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Unread 05-21-2011, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Kansas City North
1,927 posts, read 2,157,891 times
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Default How to "activate" cable outlets

Hopefully I'm posting this in the proper forum.

I live in a single family home and have cable through Time Warner. There are cable outlets in every room. When it was activated, the technician said we couldn't have all the outlets active becuase it would "dilute" the signal too much, so we had four activated (three TVs and the cable modem) and everything looks great. Now I want to "activate" one of the other cable outlets. If the signal is weak, I'll even deactivate one of current ones. Just switching bedrooms with TVs. The cable comes into the home at an outside box (which I've never looked in). We do not have a "smart box" inside the house here as I did in a previous house. Is this something I can do myself, or do I need to bite the bullet and call them back out.
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Unread 05-21-2011, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Cary, NC
18,332 posts, read 26,604,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Okey Dokie View Post
Hopefully I'm posting this in the proper forum.

I live in a single family home and have cable through Time Warner. There are cable outlets in every room. When it was activated, the technician said we couldn't have all the outlets active becuase it would "dilute" the signal too much, so we had four activated (three TVs and the cable modem) and everything looks great. Now I want to "activate" one of the other cable outlets. If the signal is weak, I'll even deactivate one of current ones. Just switching bedrooms with TVs. The cable comes into the home at an outside box (which I've never looked in). We do not have a "smart box" inside the house here as I did in a previous house. Is this something I can do myself, or do I need to bite the bullet and call them back out.
You have some sort of cable interface box on the exterior of the house, probably where the telephone network interface and electrical meter are located.
It is not a shock hazard. And you should be able to open it easily enough. Mine is not sealed, anyway.
You probably have a splitter in that cable interface box, and the tech probably only had a 4 way splitter.

You might try tapping it with another splitter, or adding a splitter with more taps. Splitters are cheap enough, it will not break the bank.
(Edit to add: I meant to say, if it doesn't deliver acceptable signal, you are only out a few bucks. I have fooled around with mine some, and signal seems to be OK, but only 4 outlets.)
Amazon.com: 8-WAY Coax Cable Splitter: Electronics

And, I am NOT an expert. Someone smarter than me regarding coax signal mgmt may confirm, clarify, or refute.

Last edited by MikeJaquish; 05-21-2011 at 07:06 PM..
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Unread 05-21-2011, 07:02 PM
 
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The way it works in our house is like this:

Underground Cable -> Amplifier -> Splitter -> Each Room

Splitters degrade signals and must be amplified if degraded too much. So, in our house we don't have the ability to turn each one on or off (without disconnecting from the splitter).

Comcast offers this amplifier free of charge to us.

While I hope this gives you a little more background info, I don't have an answer to your specific question, sorry.
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Unread 05-22-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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Don't cascade splitters (connecting an output from one splitter to the input of another splitter). Each splitter attenuates the signal with cheap splitters having the worst attenuation. Buy a splitter with at least the number of outputs you wish to feed and replace the one the tech installed assuming the one he installed only has 4 outputs and all 4 are being used. You can get some decent splitters with up to 8 outputs at lowes made by "ideal" (I think that is the brand name on them) or go to some of the electronics stores (radio shack, best buy, etc.) The ones at walmart are crappy. Any unused ports will need to be capped with terminators to prevent signal interference and ghosting.
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Unread 05-22-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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I am currently feeding 8 devices with cable, no problems. The quality of the splitters used does have some effect, and it should have at least a 1GHz bandwidth. They won't be the cheapest, but they won't break the bank either.

If you see the cable guy in your neighborhood, see if you can talk him into giving you a couple, they carry quality splitters with them.
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Unread 05-23-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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I'd first find out where the splitter is at. You'll probably find some disconnected cables. If so connect them if there is any available outputs and if you don't see any issues with your other cable devices probelm solved.

Note that will only get whatever your service provides over analog service and most providers are dropping analog signals altogether. You may need a cable box. On Comcast in my area they only have about 20 channels over analog which requires no box. 1/3 local, 1/3 shopping channels and few others. A DTA which they provide for free gives you about 150 channels. The regular cablebox which cost a few bucks will get you whatever you're paying for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NJBest View Post
Underground Cable -> Amplifier -> Splitter -> Each Room

Assuming a cable modem I'm pretty sure the ideal setup is to have two way splitter for the modem and cable. This is what the cable guy told me.....


Cable from street >> two way splitter(one for cable TV and one for modem) >> Amplifier (if needed) >> Splitter to split off to each room.
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Unread 05-23-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post



Assuming a cable modem I'm pretty sure the ideal setup is to have two way splitter for the modem and cable. This is what the cable guy told me.....


Cable from street >> two way splitter(one for cable TV and one for modem) >> Amplifier (if needed) >> Splitter to split off to each room.
If you have an amplifier, it doesn't matter whether you have a straight line to the cable modem. Nowadays, each cable box needs the same quality signal as a cable modem.
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Unread 05-23-2011, 10:03 AM
 
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I'm just going by what the cable guy told me, my understanding is each splitter will divide the signal equally regardless of how many splits are on each output. In other words a two way splitter will always provide half the signal on one output if it was going to the modem even if you have 20 TV's connected to the other output.
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Unread 05-23-2011, 10:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
I'm just going by what the cable guy told me, my understanding is each splitter will divide the signal equally regardless of how many splits are on each output. In other words a two way splitter will always provide half the signal on one output if it was going to the modem even if you have 20 TV's connected to the other output.
Unless you're using a passive splitter, the splitter should compensate for the signal loss on the fly. Usually ~3db per split. This is why non-passive splitters are plugged into a wall outlet.
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