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I get advertisements in the mail for a device called ClearVue. It promises to make the picture on your TV better by boosting the signal strength of your cable. I haven't found much information on it and given its low price (only $30) I can't imagine it would actually do anything. However, I thought I would ask if anyone here knows anything more about it or if there are other "signal boosters" which could give you a better picture.


I just have a standard coax cable running into my set, no dish, no digital cable, etc. So I already have bad picture coming in and it's made slightly worse by the ReplayTV compression. So if there is anyway I can cheaply make the incoming picture better, I would most appreciate it. Anyone have any ideas?
 

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Good question, I suffer the same problem with picture quality - analog cable TV coming in and split 5 ways without amplification. I needed a solution where I could amplify back before the 5-way split (outside box) without having a power outlet available (since it's outside). I was at the Rat Shack just a couple of days ago and they suggested an In-Line Signal Amplifier (10db gain 50Hz-2.2GHz). There are 2 components to it - the amplifier+DC power block which connects before 5-way split and a DC power injector which supposedly plugs in near any TV - one end feeds DC power down the line to the amplifier, the other connects to RF in on TV. Sounded like the perfect solution right? I tried it however, and the signals were actually considerably degraded on 4 of 5 sources so obviously it doesn't work for me.


Anyone had any luck with in-line amps or have a suggestion for a better fix?


I never even considered amplification right before going into a TV figuring that there's no point amplifying a degraded signal - the logical place to amplify is before any split, but with no power outlet available at the 5-way split location I don't know of any other solution.


EDIT: Now I figured out why the in-line amp doesn't work - you can't go through any splitter from dc source (power injector) back to the amplifier. So this is useless for my situation - guess it's going back to the Shack.


EDIT 2: From what I could tell ClearVue is just an OTA (Over the air antenna) which uses your home electrical wiring as a giant antenna instead of a conventional one that goes on the roof - so for cable TV it won't help.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by moyekj


I read your post but I'm tired and not sure what I read.


aren't those in-line amplifiers are for dish systems only?


I've been eyeing boosters. You need an amplified one. Some are powered through a standard coax cable. One end of the coax cable goes into an adaptor and plugs into the wall, the other can be screwed into the booster and power it. That means it can be external.


I've seen Boosters that have ONE IN, and FIVE OUT. That means all outs are boosted. If you just have ONE IN and ONE OUT then split it Five ways you are just diluting the signal. Also keep in mind that when you boost a signal you also boost the noise. So a ONE IN/FIVE OUT is where I want to steer you.


I tried to look up an old thread called somethign like 'signal 101'. A dude whose name deserved to be remembered did some excellent pieces of writting about how signal works.

Unfortunately I'm having a bad search endever.


cow
 

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Cow, two different things. The sat one draws the DC from the receiver. This one that moyekj described sounds like the power comes in from an outlet. I've seen a device that looks like what he describes, a lot of the terk antennas work like this too.
 

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I've always heard that using amplifiers are useless because they amplify both the signal and the noise. After unsuccessfully asking the cable company to boost my signal, I bought a bi-directional amplifier from Radio Shack that works with cable modems. Now I have the main line going into the amplifer, then the cable from the amplifier going to a two-way splitter. One cable from the two-way goes to the cable modem, while the other cable goes to a three-way splitter which feeds the TV and ReplayTV. I can say that the picture quality has definitely improved. The amplifier I bought has a gain control and you can clearly see the difference between the highest amplication to the lowest. I actually didn't realize how much it improved the picture though until I played back some old shows that I had recorded before installing the amplifier -- I jumped back and forth between the old recording and the new recording and the difference is noticeable. There were also some channels I couldn't get before that I can now get.


I also tried a $100 amplifier made by Motorola which I bought from Circuit City and it actually made the picture worse. There are also ones on Ebay that sound good, but they look like the Motorola one, and the return policy makes it a risky purchase. So I stuck with the Radio Shack one, which I got for $30. You can always return it to Radio Shack if it doesn't work for you (i.e. if your signal is too weak to amplify). They also have ones that have 2, 3 or 4 outputs (I got the one with 1 input and 1 output).


I can't post a link to the product, but go to the Radio Shack website and type in 151195 or 151197 in the search box. Good luck!

