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What Splitter Should I Use for Digital TV?

written by: Misty Faucheux•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/13/2010

You've upgraded to a digital television, and now your cable guy is telling you that he needs to install a cable splitter. Well, what does that mean? Learn more here!

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    About Digital TV Splitters

    You finally upgraded to a digital television. It’s time to ditch the antenna and fuzzy picture. But, when you’re having your system installed, you learn that you need a cable or digital TV splitter since you have more than one television. But, what is a digital TV splitter? And, worse, which digital TV splitter should I use?

    First of all, let’s go over what a digital TV splitter is. If you have more than one television in a home, you need more than one signal outlet. The purpose of this device is to take the one satellite or cable signal coming into your home and create multiple outlets for your additional televisions.

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    Signal Corruption?

    by rvaphotodude But, you may be asking, won’t that corrupt the signal? Thankfully, no. Modern splitters do not have as bad corruption problems like past TV splitters did. Whatever strength that the main signal outlet has, the rest will as well. It simply divides up that signal amongst the various outlets.

    While this is true for the most commonly used splitters, you will lose signal strength if you get multiple port splitters. Most people only have two or three televisions. So, they’re only going to use a splitter with two to four ports.

    People with a large number of television sets, however, may run into this problem. And, if you do have a HD television, you need a really strong signal. If that is the case, you may want to limit the number of televisions in your home. If not, your signal could be weak.

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    What Splitter Do I Use?

    The type of TV splitter that you will need depends on how many televisions that you have and whether or not you have cable or satellite. You cannot use a cable splitter for satellite service. If you do, your signal strength will dramatically drop, and you’ll be back to the fuzzy picture if you get one at all.

    Splitters also come in different sizes. Splitters range from this size all the way up to a 16 splitter. If you only have two televisions, you will probably only need the simple two-way splitter. This just splices the signal between two outlets for your two televisions.

    If you, however, have a large setup with 10 or more outlets, you should probably invest in the 16 splitter. While it will be more than you need, it will also give you room for expansion. These are commonly seen in commercial buildings, offices and schools that require multiple televisions. But, there are some large homes that may need these as well.

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    Troubleshooting

    If you are having trouble with your signal, first check that you have the correct signal splitter. Then, make sure it’s correctly attached. If that’s not the case, look how many ports that you have. If you’re using the high-end 16 splitter, that could be your problem. You may have to just decrease the number of televisions that you are using.