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Satellite TV and RF cable quality issues. (1 Viewer)

Daniel Mc

May 5, 2002
I just got a DirectTV system and noticed that the dish is hooked to the satellite receiver via an RF cable. Since a system can only be as strong as its weakest link, is it worth it to hook the satellite receiver to my TV via S-video (or invest in a new receiver with component)? Right now my TV is hooked to the system using RF and I'm debating whether or not I should bother to change it.

On a similar note, my TV right now (an old RCA) doesn't accept S-video or component (but I am planning on upgrading very soon). For now, should I use composite connections rather than the RF connections? Thanks.

Jay H

Senior HTF Member
Mar 22, 1999
Pittsfield, MA
Real Name
Hell yes, even on my puny 20" I can easily tell the difference between the RF and S-video from my Dish PVR501 and DishNetwork. an S-video or even composite should be an automatic upgrade from using the RF. The input coming into your DirecTV receiver is digital data, it hasn't been processed yet, so your output from your DirectV receiver is a whole different ballgame. In other words, the fact that the RG-6 cable is going into your receiver is not going to limit the benefits of using an S-video cable or even composite cables for the output coming out of that receiver.

Most people tend to have a bunch of composite RCA cables lying around, I would switch to composite and wait til you get an S-video input on your TV and then upgrade to that..



Stunt Coordinator
Mar 12, 2000
So is there any difference with people who have made the switch from s-video out of the dbs rec. to component out from the dbs rec.??? Is it worth it?



Second Unit
Mar 8, 2002
Anything is tons better than RF. When I hooked a DVD player up with composite, it looked pretty good. I then hooked it up with the RF and relative to the composite it was horrible. RF is terrible.

Component should help make colors more separated than s-video. It really helps make each color stand out. I was quite surprised at how much difference component made. And even super-cheap cables for under $20 will give a better picture than a $20 s-video cable.

Bob McElfresh

Senior HTF Member
May 22, 1999
Uhhh... there are a couple of issues here. Let me try and break them out.
Home Theater magazine compared all 3 types of video connections from the same DVD player to a reference 50" RPTV. Their findings were:
Composite (single RCA cable): baseline
SVideo (funny keyboard connector): 20% improvement over Composite
Component (3 RCA cables): 25% improvement over Composite
They noted that a SMALLER display shows less difference, a larger display shows more.
Both a DVD and DSS system provide video already separated. This means your actual box does not do the separation. The basic, middle-ground, deluxe DSS receiver should give you nearly the identical picture quality.
BUT: the DSS system is a low-quality source compared to a DVD player.
This means that while you see a (baseline/20%/25%) improvement with a DVD player, you MAY NOT see that much of a difference with your DSS receiver.
When I got my DSS receiver, I tried comparing:
- CATV feed for local network channel
- DSS feed for the same channel using Composite
- DSS feed for the same channel using SVideo
I was shocked to see little difference between the Composite & SVideo connections.
The trick was this: I was using a local network channel as the source. The show that was on was a made-for-TV movie and was not broadcast with very high quality video. So the better video connections did not show much difference because the source was low-quality.
People tell me that a HBO/Premium channel would have shown me more improvement.
Where I did see a major difference with different video connections was the On-Screen program guide. The straight lines and text looked MUCH better with SVideo.
Hope this helps.

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