Do CATV signal boosters work?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gui A, Sep 2, 2001.

  1. Gui A

    Gui A Supporting Actor

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    I just moved to a new house, and the cable tv wiring seems pretty old. I'd change the cables, but they're built into the walls, so i can't do it myself. There's 2 two-way splits right after it comes into the house. the first split is for broadband internet, the second is for the two TVs. so yeah, there's some serious signal degradation going on here, so i need something to fix it, and a booster would be the least expensive and way easier option.
    .. but a few years, i was having the same problem, went to radio shack, bought a booster, and the signal actually turned out worse.
    i'm guessing that was due to the chep booster that i bought. i was wondering if anyone here knew of a good signal booster brand?
    thanks in advance.
     
  2. Rich Allen

    Rich Allen Second Unit

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    First off, make sure the booster you get is a CATV booster, not just an antenna booster. The CATV signals are different than the over the air.
    Second, a signal booster usually won't help. They tend to boost interference as well as the signal. I suspect that's what happened before when it made the picture worse. Nothing like that will compensate for bad wiring. You may just have to bite the bullet and rewire.
    If the cables have good solid connectors on them and you can find both ends of the cable, get some new ones, and make sure they are long enough. Then, connect the new to the old and just pull from one end until the old is out and the new one is in. Not perfect, but it worked for me.
    Good Luck!
     
  3. Gui A

    Gui A Supporting Actor

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  4. Rich Allen

    Rich Allen Second Unit

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    I don't know the electronic details but it takes the imput signal and boosts the gain on it. I'm sure others here can give you more specifics.
    As for measuring the cable, I just took a tape measure and started measuring in increments following the path from one end to the other. Then I added 10-15 percent for error. Then I went out and found out what lengths cables with the ends already on them were available in. And went from there.
    One other thing occured to me. If you can, hook up a TV to the cable that comes in to your house. Try not to use a real small one at the small size makes the picture not as bad. I did this once and found that the feed coming into my house itself was bad. Then it was the cable company's problem. In that case, their amp in the main line was bad.
     
  5. Gene Severn

    Gene Severn Stunt Coordinator

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    Since you have a broadband internet connection, it sounds like you have digital cable. The Rat Shack amplifier will not work due to its limited bandwidth (900 MHz.). I tore two of them out in a house I recently moved into and threw them out. I purchased and installed quad shielded RG-6 cable from Rat Shack (comes pre-terminated in 50 and 100 foot lengths). In the upgrade to digital cable, the cable company had replaced all splitters wit 1 GHz. splitters, and re-terminated their connections on the cable coming into the house. The difference is amazing.
     
  6. Alan Wild

    Alan Wild Stunt Coordinator

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    I successfully replaced some passive splitters with a ChannelVision CVT 2/4 PIA .
    Too many splitters can definately impact your signal quality. An amplifier might help. However, bad cable is bad cable is bad cable.
    Your best bet if you are going to use an amplifier is to use it EARLY in the wiring. As in when the cable initially comes into the house. Don't amplify a signal afrer it's travelled a long a long stretch of wire picking up interference all the way. You will simply amplify the noise. You want to amplify the cleanest signal possible.
    The good news is the backward path on this unit seams to work quite well. I have digital cable (and analog cable) and a cable modem all connected to this box and they work quite well. I did some bandwidth and latency testing on my computers before/after installing the CVT and I noticed no signigant change in performance.
    My wiring recommendation would be to replace the series of splitters when the cable enters the house with either this one or it's 8-way big brother.
    A box like this might just be the solution to your problem and is certainly earier than running new wire, but no gaurantees. This will only correct the signal drop your experiencing with the splitters and may improve your signal to noise ratio, but if noise is creeping into your wiring the noise is still going to be present.
    FYI... here's a good article on RF wiring.
    [edit -- after posting I actually ran accross the site I bought it from http://www.vss-electronics.com/cvt-2-4pia.html . It's the only thing I ever bought from them and I've never had a customer service issue so I can't speak to their support or return policies. It was just a reasonable price. If you do some homework you might find it cheaper somewhere else.]
    -Alan
    [Edited last by Alan Wild on September 05, 2001 at 10:26 AM]
     

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