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The Basics of Using TV Signal Splitters and Combiners

The Basics of Using TV Signal Splitters and CombinersTV signal splitters and combiners are not the flashiest electronics components on the market, but they are very important for home and office use. Because of this, special attention must be paid to the features and capabilities of these components. It is often necessary to split a television signal that is coming from a single cable outlet on a wall so that multiple televisions can receive the signal. This is far more practical and much less expensive than calling an electrician to install an entirely new outlet. There are other cases where a user may want to combine different television signals to connect them to a single television, which is something that combiners enable a user to do. The devices themselves appear very simple, but there are some features that buyers should be familiar with before making a purchase. This guide will detail the basics of using TV signal splitters and combiners, including an explanation of how they work, the different types of splitters and combiners that are available, and their common uses.


How Do TV Signal Splitters and Combiners Work?

TV signal splitters and combiners either split or combine television signals, depending on the preferences and needs of the user. Quite often, the same device can either divide a signal multiple ways or it can combine multiple signals for transmission through a single cable. This section will describe how the device performs both of these operations.

Splitters

A TV signal splitter has one input where the signal enters the splitter and at least two outputs where the signal leaves the splitter to go to multiple devices. Because multiple devices are using the splitter, the signal for each device will be weaker than if the signal went straight to a single device without running through the splitter. The more times the signal is split, the weaker it will become. It is possible to increase a signal's strength before splitting it, and this will be discussed later in the guide.

Most splitter manufacturers will indicate somewhere on the splitter the strength that the signal will be when it leaves the outputs. Those that are using a splitter to divide a high definition television signal for viewing on multiple screens will want to pay attention to this number, as they may find that the split signal from some splitters is insufficient for this use. It is also important not to use more than one splitter on a signal. If a signal needs to be routed to four different televisions, a 4- way splitter should be used rather than three 2- way splitters.

Combiners

A TV signal combiner looks like a TV signal splitter, and in most cases it is actually the same device. Instead of taking one signal and dividing it into multiple signals, a signal combiner takes two or more signals and produces a single signal from them. This does not necessarily make for one stronger signal, though. Rather, it is used to run two different types of TV signals through a single cable to the input on a television receiver. The following sections discuss a few common situations whereby a combiner can be used to merge multiple TV signals.


Types of TV Signal Splitters and Combiners and Their Uses

This section will describe a few different types of TV signal splitters and combiners. It will also point out a few common uses for each type, helping readers to decide which kinds of signal splitters and combiners they need.

Regular Splitters

Regular splitters simply divide a signal with no additional processing. This results in the loss of signal strength for each device that uses the same signal. A two-way splitter, for example, results in the signal strength being half of what it would be if it went straight to a single device. Signal strength is measured in decibels, so if the signal strength has higher decibels to begin with, the loss in strength may not be noticeable on the televisions using it.

High Bandwidth

High bandwidth splitters are designed to divide dense signals, such as those used for high definition television. Most cable television signals are have a frequency of 1000 megahertz (MHz), so a high bandwidth splitter should be capable of handling this frequency to avoid attenuation of the signal. High bandwidth splitters are usually a little more expensive than regular splitters are, but the cost should be worth it to avoid what could be a large loss in signal quality.

Signal Amplifiers

The primary role of a signal amplifier is to increase the strength of a signal without distorting it. Some signal amplifiers come with multiple outputs, so that they can split the signal after amplifying it. Many signal amplifiers also allow users to control how much they want to strengthen the signal before it is split. These devices are a great solution for signals that become too weak after an ordinary splitter has divided them. A signal amplifier may also be used in conjunction with a splitter if the signal amplifier does not divide the signal as many times as the user desires.

Diplexers

Diplexers are another name for signal combiners. These can also receive one signal and divide it a few times, meaning that they function as splitters as well. Diplexers are especially useful for combining a cable television signal with an antenna signal and running it through the same coaxial cable to a television's receiver. Local television stations are now available in high definition through an antenna, so a cable television subscriber can use a diplexer to watch those high definition local stations on the same television to which the non-HD cable signal is connected.

Combining a satellite and an antenna signal is a bit more complicated. Most antenna signals are passed through an RC-59 coaxial cable, while satellite signals typically run through RC-6 cable. Some satellite signals can pass through an RC-59 cable though, so it is best to consult the owner's manual for a satellite system before trying to run a satellite signal through a diplexer.


Where to Buy TV Signal Splitters and Combiners

There are many retailers with brick and mortar stores and with online shops that specialize in electronics components, and these are generally good sources from which to buy TV signal splitters and combiners. Brick and mortar stores with electronics components usually carry all of the different types of splitters and combiners that have been detailed in this guide, and store employees are often helpful when it comes to advising customers on which splitters and combiners they need. Stores that sell TV signal splitters and combiners are usually also geographically convenient, even in small towns.



BAMF Manufacturing BAMF 2-Way Coax Cable Splitter Bi-Directional MoCA 5-2300MHz
CE (BAMF Manufacturing)
  • 5-2300 MHz (2.3GHz) RF Bi-Directional Digital Coax/ Coaxial Cable Splitter for CATV and Satellite and great for MoCa
  • Internal circuit board for better reliability/durability. Outside is weather resistant design for keeping elements out
  • Low signal loss of only 3.5db on each output port improving performance and speeds
  • All Ports are Power passing for easy Satellite connection
  • High shielding structure lowers digital noise and improves signal quality, reducing packet loss for Modems, and for all other Devices
BAMF Manufacturing BAMF 2-Way Coax Cable Splitter Bi-Directional MoCA 5-2300MHz
CE (BAMF Manufacturing)
  • 5-2300 MHz (2.3GHz) RF Bi-Directional Digital Coax/ Coaxial Cable Splitter for CATV and Satellite and great for MoCa
  • Internal circuit board for better reliability/durability. Outside is weather resistant design for keeping elements out
  • Low signal loss of only 3.5db on each output port improving performance and speeds
  • All Ports are Power passing for easy Satellite connection
  • High shielding structure lowers digital noise and improves signal quality, reducing packet loss for Modems, and for all other Devices
Extreme Broadband Extreme 2 Way HD Digital 1Ghz High Performance Coax Cable Splitter BDS102H
Personal Computer (Extreme Broadband)
  • 3.5 dB out
  • 5-1 MHz/emi - 130db
  • Manufacturers part no.: BDS102H
Aurum Cables Aurum Cables 2-way 1ghz High Performance Digital Coax Cable Splitter - Frequency Range 5-1000 Mhz 3-pack
Speakers (Aurum Cables)
  • Convenient 3-pack 2 way Digital Coax cable splitter providing spare units for replacement usage or the use for multiple devices.
  • 2 way F-type coaxial digital splitter of 5-1 MHz Bandwidth, and Compatible with all Cable TV services.
  • Allows 2 units to be operated from one source.
  • 5-1 MHz/EMI - 130dB -- 6Kv Surge protection
  • Gold plated to ensure long lasting, duribilty and corrosion free connection.
ViewTV ViewTV 2 Port Drop Amplifier / Signal Booster / Splitter for Digital TV Antenna - Cable TV - Internet Modem
Speakers (ViewTV)
  • 1 Input Port and 2 Output Ports. Hookup 2 TV s with only 1 antenna!
  • Splits signal and amplifies it at the same time.
  • Will reduce video pixelation and graininess due to low signal levels.
  • Also improves cable modem performance in many cases.
  • Compatible with all cable TV systems as well.



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