[mythtv-users] cable distribution amplifiers

Gerald Schepens schepens at shaw.ca
Mon Mar 8 02:55:53 EST 2004

I agree with the advice below, but despite that, a cable amp was the 
right solution for me.  I think the success you have with an amp depends 
on why the signal's bad in the first place.  If there's bad cabling or a 
high degree of noise injected somewhere, the amp will just amplify the 
noise along with the signal and you won't really help things.  In that 
case you have to replace bad cable, reduce cable length, or move cable 
to decrease signal loss and induced noise, or else nag your cable 
company to come out and ensure your signal strength is up to snuff.

My case was a bit different.  I needed an amplifier to replace a bunch 
of splitters.  I had two coax splitters behind my entertainment centre.  
One was a three-way, which fed the other, a two-way.  I was connecting a 
TV, my capture card, my digital cable box and my VCR.  By the time the 
signal power got split that many directions, through two splits, with 
your typical low-quality non-powered, ungrounded splitters, there was 
not much left of the signal.  But once I put the amplifier in, the 
signal was much cleaner and my hookups were far simpler.  I had the 
incoming cable and four outs from the amp, and that was all there was to 
it.  My signal quality is far better now, which is important because 
I've found that the TV capture process seems to exacerbate the badness 
of a bad signal.

My amp's a powered Recotron 4-output 10 dB uhf/vhf/fm amplifier, for the 

Jason Cooper wrote:

>Josh (jishywa at wi.rr.com) scribbled:
>>We sell them at radioshack, and 75% of the time they come back the next day.
>>I'd stay away from them if possible. A better option is to reduce cable runs
>>where possible and look for worn through insulation and shielding as well as
>>rust on the ends. A good high quality cable helps too; get some of that quad
>>shielded stuff for the longest runs in your house if you feel like
>>If you must go with a cable amp, put it as close to the cable entry point in
>>your house as possible. Otherwise you run into Garbage in -> Garbage out.
>>Good luck
>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: mythtv-users-bounces at mythtv.org
>>[mailto:mythtv-users-bounces at mythtv.org] On Behalf Of Tony Lill
>>Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2004 6:46 PM
>>To: mythtv-users at mythtv.org
>>Subject: [mythtv-users] cable distribution amplifiers
>>Since I've added my mythtv box with it's 2 capture cards, my cable
>>signal has been a bit weak (go figure)! Has anyone tried a cable amp,
>>and do they work well?
>I'm not sure if you guys have DSL, cable-modems, or both in the great
>white north.  If you happen to have a cable modem, make sure it is _not_
>included in the amplified string.  Otherwise upstream data will be
>attenuated by the amplifier, resulting in no connection.  
>I do remember about 15 or so years ago, cable was new and the signals
>were not strong.  Back then, they made a big deal out of splicing your
>own cable to multiple rooms.  In those days an amp helped, these days
>the signal is plenty strong enough (cable co gave up? :) 
>Before you go rewiring your house (unless you see worn spots in the
>cable), go through and replace the connectors, then make sure they are
>securely plugged in to the devices (TVs, tuner cards, modem, etc).  I've
>found most times that a bad signal (weak) is due to insufficient
>shielding.  Which occurs a lot when cable installers do a half ass job
>putting the connectors on the lines.  Make sure to get the ones behind
>the wall plates as well.  Especially if they run near power cables.
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>mythtv-users at mythtv.org

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