RG59 or RG6, does it matter?

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Hickoryw, Feb 9, 2016.

  1. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

    Jan 7, 2016


    I see multiple lies in multiple threads daily from multiple nicks, including yours.

    And you are correct, just repeating them over and over does not make them true. Try and remember that.

    And look who was brought up the RG59 loss rate in response to a problem........which is all I tried to do in this thread....

    Again, sometimes RG59 works. If it works for someone great, but when it doesn't it is one area that needs consideration - instead of just blowing it off as not that different in this thread.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2016
  2. mjh

    mjh Re: Member

    Dec 19, 2002
    Please DNFTT. That means when he says something goading you to respond, ignore him.
  3. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2006
    What labor costs? I installed all of the low voltage wiring in my entire house myself so all I ever paid for was the cable. I was smart enough to configure a raceway between floors when the house was under construction so I could run wires to any point in my house from a central location. I can understand why anyone not possessing the DIY skills for such an undertaking would balk at doing the upgrade, but I have no such limitations. LOL, it probably took me less time and effort to rewire my house than what's gone into the flame war between the trolls.

    My philosophy is that if there's any chance I'll see a benefit from the upgrade then it's worth it to me. When I switched from Comcast's analog cable to DirecTV I really had no choice but to upgrade to RG6. The only reason I upgraded to RG6 solid copper core was because it was recommended for use with the newer dishes. I seem to recall that there was an issue with the Ka band LNBs or the signal in that it was more susceptible to signal loss or something to that effect. I honestly don't recall the reason as it was about 7 or 8 years ago when I did it.
  4. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    RF is carried on the skin of the copper conductor and so you can use copper plated steel or solid copper for RF.

    However, electricity runs through the center of the wire, and power is needed for SWiMs and LNBs...not to mention copper conducts electricity better than steel, so that is why dish and Directv specs call for solid copper RG6.

    Just like RG59 v RG6 above, copper plated steel MIGHT work, but it is not the spec.
  5. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

    Jan 7, 2016


    Ah yes. When someone is critical of Obama, others just call them a racist.

    Just like when you disagree with someone you simply call them a troll.
  6. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2008
    Anyone interested in testing the veracity of this claim for themselves can perform the following experiment in their own home.

    Take a decent 2-way splitter (rated 2GHz+ to avoid any bandwidth issues). Place a 75-ohm termination on one of the output ports. At any TiVo of your choice, disconnect the coax, attach that coax to the splitter, and connect a short coax from the splitter to the TiVo. This will add about 3.5dB of loss to all signals going to/from the TiVo.

    Register an appropriate level of shock and dismay when your TiVo continues to function perfectly well.
  7. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    Tell that to all the threads where people needed to insert a splitter to attenuate their feeds to get an error free picture.
  8. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2008
    Perfectly OK with me. Those who needed to add a splitter to get an error free picture are having problems with a signal that is too strong. Adding a second splitter won't cause those systems to fail, because the AGC circuits in the TiVo have a lot more range than 3.5dB.

    Granted there are likely to be a small fraction of systems that can't tolerate an additional 3.5dB of loss. But for the most part, your claim is another example of propagating myths.
  9. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2008
    I guess to be fair I should point out cases where you make statements that are factually accurate. The "skin effect" for RF current is the reason that the RF resistance in the wire increases at a rate proportional to the square root of frequency. Copper clad steel has loss that is similar to pure copper wire as long as the copper cladding has a thickness of roughtly 5 or more "skin depths". Great for satellite signals, but it becomes a problem at lower RF frequencies. In copper, the skin depth is about 1.4 microns at 2GHz, but the skin depth increases to about 10 microns at 40MHz.

    To clarify, DC and low frequency currents flow through the entire cross-section of the wire. RF current flows only near the surface, and the amount of RF current drops off exponentially when measured further from the surface. After a depth of 5 skin-depths, the current becomes insignificant.
  10. SomeRandomIdiot

    SomeRandomIdiot New Member

    Jan 7, 2016
    Sort of like claims (not looking at you) that RG59 is always fine for TiVo and MoCA for getting an error free signal.

    Which brings up your claims that if RG59 is not THAT different than RG6, why are you not recommending it for DBS above as well?
  11. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2008
    I've consistently said the RG6 is better, so why would I specifically recommend RG59 for DBS? I certainly wouldn't tell someone who has RG6 in place to rip it out and install RG59 instead, because that would just be goofy.

    My goal here is simply to inject some engineering reality into the discussion. My point of contention with your claim that (paraphrased) "RG59 drops of rapidly after 1GHz" is that all the data I've seen shows that while RG59 isn't as good as RG6, it pretty much tracks in parallel up to at least 2GHz. There may be a point above 2GHz where RG59 falls off more rapidly than RG6, but I have to data to either support or refute.

