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Designing a TV antenna signal distribution system.
Posted by Denny Duplessis

Tried and true techniques that lead to successful TV signal distribution. Connecting multiple TVs to a single antenna.

Okay, you have a good antenna and you want to supply several TV locations within your home.
You can enjoy the same quality of TV reception when supplying 1 TV or dozens of TVs. You just have to do it right. This will require signal amplifier(s), a signal splitter (divider) and coax cable.

If you're starting from scratch use solid copper RG 6 coax cable >. Copper clad cable (steel wire coated with copper) is not the best choice. If the house is already wired with copper clad cable and replacing it would be difficult, then the improvement of solid copper cable is likely not worth the effort. If you're starting from scratch always go with solid copper cable.

If it can be avoided never daisy chain signal splitters. A daisy chain is a signal splitter running to another splitter etc. If you daisy chain signal splitters the TVs near the end of the chain will likely have weak signal when compared to the TVs at the beginning of the chain. It is always best to set up a balanced TV system to feed all TVs from one signal splitter.  

Choose the location where the signal signal splitter will be located. This location is called the "head end" of the distribution system. Choose the number of TV location you want to supply and choose the appropriate signal splitter to supply the number of TVs. 

The more times a signal splitter divides the signal the more it drops the signal strength called, "insertion loss"
It doesn't matter if the TVs are on or off the insertion loss of the splitter still occurs. 

Don't worry, insertion loss is easily overcome using the proper signal amplification. Insertion loss doesn't effect the reception as long as the proper amplifier is selected. Large distribution system may require two amplifiers, One at the antenna and one at the head end near the splitter.

TV signal strength can be maintained but not re-gained.

A signal that has been lost do to attenuation prior to reaching a signal amplifier or a signal poorly received at the antenna can't be re-gained. It doesn't matter how much you amplify the signal you can't make the antenna work any better or bring the signal back after it has been lost within the antenna distribution system. It all starts with the antenna. The antenna must receive a good signal or no amount of signal amplification will help.  

Choosing the proper signal amplifier/booster is where it gets a little tricky

Several factors should be considered when selecting amplification. It's all about receiving a good signal at the TV antenna and maintaining that signal throughout the entire system. Too little signal strength and reception will suffer. Too much amplification will overdrive the signal and the reception will suffer.  

Here are few examples to give you some idea how this works.
In all scenarios the antenna remains the same. 

Scenario #1

The location has strong incoming signals. The antenna in use is the high signal gain HD Stacker antenna. The combination of strong signals and the HD Stacker antenna will create a very strong signal measured at the antenna output.

The coax cable run from the antenna to the 2 way signal splitter is 50 feet or less. 

The signal starts strong at the antenna. The insertion loss is minimal due to short cable runs and minimal insertion loss caused by the 2 way signal splitter. 

My recommendation for this scenario is the LNA 100 signal amplifier installed in line just before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter.  The antenna is producing a strong signal. Plenty strong enough to drive the signal through the cable to the LNA 100 amplifier installed near the signal splitter. The LNA 100 installed just before the signal splitter boost the signal and compensates for the insertion loss of the 2 way splitter and the additional cable runs from the splitter to the TV. 

Scenario #2

Same scenario as #1 but instead of a 2 way splitter I use an 8 way splitter. The insertion loss of the splitter is much greater. My recommendation for this Scenario is the HDA 200 amplifier. The HDA 200 offers more signal gain than the LNA 100 recommended in #1 above. The additional boost of the HDA 200 amplifier will compensate for the increased insertion loss created by the 8 way splitter.

Scenario #3

At this location the signals are weaker. Same HD Stacker antenna with a 2 way signal splitter in use.  The signal is weaker from the start at the antenna. The combined insertion loss of the coax cable and the signal splitter is likely greater than the signal strength produced by the antenna alone. 

In weaker signal areas it is best to amplify the signal as close to the source as possible and that's near the antenna. By doing so it will produce the best possible performance.  

In this scenario I recommend the LNA 200 mast mounted preamplifier.  The LNA 200 will amplify the signal near to the antenna and compensate for the insertion loss of the down lead cable, the 2 way splitter and the cabling from the splitter to the TVs. 

Scenario #4

Weak signal same HD Stacker antenna with an 8 way signal splitter instead of a 2 way. We don't want to lose any performance so again I recommend the LNA 200 preamplifier. The LNA 200 preamplifier won't produce enough signal gain on it's own to overcome the insertion loss created by the coax cable and the 8 way splitter.

In addition to the LNA 200 preamplifier near the antenna I recommend the LNA 100 distribution amplifier installed in line just before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter. 

The LNA 200 preamplifier will boost the signal at the antenna delivering a strong signal to the splitter location.  However, the signal that arrives at the splitter is not strong enough to compensate for the insertion loss of the 8 way splitter. The LNA 100 distribution amplifier installed before the signal splitter will boost the signal before the splitter to overcome the insertion loss of the 8 way splitter and the additional coax cable from the splitter to the TVs

If you would like some help designing your distribution system contact me >.

We have successfully installed antenna system that supply more than 200 TVs from a single antenna.

More fact based information can be found at Product and knowledge support >