Do TV Signals Affect Your Phone Reception?

Yes, it’s true that LTE signals from local cell towers can interfere with TV antenna reception. This is because LTE is now carried on frequencies that used to be used for television, and so if an antenna isn’t designed to block those signals there can be problems. In an ideal world, signals in the air wouldn’t mingle, mix, or blend with other signals. Our world would be simpler if wireless RF signals would dutifully follow separation rules. However, they are freewheeling spirits that enjoy visiting their friends in the cables. This means that using your cell phone near your TV can result in interference.

In order for a TV signal to interfere at all with a cell signal, it would have to first be stronger than that cell signal. Over the ages engineers have done their very best to keep the interference to a minimum. A simple way to do this is to have the signals in the cable use a different frequency range than the signals in the air. It turns out that signals at different frequencies don’t like to mingle. However, the wireless spectrum has gotten crowded, and relatively recently cellphones have begun using frequencies that cable TV systems use. With our natural separation solution out the door we have to fall back to our next line of defense: RF shielding. This includes using multiple layers of shielding on our cables, tight connectors and well-designed cable modems and set-top boxes.

Transmitter Interference

Communication systems that transmit signals capable of generating interference include amateur radios, CBs and radio and television stations. Design flaws such as insufficient filtering and inadequate shielding or frayed or corroded wires may make equipment susceptible to transmitter interference. To determine whether the interference is caused by a transmitter or electrical equipment, unplug one household electronic component at a time to see if you can isolate any electrical interference source. If your equipment is reacting to nearby transmitters such as an amateur radio or CB, you will have interference only when the radio operator is talking and you will be able to hear only half of the conversation. If this is the case, you may be able to verify the interference source if you see an antenna mounted on a nearby house or car. Cordless telephones use radio frequencies and have no protection from interference. If you are experiencing interference on your cordless phone, you should contact the equipment manufacturer for assistance.

Electrical Interference and The TV

Electrical interference appears on the audio and video portion of television programming. Short bursts of interference may be caused by hair dryers, sewing machines, electric drills, doorbell transformers and garage door openers. If the pattern is on continuously, it may be caused by equipment that is in use full time. Electrical interference may be caused by power lines or electrical equipment in your home. Interference caused by your power company’s electrical equipment is normally continuous and your power company should be notified. A simple method of determining the location of electrical interference is by using a portable AM radio tuned to a quiet frequency at the lower end of the dial. You should hear static or a buzzing sound as you get close to the source of the interference. The closer you get, the more intense the static will be. 

What Should I Be Doing?

If you find that interference has befallen you and the video on your TV is breaking up when you use your portable device, the first thing to do is check that the connector on the cable leading to your set-top box is tight. Experts at are able to assist others with a step by step guide in helping diagnose and solve the connection problems you face. So, whenever in a predicament on what to do, try doing a little light reading before touching anything.

Tightening the connector with your fingers is another sufficient solution, but keep in mind that if you move the set-top box the connector may get loose again. Next, check the cable feeding the set-top box. They’re not the least expensive in the store, but they also aren’t much more expensive than poor-quality cables. You will want to look for the cables with quad layer shielding. Finally, check for any RF splitters in the line. Look at the back of the RF splitter if the back plate is glued on instead of soldered on then you will want to replace the splitter.

While some of these problems can be fixed by yourself, it’s best to check with your cable provider first. They may offer you cables or splitters for free or a nominal fee, or provide you with suggestions for which ones to buy. Whatever the case, there’s always a solution to these problems and all you need to do is ask the right questions. 

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