Quote:
Originally posted by brentv
I get advertisements in the mail for a device called ClearVue. It promises to make the picture on your TV better by boosting the signal strength of your cable. I haven't found much information on it and given its low price (only $30) I can't imagine it would actually do anything. However, I thought I would ask if anyone here knows anything more about it or if there are other "signal boosters" which could give you a better picture.


I just have a standard coax cable running into my set, no dish, no digital cable, etc. So I already have bad picture coming in and it's made slightly worse by the ReplayTV compression. So if there is anyway I can cheaply make the incoming picture better, I would most appreciate it. Anyone have any ideas?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by fldude
They also have ones that have 2, 3 or 4 outputs (I got the one with 1 input and 1 output).


I can't post a link to the product, but go to the Radio Shack website and type in 151195 or 151197 in the search box. Good luck!
That's the one I'm tring to steer moyekj towards. There's no point in getting a 1IN/1OUT if you can get 1IN/XOUT type. That's exacty whre I saw em too: ratshack.


the 1IN/XOUT types are especially good if you have to run a cable from the booster a long way then split it down the line. One of those 1IN/XOUT type can really balance a house with a lot of TVs


I saw the motorola ones at best buy going for $100 (1IN/1OUT). I've seen them as open boxes a few times. I knew this either meant they were good and people were trying to use them for the wrong reasons OR they just were a crappy product (I can't imagine why anyone would bother mass marketing a crappy booster). After your testimony, it's sounding more and more like it's a crappy product.


Considering the facts how I understand them:

Boosters are good for Long cable runs. If you have a loong coax cable running to your house followed by a long run of coax through your house then having a booster somewhere in the middle will help the signal get to the TV(s). It will boost a little noise but thats nothing compared having a very low signal from running one looong line. a 1IN/1OUT type would help this out, but if you have more than 1 tv then it seems pointless to get a 1IN/1OUT when you could get a 1IN/3OUT or something.


Eventually I'll have a house and I plan to have a 1IN/3OUT right where the cable comes into my house, then run the OUTs to 3 different areas of my house and use a two-way splitter(maybe I can get away with a 3-way balanced(Equally divided) splitter if I have more then one Tuner in a room.


The above has not been tested, it's just where I will be going next.


Jeff, moyekj spoke of two types he didn't need: the in-line type and the Terk type. But he is running in analog cable so I brought up the 1IN/XOUT type that can be seen if you walk in radioshack. My transition wasn't that good and thanks for reminding me that the inline types are dc powered through the wire itself. I heard that somewhere but the fact hadn't settled in.


....


As far as the Terks go, I've never seen a antenna/booster Terk type thing that has worked for TV save you are $### out of luck and would rather have 3 noisy channels instead of 0. I am wondering if a Terk Radio antenna/amplifier would work to get better home Radio. A car in my driveway gets good reception, and the radios in my house get crap. I am not confident about the Terk type radio boosters but am wondering if they could work out to offer signal more like what I get in the car and less like what I see in the TV versions.


so much for brievity


cow
 

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Here's a link to ChannelVision Amp/Splitters, they are excellent and well established by many here in the past to help with Replays. I have found some amps cause more noise/problems than cures, these work very well.

http://www.smarthome.com/7750A.html


Also a single "in-Line" amp going into a quality splitter is fine too, that's basically what these combo units are. Lastly, too much amplification will also look bad. For best results it's a good idea to amplify, then play with in-line attenuator "Pads" (eg -2, -4, -6db) and add them in till the signal degrades, then back them out till the picture looks best. Since I have different length runs to my rooms, I played with these "pads" till I got a good pick in each room.


Good Luck!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by icecow
Jeff, moyekj spoke of two types he didn't need: the in-line type and the Terk type. But he is running in analog cable so I brought up the 1IN/XOUT type that can be seen if you walk in radioshack. My transition wasn't that good and thanks for reminding me that the inline types are dc powered through the wire itself. I heard that somewhere but the fact hadn't settled in.
I'm also using one of the ratshack powered 1in/2out splitters that's worked fine for me.
 

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Here's a link to what I was talking about above:
http://www.radioshack.com/product.as...5Fid=15%2D1170


I had cable tv technician come by 2 months ago to have them boost my cable signal. This guy was completely arrogant, refused to even look at the picture on the TV as soon as he saw an RTV on each TV. The only thing he did was pull out his dB meter and measure signal strength at each TV. Then he claimed the signal strength at each TV "exceeded" those that would warrant amplification of the main signal and left even after I repeatedly try to show him the snow that is obvious on particular channels (in bypass mode to eliminate RTV processing).


