Tv cable connection: How to Hook Up a Smart TV to Cable (Setting Up Your Smart TV)

How to Set Up Cable

How to Set Up Cable |
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October 19, 2022

3 min read

At a glance

Moving your cable TV service to a new home isn’t complicated—especially if you’re continuing service with the same provider. Current customers can usually take their cable box from their old location to their new abode, while new subscribers are sometimes given the option of having a new cable box delivered for self-installation.

Once you’ve switched, or begun, TV service at your new address, you can either hook it up yourself, or have a professional (the fabled “cable guy”) do it. We’ll walk you through the do-it-yourself route.

3 ways to install cable in your new home

These three routes to hook up cable yourself require active cable service, as well as a cable box.

In the olden times—like, the early 2000s—you could simply connect the cable from the wall directly to your TV and get a decent array of basic channels.

Not anymore: Full cable TV service only works with a digital cable box between that wall cable and your TV, even the smartest of smart TVs. We’ll be covering the connection between the cable box and your TV. These instructions could also be applicable to a satellite TV box.

HDMI cable—Best picture quality

Coaxial cable—Quickest setup

S-Video cable or composite-video cable—For older TVs

HDMI cable—Best picture quality

Newer cable boxes come equipped with an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port, a small rectangular slot labeled as such on the back panel. If your cable box doesn’t have one, you should request a new version made within the last 10 years, as cable companies don’t always alert you to new equipment upgrades (especially if they’re free to customers, which they usually are).

An HDMI cable is an all-in-one delivery system for video and audio, and it transmits the highest quality signal for both. You can buy HDMI cables almost anywhere, from electronics stores to big-box home improvement outlets, and the expensive ones aren’t necessarily better than the cheaper ones—it’s up to you how much you want to spend.

Cable-to-HDMI installation

  1. Fasten the cable from the wall to the cable box’s Input, then plug the HDMI cable into the HDMI port on the back panel. 
  2. Plug the other end of the HDMI cable into one of your TV’s back-panel or side-panel HDMI ports (most new TVs have more than one to accommodate multiple devices). It doesn’t matter which HDMI port you use, as they’re all identical.
  1. After the signal is established, you can use your remote to label the cable input for easy on-screen menu distinction between other devices (example: HDMI 1: Cable, HDMI 2: Blu-ray player, HDMI 3: Xbox, etc.).

Coaxial cable—Quickest setup

Like HDMI, a coaxial cable transmits both video and audio, just at slightly lower quality. Any cable box, no matter how old, will have a cable output connection—they look the same, so get a good view of the labels and don’t mix up the input and output or you’ll get no signal.

A coaxial cable is the same kind of cable coming from the cable company to your home, and short-connection household versions are as easy to find as HDMI cables. The most common length is 3’, and pricier ones (with gold-plated connectors, etc.) don’t give you a better picture than budget versions.

Cable-to-cable installation

  1. Connect the cable from the wall to the cable box input, then screw the coaxial cable onto the cable box’s output connector. 
  2. Screw the other end of the cable into the TV’s cable input connector on the back (most current TVs still have them). 
  3. If the TV doesn’t have a cable input, refer back to “Cable-to-HDMI installation” above.

S-Video or composite-video cable—For older TVs

If you have an old-old-old-school analog TV, chances are it will use an S-Video or composite video input. Some cable boxes will accommodate these kinds of connections, but most newer ones will require an adapter between the cable box and the TV.

S-Video cables have 4-pin connectors and deliver a low-grade standard-definition picture—which you likely won’t notice, since a TV with S-Video input will also be standard definition.

Cable-to-S-Video installation

  1. Connect the S-Video cable to the S-Video output on the cable box (or to an adapter).
  2. Plug the other end into the TV’s S-Video input.

Composite video cables are similarly low-grade, but they use RCA mini-plug connectors—yellow for video, red for right stereo audio, and white for left stereo audio. TVs with this type of connection will also be standard definition, and will probably require a connection adapter to work with a modern cable box.

Cable-to-composite video installation

  1. Plug one end of the RCA connectors into their corresponding color-coded inputs on the cable box (or adapter).
  2. Plug the other end of the RCA connectors to the TV.

