Choosing a Digital TV Splitter

A splitter is used to connect multiple TVs or other devices to a single TV antenna. Using a TV splitter a single antenna can feed 4-6 TV points, depending on how good the signal is in your area.

Types of TV Splitters

There are a number of different types of TV splitters on the market. The main types are Saddle and Clamp splitters, F splitters and satellite taps. There is no specific type of splitter for Digital TV, however for new Digital TV installations F type splitters are the recommended standard.

Saddle and Clamp Splitters

Saddle and clamp type splitters are the oldest type commonly in use today. The have an advantage in that they don’t require special tools. You could install a saddle and clamp splitter with just a pair of cutters and a Phillips head screwdriver(see the DIY Digital TV Tools article). There are a lot of disadvantages of this type though. For a start because there is no shielding on these splitters they will introduce a lot of electrical noise into the signal. This will be a problem in areas of weaker signal or with a large number of points. They are also not sealed, so bugs, dust and moisture can all get in. It was not uncommon for me to find these types of splitters in roofs completely rusted out.

Saddle and clamp TV splitters are usually available in 2 way and 4 way models. Saddle and clamp splitters are not recommended for Digital TV, but may work ok.

You can find them at hardware stores like Bunnings, electrical supplies, or on eBay by searching for “saddle and clamp splitter”.

F Splitters

3 Way Splitter
3 Way Splitter

F Type Splitters are sealed metal boxes with F connector sockets. They are more compact than saddle and clamp splitters and have numerous advantages. For a start F connectors have lower loss than Saddle and Clamp connections. Also the entire splitter is made of metal and therefore is shielded. This prevents electrical noise from getting into the cable. Therefore a much better signal quality makes it through the splitter to the sockets. A disadvantage of F type splitters is that you will require the correct tools(see the DIY Digital TV Tool Guide article) to terminate your TV cables in F connections. For more information see how to install a TV splitter.

F type TV splitters are available in 2, 3, 4 and 6 way models. They are the recommended type of connection for Digital TV in residential homes.

You can by F type TV splitters suitable for Digital TV from hardware stores like Bunnings, electrical suppliers or on eBay by searching for “f type splitter”.

Satellite Taps

Satellite Taps(often shortened to “Sat Taps”) as the name implies were developed for Satellite TV installation. They are a specialised type of F type splitter. They are designed to work at higher radio frequencies such as those used by Satellite TV. The key difference from F splitters is that Sat Taps have a pass-thru(used to chain multiple sat taps together) and specific output levels.

Satellite Taps are mostly used in large Multiple Access Television systems such as used in large unit complexes.