Replacing coax cable to cable box - worth doing?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Rich H, Oct 3, 2002.

  1. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi folks,

    I'd like to maximize the picture coming from my digital cable box (most of the channels are actually analog).

    I've heard of people replacing the coax cable (the one from the wall to your cable box) with higher grade coax cable, such as Monster.

    Is this a worthwhile thing to do?

    Thanks,

    Rich
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sometimes there IS a visible difference - but not because you are using a higher-end cable.

    Your existing cable could be several years old and the copper conductor can oxidize (dull brown). Also, the number one cause of poor picture & service calls are: loose connections.

    Before you spend money, start tracing your cable.

    Disconnect every connection and examine the center conductor. Is it bright copper or dull brown? If it's dull, cut the end off and attach a new "F" connector.

    Also examine the existing connectors. Are they firmly attached and not loose or look "sloppy"? Replace any that look suspicious.

    And when you re-connect the "F" connectors - use a wrench or a pair of pliers to turn them 1/4 turn beyond finger tight.

    Before you start: search through your channels and find one of the worst looking analog stations. When you have traced your cable and re-connected it, look at this station again. Does it look any better? (Some stations seem to be more sensitive to cable problems than others.)

    If there are still problems, call your CATV company for a service call. They will bring equipment out that will measure the signal-strength of various channels at your TV and if there is a problem, the will back-trace the wire to locate the problem.

    If all else fails, now you can consider simply replacing your internal wire. But dont buy Monster. Look in the yellow pages under "Electronics" and call around for bulk Belden coax - RG6 style. (you are looking for electronic/telecom supply houses - not consumer electronics.) See if they will sell it by the foot. Buy from these places and also buy the matching "F" connectors. Hint: I prefer the connectors with the built-in crimp rings. You can also buy a inexpensive hex-crimp tool from Radio Shack for about $20 to connect them. If you have to replace a lot of connectors, Radio Shack has a nice, inexpensive "T" handle to help push the connectors onto the coax for about $4.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. Rich H

    Rich H Second Unit

    Joined:
    May 22, 2001
    Messages:
    283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Terrific info Bob. Thank you very much. I'll take your advice.

    Rich.
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2001
    Messages:
    7,270
    Likes Received:
    1
    Bob brings out a very useful and cost effective point. It's well worth noting that ones observations in the area of sound or video can be better explained by the defective interconnect theory and not the superior interconnect theory.
     
  5. Marty Christion

    Marty Christion Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2001
    Messages:
    229
    Likes Received:
    0
    You might also ask your cable company if they used Monster Cable to run their feed into your house. If they didn't, adding 6 feet of Monster Cable to the end of that run isn't going to improve the dozens of feet of industrial grade coax leading up to it. Basically, you have up to 100 feet of coax running from the street into your house, through some splitters, through the walls, and up to a little wall plate with a connector. Then you have to add a few more feet of coax to get to your cable box. You just need to make sure that the connectors and cable pass the signal without degrading it. If you can't find a store like Bob recommended, you can try a Home Depot, or other Hardware store that sells bulk cable. Get some RG-6 (in white or black [​IMG] ) and some crimp connectors, and have at it.
    And I know nothing about digital cable, but I'm surprised to hear they carry analog channels on the same line. Is this like how you can have analog voice and DSL on the same phone line? Different areas of the spectrum being used at the same time?
    Anyway, be sure to report back on how it goes.
     
  6. JJR512

    JJR512 Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 1999
    Messages:
    619
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  7. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Your CATV company HAS to mix analog and digital signals on the same coax. Many legacy customers do not have a decoder box and expect the analog signal. Since they are broadcast at very different frequencies they co-exist just fine.

    And even with a decoder box - the lower-numbered channels are often pure analog and only the channels above 20 or 40 are decoded as digital.

     
  8. JayDaniel

    JayDaniel Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2002
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    0
    Check with your cable co. I just recently signed up for Digital Cable. Charter Communications, my cable co. came out and rewired my entire house (all inwall) with RG-6 for FREE! They said RG-6 was needed for digital cable in place of RG-58. The also added up to 4 new outlets (all inwall) in the house for free. I had a fifth outlet installed in another room, and the charge was only $25.

    I was there while the installer was there, talked to him, offered him cokes etc. He also made me for free about a dozen 3 - 6 foot RG-6 cables to connect from the wall to the tv, cable box etc.

    I don't know what this would have cost if I had called a local installer, but I imagine it would have been several hundred dollars. And it only cost me $25.

    JayDaniel
     

Share This Page