The picture with this or an S-Video connection will tend to look dark and fuzzy if you’re used to high-definition TV. If your doorbell camera gives you a better viewing experience than your TV, it might be time to upgrade to HD.

Recommended resources

  • How to Choose a Cable Provider
  • Cable vs. Satellite TV
  • How Much Does Cable TV Cost?

Top product picks

  • KabelDirekt HDMI Cable (3 ft.)
  • Monoprice Coaxial Cable (3 ft.)
  • RadioShack S-Video Cable (6 ft.)
  • RCA Audio/Video Cable (3 ft.)
  • S-Video/RCA to HDMI Converter

Written by

Bill Frost

Bill Frost has been a journalist and TV reviewer since the 4:3-aspect-ratio ’90s. His pulse-pounding prose has been featured in The Salt Lake Tribune, Pacific Northwest Inlander, Coachella Valley Independent, Salt Lake City Weekly, and many other dead-tree publications. In addition to his work, Bill is a senior writer and streaming TV columnist at By night, Bill cranks a Flying V with his band at the bar.

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Connect your cable or satellite box and other devices to your Samsung TV

A Samsung TV is a thing of beauty, but when you connect the cable or satellite box, or a 4K video game system, it becomes a masterpiece. With so much to connect and so little time, we all need some kind of guide to help us figure it all out. Just use the Connection Guide on your TV to see different ways to connect your devices, and then just choose the easiest way.

When you are connecting your devices that supply 4K content to your TV, like an Xbox One X, Xbox One S, Playstation 4 Pro, UHD Blu-ray player, PC, Roku player, or anything else there is one very important step you need to do on your Samsung TV. You need to enable UHD HDMI Color (Input Signal Plus).

  1. Navigate to Settings > General > External Device Manager.

  2. Select UHD HDMI Color (Input Signal Plus).

  3. You’ll see a list of the HDMI ports on your TV. Select the HDMI port that you are going to connect (or have connected) a 4K device to. This will turn the feature on for this port.

If you’re not sure how to connect a device, like a video game console or laptop, you can view a connection guide on your TV for help. Just use the TV remote to select Source, and then select Connection Guide. It will show you how to connect various devices.

Most cable and satellite boxes today can be connected with HDMI, and that’s a good thing, because HDMI offers the best picture and sound. If your cable box has component connections, the first thing you may want to do is contact your cable company and see if there is an upgraded box available. If not, you can still get up to a 1080p (Full HD) picture with component connections, but for many TVs you will need a component to HDMI adapter if the TV does not support component out of the box.

  1. Make sure the TV and cable or satellite box are turned off.

  2. Connect an HDMI cable to your cable or satellite box’s HDMI out port, which should be located on the back.

  3. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to any of the empty HDMI ports on your Samsung TV. 

    Note: Make sure to remember what number the port is so you can change your TV’s source to it in a moment.

  4. Turn on your TV and the cable or satellite box. Now depending on your TV, a few different things may happen:

Most current video game systems use HDMI connections which provide the best picture and sound, but If you have a classic console that uses component connections, you will need a component to HDMI adapter if the TV does not support component out of the box.

  1. Make sure the TV and video game system are turned off.

  2. Connect an HDMI cable to your video game system’s HDMI out port, which should be located on the back.

  3. Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to any of the empty HDMI ports on your Samsung TV. 

    Note: Make sure to remember what number the port is so you can change your TV’s source to it in a moment.

  4. Turn on your TV and the video game system. Now depending on your TV, a few different things may happen:

If you want enhanced sound quality, you’ll need to connect an external audio device like a soundbar.

  1. Connect the digital audio (optical) cable to the OPTICAL IN port on your soundbar, speaker, or surround sound system, and the other end into the DIGITAL AUDIO OUT port on the TV.

  2. Using the TV remote, navigate to Settings. Then, select Sound and select Sound Output. From there, set the audio output for your TV.

Some soundbars or surround sound systems use Audio Return Channel technology or ARC for short. But don’t worry, connecting these devices is still easy. All you need is one HDMI cable.

  1. Connect an HDMI cable into your audio device’s ARC port. This is usually the HDMI OUT port, but check your device’s user manual just in case.

  2. Connect the other end into the HDMI IN (ARC) on the TV. Using the remote, navigate to Settings. Then, select Sound and select Sound Output. From there, set the audio output for your TV.

