Modern plasma televisions are one option among high definition sets. Able to provide clear, colorful and realistic images, plasmas televisions should have quality high-resolution sources. Most of these television sources, whether satellite, digital cable, or even a high definition antenna, require the proper coaxial cable to allow maximum quality, while guarding against signal loss and interference. For this reason, the preferred coaxial cable for these television services is RG-6 quad shield.
RG-6 Quad Shield Properties
These coaxial cables use a solid copper 18-gauge conductor. Surrounding this conductor is an insulating plastic tube, called a dielectric. Overlaying this dielectric is a series of shields, insulating the conductor from harmful interference from radio frequencies and other devices. These alternating braided and foil shields supply 95 percent coverage of the cable, making it almost immune to the types of signals that are destructive to delicate digital feeds.
RG-59 is a thinner, lower grade coaxial cable. Confusion can occur, since the cables appear outwardly the same. Additionally, the lower overall cost of RG-59 makes it a tempting choice, especially if a significant quantity of it is needed for the plasma television installation. However, although RG-59 and RG-6 use the same 18-gauge center conductor, the shielding on RG-59 makes it nearly unsuitable for anything other than basic cable. Deploying a single foil shield, RG-59 is bombarded by electromagnetic and radio interference. Ironically, this difference in shielding may make it suited for basic, base television services. However, you should consider that upgrading to higher-bandwidth services like satellite or digital cable necessitates replacing the cable, so installing RG-6 first means not having to reinstall a new run. Remember that screwing an RG-6 cable from the back of a satellite or cable box or digital cable box will not yield a high definition picture at the plasma. Instead, component video or High Definition Multimedia Interface cables lead from these decoders to the television.
If you're having a plasma installed, it's possible that the coaxial cable has to be installed at the same time. In this case, the more friendly the cable is to the installer, the greater the potential that labor costs are reduced. RG-6 is designed to quickly and efficiently strip and terminate, using the proper tools. Additionally, it's fairly common for most installers to only carry RG-6, armed with the knowledge that high-definition services mandate use of it for best results.
Why Not RG-6?
RG-6 operates effectively above 50 megahertz. This means that it operates in the range most ideally suited for high frequency signals from satellite and HD antennas, along with HD cable. However, high definition signals sent from a Blu-ray player or satellite decoder operate lower in the band, around 37 megahertz. Therefore, RG-59 works better for these signals. The only time this becomes an issue in modern installations is when an installer uses coaxial cable to make component video (red, blue and green) or composite (yellow) cables. In most instances, plasma televisions are installed with RG-6 quad shield leading to the decoder, with HDMI cables leading to the set. RG-59 rarely makes an appearance.
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