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Your Set Top Cable Filter

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The cable filter box is a fundamental component of your cable installation. When you want to split or enhance your cable signal or service, it's important to understand how your cable box works.

Know Your Cable Filter Box

Your cable company can receive signals from a number of sources. It can get local programming via underground cables or download information from orbiting satellites. If there's a special broadcast event, like a boxing match or car race, the signal can actually be bounced off a couple of satellites. One to the network for editing and another to send it to cable affiliates for distribution. That's where your local cable enters the picture.

The cable line coming into your home transmits a bidirectional signal. That signal isn't immediately accessible to your television, though. Once your local cable company receives the signal, it scrambles it before sending it to you. This measure makes it harder to pirate cable. Back in the 1970s and 1980s cable piracy was almost a cliché, and cable companies have gotten savvier when it comes to making piracy a thing of the past.

That scrambled signal coming through the cable is descrambled at the box inside your home. That's why it's important to split your cable signal after the box if you want to run a line to a second or third television in your home. (Check with your cable company to verify that this is okay first.)

The cable box does more than descramble the signal. It determines which channel the television accesses through the cable line. Even though you're running a line to another television in your home, the channel all the TVs will be watching is determined by what the cable filter box is set to. If you want to be able to watch different channels on multiple televisions, you'll have to rent another cable box.

If you have a number of televisions in your home and two cable filter boxes, this might still work nicely, especially if you're a couple that typically spends blocks of time in one location or another. You can watch separate channels in a bedroom or living room, but still have cable access in outlying locations like a garage or kitchen for occasional viewing.

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