How to Troubleshoot Poor Cable TV Reception

by Contributor

Items you will need

  • Multi-tool

  • Screwdriver

  • Cable coupling

With cable television prices as high as they are, it can sometimes get extremely frustrating when the service doesn't perform as well as promoted. Between antiquated delivery systems and incoherent repairmen-some people experience more snow in July then they do in December! So, before you go and call out the cable repairman-try these few tips to see if you can get the reception cleared up on your own.

For starters, while the cable company can truly be a pain to deal with more commonly than not, the problem with someone's cable service is coming from something in the home. The first step when troubleshooting your cable reception is to check the connections.

Look at the cable connector that is connected to the wall cable outlet. Unscrew it and look at the copper pin. Make sure that it is straight and not bent. Also look for any corrosion on the pin. If all looks good, then tightly secure it back in place.

Follow that cable line to where it enters the cable box or your TV (if you don't have a converter box). Along the way, check the cable line for any severe bends or signs that your dog got a hold of the cable. If the cable looks in good shape, unscrew the connector on that end and check the copper pin like you did on the other end. If it looks good, re-secure tightly to the cable box or TV.

If you have a cable box, perform this same examination on the cables leaving the cable box and entering the TV or VCR. Always check along the entire length of the cable to see if it is caught under a piece of furniture or in some way damaged.

If everything looks good, and you have a cable box on your system, remove the cable going into the cable box and feed the cable from the wall directly to the TV. This will bypass the convertor box. Turn the TV on and check the picture quality, especially on the lower channels. If the lower channels are snowy, there is a signal problem somewhere, but if they are coming through clear, the convertor box is more than likely the problem. Get it replaced.

If the signal is poor, then you will have to troubleshoot a little deeper. Remove the cable wall plate from the wall and check the connection on the inside of that plate. If it is tight, trace the line out until you find the main cable hub in the house. This is where the main feed branches out to the rest of the home.

Through trial and error and process of elimination, find the line that feeds the TV you are having problems with. Disconnect the main cable feed and the line that feeds your TV and use a cable coupling to connect them together. Check the picture quality on your TV now. If it is cleared up, the main splitter may be bad. If the reception is still poor, check where the cable actually comes into the home.

Where the cable enters the home, check the connections to ensure that everything is tight and secure and not corroded. In addition, check the ground wire that is connected to the grounding bar. Make sure that everything is tight and not corroded.

If you have tried these steps and you are still getting a poor picture, then you will have to call the cable company. The problem may be outside on the pole or it is possible that the wires in your home may be too old to handle the digital feed.

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