Q:

What is the way to troubleshoot poor cable TV reception?

A:

Quick Answer

The troubleshooting steps for poor cable TV reception include rebooting the system, checking for loose connections, and checking for corroded coaxial cables. It is also important to consider whether the reception problems could be caused by sun outages. Sun outages often occur in the spring and fall, and unfortunately, little can be done about them.

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Full Answer

Weak reception results in bad picture quality or no picture at all. Aside from calling the cable service provider, a cable TV viewer can take a number of steps to troubleshoot poor reception.

Reboot the cable box

Much like a personal computer, cable boxes freeze from time to time. Specific reboot instructions vary according to the manufacturer and model of the cable box, but generally involve turning the unit off and unplugging it from the wall, waiting several minutes, then plugging it back in.

Check the wiring for loose connections

Normal vibrations around the home can sometimes cause wires to shake loose. Go over each connection wire and ensure that it is still properly seated. This is especially important if only one TV set is experiencing issues.

Replace coaxial cable ends

Cable connections are susceptible to corrosion over time. The correct type of cable end should be identified (either RG6 or RG59), and the same type of cable end should be purchased to replace the old one. To replace the ends, cut of the end of the old cable with a pair of pliers or wire cutter. After stripping the cable, the conductor should be inspected for damage. Then, the braided sheaths should be folded back onto the outside of the cable. The last step is to put the connector onto the stripped cable end, then use a compression tool to seal the cable back up. In some cases it may just be easier to buy a whole new cable.

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