Cable TV Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Two horizontal lines slowly rolling up my screen. What is causing this?
  2. My tv is cable ready yet I can't get above channel 36. Why?
  3. My tv's are not cable ready. What can I do?
  4. I split my cable and now it doesn't work?

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Two horizontal lines slowly rolling up my screen. What is causing this?

One or two horizontal lines slowly rolling up the screen is what electrical interference looks like on the screen.

This can be caused by many things from faulty cable equipment, faulty TV or Vcr, to a poor neutral connection in your house power.

  • If the problem does not go away call the cable co. as there is probably something wrong on the cable system.

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    My tv is cable ready yet I can't get above channel 36. Why?

    By virtue of being able to receive channels above 13 on a CATV system, the tuner is in fact 'cable-ready'. It could be that the manufacturer just didn't have the foresight to see that cable companies would eventually go higher than channel 36? Or possibly to keep the cost down the tuner was left a little lower than it might have gone. Things are changing fast these days it is hard to keep ahead of what is happening.

    If you can receive channels above ch 22 the TV is cable ready. (channels 14 to 22 come in below channel 7). As long as your CATV switch is on channels above 13 will come in.

    Technology is changing fairly rapidly and foresight could be the problem. In general I find that the problem is trying to save a dollar (on the buyers part) Salesmen that are either uneducated or "forget" to mention the facts. Cable Co's that don't get the information out. Or a lack of communication between everyone. From the manufacturer to the buyer. Sometimes if you don't ask the questions the answers are not volunteered.

    If things continue on the way they are going. You will need a high def TV with a good sound system, and a tuner that can get Video/audio, and channels 2-4. With the choice opening up for the customer it means that when they choose a provider they will provide a box. The choices will be Cable co's, Telco's, DSS, BUD's, Microwave's etc.

    How old are the TV sets that are having this problem?

    The age is not the determinining factor. Some old TV's get all the channels. But you will find that the older the Tv the more chance of it not being compatible.


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    We have two rather old TVs which only go to channel 13. However, they are too good to get rid of (or I'm too cheap :-) ). Anyhow, I'm hoping for an inexpensive way to enable these TVs to receive all of the cable channels we pay for. Our system is by TCI and the channels go to 61, I think. Obviously, I could pay $3-$4 a month for a cable box, but I'm hoping for something that I don't have to rent. Is there something I can build from Radio Shack parts? Again, I'm not trying to break into the system or descramble signals I am not paying for. I simply want to extend the life of these TVs and enable them to show all the channels we're subscribing to.

    Thanks in advance,



    I feel that the older tv's "at this time" have a better picture than the newer ones. Mostly because most shows were not filmed in the new format. (HD, digital, etc...) So what I am trying to say is, yes there are ways. The easiest is to put a cable ready VCR on the set. This gives you a remote control, a converter and the ability to play tapes. If you don't already have the VCR this is an expensive alternative. Or you can buy a (non descrambling) converter box- $60.00 to $150.00 new. depending if you want volume control or not. Second hand they are much cheaper (lots in pawn shops) but no guarantees. They also come with a remote control so you don't have to get up to change channels/volume. Your other option of course is to just rent one from your Cable Co.

    The only things you need to know are:

    Should you use a channel 2 or 3 converter? In the olden days (b-4 cable) If you had an antenna you probably were able to get channel 2 or 3 by antenna. You need to know which one is used in your area and buy a converter that "does not" use that channel.

    How high do you need the converter to go? How many unscrambled channels will you need to get? Ask your Cable Co. how many they are supplying (at this time). If you are buying second hand this may not be an option. You may just get what you get. Most recent models go at least to channel 60.

    I like Phillips converters. Very few problems. But any reputable name should be good.

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    I would like to know what would happen if the local cable company catches you pirating your cable. I am not sure if I got nailed. One day my cable was gone, without any trace of what happened. I recently split the signal, but i cant imagine that causing the problem. If anyone has any idea, I would appreciate an answer.


    You should try unhooking what you did, then see if the cable works...

    Check all connections and make sure the center conductor is making contact. Then call your Cable Co. if that does not work. There may be something wrong outside. If you go to my web page I have a list of what to do before calling the cable company...

    If it was Shaw that caught you "pirating" an extra TV we would probably ask if you wanted it hooked up "legally" or if you wanted it disconnected. Of course if there was damage to our main lines or equipment it could be more serious.

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