I'm trying to figure out the best way to wire my home for cable TV. Read
some conflicting opinions on some web sites and thought I would ask here.
Which option would be best or is there a third? Or doesn't it make a
1. Have one central location where the main cable comes in the house.
Split everything from that location and run seperate cables to each outlet
2. Split the main cable where it comes in the house and run cables to
general locations in the house. From there split it further and run cable
to each outlet.
Your better off using #1. Its more flexible, easier to troubleshoot,
and if you use RG6 its satellite friendly.
RG59 the typical cable company line is very lossy:( You or someone else
might want satellite tv someday and the better cable costs just pennies
more a foot!
If your into TV check the satellite comanies dish or direct TV and look
into a DVR, digital video recorder one brand is TIVO. It changes
FOREVER how you think of tv:)
Fast forward thru commercials easily, save 15 minutes of your time each
hour, start watching show while its still being recorded, pause tv if
the phone rings, run it back a little if the dog barks, everything on a
nice grid just click and go.
2 is easiest to implement and costs less. However it has more
connections and more difficult to keep the noise out. But in general
noise shouldn't be TOO hard to keep out.
Given the choice in a new house I would do 1. Otherwise I would do 2
and if performance is poor switch to 1 as needed.
use rg6 quad shielded for in wall runs.
"Then said I, Wisdom [is] better than strength: nevertheless the poor
Im not a cable professional but I have ran into some problems with
comcast running cable. Make sure if you are using alot of splitters, an
amp, or long runs that you may have to run the computer line(if you are
using one) out of one splitter only so your internet connection works.
I guess there is interferance through that equip. At least thats what I
was told by the tech, but everything does work good.I hope this info is
correct and helps and if it is not, I would like to know. Good Luck
The best way in my opinion is to put 1 2way splitter at the service
entrance, 1 side goes to the cable modem assuming you use high speed
internet from your cable, the other side to the appropriate sized splitter
then run to each port. The cable modem needs to have a fairly strong signal
and in my experience does NOT like to be amplified.
By daisychaining into multiple splitters you are going to run in to too high
of a db loss.
Remeber, there are quality spliiters and POS splitters, they are NOT all the
same. The brand I prefer is Toner.
Cable modems are TWO WAY devices and you are correct that they do not
like ONE WAY amplifiers.
Your suggestion is a good way to solve that problem.
But they now make two way amplifers and amplifers that have a
feedthough path for the return signal. A cable mode should work fine
I was told by Comcast that when you get the High Speed internet (it's
really fast now, up to 16mbps) enabled at your house, they have to
amplify something at the pole, Thus, if there is a lightning strike or
some voltage spike in your cable line, the modem dies and you have to
wait a week for them to come and give u a new (refurbished, previously
destroyed by a power surge) cable modem.
You should DEFINITELY get yourself a coax surge protector. When we
didn't have one, I was sitting online right next to the modem, heard
thunder and saw a spark inside of the modem. It was pretty crazy. And
of course, no internet for a week.
Think about it. What does that coax protector do? Does it somehow
stop, block, or absorb a destructive transient? If so, then it also
stops, block, or absorbs another radio wave called the cable signal.
If that coax protector really stopped or absorbed massive transients,
then it completely stops other radio frequencies that are desireable.
There is no protector that somehow blocks transients. Effective
protectors do as Ben Franklin demonstrated in 1752. They earth before
those destructive transients can enter a building. No protector
required for coax cable. The cable protection is a ground block wired
less than 10 feet to an earthing electrode. Which electrode? Must be
same one used by AC electric 'whole house' protector and by telephone
You did not know all phone lines have an effective protector
installed for free by the telco? Well it is ineffective if a protector
inside the NID does not make a 'less than 10 foot' connection to that
same earthing electrode.
What does each connection do? Gives destructive transients a path to
earth before cable enters a building. Otherwise that transient will
find earth ground, destructively, via household electronics.
Ineffective protectors such as an inline coax protector avoid all
discussion about earthing. They are not providing effective
protection. Why then would they discuss THE most essential component
of a protection 'system'? Earth ground.
