Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Surge Protector for Digital Cable (coax) TV

In case you're looking for a surge protector that works properly with newer digital cable, here are a few ideas:

Tripp Lite ISOBAR6DBS Isobar Surge Protector

Tripp Lite TLP810NET 8-Outlet Surge Protector 3240 Joules
Tripp Lite HT10DBS Home Theater Isobar Surge Protector

Those are all prices at the time this post was made. Just be glad if you're American and weren't gauged like I was. I actually own the TLP810NET and ISOBAR6DBS, but only the two TLP810NETs are plugged into TVs. The Isobar is being used for my computer, which doesn't have a coax connection to plug in.

Tripp Lite ISOBAR
I can confirm that the TLP810NET works for my digital cable standard definition box and high definition PVR/DVR. No major signal degradation was noticed after plugging them in. This was verified by testing all functions like the "on demand" service, high number channels, qualitative and quantitative reviews. By qualitative, I mean I don't see any pixelization or weird screen effects. And by quantitative, I mean that I checked my cable box diagnostics before and after plugging the cable into the surge protector -- I was going straight from the cable service drop to a single two-way splitter and to the cable box before. Actually, to be accurate, the cable drop from the main service line goes to my home's cable box, then it's split into two lines to enter the house at two different locations.

Long story short, the signal db level was around 0 to -1 db at the QAM ~166 MHz frequency and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was at 35/36 before the surge protector. Afterwards, it was 0 to -3 db at the same frequency and the SNR was 34/35. Obviously, there appears to have been some degradation of the signal, but nothing that should be too major. Mr. Google says that a signal between -10 and 10 db is acceptable, and a SNR in the mid/upper 30s should be good for my PVR and service provider. I'm not that knowledgeable on this technical stuff, so do your own research.

Tripp Lite Surge Protector w/ Coax 1
The Tripp Lites I noted above are the only surge protectors I can find that advertise a frequency range for coax up to 2.2 GHz. From my research, cable TV and modem signals go up to about 1000 MHz or 1 GHz. Satellite cable goes up past 2 GHz, so these protectors may or may not work well for satellite TV. Only one way to try? For $25, the TLP810NET shouldn't be too hard to swallow and, worst case, you can refund or keep a pretty high quality surge protector.

As for how well surge protectors actually work, there is a lot of conflicting information out on the interwebs. One common thing that comes up though is that you should not forget to surge protect your phone and cable line. Better safe than sorry?

Tripp Lite Surge Protector w/ Coax 2