This is not OK. It may "work" in that his TV gets a signal, but the signal will be degraded and subject to interference. The installer took the easy way out, and your neighbor should complain and have them do it correctly.
That advice is incorrect. The signal delivered through RG-59 is NOT degraded or more subject to "interference". It's DIGITAL. You either get it or you don't. Both RG-6 and RG-59 are 75 ohm coaxial cabling and, as such, either is inherently resistant to interference effects. RG-59 uses 22 gauge center wire, and RG-6 uses 18 gauge center wire. (the lower the numeric value, the thicker the wire gauge) RG-6's superiority is less signal loss over longer runs (>75') and more reliable transmissivity of the 13 - 18 volt D.C. LNB power and switching current - again over longer runs. The user manual that accompanies a system takes the "safe" approach since there's no way for the manufacturer to know the precise run lengths involved from dish to receiver(s) for a customer installation. And, if a subscriber is starting from scratch, there's no particular reason not to go with RG-6 for the whole install. Ironically, the four 2' lengths of cabling supplied by Channel Master with DirecTV elliptical dishes to connect the LNBs to the multiswitch are weather-proofed RG-59. Your neighbor would find it more productive over the long haul to verify that all his exposed connections are with the special o-ring sealed weather proof "F" connectors than tearing out the RG-59 if it's delivering reasonably good signal strength numbers (75 or more).
Ray is correct that both RG6 and RG56 will give you a signal, but it depends on the length of cable run. I have two receivers, both with 100 ft. runs. Originally, the receiver in my room couldn't receive as much channels as the one in the living room, and I couldn't figure out why. Turns out, the cable in my room was using 75 ft RG6 and 25 ft RG56. When I changed to all RG6, I got all of the channels. So, to be safe, it would be wise to use RG6 all around if possible. I have friends that do satellite installs, and they never use RG56.
I use a signal boster on all my lines, even if less than 100 feet. I also use both RG 6 and 59. Using a signal amplifer makes a huge difference in the quality of the picture. Using the tuner in a better grade VCR will give you a much better picture also with out the added expense and trouble of changing wiring which many times is built into the house and cant be change.
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