Note: Depending on the available ports on your computer, you may need an adapter.

If you took time to download a movie, save time afterwards. Just connect, select, and play.

Connect an HDMI cable (with an adapter, if necessary) into your computer, and connect the other end into the desired HDMI IN port on the TV. Make sure the cable is properly attached. Then, use the remote to navigate to Home, and then select Source. From there, select the PC as the video source.

Other answers that might help

  • Scan for channels from an antenna or cable box on your Samsung TV
  • Adjust picture settings on your Samsung TV
  • Screen mirroring to your Samsung TV


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Table of contents

How to connect a TV cable: to a plug, an antenna, a shield

Even in the age of digital technologies and the total penetration of the Internet into all spheres of life, many apartments receive a television signal via cable. The wrong attitude to its installation can negatively affect the quality of the received signal, even in the case of choosing the most modern and expensive material. In the article we will tell you how to connect a television cable in different ways, we will give recommendations to beginners.



  1. Features of cable routing
  2. How to choose the right cable
  3. Choosing a cable for connection
  4. Marking TV cables
  5. How to connect the cable to the plug
  6. Connecting the cable to the antenna 90 008
  7. Connection to a splitter (splitter)
  8. Connection cable in the shield
  9. Frequently asked questions
  10. Typical connection errors

Cable routing features

The television cable “comes” to the apartment from the floor board and is routed through the television receivers available in the house. In order to properly wire the TV cable around the apartment, you should follow some recommendations.

The main elements of the TV cable, stripped and completely exposed

To avoid interference with the signal, it is recommended to place the cable away from the electrical wiring. A telephone wire or cable for the Internet does not interfere with the normal passage of a TV signal, and therefore the general laying of these communications in one cable channel is allowed. If it is impossible to avoid the joint placement of the electrical cable with the television, then you should purchase a TV cable with a core diameter of more than 1 mm with a double protective screen.

The cable should be pulled in one piece throughout the apartment, avoiding any connections and twists that affect the quality of the picture. Crossing the cable with electrical networks is not recommended, but if this cannot be avoided, then the intersection should be arranged strictly at an angle of 90 °. Read also the article: → “Criteria for choosing a cable for wiring in an apartment.”

Cable distribution by rooms to ensure shielding and high quality contacts and is carried out using factory-made splitters. Do-it-yourself devices are unlikely to be able to give an acceptable signal quality. You should also exclude the connection of a television cable with sharp bends or in a bay – the quality of the picture on the screen can suffer greatly from this.

The section of the line going from the floor box to the apartment should be laid in an extended cable channel, taking into account the possible activation of an alarm or an additional telephone line. For ease of maintenance, the splitters should be placed in an easily accessible area.

Models of television cables may vary, but the general principle of their connection is unchanged

How to choose the right cable

Even the most modern TV receiver and cable plugs cannot produce an acceptable image if the cable is of insufficient quality. High-frequency TV signal currents flow a little differently than home electrical currents. The higher the frequency of the current, the closer to the edges of the main wire it flows, therefore, in cables used in the military or space industry, in order to avoid a critical decrease in the quality of the television signal, they are treated with a silver or gold composition.

Selection of cable for connection

When selecting material, follow the following recommendations:

  • the value of the resistance of the product must be 75 ohms, because all television receivers are designed for this value;
  • outer diameter must be more than less than 6 mm;
  • The main conductor and the braided screen must be made of copper.
  • In the latter case, manufacturers often sin by trying to reduce the cost of products as much as possible by making the central core from steel and simply coating it with copper sputtering, braiding from copper alloys, and shielding from foil. Read also the article: → “Rating of the best Russian and foreign cable manufacturers”.

    Marking of television cables

    Consider the marking on the example of the Chinese television cable RG 6U, the most common in our country.

    Designation Explanation 900 76
    CABLETECH Manufacturer name
    RG 6U Cable brand
    HIGH QUALITY COAXIL CABLE Cable length mark

    An example of Russian-made cable marking indicating the main characteristics and technical conditions

    How to connect the cable to the plug

    You can connect the plug to the cable on your own, especially since the voltage of the TV signal is too low to cause any harm to health. Even an unplugged cable is cut without fear of electric shock. There is no harm in shorting between the braid and the main core either. For different cable sizes, different plugs are produced, therefore, when choosing a cable, it is necessary to pay attention to its diameter. F-plugs are the most commonly used.

