How to Hook up a Cable TV Box

by ContributorUpdated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Cable-ready TV

  • Cable box

  • Coaxial cable

In order to watch cable programming, you will need to hook up the cable box to your TV. If you are renting the box from your cable company, company representatives will send an expert to do the setup for you. If, on the other hand, you have purchased your own box or need to hook up an old box to a new TV, you will need to follow some simple steps to hook the system up yourself.

Get the Basics Ready

Make sure you have a cable-ready TV. Your TV should be able to read and reproduce channels over the number 13. Some TVs reproduce channels between 14 and 22 on lower signals, so be sure you can access channels over 22 without any problems or conflicts.

Confirm that you have either an RF jack or a 75-300 ohm transformer on the back of your TV. This will allow for a hookup to your cable TV box directly, rather than through the antenna. If your TV doesn't have an RF jack, you will need to buy a transformer to adapt the connection.

Buy a coaxial (video) cable to hook up the box to the TV directly. If you are renting the box from your cable company, the company should provide you with the coaxial cable. Otherwise, you can simply buy one at any electronics store.

Hook Up the Box

Look for the cable port on the back of your TV. It should be clearly marked or at least identified by a serial number. Connect one end of the coaxial cable here and the other end to the cable box.

Make sure all connections are tight. Ideally, the cable should come with an adjuster, which will enable you to make sure the connection is firm. Loose cables tend to produce a weaker signal, which can result in bad image quality and some channels not getting through.

Turn the TV on. Most models produced after the year 2000 will read the cable connection and pick up the signal automatically. If your TV doesn't, you will need to access the setup control in the menu and then choose the option of "cable." (An older TV may be defaulted to work with an antenna unless prompted to work differently.)


Make the coaxial cable as short as possible. The longer the cable, the greater the chance the signal will lose strength and receive interference from electronics around it.

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