recommend a quality CATV splitter please!

Subject says all...

today I had my cable box lock up and when I rebooted it the picture was all shaky and jaggy, so I took it back to the service center and traded it in on a shiny new one. I found that upgrading to a HDTV box would only cost $2 plus $2/month, and apparently my cable co. (Cox) is surprisingly cool about HD, everything that I already get, I get in HD just by paying the higher box rental fee. So I came home with a shiny new cable box, hooked it up, picture fine but I found that many channels still weren't watchable - just a poor signal. So I got to troubleshooting... I determined that the cable from the splitter to the TV was causing signal loss (took some lengths of coax that I had laying around, connected them together, ran to TV, improved signal, but still not great, but I figured that was because not all of the cables were good quad shield) so I ran some new quad shield. Better, still not good. Bypassed the surge suppressor, better yet, still not getting all channels. Bypassed splitter (have a 4-port splitter screwed to a floor joist in the basement, so I can have TV and cable modem both connected) now it's good. Put surge suppressor back in circuit, still good. Dug in junk box, found an old 2-port splitter, still good. So it's the

4-port splitter that is the problem, even though I just bought it a couple years ago and it was clearly labeled "HDTV" and listed for the appropriate frequency range. GRR!


given the above, what should I buy? Can someone recommend a good brand of 4 or more port splitter that isn't a pile of cheap crap?

OR... is the 3dB or whatever loss between the 2-port and 4-port splitter likely enough to be causing my problem, and I should simply get an amplified splitter? If so, I'd still like a recommend. I would like the add'l ports because future plans involve running cable up to the bedrooms - in fact, I might have been doing it today had not my cable box crapped out.

FWIW I did have the unused ports capped, although I don't know if that really makes a difference or not.

Oh, and this is making the decision as to whether to buy a new TV or not harder. Prices seem reasonable right now, but I don't like having a cable box, am wondering if I should wait until the next gen cable card is available. I know, you guys can't help me with that one (but if any of you have done your research and can recommend a good HDTV, appx. the same size as my old SD Sony projector (53", but not 16x9) or perhaps a little smaller that isn't ludicrously expensive, that would be appreciated too... I don't actually have a HDTV hooked up to the cable box, but I wanted the HD box in case I had guests and they wanted to watch TV in one of the bedrooms, I could just move the box upstairs.

On the upside, now ALL the cable in my house is quad shield save for the maybe 3' long piece between the outside connection and the splitter. I would have replaced that too but it's 90+ and sunny out, and it's working now...

thanks for any help


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Nate Nagel
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There are incredibly varying qualities in splitters. Look for one that's all metal, soldered around the edges and is made by a reputable outfit. I like gold plated connectors but nickel ones work just as well, although they film over in humid areas. Splitters are often rated for certain frequencies only. If I were powering four devices, I'd definitely put a signal amp in. Also, on a four way, one connector will be marked IN with the other three marked OUT, although you can use it in reverse as a signal combiner, but few people need that. Make sure you've got that right - all four connectors are not created equally.

I'd split the cable coming in with a dual, one leg going to the cable modem and then take the other leg and run it into a signal amp and to the TVs. Why? Because when the cable modem F's up, it's easy to remove all the TV's and signal amps from the equation by removing the splitter and using a barrel to replace it. That way only the cable modem is connected to the incoming wire, and Comcast can't BS me about "you may have 'customer installed equipment' (they say those words as if they were bitter poison) that is interfering with your cable signal."

Also, if your terminations is bad, or you're using the wrong sort of cable you can seriously screw up reception. A cable guy once told me he was astounded by the RF leakage he finds in houses where the owners have done their own wiring. I believe him.

For years I thought screw-on coax connectors were just as good as crimped/compressed until fellow newsgroupers beat some sense into me and I got a Snap'n'seal compression tool and a box of gold-plated compression fittings. The foot massager that had always put noise on the bedroom TV no longer did so when I redid all the fittings from screw and crimp to compression. The difference on TV's at the ends of long cable runs was incredibly noticeable. Cabling is like plumbing, to be good, it has to be tight without leaks. The problem is that it's much hard to find cable leaks. No puddles!

-- Bobby G.

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