    First you need to cut the cable, which can be done in two ways:

    • with a braid bend;
    • without inversion.

    The most reliable method is the cut-and-turn, but if it is not possible to install the plug, then the second method is used. The cable is cut with a scalpel or a sharp knife: the outer sheath is carefully cut along the length without damaging the screen. When the cut is completed, the insulation is folded back and removed.

    Step-by-step scheme of crimping a television cable with a bend in the braid and a release of the main core by 3-5 mm

    Copper braid and shielding foil are wrapped. In general, three types of shielding can be used in TV cables:

    • aluminum foil;
    • copper braid;
    • aluminum foil with copper braid.

    Aluminum foil is often coated with polyethylene on the inside for reinforcement purposes. It is unlikely that it will be possible to strip the film without damaging the foil, therefore, to improve the contact of the screw-on plug with the foil, its bent part is slightly wrapped back so that the uninsulated piece of foil faces outward. If the cable diameter is too small, the end entering the plug is wrapped with electrical tape.

    Insulation is removed from the main core in the usual way for many, similar to the removal of insulation from electrical wires, without damaging the core itself. Then the plug is wound onto the foil, and the excess of the main core is bitten off with wire cutters or cut off with a knife, leaving a length of about 3 mm outside.

    Connecting the cable to the antenna

    Connecting the TV cable to the antenna must be carried out in observance of the rules for switching electrical appliances, guided by the diagrams in the technical passport of the TV. To complete the work you will need:

    • splitter;
    • antenna cable;
    • antenna amplifier;
    • cutting pliers;
    • sharp knife or scalpel;
    • soldering iron.

    Antenna amplifier is used when the signal is not strong enough or too weak. A splitter is useful for connecting several TVs to one antenna at once. Read also the article: → “Peculiarities of connecting a TV outlet, rules for checking the signal.”

    The cable is connected directly to the TV antenna using screw terminals

    Cable, splitter and amplifier must be installed next to the routed cable. In an individual house, the best place to place all appliances is the attic. The end of the cable coming out of the antenna is connected to the amplifier through a special terminal. From the amplifier, the signal comes to the splitter, to which the television receivers in the house are connected. When connecting to a satellite dish, you will need to use a receiver to which the cable is connected via the antenna connector. The preparation of the cable is carried out in the same way as cutting it before connecting it to the plug.

    Tip #1. Before connecting the TV, you must carefully check all the connections of the switching devices and the reliability of the installation of the plugs in the appropriate sockets. If the image is noisy or the signal is too weak, adjust the antenna amplifier settings.

    Connecting to a splitter (splitter)

    Nowadays, no one can be surprised by the presence of a TV in every room. A small problem is to feed the TV signal to all receivers, since in most cases the signal source is the same. The solution to this problem is to use an antenna splitter. The quality of the picture when connecting TV receivers through a splitter may deteriorate somewhat, but the connection process itself is not difficult and takes just a few minutes.

    Step by step, the connection scheme can be represented as follows:

    • select the location of the splitter and fix it in it;
    • removing plugs from used connectors;
    • cutting and connecting TV cable.

    Connecting the cable in the shield

    When laying or connecting the cable, it is not allowed to twist it into knots and coils, kinks or sharp bends that sharply degrade the quality of the received TV signal.

    Tip #2: The section of cable going first from the shield to the apartment should be placed in a wide cable channel.

    In the case when the cable connection in the ladder box must be soldered, the length of unshielded sections should be minimized, since their presence and length directly affects the quality of the signal and image. At the end of soldering, it is recommended to cover each contact under a layer of varnish – it is able to prevent the occurrence of foci of corrosion damage and the ingress of dust particles between the contacts. Dust adhering between the contacts causes the signal to deteriorate with increasing humidity: the image reproduced by an analog TV will snow heavily, and when transmitting a digital signal, the image will simply disintegrate into pixels with an unpleasant squeak.

    Connecting the TV cable in the driveway is not difficult

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Question #1. Is the F-plug for digital for digital TV signal transmission, or only for analog?

    Despite the fact that this type of plug has been used for a long time, both its connector and its characteristics allow you to fully enjoy not only analog (by the way, in the near future, permanently stopping broadcasting) television, but also digital and satellite television signals .

