Maximize Cable signal Quality

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DaveKngrn, Jan 10, 2003.

  1. DaveKngrn

    DaveKngrn Auditioning

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    Hi,
    I have a 47" wide screen samsung, the quality of my signal coming in was poor due to splits needed to provide internet connection via cable, and tv connections on the first floor and second floor of my house. My new TV is on the second floor, so I installed a new RG6 cable run from my outside cable connection directly to the TV, which produced as good a picture as I can get with analog cable. But in order for me to use the cable for internet, as well as for other tvs in the house, i need to split it at least twice (if using 2 way splitters) or once using a 3 or 4 way splitter.
    Anyone have suggestions on the best way to do this and provide the clearest signal to the new TV? Some have recommended I use a low gain amp with 3 or 4 ports, but I havent figured out yet if my internet connection will work ok with that or not.
    My other questions were, would moving to digital cable offer any better quality? If a low gain amp is what I need, are there higher and lower end units or are they all the same?
    And lastly, the monster surge strips that best buy pushes which supposedly filter noise out of the cable signal, are they worth anything or would I not see any difference using them?
    thanks for any suggestions,
    Dave
     
  2. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    When I had my Digital cable installed the guy ran it off my Internet connection that was coming into the house. Then he ran new cable in the house. Picture quality cleared up big time, especially on analogue cable that I watch on my JVC 32". As far as cable on Large screen sets, its basically garbage in garbage out. With digital cable the picture quality is better on the big screens, but won't come close to that of HD satellite.

    Kevin
     
  3. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Dave, they sell cable boosters that are "two way" and designed for cable modem use as well. One way to determine if your cable inside the house is causing any problems is to simply go to the point of entry of the cable in the house and hook up a tv there. I have a 4 way radio shack splitter and booster at this point and before I got the booster, I did this test. I noticed very little difference between the picture there and the picture 50 feet down the line over my in-house cable - which is a mix of Radio Shack RG6 and RCA RG59, and whatever the builder installed which is most likely RG59. Someday I plan on replacing it with RG6 Quadshield since all the runs are on the first floor or right in the basement and easy to deal with.

    The Monster power strips may help if you have some electricial interference but they're not going to clean up the cable signal. The booster may help. I've found that while mine sharpens the picture/removes some snow/grain of the higher numbered channels, you don't get a free lunch. It also amplifies the interference that is coming in on the line. Garbage in = garbage out as they say. As for surge protector strips, I'd look at Panamax and Tripp Lite which seem to offer more value for the $ and more specs on their equipment. Do a search for budget surge protectors and you'll get a good bit more information.

    good luck,


    --tom
     
  4. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    "Digital cable" is half analog, half digital. Channels under 100 will remain analog (and thus look the same as what you're receiving now) while channels 100+ will be digital (and probably very clean). The look of digital channels varies mostly due to the amount of compression/bandwidth being used rather than whether the signal is strong/weak.

    Maybe try a highquality 2 way splitter where the cable comes into the house, use good RG6 from their to your primary TV, and cascade everything else off of that second line? Assuming you have a decent cable signal at the point of entry, you can probably still get a solid internet connection off that second line, even if it's split again (with a good highbandwidth splitter).

    Good luck; let us know how it goes?
     
  5. Lee Bailey

    Lee Bailey Second Unit

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    Lee Bailey
    My recommendation would be to use a high quality splitter such as the 2GHz models from Monster first off. Also, be sure that the cable is grounded outside to your power service power ground, not the water pipe.

    I use monster's 4 way splitter and picture quality is very good. There was some improvement at my house when I went digital on all the sets. This was due mainly to the cable guy had removed the filter at the pole that kept the channels down below 100.

    We have 4 TV's in the house, with only the one in the living room on the cable box.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Stunt Coordinator

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    I noticed that Best Buys carries a Motorola (4 way?) bidirectional splitter/booster for about $80 that is rated for HDTV and internet signals and I believe has a 15 dB gain. They make the popular set top 5100 HDTV cable box, I presume the booster would be compatable and of similar quality.
     
  7. DaveKngrn

    DaveKngrn Auditioning

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    Thanks for the suggestions guys, I have to admit that I dont know too much about the gain stuff and ratings, i assume when i look at a normal splitter, and both outs say 3db that means I lose 3db from the input signal on each output? And an amplifier uses power to boost the signal strength rather than weaken it?
    I did run a cable direct from my outside cable to my tv and quality was alot better, what I think im going to try is to use a good 2 way splitter outside, run my internet side down into my basement, and run the TV side up to my new TV, install a cheapo amp/splitter I bought a while back and connect one to the new TV, and pass the other through to the other TV's in the house. If this gives me a better quality, I can stop there or go for one of those higher end amp/splitters to clean it further.
    One more question, when the cable company split my line in my basement to provide internet connect and cable, they put a barrel connector on my TV side, the installer wasnt too sure what it did, is that the filter someone mentioned that limits you to channels 1-100? He tried to tell me it was a filter to filter out the computer signal coming back to my house from degrading the TV picture quality. The filter doesnt seem to have any markings on it as to what it does, anyone have an idea? Its AT&T (formerly Mediaone) if that helps at all.
    thanks again,
    Dave
     
  8. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Dave,

    Try to run decent RG6 cable anywhere you can (less loss per ft vs. RG59, I believe). You might not need the amp at all--try things first without it. Some amps may provide too MUCH boost, others may skew more boost to upper channels, etc., just FYI. And I might try replacing that cheap splitter you mention with another higher quality unit, if you see your picture degrade on your new tv after it's installed (connect up the straight line to your TV first; note how the high channels look; now add the splitter into the line and look at the high channels again).

    Regards,

    Mike
     

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