What Causes Tiling on Cable TV?

Surveying your coaxial cable for damage is your first troubleshooting step.
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The monochromatic tiles you see on your cable TV screen are actually pixelation -- and they have multiple causes. Everything from a weak signal to outdated equipment leads to the formation of these tiles on your television. In some cases, you may be able to eliminate the problem on your own, but other times you'll have to call in the professionals.

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Damaged Equipment

Cable TV arrives in your home over miles and miles of coaxial cables. The coax outside your home is the property and responsibility of your cable service provider; however, it's up to you to maintain the coaxial cable inside your home. Survey the cable in your home for any crimped or frayed portions; damaged cables degrade the signal, causing problems like pixelation and freeze frames. Also make sure all the connections between your coaxial cable and your cable box or television are completely secure.

Reset Your Cable Box

Your cable box -- sometimes called a receiver or converter box -- is responsible for making sure you're able to see all the channels you ordered through your cable provider. This box also receives software and other technical updates from your cable company, but needs to be reset in order to use these updates. Generally speaking, you can reset your cable box by unplugging it from its power source for a few seconds; once you plug it back in, the reset process automatically launches. Resetting your box -- and utilizing the updated software installed during the reset process -- should not only eliminate any current tiling problems caused by outdated software, but should also prevent software-based pixelation in the immediate future.

Outdated Technology

Not only can the software on your cable box be out of date, but your television itself may be old enough to cause pixelation problems as well. Your television's refresh rate -- which is 60Hz, or 60 frames per second, for most TVs on the market -- may erode over time. As your TV struggles to keep up with the updated data it receives from the source -- in this case, your cable box -- you'll see brief interruptions and other problems with your picture, such as tiling or freeze frames. The only way you can fix pixelation in cases such as this is to upgrade your television.

When to Call In The Pros

If you've tried troubleshooting your coaxial cables, their connections and have already reset your cable box, the tiling problems may be caused by an issue outside your home. Sometimes, signal interruptions within your cable company result in pixelated images being transmitted to customers. Other times, a specific channel may have issues that results in the broadcast of a show with tiled pictures. Contact your cable provider to discuss the specific channels and situations that are causing tiling; a customer service representative may suggest a service call from a trained technician.

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