    There are plenty of web sites that have a lot of hand-waving arguments that villify RG59 while praising RG6. The reality, at least below 2GHz, is that RG59 isn't much worse than RG6, so those who already have it in place shouldn't worry about it unless they have specific issues that need to be resolved. Even then, loose/failed connectors and bad splitters are more likely to be the cause.
  12. joewom

    joewom Member

    Dec 10, 2013
    If your on that close of the edge in a median size house you need to find out why! Most incoming connection from cable co's are almost to hot. There may be times you are far enough from their amp, but then instead of spending 1000's to rewire your house with RG6 just get an amp for 100's (and that over estimating) and your fine. An amp will increase far more then 25% if needed then upgrading to RG6.
  13. bicycleguy

    bicycleguy New Member

    Jan 26, 2017
    Awakening this old thread. One problem I have encountered that has not been mentioned is that once a RG6 wire is inserted into a splitter or connector the female contacts may be spread such that RG59 wire no longer makes a reliable connection. For me this happened between a FIOS outside box and the MOCO splitter used to feed a Tivo Bolt and a Mini. Very hard to diagnose the intermittent that seemed to only affect the Bolt to Mini MOCO feed that didn't even pass through the bad connection. Originally worked for many years then became intermittent. Replaced the splitter.

    Worked for a few more years. Then intermittent again, only this time it was the other end of the RG59 cable at the connection to the FIOS box. Again the bad connection didn't seem to effect my ethernet connection or video to the Bolt, only the MOCA TIVO to Mini. Why FIOS had used R59 I have no idea.

    By the way the method that worked for me to diagnose was lucking into the fact that channel 628 (and only channel 628) on the BOLT would drop lines and mess up when the MOCO was down. As you may know when the MOCA is down it requires some button pushing to get it to start again and as far as I know there is no other way for a user to diagnose the connection. Somehow I noticed that the channel 628 reception allowed me to wiggle the cables and see the effect. Once 628 was working the MOCA would magically work. Interestingly the signal strength on the BOLT for channel 628 was about 88 when it was messed up and only about 77 when it was working! So some kind of modulating was going on in the loose connection that only affected channel 628 and the MOCA.

    I think bad connections are much more likely a problem than cable losses.
    V7Goose and kpeters59 like this.
  14. Sparky1234

    Sparky1234 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2006
    Especially for outside or attic connections exposed to the elements.
  15. Teeps

    Teeps Well-Known Member

    Aug 16, 2001
    RG59 or RG6, does it matter?

    I used RG59 from 1982 until timewarner went digital, when cable service was disrupted.
    After installing RG6, as recommended by a timewarner tech.
    Digital cable reception was normal.
  16. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
  17. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    It's simple: RG59 has more loss per foot than RG6. What else do you need to know?
    Rey likes this.
  18. MikeekiM

    MikeekiM Palindromer

    Jun 25, 2002
    SF Bay Area
    If the question is whether to run RG59 or RG6, the answer is simple...Run RG6...

    If the question is whether to use an existing RG59 run, or go through the trouble of replacing with RG6, I would definitely pause and say that "it depends". If it's a short run, I would just leverage the existing RG59 and see if you can notice any negative consequences...I don't think you will. If it's a long run, then maybe it's worth replacing the line.

    All of my coax cable runs are underneath the house in a less-than-desireable crawl space... So I would definitely try to avoid replacing a perfectly good RG59 run if possible... :)
  19. jonw747

    jonw747 Active Member

    Aug 2, 2015
    Signal loss is only one factor, what's even more important is noise immunity/rejection, and coax by nature is very good in this area, much better than twisted pair let alone patch cord. In other words, as long as you get enough signal through, the loss doesn't matter. At that point, it's all about how clean the signal is and how much noise/interference is present.

    If you have RG-59 pre-installed, by all means try it out, but if you're installing new cable of course you should install RG6 (or better).

    Will it work? Quite likely, but you have to see. Yes, you can mix. Could it be faster on RG6? Maybe in a marginal situation, but the TiVo does report some signal quality information and you can compare.
  20. LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Member

    Jan 6, 2014
    I was having pixelation issues and V52 and other errors and decided to replace all 3 RG-59 cable runs that are needed for my 2 TiVo's, with new RG-6 cable. I also replaced the short run RG-59 connections between the Tuning Adaptors and the TiVo boxes with RG-6 patch cords. I used compression fittings at each RG-6 connection, replacing the old hexagonal crimped connections that were on most of the RG-59 terminations. The RG-59 cable was probably a decade old.

    That improved the signal levels and Signal-to-Noise readings on the TA diagnostics considerably, but I was still getting random pixelation and TiVo error messages. Had a Spectrum tech dispatched and he isolated the errors to the aerial cable from the pole in the backyard to the house. Interestingly, they replaced the old drop cable with an RG-11 cable, which is a much larger gauge sheath and center conductor and a much improved (and more expensive) drop cable (per the installation tech). The signal is perfect now with no errors or pixelation issues.

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