How to Wire for Cable & Satellite TV

Written by elizabeth falwell
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How to Wire for Cable & Satellite TV
The level of difficulty for running wire can depend on a home's layout and age (tv control and tv 3 image by chrisharvey from Fotolia.com)

Cable and satellite companies have crews that will do everything from run the wires to turning on the receiver. Doing the work yourself can be both fulfilling, and cut down on the time a stranger will spend in your house doing the work. The difficulty for this task has a wide range. If you are running wire in a large home, or are doing so for multiple television sets in various rooms, it can be a difficult task. If you are running wire to one room, it will be much easier.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Coaxial wire
  • Wire splitters
  • Power drill
  • Slim rod or fish tape
  • Staple gun
  • U-shaped staples

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Instructions

    WIRING FOR CABLE TV

  1. 1

    Locate the source for your home's cable television. This connection is typically established by the cable company, which connects service between a nearby cable box and your home. The connection is usually located near your home's power supply, though locations can vary. Call your cable provider if you cannot locate this connection.

  2. 2

    Map out which rooms you want to wire for cable. If you want cable access in multiple rooms, you'll need to buy a coaxial splitter. This splitter will allow you to use one main connection to supply cable to televisions in different locations.

  3. 3

    Measure and cut the wire. Leave a little extra for slack, in case your measurements are off. If you buy a bolt of raw wire, you'll have to install the coaxial ends; these are the little caps on the end of the wire that connect it to the splitter or source on one end and your home's cable box or cable-ready TV on the other end. You can also purchase pre-cut rolls of coaxial wires that already have these caps on them.

  4. 4

    Connect a coaxial splitter (for multiple connections) or coaxial wire to your home's cable source.

  5. 5

    Run the wires to the appointed locations. If you are running wire in a new home, you can complete this step before interior walls are installed. This will keep your wires hidden from view. If you are installing the wire in an older home, you have two options. The first is using fish tape or a slim rod to gently guide the wires through the open space between your interior and exterior walls. This is the more difficult method, and may require you to make small holes into your home's drywall and studs to install the wire and guiding tools. The other option is running the wire along your home's baseboards. This option is significantly easier.

  6. 6

    Staple any exposed wires to your home's floor or baseboards using a staple gun. Traditional staples won't work; use U-shaped staples, which are specifically designed for running and securing wires.

  7. 7

    Connect the other end of the coaxial wire directly to your cable-ready television set or the cable box provided by the cable company. Turn on the set and the cable box to test your connection. If the picture and sound aren't working correctly, check the connections to the set and to the cable source.

    WIRING FOR SATELLITE TV

  1. 1

    Locate the source for your satellite connection. Unlike with cable, this is a satellite dish installed on your home's exterior. This dish will traditionally face south, and should be unobstructed by trees or other buildings. Most satellite providers will install the dish for you.

  2. 2

    Run wires already connected to the satellite dish to the location you want to install a splitter. A splitter is only necessary if you want to access satellite TV on multiple television sets in your home.

  3. 3

    Locate the rooms where you want to watch your satellite television. Use a splitter to route the coaxial cable to multiple rooms if necessary.

  4. 4

    Cut the coaxial wire to the appropriate length to reach its destination. You can either use wire that already has coaxial ends on it, or buy raw wire and add the ends yourself. Add a few feet of slack for every piece of wire you cut, to better ensure it reaches the desired location.

  5. 5

    Tack the wires to your home's baseboards as you move them into place. U-shaped staples work best, as they are designed to go around the wire instead of through it. You can also run the wires behind your home's walls using a wire guider; this may add an extensive amount of time and effort to the project, particularly if you live in an older home.

  6. 6

    Connect the free end of the coaxial wire to the box provided by your satellite company. Test the quality of your sound and picture. If either is unclear, double check your connections. If problems persist, you may need to adjust the position or direction of your satellite dish. If you are uncomfortable doing this final step, call the satellite company that installed the dish to do it for you.

Tips and warnings

  • Older homes may have horizontal studs in the middle of the wall that prevent you from easily running wires behind the drywall. You may need to cut more holes into the drywall in this case.
  • Running wire farther than 300 feet from the cable or satellite source will require you to install an amplifier to improve your signal.
  • Most satellite and cable companies will wire your home free of charge when you sign up. Consult your service provider for details.
  • Do not attempt to cut the coaxial wire once it is connected to either the exterior source or your television. There is a small risk of shock.
  • Many satellite dishes are installed on the roof of a building. If this project requires you to make adjustments to the dish, make sure you follow proper safety procedures for working on a rooftop.

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