    Question #2. What to do and what to do if the cable diameter turned out to be slightly smaller than the diameter of the internal thread of the plug? Indeed, in this case, reliable compression will not work.

    In this case, it is recommended to wrap the required number of layers of electrical tape around the cable to fit the cable diameter close to the inner diameter of the plug.

    Question #3. If you install the plug in the appropriate socket, the TV cannot be placed close to the wall. What is the way out of this situation?

    In this case, you should use an angled plug, which can be purchased at almost any store selling electrical household appliances.

    Question #4. In old Soviet-made TVs, the cable was connected to the plug by soldering. How to connect a modern type of cable to it?

    If the signal quality deteriorates or the cable needs to be replaced due to poor contact, the plug and cable can be connected as before by soldering.

    Question #5. How can I connect several TVs to an antenna or cable TV network at once?

    To connect several television receivers, you can use a special device – a splitter, also called a “divider” or “splitter”.

    Using splitters to connect multiple TVs to one TV cable

    Typical connection errors

    • Not everyone knows that some manufacturers cover the foil in the cable with polyethylene from the inside, which cannot be stripped even with a scalpel. Plastic, even with the highest quality cable stripping, will prevent the creation of high-quality contact with the plug. To avoid signal distortion, it is recommended to wrap part of the folded foil in the opposite direction so that the conductive side is outside.
    • A typical mistake is getting the thinnest wires of the braid onto the main core of the cable when it is crimped. Doing so may result in poor quality or intermittent signal dropouts. A common mistake when installing and laying a cable is placing it in the same plinth with electrical wiring. You can’t do this, otherwise the interference created can significantly spoil the mood when watching TV.

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    How to connect the antenna cable to the plug?



    To connect the antenna cable to the TV, you do not need a large set of tools and special skills, you can cope with the task yourself. You can do without a plug, but this is not recommended, as the risk of contact closure and equipment failure increases. That is why it is recommended to connect the cable to the plug first. How should it be done?

    Why do I need a plug?

    A plug is a plastic or metal part into which a television (aka coaxial) wire is threaded and securely fixed inside. In the future, using an adapter, you can easily and quickly connect the cable to the connector on the back of the TV, after which it will receive a signal.

    Adapter can be angled or straight. The first option is used in cases where the TV stands close to the wall or is hung on it with a bracket. In such a situation, there is no place to place a straight plug, and in order to avoid bending it, it is still recommended to choose a corner piece.

    If you have not bought an adapter yet, we advise you not to save money and order a metal product, not a plastic one. Plastic parts are not as strong, durable, and versatile as their metal competitors, and the only advantage in their favor is their low price. Still, it’s not worth saving.

    What do you need to work?

    You only need two tools to connect the coaxial cable to the TV socket – a knife and pliers. Of course, in addition to them, the cable itself and the adapter to which it is planned to be connected should be at hand. If in your case the diameter of the wire is too small, because of which it plays inside the plug, fill the latter with some material for greater fixation.

    Connection procedure

    The first stage is cutting the antenna wire. For this you will need a sharp knife. Using it, carefully make a circular cut in the insulation about 1 centimeter from its tip. Do not cut through the insulating layer, so as not to spoil the shielding that is under the plastic. Slowly shake the cut tip in different directions and remove it.

    The second step is to fold back the shielding layer. To do this, gently bend the aluminum braid and the foil layer in different directions so that they wrap the cable insulation more or less evenly. Then, carefully, so as not to damage the metal core, cut off the second polymer layer, which separates the braid and the core itself.

    The third step is to install the plug itself. To do this, take the part and unwind it along the thread to divide it into two parts. The element, at the tip of which there is a thickening in the form of a nut, screw the opposite side onto the bent insulation. Using pliers, crimp the metal cone to press it as tightly as possible to the wire.

    As a final touch, use pliers to cut off the excess part of the metal strand. After cutting, it should protrude from the half of the adapter by no more than 2-3 millimeters. Now it remains only to twist the soulmate, after which the cable can be connected directly to the TV. If everything is done correctly, the latter will pick up the signal from the connected antenna.


    After installation, do not forget to check the correctness of the work. To do this, just turn on the TV and look at the quality of the picture.