How many digital cable owners buy RF cables?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Howard_S, Dec 11, 2001.

  1. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Are name-brand RF cables better than the ones that the cable company supplies? Will I see an improvement in picture quality?
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well, the cable company runs hundreds/thousands of yards of coax all throughout your neighberhood, and then runs the same coax into your house.

    Do you really think buying a 6 foot length of name-brand coax at the end of all the other stuff is going to "clean up" the signal?

    NO.

    But then again... in some cases it MIGHT.

    There are 2 main issues with CATV coax:

    - The "F" connectors become loose

    - The copper center wire becomes oxidized over time

    Sometimes just replacing the wire that has been sitting behind your TV for 6 years because it's fresh copper and you re-tighten the connectors. Sometimes just disconnecting and re-connecting the cables will scrape off oxidization and improve the picture.

    Also, name-brand RF cables often have the F connectors nicely crimped and a insulating boot.

    I suggest you do this:

    Trace your CATV coax from the outside into your house. Find every break in the cable and wiggle it to see if it's loose. Then un-screw it and examine the copper center-conductor. If it is bright and shiny copper colored, its fine. If not, cut the end off (assuming you have some slack) and install new F connectors. When you tighten, make them hand-tight, then use a pair of pliers/wrench for an extra quarter-turn. You can also try and "scrub" the copper wire with the end of a screwdriver to remove oxidization, but this is a bit tricky.

    If you are not comfortable installing your own connectors, call your CATV company. They will come out and test your signal-strength and if you tell them the wire is years old, they will often replace the connectors for you.

    If you have a wall-plate with a female "F" jack, ask the cable guy to trim the back-end of that coax as well. Help him out by un-screwing the wall plate and exposing the coax.

    Then, if you want a cable going from the wall to your TV/CATV box that is nicer-looking than that stiff, black, outdoor rated coax, go get some name-brand cable and run it from the wall to your equipment.

    But unless that existing cable is old/loose/oxidized, just switching that last section of cable should not make a big difference in your video quality.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  4. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Howard, the title of your post mentions "digital cable", which I take to mean a digital set-top box. Aren't you using the S-Video connection between the set-top box and your TV, rather than RF? That would likely improve picture quality.
     
  5. Jon Harris

    Jon Harris Auditioning

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    Well if his cable company is anything like mine, then they have ordered the digital cable boxes WITHOUT the s-video port. It is marked on the back of the box, just not punched out and the connector installed [​IMG] Really annoying to see both the svideo and spdif connectors not active.
     
  6. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Mine has S-Video and "AC-3" connections.
     
  7. Scott Pagac

    Scott Pagac Stunt Coordinator

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    Rick:
    I have a digital cable STB that has S-video out, which I am using to connect to my receiver for switching. However, and I think this may be where Howard is coming from, the connection from the wall to the box is still coax.
    Howard:
    I have tried both the stock cable given to me by the cable company as well as an older Monster coax cable, but I did not see any difference (of course, my Sanyo TV is not really the best unit on which to base your decision [​IMG] ).
     
  8. Jeff Thorstad

    Jeff Thorstad Auditioning

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    Name brand is somewhat expensive. Depending on how much you would use it, you could get pro tools and make your own cheaper. Mine have already paid for themselves and I haven't finished my own house, yet. Let alone my family members' houses.
     
  9. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    My digital cable does have S-Video which does improve the picture yes. But of course we're all still at the mercy of the cable signal/cable itself. sigh... Anyhow I guess I shouldn't try buying nicer cables to improve the cable quality of my tv.
     
  10. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  11. Brian OK

    Brian OK Supporting Actor

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    Lewis,

    Was that a typo ? Speaker cable ?

    Quick trigger ? Digital cable/ RF was the topic.

    Maybe an impulse reaction. Anyway, carry on .......

    BOK
     
  12. Terry McCann

    Terry McCann Auditioning

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    I agree with everything Bob McElfresh said in his post except:

     
  13. BruceD

    BruceD Screenwriter

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    Is this an issue with RG-59 vs. RG-6?

    RG-6 (better shielding) is the preferred cable type.

    BruceD
     
  14. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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  15. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    With the "digital" channels on digital cable, there won't be any improvement, provided you don't have frequent signal drops. So, assuming you don't have frequent drop-outs that can be traced to signal strength, changing cables/connectors will not help.

    Having said that, almost all "digital cable" services have some analog channels. These are very sensitive to signal strength, so having the best connection here will be of benefit. But I agree with Bob- a $50, 3ft premium RG6 cable is not going to help the preceding 500 ft of cheap RG59 coming to your house.

    Todd
     
  16. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  17. Mark Rich

    Mark Rich Second Unit

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    I think it does make a difference. Providing you replace it with top quality vable such as belden 1694a or similar.

    I replced all my CATV supplied cable using the 1694a cable and it offered a significant improvement.No more digital break-up and improved color. I no longer mind watching movies on cable.

    Now I'm sure I'll get the double blind test argument but The cost of trying this is so low that how can you not give it a try? Dont have to waste your money on the retail brands. Simply buy broadcast quality cable such as 1694a and make sure you install similar quality conectors. If you can replace the entire cable run inside your house then do so. I never tried replacing the last 3 feet so I cant comment on whether it will offer any significant improvemnt!

    FYI I'm in the Vancouver( Canada) area and suffer through the Shaw service.
     
  18. Howard_S

    Howard_S Supporting Actor

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    Ya Mark. We suffer pretty bad eh? And our satellite offereings aren't that great either.
     
  19. RicP

    RicP Screenwriter

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  20. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Too bad you only quoting half the line.
    Missing the whole point!
    No biggie![​IMG]
     

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