TV signal booster recommendation? - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 9 Old 02-15-07, 10:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: CT
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TV signal booster recommendation?

I have my CATV coming into the house and then going through multiple splitters. I don't know wha the previous owner was ddoing but he had cables split all over the house.
At any rate, the signal on one leg is particular is very weak since it goes through three multi-splitters before getting to the tv. I know it is a signal loss issue because I temporarily hardwired the line straight to the tv (only one splitter) and the picure was amazingly clear.
I eliminated the cable itself as being defective, but I suspect the splitter may not be so good and contributing to the problem.
So, I guess I am looking for recommendations for a signal booster as well as a splitter.
There is a Motorola signal booster that looks promising at Amazon: and also a Radio Shack version:
Any experience here?
fyi, The splitter I have is labeled RCA.
As far as splitters, has anyone had any experience with different manufacturers to make a recommendation?
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post #2 of 9 Old 02-15-07, 12:30 PM
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

How many cable lines do you need? They have splitters that split up to 4 or 5 times I would try dumping the multiple splitters and going with just one good quality one and seeing how that goes. I'm not to sure about how amplifiers degrade the signal if at all.
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post #3 of 9 Old 02-15-07, 12:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

I would love to dump the multiple splitters but that is easier said than done.
The house has gone thru two major remodels before I got it and each time, they just added on to existing cabling and buried it behind the wall. I would have to abandon the existing cable and have exposed cabling.
It would look like #$%^ but is an option OR I would could try the amplifier and/or quality splitter route.
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post #4 of 9 Old 02-15-07, 06:17 PM
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

I have this one:

and it does an OK job for me, since it is Bi-Directional and works well with a cable modem.
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-16-07, 09:47 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

Bobgspr, I almost got that unit but decided against it because of the 90 day warranty and my experience with the single output model from radioshack (it worked ok but added a little noise on the worst channels):

I also considered the PCT International PCT-MA-B1015-4P: as well as Motorola 484095-001-00

but determined that it's specs were not as good as the similar model from CE labs model 6004:

I ended up getting the single output version (CE Labs 6001) to save some cash ($41 delivered from Amazon Markletplace):

Thanks for the help!
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post #6 of 9 Old 02-22-07, 10:11 PM
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

What you want is a drop amp and Electroline is the brand to go with.
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-22-07, 10:20 PM
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

Some good info here:
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-23-07, 06:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

Thanks for the recommendation and the excellent links!
The "signal booster" I ended up going with actually is a drop amp (aka RF amp). My ignorance of terms playing a part in the misnomer. After looking at the specs (if you can believe them), the CE Labs 6001 is slightly better due to a lower Noise Figure. A bonus is the slightly higher gain that is adjustable. The adjustability is important as it is possible to overload the front end of a tv tuner with too much signal

As others have pointed out, a multi-port drop amp is preferred over multiple splitters due to the reduction of potential losses from each cable connector (extra connectors are ALWAYS bad!).

Unfortunately for me, I have to live with the existing cable/splitters unless I want to start ripping into walls. But now that I have the rf amp aka drop amp aka signal booster, it is not necessary
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post #9 of 9 Old 03-13-07, 08:34 PM
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Re: TV signal booster recommendation?

As I read the above thread a friend's 'older' home in a very upscale neighborhood comes to mind. Daisy-chained splitters throughout and various types of all the wrong cable and incorrectly installed connectors. The problem list was literally endless.

Through some miracle we were able to find and access all the splitters, but due to multiple room additions and remodelling over the past 40 years, rewiring, which was desparately needed, was out of the question.

Compounding things there were three floors to this huge old Victorian home, with 6 total bedrooms on the two upper floors and a TV in each (of course) plus 4 more sets on the first floor and lest we forget, 1 more in the maid's quarters above the garage.

By actual measurement using a signal generator set for 300 Mhz the "worst case" outlet was 32 db down from the input source. Splitter attenuation accounted for a bit over 23 db of this loss and cable length was credited with the remaining 9 db. This worst case was in the maid's quarters, which ironically was only 10 feet from the alley utility pole where the multi-tap was located. A call to TWC got a separate drop direct from the Mul-tee into the maid's quarters and while the guy was there we asked and he obliged by replacing the original drop into the main house. An immediate signal level improvement was noticed, but we still had those pesky splitters to deal with and all those poorly installed cheap connectors. The lousy grade of single braid-over-single foil RG6 was also contributing to ghosting (from ingress radiation) on 3 local channels.

With the maid's quarters taken care of the next worst-case port was approx 22 db down. By process of elimination (sequentially disconnecting) the various splitters (6 in all) we were able to map-out the kludge distribution and figure out what fed what.

Next all new brass (Gilbert) connectors w/integral long ferrule and a hex crimp tool cleaned up some of the ingress problems and fixed a nasty problem with reverse-slope on one particular drop (open shield). With an open shield you'll see better reception on the upper channels than the lower ones, just the reverse of what's normal.

Finally we installed a +50 db apartment amplifier (professional grade) and padded the input about 10 db so we didn't overdrive it and set the forward gain at +30 with a 3db slope (chan 2~36). That resulted in feeding our first 4-way splitter with approx +39 of signal (gobs, I know, but read on).

We then went to each TV, measured the signal level and installed inline pads at each to achieve an input of +6 at each set. By running the distribution "hot" with a perfectly clean signal and padding down at each TV to avoid overdrive, we completely eliminated the ghosting and the PQ was quite stunning, albeit analog. Digital wasn't around at the time and the homeowner has since sold the big old house.

Of course the poorly shielded cable was now leaking (egress radiation) instead of ingressing although the leakage was hard to detect outside the home (radiant barrier insulation).

No, not the best way to fix it, but short of tearing open the walls and spending a couple grand on a full rewire the ends seemed to justify the means.
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