Home Theater Network

5 Ways To Loose A Signal

1.   Using Analog Instead of Digital Signals
Analog vs. Digital

Voltage changes due to EMI noise can affect analog signals far more than digital signals. The on and off state of digital signals help protect it from small voltage changes. For example, a digital signal changing from 5 volts to 4.5 volts will not deteriorate the quality of the signal since 4.5 volts is still an “on” state. However, changing an analog signal from 5 volts to 4.5 volts will deteriorate the signal since the final result will be 4.5 volts.

2.    Long Cable Lengths
Cable Lengths

For analog signals, try to keep your cable lengths as short as possible. One or two feet extra won’t hurt anything, but an extra 5 to 6 feet can. This is especially true for analog video signals such as component or composite.

Digital cable lengths can be longer than their analog counter parts. The ones and zeros of digital signals make it less susceptible to EMI noise. Some digital signals, such as Ethernet, are designed for long cable lengths. Ethernet cables use twisted conductors and its error correction code within the signal makes it ideal for long distance travel. HDMI, coaxial, and other digital signals will start deteriorating after 10 feet unless the cables are properly shielded.

3.    High Frequency Signals

Most EMI that can affect Home Theater Network electronics is in the high frequency range. Cell phones, microwaves, and over-the-air TV broadcasts all emit EMI and interfere with component, Ethernet, and other high frequency signals. Two signals in the same frequency range will adversely affect each other. This makes high frequency (or high bandwidth) signals more susceptible to noise than low frequency signals.

4.    Interconnect Type

One way to loose a high definition signals is by connecting a S-Video cable between your source and HDTV. The same can be said by using dual RCA analog audio interconnects to carry Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. Certain signals will not work with certain interconnects. HD video will not pass through a SD video interconnect, and digital surround sound will not pass through dual RCA analog-audio interconnects. See the video, audio, and data interconnects section for more information on signals and interconnects.

5.    Cable Build Quality
Cable Build Quality

Cables with inadequate shielding, poor conducting metals, or corroded contacts will lead to signal loss. Inadequate shielding can lead to EMI deteriorating a signal, while poor conducting metals or corroded contacts will affect the impedance of the cables. Signal loss can occur when the impedance level of a cable is changed. See the cable build quality section for more information.