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Cable TV and Satellite TV FAQs

Q: I have an HDTV but the picture for broadcast TV doesn't look any better. What is wrong?
A: If you are referring to regular broadcast television (non-digital), not only will it not look better on an HDTV, it may even look worse. The flaws are highlighted, often your HDTV is larger than your old screen, so the low quality signal is blown up even larger and finally, the TV or tuner may be processing the signal and the results don't work well for an analog signal.
If you have a poor picture even with HD broadcasts, make certain you have all the necessary equipment. This includes a HDTV TV with either a built-in ATSC HDTV tuner or an external tuner. An external tuner can include a stand-alone ATSC tuner or a cable or satellite set-top-box (STB) designed to deliver HDTV. Secondly, you need an HDTV signal. For over-the-air (OTA) broadcasts you will need a UHF antenna. If you subscribe to cable or satellite, in most cases you must specifically order HDTV service. Finally, you must connect the tuner or STB to the TV with component, DVI or HDMI cables; others cables do not carry an HD signal.
Q: What is a CableCard ?
A: As part of the digital conversion directed by the ATSC, cable companies are required to offer CableCards to their subscribers. These cards enable TVs to receive cable transmissions without a set-top box. However, they currently don't support two-way communication so pay-per-view, video-on-demand and some other services are not available. Furthermore, few consumer TVs are offered with a CableCard slot at this time.
Q: Should I use RG59 or RG6 coaxial cable?
A: RG6 is more expensive than RG59 but it has less signal loss and is more resistant to interference. We recommend using RG6 whenever possible.
Q: Should I connect my cable box directly to my TV or go through my AV receiver first?
A: A/V receivers usually do not process the video signal at all. Therefore, there is no harm in routing it through the receiver. The advantage is that if your TV has a limited number of inputs, then your receiver can allow the connection of numerous different video sources. Secondly, it makes the connections to the TV neater, because you only have to run one set of wires. Finally, by using your AV receiver as a command center, you gain easier control of your home theater and reduce the number of required remote controls.

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