The cable company - as even required by code - must earth that coax
wire to a single point earthing electrode before their cable enters
your building. That is the cable surge protection. Protection that is
only as effective as the earthing 'system' you provided when the cable
BTW, if that voltage spike destroys a cable modem, then it has also
destroyed those amplifiers on utility poles. Notice how those
amplifiers fail so infrequently? Because cable modems are not
typically damaged by surges on cable. They are damaged more often by
surges on AC electric - those wires higher on utility poles that are
stuck more often. If your building does not have a properly earth
'whole house' protector on AC electric, then the modem and everything
else in the building is a serious risk. There is no effective plug-in
protector - on cable or AC electric. The effective protector makes a
'less than 10 foot' connection to earth. For AC electric, that is a
'whole house' protector as sold in Home Depot or Lowes. For cable, it
is that 'less than 10 foot' connection to earth installed where cable
enters the building. This is something Comcast has recently taught
their installers and that was not understood before Comcast rewired
their entire network.
Meanwhile, what do coax cable protectors so often do? Degrade the
cable signal. After spending all that effort to wire so that cable
remains strong, then why install a useless protector that would only
undermine all that cable installation work?
Elliott P wrote:
The very best way is to come in on one wire to a 4 or 8 way amplifier then
run one cable from that to each room. Split only at the TV for a VCR.
Avoid splitters as much as possible but you may need one at the beginning if
you have a cable modem or one in a room for multiple devices.
With an amplifier right up front, you can use crappy splitters and salvaged
cable and still get a decent picture but if you use too many splitters, the
signal will quickly sink below the noise level and when that happens, even a
sensitive tuner will see noise on some stations (at random)
The main problem with video distribution systems is not letting noise onto
the line but allowing the signal to be reduced below that noise level (SNR)
by using too many splitters.
When we wired our home, we had full access from the basement
to the living area of the main floor. I spoke to the cable
company and was told to provide two runs of RG6 to the
central storage room where I did a "home run" of all low
voltage, cable, intercom, Cat 5 wiring. The cable company
installed a splitter where the cable entered the house.
In the storage room, I installed a 12-way amplified splitter
and 8-way combiner. One of the RG-6 feeds went directly to
my cable modem and the other to an input of the combiner. I
also fed A/V camera inputs to modulators and then to other
inputs of the combiner. The output from the combiner went
to the amplifier/splitter. That way, each TV camera had its
own "channel," being an unused channel from the cable.
This was in the days of analog cable, and perhaps digital
cable will not be compatible. I just don't know. If not,
consider placing your cable box in the same room and using a
remote RF controller for it. The output of the cable box
could then be modulated and simply be another channel on
your home cable network. In our home, the birdfeeder was
channel 86, front door was 88, back yard 90, etc.
A very conscious and smart decision I made was to NOT extend
this type of wiring to the bedrooms or kitchen before we
furnished the home and decided where we wanted things to be.
Instead, I merely extended it to a spot about under the
center of each room and coiled it; it hung from a staple
until needed. Then, when we decided where to put the TV or
laptop in the kitchen, for instance, I just drilled a hole
in the floor and brought the wire up. In bedrooms, I just
made an incision in the carpet and brought the wire up near
the baseboard. If something was later moved, the incision
was "self-healing" and moving the wire could be done in a
matter of minutes. If there was a need for 2-3 devices in a
room, such as a laptop with antenna input and also a TV, I
usually would just split the signal again, using a passive
What is so good, if your home can handle it, is to home run
as much as possible. Doorbells, intercom wiring, home
networking, cable, cameras, cable modem, security and
anything else can be run to one dedicated room in the attic
or basement of many homes. The flexibility this gives you
is incredible. It's impossible to anticipate all needs and
locations, and this gives you tremendous opportunities.
I don't see any difference between these two choices, except that in
the second one, the first one or two splitters will be outside the
Why might that be bad? Well, I had my cable (which I no longer use or
pay for) run through the window frame of the basement window, and
another lead run up to 2nd floor (along the downspout so it isn't
visible) and through the overhanging closet floor.
I put the box in the closet and ran to a splitter one part went to
the tv and other parts went up to the attic (to the bathroom with the
tub, and to another bedroom) and another part down into the living
room, which had a tv, and then down to the basement family room, to
the laundry room and to the kitchen. TV's in all these places.
Every second splittler or so (that means I could have a tv on one amp
output, and a tv on the other output with a splitter that went to a
2nd tv, and I *didn't* need another splitter for that leg. Add a
third tv to the second leg, and I would need an amp probably.) Every
second splitter or so seemed to require a signal amp (mostly from
Radio Shack) but I never bought an amp until I needed one. If the
picture was weak, I needed one.
