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Convert from Cable TV to a TV antenna

A lot of people are switching from Cable TV to a TV antenna.
After reading this page if you still have questions submit the form at the bottom of the page.

How to utilize cable TV wiring for your TV antenna.

Yes, you can connect your TV antenna to your cable TV wiring system.

If your home is wired for cable TV and you want to drop cable in favor of a TV antenna the same coax cable can be used for the TV antenna. If you will be adding antenna reception to your cable service it will be necessary to run separate coax cable lines to each TV location where both antenna and cable TV reception are desired.

To eliminate cable TV and utilize your current coax cabling for TV antenna reception follow the procedures below.

First determine how the current coax cable wiring is configured.

You will likely find a cable box connected to the outside of your home. Inside of this box should be either a ground block or a signal splitter. If you find a ground block you simply unscrew the cable TV feed and replace it with the antenna feed. Next determine if there is a signal splitter down line maybe in the basement etc.

If there is a signal splitter in use within the system the antenna signal will likely require signal amplification for best results. The amplifier will counteract the effects of dividing the signal. The amplifier must be located on the antenna side of the signal splitter.

Choosing the best TV antenna for your location.

Choosing the antenna is where it all starts. The antenna must receive a sufficient signal 24/7. No amount of signal amplification can compensate for an antenna that's not receiving adequate signal. Those who choose the wrong antenna will either buy a second antenna or go back to cable TV. Some people try 3 or 4 antennas before they contact us. If you're new to this and know little about free over the air TV reception be aware of this. There are plenty of Internet antenna dealers waiting to take your money and in return send you junk. Is a signal amplifier needed?

Q: "Choosing the antenna is where it all starts. The antenna must receive a sufficient signal 24/7." If my antenna receives signal 24/7, why do I need a signal preamplifier? The above quote comes from your webpage. Jerry

Hi Jerry,

A: Good question! Just because the antenna receives a sufficient signal doesn't mean a usable signal will make it to the TV. TV signal is electricity and is primarily measured in microvolts. The antenna captures the electricity traveling through the air and delivers it to the output of the antenna. The down lead cable is connected to the output of the antenna. The signal travels from the output of the antenna through the cable to the TV. There will be signal loss getting the signal from the antenna to the TV. The signal strength at the output of the antenna and how much signal loss there is between the antenna and the TV(s) determines if a preamplifier is needed. The signal becomes weaker for every foot of coax cable it travels. Inline signal splitters gobble up signal. The more times the signal splitter divides the signal the more signal it uses up to divide the signal. This is true whether or not the TV is on or off. Preamplifiers installed near the antenna are used to boost the signal and compensate for the signal loss between the antenna and TV. Selecting the proper preamplifier with the proper signal gain is important. Too much signal gain can overdrive the signal causing poor reception and too little can under power the TV tuner causing the same. This is why antennas with built-in preamplifiers can be troublesome because there's no flexibility when choosing the preamplifier. The preamplifier doesn't exist that fits all situations. Signal splitters are not a bad thing if the proper amount of amplification is used to compensate for the insertion loss of the splitter. If this is calculated properly the reception will be just as good when using a splitter as when not using a signal splitter.

Best Regards,

In strong signal areas a signal amplifier may not be needed. In strong signal areas if the antenna will supply a single TV (no signal splitter in line) and the antenna is adequate a signal amplifier will not needed. In weaker signal areas or if the antenna will supply multiple TVs a signal will likely be needed.

There are two types of signal amplifiers. Both types amplify the signal the difference is where they are installed within the system.

1. Preamplifier is a two part unit with one part located near the antenna output called the preamplifier and the other part is located indoors and is called a power supply/injector. The power supply requires an electrical outlet and utilizes the coax cable to send low voltage electricity to the preamplifier located near the antenna. Preamplifiers are recommended for moderated and weak signal area and are not recommend for strong signal areas.

2. Distribution amplifier is a single unit that is usually mounted indoors. Distribution amplifiers are used in strong signal areas when the signal will will be divided by a signal splitter and sent to multiple TV's. The distribution amplifier is installed on the antenna side of the signal splitter. The antenna down lead feeds into the distribution amplifier input and the signal is amplified and is fed from the amplifier output to the signal splitter. The signal splitter divides the signal and the signal is sent via the coax cable to all connected locations in your home.

Can I use my existing cable to tie in an outdoor antenna while still using the cable for internet?

No, the two signals do not mix well. You likely have a wireless internet modem. Determine the cable that leads to the modem and connect it to the internet feed. The remaining cables can now be used for over the air TV signal.

Next Page: Which TV Antenna works best?

I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have about switching from cable TV to a TV antenna. Fill out the form below and submit it and I'll get right back to you. 

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