Digital TV Picture Break Ups? You May Save Hundreds with this Simple Tip

Socket and Flylead
Socket and Flylead

If you’re having trouble with your digital TV picture breaking up, before calling a TV Antenna Guy you should check your TV Fly Lead. This is the aerial cable that connects your TV to the socket on the wall.

TV Fly Leads can easily be damaged, particularly the cheaper ones. You won’t see anything wrong with the cable, but the conductor is broken or the connection between the plug and the cable is damaged. Fortunately it’s easy to check for this. Gently wriggle the cable near each of the plugs while watching the TV picture. If the picture breaks up as you do this, that’s probably where the fault is. I’ve written a more detailed article about checking your fly lead here. Another thing to check at the same time is the TV socket. Read more about checking your TV sockets here.

Even if you can’t isolate the issue to an end of the fly lead, if it’s an old or thin one it might be worth replacing. A replacement RG6 Fly Lead will cost about $20 or so depending on length. Cheaper leads will usually also work fine, but are more easily damaged. Either way if it solves the problem it’s much cheaper than having a TV technician come out and replace it!

  • Ian Firth

    I have a Toppro 5000 recorder, and though a channel is clear on the screen, some recorded programs are scrambled, I need help with this ..thanks

    • When you’re watching live TV on screen, are you watching using the Toppro’s tuner, or are you using the TV’s tuner? The way to tell is are you changing channels on the TV remote control and is the TV’s AV setting set to TV?

      Is the antenna connection going to the Toppro first, then a TV antenna cable to the TV from the Toppro?

      I’m wondering if there’s something about the configuration of the cables causing the issue. Also the tuner in the Toppro may not be able to handle the signal level as well as the TV can. So the TV may have no signal errors, but the same signal level in the Toppro results in errors. Not all tuners are built equal, some can handle a lower quality or lower strength signal than others.

      • Ian Firth

        Thanks for your reply David. When watching tv live we are using the tv’s tuner. The tv antenna comes from the toppro, which of course comes from the outside antenna. It may have something to do with signal level, as the problem is not always there, but I had wondered if there was anything I could do about it. Would a splitter make any difference?

        • A splitter between the wall socket and the Toppro is likely to make it worse as it will lose signal.

          I suggest if you haven’t already tried a new fly lead from the wall to the back of the Toppro, try that. Fly leads that look perfectly fine may be damaged internally. I recommend good quality RG6 with crimped or compression connected ends. Beyond that, check that the socket looks in good condition.

          Do you have other TV sockets in the house you could try the Toppro via?

          • Ian Firth

            Thanks David, I will check all that out………….