After that I called the cable company again and said that I am willing to pay a monthly fee to have the signal amplified even if they thought I didn't need it. The response was they are not allowed to charge customers for this but only do it if they deem necessary.


Long story short - complete arrogance on cable company side has led me to have to implement my own solution. I considered switching to satellite service but don't want to have to deal with IR blaster tuning on every RTV.


My problem still remains finding a solution where I can amplify before 5-way split without having a power outlet at that location. This weekend I will run an extension cord outside and insert the amplifier & power injector before the 5-way split to confirm that amplification at the source will indeed clear up my signal problems. If that works I'll probably resort to putting holes through garage wall to get access to a power outlet through the wall.


Thanks for any other tips you may have on this subject.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by icecow
I still don't know why you are set on getting a booster then making a 5 way split..

i'll let it be
icecow, I'm trying to understand your suggestion, but don't see how it's any different than what I am contemplating. Currently all the cable lines are split 5 ways in one location - inside the cable box that resides in the outside garage wall, so the split must all be done in 1 shot. Correct me if wrong, but the amplified 1-in, x-out approach is amplification first followed by a x-way split. The solution I'm trying is the same thing - amplify the source signal (the cleanest signal available) first then split it x-ways. Note that 1 of the split lines is for cable modem, so I have to be sure to maintain bi-directional signal path throughout (part of the reason for my preference to keep the cable-company installed splitters that are already in place).
 

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Don't worry moyekj, you're doing it the right way. The cow may know of cold fingers, but apparently signal distribution is outside his realm of expertise.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by moyekj
Note that 1 of the split lines is for cable modem, so I have to be sure to maintain bi-directional signal path throughout (part of the reason for my preference to keep the cable-company installed splitters that are already in place).


Your cable company should have provided you a tap for your cable modem service - this device should not reduce signal strength on the video channels as the cable modem operates at frequencies that outside of the video frequencies. If I recall, many cable companies use the 400MHz band to carry the CM signals, of course YMMV.
 

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moyekj,


It's entirely possible that you are having picture quality problems because of a too strong signal (as Ed mentioned earlier).


If the cable guy measured it, it may be strong enough. Try an attenuator or two (no need to power them) and see if the picture improves before going crazy trying to boost it.
 

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Rudy, thanks for the tip as I never even considered too strong a signal as a possibility. I'll try the booster first over the weekend and if that doesn't help try attenuators - I'd really go nuts if that is really the problem :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by moyekj
icecow, I'm trying to understand your suggestion, but don't see how it's any different than what I am contemplating. Currently all the cable lines are split 5 ways in one location - inside the cable box that resides in the outside garage wall, so the split must all be done in 1 shot. Correct me if wrong, but the amplified 1-in, x-out approach is amplification first followed by a x-way split. The solution I'm trying is the same thing - amplify the source signal (the cleanest signal available) first then split it x-ways. Note that 1 of the split lines is for cable modem, so I have to be sure to maintain bi-directional signal path throughout (part of the reason for my preference to keep the cable-company installed splitters that are already in place).
Either I don't follow you, or you don't follow me.


What I think you are doing:

Getting a booster that has 1-In and 1-Out and then attaching a 5-way splitter to the Out.


What I think you should do:

get a booster that has 1-In and 5-Out... the Booster physically has a Coax In and 5 Out nubs that are all boosted (no splitting with a splitter). You can get them at radioshack. Using this method there is no need for a splitter. The Booster has 5 OUTs (or 4, or 3, or 2 depending on what model you buy). I believe these things are bi-directional, but you will have to check on that.



cow
 

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Cow, what do you think is inside that 1 in, multiple out box? a splitter with multiple amps following, or a single amp with a splitter for multiple outputs?
 

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I bought the $80 jobbie from RadioShack... 1:4 splitter, +7db on each. Works great.


-MP
 

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Agreed madpoet, although my R/S units are ancient and cost, at the time, around $25, they've given me trouble-free service for many, many years. Although the toots would dispute that. Her assessment of R/S distribution amps isn't fit to be posted on a family forum ;)
 
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