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Using a Cable TV Splitter

Television Services
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Under some circumstances it's easy and legal to use a cable TV splitter to provide service to multiple televisions in your home.

Using a Cable TV Splitter

Most cable television service is provided via a ground cable that connects to an in-home box that unscrambles the signal going to your television. You can typically run coaxial cable to distribute that signal to other televisions in your home.

There are some caveats here. Always work within the guidelines established by your cable company. Problems with image quality that result from your own modifications may cause difficulties later, requiring a service call, so make sure to read your cable contract and understand their policies regarding service and running your own cable lines.

If you are running cable to multiple televisions, there are some things to keep in mind:

You can buy multiple (hub) cable splitters with up to sixteen connections. They have one input where the cable signal comes in, and split off into as many outputs as you need. Purchase a splitter with the number of outputs you need for your other televisions and be sure to buy one designed for cable rather than satellite.

The more signals you run, the more likely the picture is to degrade or have intermittent interference problems.

The signal for the channel you're watching via cable is controlled by a converter box, so the channel currently on the box will be the channel received on the main television and in other rooms running off that cable line. To give each television set control over which channel it accesses requires the purchase and installation of another cable box -- together with a monthly service charge and a charge for programming.

If you have a large flat screen together with smaller televisions in your home, keep the box and incoming line closest to that setup. You'll probably get the best reception at that location.

Cable signals can degrade over long distances, so if you're running a line across your attic and down to your basement, for instance, you'll probably need a signal booster. This is a small device attached to the line that enhances the signal, keeping it strong until it gets to your television set.

A cable TV splitter is pretty inexpensive, and you may be able to ask the cable technician to run the lines free of charge during your initial installation. Just be sure to understand where your primary television or televisions (the ones with accompanying boxes) are going to be located, and review your cable provider's service rules and regulations.

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