RG59 Vs. RG6 Cable

By Maxwell Payne

RG coaxial cable makes cable and satellite TV connections possible.

RG59 and RG6 cable are both types of coaxial cable used for a variety of video transmission related applications. Both offer certain advantages and disadvantages and are commonly found in applications ranging from home cable TV to video control rooms and satellite connections. Choosing between the two is determined by how—and for what purpose—it will be used.


RG6 cable is the newer of the two coaxial cable technologies. Both take their names from a military term known as Radio Guide; but this term and is use in military applications has long been obsolete. The number following RG on a cable type is actually completely random and assigned by the maker of the cable.


Externally both types come in a variety of thicknesses, lengths and colors. But these are up to the individual company producing a specific brand of cable.

However, on the inside, there are differences. RG6 cable is made with an aluminum braid while RG59 uses copper braiding. Shielding on RG6 cable is made of aluminum. In rare cases, RG59 cable will come with aluminum shielding instead of copper shielding.


Both RG6 cable and RG59 cable are used to carry audio/video data signals from devices such as cable boxes and satellite dishes to television displays. However, RG6 cable is mainly used with digital cable signals and satellite signals, while RG59 is mainly used for analog cable TV.


RG59 cable is not useful for satellite and digital cable signals because it cannot handle the higher bandwidths associated with this type of data. RG59 also lacks the foil shielding needed to protect against signal interference associated with satellite and digital cable connections.


RG6 cable has a wider range of uses because it is backwards compatible with older analog TVs and analog signals as well as digital and satellite signals. RG59 has a slight advantage when it comes to running long lengths of cable over 100 feet, as it has slightly less signal loss over distances.