How Does a Cable TV Amplifier Work?

By Darrin Meyer

Overview

Cable TV amplifiers are used to boost the quality of your cable TV picture and reception and improve the speed and reliability of your signal. Connect one as a relay between your television and cable TV/satellite receiver or over-the-air antenna (with digital converter box, if you have an older analog TV) to enhance the incoming audio and video.

Reasons for an Amplifier

Modern cable TV and satellite providers deliver high-quality digital video and audio to your TV, depending on the equipment you're using. In some homes, however, the single incoming cable feed is connected to more than one TV with use of a splitter, and the more that incoming signal gets fragmented and rerouted, the more the overall speed and quality will suffer. The picture can become grainy and snowy, or blurry ghost-like images can appear. Another factor causing signal loss is the number of components connected--if the signal has to go from the outlet to a cable box to a VCR and then to the TV, that can affect it as well.

How it Works

The amplifier provides signal gain, boosting the strength of the signal by up to 32 times with a good amplifier without adding "noise" to it, as well as minimizes the signal loss caused by a long distance between the outlet and the TV or by the signal being split on its way. It also improves frequency range, and some amplifiers also provide bi-directional signal gain, meaning that signals sent back to the cable company, as with a cable modem, are enhanced as well. For the best performance, install the amplifier before the splitter and/or other components in the connection path leading to the TV.