Signal Quality re Type of Cable--Difference?

A lot of posts here and elsewhere about folks trying to get “the best” signal for recording/playing audio and video material with the general advice being that composite is lowest, then S-video which is pretty good, then component which is the best (talking analogue here!)

For me, (for most of us?) the FIRST signal into the house via cable or from my attic antenna is thru the RF cable–ie, single wire with all the signals combined.

I don’t recall ever reading about “the quality” of the RF signal as a source for recording but “ALL” authorities say to use any other connection for display purposes.

MY QUESTION===>if the first signal is over the RF–how do any of the downstream conversion/split signals get any better? Is this all marketing hype or is there a real difference that is noticeable? ((I’ve looked and don’t see any!))

Ultimately, seems that RF modulators and wireless systems are set up to (cheaply) distribute RF signals from computer to dvd to tv that is not generally refered to in most guides. If RF signal is “good enough” seems a lot of people, myself included, would benefit from knowing this.

Any thoughts?? Thanks.

I think that it depends on your source. If your source is digital cable or satalite, the digital signal can support much higer quality over coaxal than analog can. Once it hits your satalite reciever, digital cable box and is converted to analog, yes using beter cabeling formats makes a diffrence.
My guess would be that if you are getting analog cable or running an antenna, Your therory makes sence. The signal was rf quality to start with. Using s-video isn’t going to make the signal magically beter. The only way I think it might help is perhaps less signal loss but the the higher resolution capabilities shouldn’t make any diffrence if the source is rf to begin with. Also keep in mind though, that depending on how your system is setup, if you have dvd players etc. in the loop, they can take advantage of the beter cableing.
I wouldn’t spend a fortune on over priced cableing though. I remember a test that an audiophile magizine did (quite a while ago) and they found that solid copper stranded lamp cord performed measurably as well as monster cable speaker wire for 1/10 the price. The same goes for audio/video cables to an extent (as well as ide cables etc). I wouldn’t buy the cheapest thing you can find, but anything brand name ought to be good. Dont let the salesmen at most electronic stores try to convince you other wise. How do you think they can afford to sell you that tv at 2% over cost? I have friends that work at best buy and staples and markup on cableing is often as high as 400-600%. There are brands like monster cable and belkin that are very much geared towards helping them do that. Biglots is a good place for cableing (if they hapen to have what you need, stock is inconsistant). I would be willing to bet that a 3 pack of ge usb 2.0 cables for 8$ there is just as good as a 30$ printer cable at bestbuy. They have been getting some really nice rca brand rca cableing recentlly.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree there could be a difference AFTER the signal is processed by the receiver and then sent around==for instance, I split the incoming signal and run half of it to the descrambler and the other half to a four way splitter/amplifier==all done with the RF cable. I do run some component cables after that simply because I have them (now) and the tv uses them for additional video sources. As I switch these out from time to time with a straight rf cable==I sometimes see a difference but often I don’t.

I do think we are oversold quite a few things.===thanks again.

rf is for antenna and other modulated analogue carrier signals, and they do suffer if the length of cable increases. Some do recommend Quad Shielded cable because they have lower loss on long cable runs (which can be seen as ghosting or speckling) on analogue TV. for digital, usually it reads as a low signal quality. It can help but then again, most cable is good enough as it is.

Nonetheless, as for capturing - depends on your source. When they say one is the best etc, it produces the best capture regardless of source as processing signals intermingled can cause cross-interference as is the case with composite.

So if your original signal is rf like an antenna, after the reciever, would s-video give you an advantage over composite for instance? I would think not but I’m just guessing there.

it will give u a better signal for capture because the signal that’s getting passed to the capture card is better quality or to the display. You might get an advantage even if the source material is RF since the signal gets less corrupted using the component vs the composite for transmission between the tuner and the display/capture device. It generally means the picture is sharper (and if you get ghost/speckling - that’s also clearer… the speckles not the picture).