Later I put my vcr on the other side, my side of the bed, so I could
put tapes in and out without getting up, and then I could use the same
cables to watch the same movie from any room in the house (except one
bedroom and two bathrooms.) One time I had a party and about 33
people stayed to watch the movie I showeed, 16 in the living room, 7
in the kitchen and 10 in the basement family room.
I've been using the various amps (I think I have 3) for between 18 and
20 years, and I never give them any thought.
Whenever they enforce Digital TV, I'm not going out and buying 9 new
tvs, so I'll buy a converter and put it next to the vcr. One
convertor will serve the whole house. I'll have some sort of Rabbit
thing to change channels with when I'm not in the room with the
converter, like I do know with the vcr. I have an antenna in the
attic that feeds the vcr, and if if the vcr is off or set on "tv" the
antenna feeds through to the tvs all over the house. The signal from
cable works the same way as the signal from the antenna.
As to doing it the second way.
I think you can successfully run the signal backwards through the
splitter, put something in an output, and the same thing will come out
the other output and the input. For details check with
sci.electronics.repair . I think I've done this. A splitter is just
3 or 5 coils in proximity to each other.
Not sure about a cable connection for the computer. check if you can
split that too, but I'm pretty sure it's the same as tv.
Speaking of techs, at first installation I asked the tech if, for the
sake of appearance, the cable box (used at the time) could be in my
closet instead of on the same table as the little tv, about 6 feet
away. He said he wasn't sure, but he did it for me and it worked
fine. Later when I was snaking cable to the kitchen, I had it running
down two flights, then from the rear of the house to the front, back
to the back, and to the front again, and up one flight, at least 125
feet, and it worked fine. If the tech had doubts about 6 feet, he
didn't know very much. (Later after I finished the snaking, the 125
feet dropped to about 55 feet.
BTW, I'm talking about a splitter, not an amp with more than one
output. Certainly, most splitters put on the outside would not be
amplifiers. Amplifiers need AC and they shouldn't get wet.
Almost everything I said was about TVs. You may or may not want a
separate run to your computer.
If you buy one-way amps now, you can replace them with 2-way amps if
you move your computer, or get a second. The one=way amps are only
about 10 or 20 dollars iirc.
That's as good as any but it is only for indoor use per the exposed power
connector. It is ridiculously expensive for 3dB gain. It does have a
unique IR link for between rooms but do you really need that since you can
but both features seperately for less $.
Also has inputs for signals from modulators- I'm planning to feed input
from security cams.
I wasn't recommending the that vendor's price, just the product or
similar - I see them on eBay, often under a hundred bucks.
I ran the incoming coax to a basic unamplified splitter with four outputs.
One for the living room, one for my home office, and two for each of our
bedrooms. Then I ran the cable to each room and installed a single coax
Then, in each room, I connected a cable that ran to a splitter with two
outputs, one for the TV, one for the VCR. In the office, I used the same
type of splitter for the internet cable modem, and a TV tuner in my
Of course, you could expand on the idea if you want cable in more rooms or
want more outlets in each room.
When the cable company came out to hook us up, the installer simply asked
me how many outlets I had installed (I said 8, since that's the final count
after all the splitters). He adjusted the signal level out at the pole and
tested the level inside the house.
The installer wasn't too crazy about my RG59 Cable or home center cable
splitters (they use higher quality RG6 and better splitters), but we have
great signals everywhere with no noise.
I think the critical thing is to keep the system balanced. You can split
the signal four ways, and then again at each end, or you can use a single 8
outlet splitter. But you shouldn't split the signal four ways, and then
split one of the single lines four ways too. This would result in a
stronger signal at some outlets than others.
These days, RG6 is VERY competitive in price with RG59. The only
reason one would have to use RG59 would be the smaller diameter.
In almost every such case it's better to enlarge the holes one has
rather than go slack on the cable quality.
The cable companies *think* their splitters, taps, etc. are better,
but in actual point of fact they're usually the same. Our cable
dude insisted on removing my Winegard splitter in favor of his own,
then had to boost the signal levels to compensate.
All relevant people are pertinent.
All rude people are impertinent.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.