Picture Pixilation and Cable Quality

6 Apr, 2021, 3:15 AM

Written: July 22, 2018

Analogue to Digital  Reception Problem shifts.

In analogue days the blight of a poor television picture was the ghost. You could put up with it to a certain extent but it became unacceptable once it got bad enough to confuse the image – like in sporting events. Another problem was the weak or snowing type picture. These have all been replaced with the digital version “the pixilation of the screen” as it becomes unstable or when really bad the message on the screen reads: “no signal”.


Today 70% of digital faults inspected by the digital antenna technician are cable and connections problems.


REALLY good cables did not become common until well in the 90′s.

There were professional organisations that started to use high quality cables as early as 1986 but that  was rare. Most TV cables being sold were solid copper centre conductors with copper shields – these cables are still in use today. Slowly but surely the foil cables started to be used but were only available in an RG59 size. Both types of cables are the cables which are causing the problems today.


Over the years being subject to heat and cold they have fractured and though unseen to the eye never the less they will no longer perform well and predictably. They are also deteriorating with age. They are particularly vulnerable in hot weather as the centre core expands. Evidence suggests that if put under a microscope we would see very small fractures.

I first imported the foil cables in the 80’s as I recognised the superior performance of these cables much earlier than the general industry. As a consequence many of the installations I had something to do with still operate successfully today. TV signal cannot be seen so problems are often solved by observation and patterns and then worked backwards to solve the TV problems noted! This is a skill combined with interest – mine has never waned!

Good technicians have known for years that nicks or poorly handled cables produce random and unpredictable results. If a cable stretches there is a reduction in the conductivity of the cable. The electrons have barriers to get around and can no longer flow effortlessly. This increases the errors in the packets. So if you have a problem where it is good sometimes and bad another and no one can find out why then it is most likely you need your cable changed. The technician comes puts his meter on it and says “no problems here” That is a true statement but there is a problem and he/she should investigate what cable is installed, how long it has been there and if there are individual household environmental contributors that are contributing to the data loss. This is what is so much harder with digital antenna installations you have to rely on your meter only, as visual observation is next to impossible when you have tricky situation to solve. It is experience and a willingness to answer the question “WHY”.

Pixilation – the statistics are 70% of faults are cable and or connections

The pictures above show how correctly crimped “F”  connectors which are ideal for digital television reception. Today the F connector is the industry standard and reduces random pixilation. They are an important part of a digital television antenna installation. The “F” connector in the right hand picture is a good quality twist on which the home handyman can install without crimping tools.