What Type of Splitter Works on a Digital Cable System?

By David Lipscomb

Cable television's ubiquity creates the need for users of the service to understand what types of splitters should be used to prevent signal loss. Although the difference between digital cable television and standard cable revolves around the presence or absence of a decoder box, the things that impede cable signals along coaxial cable remain the same. Choosing the right splitter and following the best wiring practices ensures a solid feed, especially when factoring in other cable-provided services.


Splitters operating at 2 gigahertz or more are ideal. Remember that digital cable services also encompass broadband Internet and, and times, phone service. Standard splitters operating between 40-2150 megahertz can work for basic cable connections, with no guarantee of continued operability after other services are added.

Internal Construction

Better splitters incorporate a passive circuit internally. Contrasted against standard small internal wiring internally split with a ferrite choke, circuit boards maintain the proper 75 ohm impedance required of cable services. These splitters are less likely to experience overload from adding multiple services on top of television.

Active Splitters

Active splitters incorporate an amplifier with internal signal regulation. This allows the same type of impedance matching as better splitters, while adding the ability to drive the signals over longer cable runs.

What Not to Do

Adding splitters after the first splitter is never encouraged. Each leg of a splitter experiences 3 decibels of signal loss. Adding a split after the first split adds 6 decibels of loss, added to the 6 lost at the initial split. Over longer distances, this can have a large negative effect on digital television, broadband and telephony services.