Cable Television - Description


In order to receive cable television at a given location, cable distribution lines must be available on the local utility poles or underground utility lines. Coaxial cable brings the signal to the customer's building through a service drop, an overhead or underground cable. If the subscriber's building does not have a cable service drop, the cable company will install one. The standard cable used in the U.S. is RG-6, which has a 75 ohm impedance, and connects with a type F connector. The cable company's portion of the wiring usually ends at a distribution box on the building exterior, and built-in cable usually distributes the signal through the walls to jacks in different rooms to which televisions are connected. Multiple cables to different rooms are split off the incoming cable with a small device called a splitter.

Most American television sets are cable-ready and have a television tuner capable of receiving older analog cable TV (UK televisions are set up to receive Freeview digital terrestrial broadcasting). The cable from the wall is attached directly to the "Antenna In" connector on the back of the television. To receive newer digital cable most TVs require a "digital television adapter" (set top box) called a cable converter, connected between the incoming cable and the TV, that processes digital signals. Most cable systems are required by their franchise agreement to offer some channels, including local broadcast stations, educational, and community access channels (PEG), for a low rate; this is called "Basic Cable".

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