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Antenna Booster for TV

Television antenna booster


The most important element of a TV antenna system is the antenna and a close second is the signal distribution system. The distribution system transports the TV signal from the antenna to the TV. This includes the coax cable, signal booster, signal splitters, etc… Anything that’s in line between the TV antenna and the TV is considered to be part of the antenna distribution system.

It won’t matter if you install the best antenna available if the signal distribution system doesn’t efficiently deliver the signal from the antenna to the TV.


Mast mounted signal booster called a preamplifier

Distribution signal booster

Coimmon 4 way signal splitter

Shown above is a mast mounted antenna signal booster also known as a preamplifier or television antenna booster.

Shown above is a in line antenna signal booster also known as a distribution amplifier.

Shown above is a 4 way signal splitter. Also available are 2 way, 3 way, 6 way and 8 way signal splitters.


Coax Cable and Signal Boosters

Always use high grade solid copper coax cable. Many of the coax cables offered on the market have a copper clad center wire. Copper clad is a steel wire coated with copper and is not as efficient as a solid copper wire. You can determine if the wire is solid copper or copper clad by placing a magnet onto the wire. If the wire is attracted to the magnet it’s copper clad. If the wire isn’t attracted to the magnet it’s solid copper.

There are three basics sizes of coax cable in use for TV reception. The smallest and least efficient is RG 59 a better choice is RG 6 and the ultimate is RG 11. Frankly, RG 11 is very hard to work with, it’s stiff, expensive and the benefits are minimal over RG 6 cable. All in all RG 6 solid copper coax cable is likely the best choice for most applications.

Antenna Signal Booster Amplifiers

No matter what coax cable is in use there will be signal loss as the TV signal travels the coax cable to the TV. A quality solid copper cable keeps this loss minimal but signal amplification may still be necessary to offset cable resistance. The amount of signal amplification required is in direct relationship to the length of the coax cable from the antenna to the TV. If a signal splitter will be in use within the system and to a point how strong the incoming TV signals are at the antenna. At this point I suggest you visit the article titled “TV Antenna Preamplifier - Booster and Distribution Amplifier- Booster“. This article will open in a new window that can be closed when you’re finished to return to this page. At the previous link you will learn when to use a preamplifier type booster or distribution amplifier booster. You will also find a chart that will help determine which amplifier is best for your TV antenna system. In many cases if the antenna will supply a single TV without the use of a signal splitter and the coax cable length from the antenna to the TV can be kept to about 50 feet or less an antenna signal booster will not be needed. However, in weak signal areas using a preamplifier type booster is usually always a benefit.

Multiple TVs From One Antenna Using a Television Antenna Signal Booster

Many times there is more than one TV in the household that will be connected to the TV antenna. To distribute the signal to multiple locations requires the use of a signal splitter. A signal splitter is a device with one coax cable input and multiple coax cable outputs. You will find available 2 way, 3 way, 4 way, 6 way and 8 way signal splitters. The number determines the amount of coax cable outputs the splitter will have. In the picture to the left is a 3 way signal splitter. The 3 way splitter consist of one input and three outputs.

When using a signal splitter the system should be kept balanced. In other words, if you have six locations where you want TV signals to be available don’t install a 2 way splitter and run one output of that 2 way splitter to another 2 way splitter and so on. Never daisy chain signal splitters. It is best to install home run coax cable lines from one signal splitter to each TV. This method may be a little more work but it will pay off in performance.

Recap

Use quality solid copper RG 6 coax cable
Never daisy chain signal splitters
Use the proper television antenna signal booster when a booster is necessary.

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Additional Resources.

TV Antenna Basic Installation Guidelines
A Step by step guide to basic antenna system installation

TV Antenna Help Center
Tips and reception product guidelines