How is Cable TV Installed?

When looking for access to premium television stations, viewers have a choice between cable and satellite television. Although there are many similarities between them, there are a few key differences that make cable television a more popular choice for many viewers. One of the biggest factors is installation. Satellite television requires the installation of a satellite receiver, which is not always available to individuals in apartment complexes, rental homes or other places where satellite installation is not practical.
Cable installation, on the other hand, is usually simpler because many houses and apartments already have cable receivers. A single receiver can be used to provide cable to multiple homes, and each individual subscriber needs only to purchase a decoder box from the cable company. Cable installation is fast and straightforward.

How Cable Television Works

A cable network broadcasts its signal over radio waves. These waves then travel across the country, where they are strengthened by strategically placed amplifiers. Ultimately, these signals are received by antennae. From there, the radio waves are transmitted from the receiver to the individual's cable box through coaxial cables.

Coaxial cables are made of multiple copper filaments wrapped together into a single cable and encased in a protective layer of rubber. Television signal travels as current through these wires before reaching the cable box. The cable box takes the encrypted broadcast signal and decodes it so that the viewer can see sound and picture. Because radio waves travel at the speed of light, the transmission of these signals is almost instantaneous regardless of where the viewer is watching from.

What to Expect During a Cable Installation

Before cable can be installed, a nearby cable receiver must be available. This is no problem in populated areas, but individuals in rural areas may have a difficult time getting cable television due to a lack of receiver access.

Assuming a cable receiver is available, however, the installer must simply ensure a connection between the receiver and the house. Most houses and apartments are already wired for cable, which means that there are holes in the wall for a coaxial cable to travel through as it connects the receiver to the television.

If the house is not already wired, holes may need to be drilled to allow cable access; some people also choose to feed coaxial cables through windows or doors rather than drill holes. This is a temporary solution, but it makes sense for rental properties and other areas where permanent changes to the home are not possible.

The coaxial cable will connect to the cable receiver on one end and a digital cable box on the other. This box decodes the television signal and communicates with the television to create sound and picture. A specialized remote will be provided to change channels and program the cable box, which may come with additional features such as a DVR recorder. The box is usually rented from the cable company, and the user is expected to return the box to the cable company if the contract comes to an end.