Anything to do to improve standard cable signal?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Kolacz, Apr 12, 2002.

  1. Dan Kolacz

    Dan Kolacz Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 9, 1999
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    I have 1 coax cable coming into my house that is on a 2-way splitter that goes to my TV and cable modem.

    I realize that cable is inherently noisy and a crappy signal, but is there anything I can do to improve it?

    I have heard of boosters and other inline these really work?

    If so, is there any specific unit/model you can suggest.

    Also if there is any specific configuration/setup I should be considering (other than digital cable or satellite)

  2. DarrinH

    DarrinH Second Unit

    Aug 28, 2000
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    I went through this problem when I first moved into my house a couple of years ago. Amplifiers will just make a bad signal look worse as they amplify the noise as well. If you only have one cable coming in directly from the pole outside to your TV thats the best you can do.

    The signal you get is only as good as what comes off the pole. My signal varies in quality day to day and I am out in the sticks.

    Satellite is they way to go for quality of picture. Use a S-video connection or better with a Sat signal and cable does not even compare.

    Digital cable is another option if you have that available to you. I did not.
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
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    Well, the first question is: do you see any problems? Ghosting, flecks of snow on dark scenes, etc? You have to go through all channels as some channel numbers are more prone to errors than others.

    If you do see problems, call your CATV company. They will bring equipment out and measure the signal strength of the problem channels. It's often THEIR equipment that needs fixing.

    Sometimes it is your internal wireing. There is some simple things you can do:

    - disconnect each cable and examine the center copper wire. If it's bright copper, it's fine. If it's a dull brown, cut the end off and trim back & install a new F connector (Radio Shack will sell you the parts). Sometimes just disconnecting/reconnecting can scrap off oxidization and fixt things.

    - Tighten each cable with a wrench. Just go 1/8 of a turn more than finger tight is all that is needed. This is often the cause of service calls - loose connectors.

    If you do decide to try an amp, put it only on the wire feeding your TV, not your cable modem. Amps sometimes do bad things to the digital signals for cable modems.
  4. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

    Jul 15, 2000
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    I also have my cable service being split, with one run going to my cable modem. The installers ran a fresh run of RG-6 cable to my HT/computer room from where the cable connects to the house (RG-6 has less loss than RG-59, I believe). The analog signal looks pretty darned pristine now. I also upgraded to digital service, so channels under 100 are still analog for video and audio, while channels over 100 are digital for both.

    I also upgraded my preamp (i.e., video switcher into which cable ran) from a Lexicon DC-1 to a Theta Casablanca II. What really surprised me was the improvement in picture quality on all video sources when output from the CB2 to my TV. Don't know what the CB2 is doing with the signal, but holy cow it truly looks great. I've never seen better looking cable. Even friends who come over instantly notice the improved picture.

    BTW, the video is better with the CB2 in the chain than going from the digital box to the TV directly.

    Just wanted to share my experience in that yes, there are some tweaks that can improve cable images to the point where they're pretty darned good.



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