does my Cable Service work?
One of the more common means of receiving TV signals on your
TV set today is Cable TV. Cable TV allows reception of many
more channels than can be received by conventional broadcast
TV. The video signal is fed from the cable TV company
through a distribution network, and finally through a coaxial cable
(typically RG6 - 75 ohm cable) to your
home. This cable is about 1/4" in
diameter, consisting of a center conductor (this carries the
signal) and an outer shield (this shields the signal from
any outside interference) separated by an inner insulator.
The cable is connected to the TV set, VCR or cable TV
box (necessary if you want to receive premium, pay channels)
by screw-on or push-on "F" connectors. The cable
company must connect you to the service (for a monthly fee)
and then the signal can be routed throughout your home over
additional cables. The signal can be split to different
rooms of the home using TV splitters (coaxial cable cannot
be spliced together like telephone or speaker wire). Since
long cable runs and multiple splitters can produce
substantial signal loss (and therefore degrade the picture
quality), signal amplification may be necessary in those
How do I get the best Cable TV signal and good Cable Modem service?
The best strategy for keeping a good strong signal is to
keep the splitters to a minimum. When that can't be done,
then an amplifier is your best bet. But even when using an
amplifier you need to be very aware of where your cable
modem is installed - if you have one. Usually the cable
company will install a splitter very close to where the
cable comes into the home, and run one connection to the
cable modem, and the other connection to the TVs in the rest
of the house. Depending on how well your cable modem works,
you may need an amplifier for the cable modem AND the TVs,
or you may need it just for the TVs.
The basic idea here is that if your cable modem works well,
then you do NOT need an amplifier for it. You will be best
off by amplifying only the signal going to the
TVs/VCRs/Cable boxes in the rest of your house.
What is a
Cable Amplifier? Why do I need one?
Simply put, a cable
amplifier is a box that boosts your antenna or cable TV
signals. When your cable signal comes into the house, it is
generally strong enough to provide a good signal to two or
three televisions. However most homes have many more than
three TVs - and that doesn't even include all of the TV
accessories! Cable TV boxes, VCRs, TiVo, ReplayTV - all of
these boxes require a good strong signal to provide you with
a good picture. When your cable comes into your house,
it starts getting split into different directions. It is
these splits that cause your cable signal to suffer. Every
time your cable signal is split, the signal gets weaker -
causing graininess and in severe cases, SNOW. I had these
same problems in my own home before I went on a search for a
good product to give me strong, clear reception. Like other
people, I had several TVs in my home, and in some rooms I
had a TV, VCR, and a cable box. In order to feed a signal to
those three devices, I had to connect a three-way splitter
to the cable coming out of the wall. I didn't think twice
about all those splitters in my house until I started having
problems. My TV picture started getting "grainy",
and when I recorded TV programs on my VCR, the picture would
be blotchy and lack good clarity. I realized I was not
getting a strong enough signal at my TV and VCR to give me a
good clear picture.
is a Drop Amp (Drop Amplifier)?
company terms, each customer has a cable running from a utility pole or pedestal
to their home. The "pedestal" is a cable company distribution box -
where they hook up a whole bunch of homes to one place. It is generally where
you see the cable guys working a lot. The cable company refers to the connection
from their "box" to your home as a cable "drop". Years ago
when the signal was too low at a customer's house, the cable company used to go
out and install a "drop amplifier" pretty much for free, just inside
the customer's house. Nowadays, Drop Amplifiers are available from the cable
company to compensate for weak signals or multiple TVs, but they charge you a
premium for them, and generally don't give you a choice of models (1,2,4, or
8-port models). So the term "Drop Amplifier" is a
cable company term.
Just like other
products, cable amplifiers come a variety of flavors. Cheaper models typically
sold to consumers
through electronic stores often do nothing more than take
money out of your pocket. Many times they will actually
CAUSE problems such as ghosts
and other strange interference because of their cheap design
Viewsonics amplifiers are high quality professional grade
models that demonstrate that "you get
what you pay for". Viewsonics cable TV
amplifiers cost more than the typical electronics store
"cheapies", but they are well worth it. Why
are they better? Quality amplifiers are made totally
differently than the 'cheapies'. They use high quality
components and a sealed PC board (PCB) design.
is a Splitter?
Coaxial cable cannot be spliced together like telephone or
speaker wire. Therefore in order to 'connect' the two or
more coaxial cables together a splitter is required. Splitters
allow multiple coaxial cables to be connected
together. Splitters range from 2 way (one cable in and two out) to 8
way (one cable in and eight out) to suit various needs.
Whenever a splitter is used, it degrades the signal.
Why shouldn't I buy a similar amplifier from
a retail store? They are
they are CHEAPER. Although they will not provide similar functionality, many of them are
made using cheaper components and manufacturing facilities. The result
is that these amplifiers cannot provide the CLEAN, STRONG signal that
Viewsonics Amps provide. Why settle for less? Other amplifier manufacturers
also provide little or NO WARRANTY. Why spend $30-35 on a lower quality
amplifier, made of cheap components, with NO WARRANTY? Spend a few bucks more and get peace
I have a bunch of TVs and a cable modem. Do I need to buy more than one
NO. There are specific circumstances where you may need to purchase multiple
amplifiers. Most homes do not need more than one amplifier to fix cable
reception problems. In the rare situation where you think you may need more than
one amplifier, please ask for help before purchasing. In general it is better to
err on the side of LESS amplification than more amplification.
I need to mount the amplifier outside. Is it safe to do this?
to the manufacturer, the amplifiers can be mounted indoors or outdoors. When
mounted outdoors, the connections need to be protected so that moisture is kept
out. This will insure proper operation of the amplifier for many years. Any time
the amplifier is mounted outdoors it should be properly grounded. The amplifier
comes with instructions for grounding. Check with your municipality to determine
the proper regulations regarding grounding.
I need to mount the amplifier in the attic. Can it take the heat?
The manufacturer states that the amplifier can run within -40 to +60 degrees
Celsius (-40 to +140 degrees Fahrenheit). This means that it can take most attic
How Do I Choose The Right Amplifier?
correct amplifier for your situation is based upon your needs and specific
problems you are trying to address and correct. Choose one of the
following statements that best describes your situation for guidance as to which
product is best to resolve your issues:
I have a Cable Modem
in my house that works just fine, however, I could use a product that will clear
up my Cable Television reception and/or boost the signal.
have a Cable Modem in my house, however, it is slow, often unreliable and/or
frequently looses sinc.
do not have a Cable Modem, however, I wish to clear up my Cable Television
reception and/or boost the signal.
do not have a Cable Modem, however, I wish to clear up my Cable Television
reception and/or boost the signal, and I have the need to run a cable that is
over 150 feet long
do not have Cable, only an outdoor antenna
I purchased an Amplifier and
its not working as expected. Is there some basic
troubleshooting information I can use to make sure I have it
hooked up correctly
amplifiers are top of the line cable equipment, and should
definitely enhance your picture. Although the hookup is
fairly straightforward, there are a few simple steps to make
sure that it is done correctly. Please visit our
Section which can assist you in diagnosing the problem.
We hope the information provided here
on our site
helps you to make a more educated decision about your cable amplifier purchase.
We are fair and honest sellers of Cable TV Amps and accessories. That is all we sell, and we
know our stuff!
Check out our Cable Amp Education Page for more