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Ask Dave: Why so many cables and connections, but only one coax on the TV?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses the coax connection on the TV in the RV.

Dear Dave,
How does the TV signal switch from UHF, VHF, to satellite to cable, with so many coax receptacles inside and outside of the RV, and only one coax connection on the TV? And if I connect any given signal to the wrong external receptacle, it doesn’t work. All I do is go to the menu and change TV from air to cable, and turn off the signal booster. —Dan

Dear Dan,
Typically there are three coax runs for signal to the inside of the rig. One is attached to the TV antenna mounted to the roof, another from the service center that has a coax connection, and sometimes a third one routed in the roof with a label that states “Prewired For Satellite”.

All three of these RG 59 cables are capable of handling an HD signal from over-the-air signal like local TV stations, cable from a campground source, or satellite company signal. Typically they all come inside to a centralized location which we call an entertainment center and attach to a switcher. This is a device that has several input feeds, as you described, and one output to the TV. In this situation, you need to push the desired feed on the switcher or entertainment center.

If you have two TVs in the RV

Some RVs will have a second TV in the rig. In that situation, you would either have the exact same feed as the front TV, or need a switcher that has TV 1 and TV 2. Then you can use the same cables coming into the input, but have two sets of buttons for each TV.

In your situation, I believe the manufacturer just used a splitter to bring the antenna feed called over the air, and the cable feed into the splitter and one cable out to the TV.

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James Starling
1 month ago

Sorry Dave but RG59 is so last century. RG6 is more standard and thicker to carry a much better signal.

Ray Leissner
1 month ago

The external/internal wiring for video signal to 1 or 2 TVs in an RV is usually a mystery to be conquered by the purchaser. The salesperson will likely have no clue. Mine has only 1 coaxial inlet from the outside to which I connect the satellite or cable if available. In the interior cabinet I have 2 outlets and inlets to satisfy for the correct video to reach the correct TV, the other outlet being the antenna. I recommend you create labels on each cable, inlet and outlet you must deal with. FROM________TO_______, works for me.

This is only part of the battle. You must also learn to adjust, thru your TV’s menu, the signal you wish to watch, the channels in the area and when to/when not to turn on the OTA antenna’s signal booster.

This does not cover the wireless, possibly wired, connections needed for streaming on a smart TV. Get the picture?

tom
1 month ago

Awe! The great mystery of how the heck the installer intended the cabling to be run.

Dave
1 month ago

We rarely watch TV and never in the bedroom. That said, switchers are problematic. I’ve had a satellite tech evaluate my system and he said I’ll never get good satellite TV signal through my switchers (replaced under warranty with zero improvement).

If I want satellite, I connect directly from the tailgater to the TV, bypassing the switcher altogether.

Dick and Sandy near Buffalo, NY
1 month ago

We are on our 3rd Class A. We have 3 TV’s inside and a 4th TV in an outside entertainment center. We had our system designed to allow any TV to choose between an internal disk movie system, Local Channels, Cable TV if available or Satellite TV channels. It is very complicated with various amplifiers and switching devices. We are fortunate to be able to have this and use it a lot for entertainment. Stay safe, Stay well and Happy Holidays to All