unheard of for HDTVs to have two tuners. Is there any way to have picture-in-picture with two broadcast channels? Can a digital set top box do this? Does Comcast allow it?
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The Motorola DVR's never did PIP, the Scientific Atlanta / Cisco ones did up to the last guide update.
You must have a TV that has PIP function even if it doesn't have two tuners.
What you can do is split the coax before the input to the DVR, run one leg of the splitter output to the RF input on the TV. The 2nd leg goes to the DVR RF in.
You then set your TV to the tuner input and do a scan of your tuner on the TV to pickup the clear channels available. You only do this once.
If your TV has PIP, you would use the DVR video in on the TV for one source, the 2nd PIP source would be the digital clear QAM channels available on the TV's tuner, normally your local network channels.
It matters on how your DVR is connected to the TV on which input you would select, usually on a HD set, a component input or HDMI input.
If your TV doesn't have PIP, none of this applies.
Any more questions, please ask.
So what you're saying is:
1) A regular HD set top box can't do two-channel PIP; I need a digital video recorder (DVR).
2) Even so, two-channel PIP only works with OTA channels. For example: I can't put ESPN in the PIP window while I watch CNN.
Is that correct?
My cynical side believes that the cable industry killed off PIP. It can't cost much for a television manufacturer to build in a second tuner. I think the cable industry decided that they weren't going to allow their encrypted channels to display in a PIP window for no extra money. And while consumers may like PIP - they certainly did in the days of analog - they don't like it so much that they're willing to pay extra for it.
My thoughts on the PIP is, I had two different tv's with PIP from 1990 until last fall, Once I got my first Tivo in 2000, I never used the PIP again, since we went to recording almost everything, 2 1/2 years later we went to 2 Tivo's able to record 4 channels at once. Now that I have two dual tuner HD Tivo's plus a Comcast dual tuner DVR, every show we watch is recorded.
Because of the drastic price drops on equipment over the years, you bet the mfr's are trying to save every nickel on each TV. Features like PIP or dual tuner PIP, cable card slots, and better remotes are a huge factor in the final cost to build the TV, and offer it to cost controlled stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart who tell the mfr's what an item should cost.
Of course it matters on your situation, probably a group of guys watching a couple of games live would have more use for watching a PIP and swapping the pictures as needed. If the sports guys were really doing that, then the ultimate man cave would be a 72" or larger TV plus two or four 32-40" tv's on the sides for the other games.. So instead of needing PIP, just buy a small flat panel for putting next to the big TV.
I could go one farther and use my laptop for a 2nd TV instead of a need for PIP. I can pull up a live TV channel on the laptop in a moments notice and watch that too.