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Cable and satellite services Cable TV  Equipment and Installation

 

Cable TV equipment and installation

If your home is wired for cable TV, needed equipment and installation depend on your television set. Nowadays it is likely to be cable-ready, with a built-in cable converter. Older TV sets may not have it, in which case you'd need separate cable converter.

Regardless of the TV set, you need coaxial cable to connect it to the wall outlet. Coaxial cable for cable/satellite TV installation is 75 ohm, no less than RG-6 cable size. It can be obtained at a hardware store, but beware. Its quality varies, and that can make a difference in the quality of reception. Your best bet is to use those supplied by cable TV companies.

If your TV set is not cable-ready, you'll need either cable converter box, or VCR/DVD for the reception of basic cable channels beyond 2-13 (that is, 14 to 60).

For the reception of premium cable channels, you'll also need descrambler, which restores the signal purposely made useless by the cable company. For pay-per-view programming, you'll need "addressable converter", which is supplied and remotely controlled by cable TV company.

Cable TV converter and descrambler can come separately, or in a single unit. Either need to be compatible with a particular cable TV provider's system. While you can buy these units on your own, it is illegal to use them without notifying the cable TV company about it - and paying the bill.

If you want two or more TV sets connected to cable TV, you'll need power-splitter to branch out the signal into as many lines. Depending on how strong is the initial signal, and how many lines it's been split into, it may result in poor reception quality. In such case, you'll benefit from signal amplifier.

Another gadget that may be useful to install is a high-pass filter, to protect your cable signal from electronic noise produced by in-house electrical wiring. Also, to block out electronic noise from cable modem, if you have it installed.

Finally, if you are to switch to digital cable, you may and may not need new wiring, including running new cable from the street pole to a gray plastic box on the wall, connecting external and internal cable TV wiring. After that, a digital cable terminal (DCT box, cable converter/descrambler) is installed by running coaxial cable through it, and then to a TV set. The entire setup, when done by cable company, usually requires two to three hours. 

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