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coax cable


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4 replies to this topic

#1 of 5 jack w

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Posted December 02 2003 - 10:39 AM

Is there a better quality coax cable than the ones put in by my directtv retailer or are they all the same? and if there is better what is it? where to get it? and is it much of a difference in sound and picture quality?

#2 of 5 Mike*Williams

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Posted December 02 2003 - 11:25 AM

I know some may disagree, but personally I wouldn't worry about trying to get better coax. The information carried over that coax cable is digital, and digital is digital. Even with loss and interference, as long as the signal is good enough for the receiver to tell a zero from a one, then it's good enough and can't be any better. Unless you are getting obvious freezes and/or drops in the audio or video on your screen (not to be confused with the pixelization you sometimes get with digital video), a different grade of coax will make no difference.

{soapbox}

And while I'm at it, IMHO, I think people make way to big of a deal about cables that carry digital signals. Let me preface this by saying that when you carry an analog signal over a medium, loss and interference can degrade the quality at the other end. However, I've seen those people that swear they can hear the difference between using an optical dolby digital cable -vs- using the copper wire (aka coax, even tho it's not the same as what most people think of as coax) for dobly digital, which is a bunch of phooey. As long as the copper cable isn't wrapped around a power cable or there is not some other massive electromagnetic interference (EMI), the digital signal over either cable is exactly the same and therefore sounds no different. You can easily tell if your copper cable is experiencing signal-damaging EMI because you will hear blips and garble in your audio. If you're not experiencing that, then the cable is delivering the same "quality" that even the most expensive cables would.

Part of this is because of marketing. If they can sell a cable for 3 times the price and "claim" it's better then people wanna think it's better. I was looking at optical cables for Dolby Digital between DVD and receiver, and I actually saw gold tipped(!!) optical cables. I was blown away that in the description they talked about the superior sound from the gold tips. BUT IT'S FIBER!! That gold has NO EFFECT on the "quality" of the digital signal carried BY LIGHT through this cable. Geez!!

{/soapbox}

Mike W.

#3 of 5 EricWT

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Posted December 03 2003 - 01:03 AM

I don't know what kind of cable your retailer put in, but some comments on this board have suggested that the cables and connectors that technicians use are usually pretty good, so there is probably not much you could do better anyway.

FWIW I just replaced a couple older runs of RG59 with Belden 1694a RG-6 (also often recommended here), and the picture was noticably more clear in the upper channels for regular cable TV-- I think it has much more to do with going through one less splitter now, but maybe the cable helped a bit, and I think it was worth it. I paid $179 CAD for a 500' spool at a local electronics shop. But as Mike said with a digital signal it probably would make no difference.

Eric

#4 of 5 Chu Gai

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Posted December 03 2003 - 02:16 AM

One of the biggest banes in cables is that the connections may become oxidized (dull looking) over time. In those cases either a cleaning or a snipping and putting on new connectors saves the day. Yeah, I'd think bypassing a splitter couldn't hurt!

#5 of 5 JamesCB

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Posted December 03 2003 - 04:43 AM

Mike,
I compeltely agree with you. You said it very well.

If I remember correctly, both types of connections were included on some early DVD players and Receivers for conveinience only. Some equipment would only have one or the other (still see that on some stuff). So it was a matter of cost and convienience.

How far can you really take this stuff?
*If the outside ambient temperature is between -10°F and 55.2°F, and it is the first Thursday after the last measurable rainfall of this month, then I will use the optical connection. But, if the outside ambient temperature is between 55.2°F and 106.3°F, and it is the last Tuesday before the Moon enters the sign of Aires then I will use the Coaxial connection. Of course that all depends on my mood.