How can I share one over the air antenna to multiple TVs? I will show you how in this article. In most cases, your home may have existing coaxial cable wiring already set up in the house. If you had some type of cable or dish television previously installed, you likely have most of the wiring done for you. The great part about using an over the air antenna is, you can tap into the existing wiring to plug in your HD antenna. From there you can install a splitter to distribute the signal to several televisions. If your house does not have the existing wiring you will need to run the cabling yourself. I will show you how to do that as well.
How to Split an Over The Air Antenna Signal to Multiple TVs
Once you have your antenna installed and if your house is fully wired, all of the coaxial cables will come to a central point. In most houses, it is in the basement or utility room. It is a bundle of black cables. It may be helpful to first identify where each cable leads to. Once you have this figured out, label each cable with a piece of tape. For example, a label may read “Bedroom 1” or “Living Room”. They may have already been labeled by the electrician. The cables could already be plugged into some type of splitter from your cable provider.
Passive or Powered Splitter
Most of the splitters that the cable companies provide are passive and are not powered splitters. You may be better off replacing it with a powered splitter if your second TV is more than 150 feet away. This will allow you to boost your antenna signal further. If your second television is far away in another bedroom, the powered splitter will boost the signal for better reception. Make sure not to use the splitter for your internet router/modem. Your antenna should be separate from this signal and not combined.
Using Existing Wall Jacks
Pictured above: My cable from the HD antenna in the attic is plugged into the closest wall jack that connects to the splitter in the basement.
Depending on where you’re over the air antenna is placed, you can use the closest wall jack to plug your antenna into. My antenna is in my attic, so I plugged the antenna cable into the closest wall jack in the upstairs bedroom. The cable then runs from this wall jack to the basement to the central stack of cables. This now becomes my antenna input cable. Then I placed my splitter/distribution amp in this area. Next, I plugged in the coaxial cable from the antenna wall jack into the input of the splitter. Then I identified which cables in the bundle lead to the wall jacks where the TVs are located. I plugged each TV cable into the outputs of the splitter. Again, if you do not have wall jacks installed, you will have to run a new coaxial cable to each television and central location. You will also need to provide power to the splitter and in some cases to your antenna. For certain setups, a passive splitter (unpowered) will work if your cable runs are short and your antenna booster is powerful enough.
Here are the splitters we recommend:
Channel Master CM3412 2-Port Distribution Amplifier
The Channel Master CM3412 2-Port Distribution Amplifier is available from these retailers:
Passive (unpowered) Splitter
2-Way Coax Cable Splitter Bi-Directional
A 2-Way Coax Cable Splitter is available from these retailers:
Adjustable Gain Amplifiers
Channel Master TV Antenna Amplifier with Adjustable Gain
I have been getting a few comments from people saying that a powered splitter is causing signal loss due to overmodulation. Most powered splitters give you all-or-nothing signal amplification. You have no control over the gain of the outputs. The Channel Master TV Antenna Amplifier can alleviate this problem. It allows you to adjust your output gain. This can be handy if you only need a little gain on your other TVs. This device will work well with a passive splitter. Just place the Channel Master CM-7777HD TV Antenna Amplifier between your OTA antenna and your passive splitter. Then dial in your gain. This can give you much more flexibility in your splitter setup.
The Channel Master TV Antenna Amplifier is available from these retailers:
ANTOP Smart Boost Amplifier with Dual Outputs
The ANTOP Smart Boost Amplifier is also a good adjustable gain amplifier. It has dual outputs. Which allows you to connect a primary TV and a second device. It has an adjustable dial that delivers the correct balance between short-range and long-range reception. It is compatible with every type of OTA antenna. The ANTOP Smart Boost Amplifier has a built-in filter to block out 3G/4G cellular interference. See our full review of this product here.
The ANTOP smart boost antenna amplifier is available at these retailers.
Need help choosing an antenna. Click on our guides below:
Running Your Own Cable
If you are not fortunate enough to have your house pre-wired, you can do it yourself. It may take some time to snake the wiring around the house, but if you are the do-it-yourself type, it should not be that complicated. There are several products and tools available that can make it a lot easier to string up some cabling. You just need to determine how much cabling you need by taking some measurements. Here are some tools that can be helpful when running your own cabling.
RG6 RG59 Connectors Crimping Tool
This Crimping Tool will allow you to make your own cables to custom lengths. Just cut your cable to the length required. Use a striping tool to prep your cable and crimp on your RG6 compression connectors.
RG-6 Coaxial Locking Compression Connector
Compression connectors attach to the cable ends. These work with the crimping tool.
Deluxe Rotary Coax Coaxial Cable Stripper Cutter Tool
This cable stripping tool will allow you to have clean and professional cuts. Allowing your compression connectors to fit perfectly.
RG6 standard shield bulk coaxial cable. Just cut your cable to length.
Using Ready-Made Cable
Coaxial Cable (50 Feet) with F-Male Connectors
Premade coaxial cable with connectors already attached.
A cable extension adapter allows you to connect two coaxial cables together to extend the length.
Wall Plate with 2-Port Keystone Jack
You can cap it all off with a professional-looking wall plate.
RG6 Keystone Jack Insert
Just snap in your coaxial insert and you’re done.
See Our Video on How to Install an OTA Splitter
Feature Image courtesy of kangshutters at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
There you have it. You now know how to split an over the air antenna signal to multiple TVs. There is nothing better than watching free TV in the living room and the bedroom. Now the whole family can watch on multiple TVs without arguing about which program to view.