A weak or inconsistent cable TV signal usually indicates that something is wrong with the wiring or the signal itself. Depending on where the problem is, you might be able to fix the problem, or you might have to contact the cable provider to improve the cable TV signal strength. Begin by verifying that everything in your home, leading up to your television, is working.
Check the connectors at your cable point, at all splitters and at your cable box or TV. If you have a loose connector, the signal will leak and you will have trouble viewing channels from time to time, or you might have trouble with Internet access. Make sure each connector is tight. Tightening any loose connectors will dramatically improve the signal.
Move any electronic devices that are near the cable point or the cable box. Some electronics, such as cordless phones, can disrupt cable signals. Moving those electronics can improve signal quality.
Remove any unneeded cable splitters. Each cable splitter literally splits the signal. Splitting the signal multiple times dilutes it, leaving you with bad reception. If you must have several splitters, purchase a cable amplifier. A cable amplifier boosts the signal coming into your home, helping to overcome multiple splits or long cable runs. Cable amplifiers are readily available at a variety of electronics stores, department stores or directly from the cable company with prices ranging from £22 to £130 or more.
Check all cable lines in the home for damage. This includes all wiring coming into the home and running from the cable point to your television. Any nicks, cuts, wear or cracks will let the signal leak, degrading it before it reaches your television. Replace any wire that is not in perfect condition. Also check the ends of the wire. Make sure the connectors are crimped on securely.
Use a cable signal meter device and check the signal coming into your house, and check all the wiring in your residence. If you detect a strong signal coming into the house but a weak signal inside, you might have faulty wiring or cheap wiring. You will need to rewire the house.
If the signal is weak coming into the house, something is wrong on the provider's end and you need to contact the cable company.
- Mark Lyons, Cable Repair Technician; Time Warner Cable; Clarksburg, West Virginia
- Cable TV Amps: Amplifier Education
- Newer cable signal meter devices are easy to use. Simply turn on the device and sweep it over a cable line and it records the signal strength. Confirm with your cable company how strong this signal should be, as this varies with cable providers.
- A cable amplifier will not solve signal issues if the problem does indeed reside with the wiring that's in your home or coming into the home. At best it might cover up the problem with a small improvement, and it could make the problem worse. A bidirectional amplifier is the best option for overcoming signal loss caused by cable splits, but bidirectional amplifiers can interfere with the return signals on cable modems.