TV Cable Connection As Internet Access – The Better Alternative To DSL?

When it comes to Internet connections, many people think of DSL for now. This is done via the telephone line. But the TV cable connection can also be used to switch the Internet. In some cases, the offers of the cable network operators are even more attractive.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of Internet access via the TV cable connection?

 Advantages of the Internet via TV cable

  • Higher maximum speed of up to 1 Gbit / s compared to DSL
  • Speed largely independent of the cable length
  • Cheaper than most DSL tariffs
  • Triple play offers include TV, Internet and telephony from a single source

 Disadvantages of the Internet via TV cable

  • Not available everywhere
  • Sometimes lower upload speeds
  • Internet speed partly dependent on utilization in the network segment (the speed may drop temporarily for many power users in the area)
  • Binding to a specific cable provider (no provider selection)

What is the difference between DSL and cable?

Internet is often equated with DSL. But there are also other access technologies. Cable Internet is the second most common access technology in Germany . LTE and fiber optics are also used in many households to get quick access to the Internet. You can differentiate between cable and DSL based on the following factors.

The following video shows the difference between DSL and cable and deals with the minimum requirements for streaming video content :

Junction box

While DSL uses the 1st TAE and thus the telephone line to connect a modem, the multimedia socket is installed or used for cables and thus the TV cable line. You can find out more about the multimedia socket  in the article below .


The first DSL connections were connected via a splitter to the 1st TAE socket and a 56k DSL modem with which you had to dial in. Later, routers were used to access the Internet with other devices in the home network. Today, consumers on a DSL connection use a DSL router with an integrated modem and WLAN. The best known manufacturer is AVM with their Fritz! Box.

When cable connection one is cable modem used. This cable router works according to the DOCSIS standard (Data Over Cable Service). The higher the specification, the faster the cable Internet access can be. Since October 2013, cable providers have used the DOCSIS 3.1 specification via the TV cable connection . It enables data rates of up to 10 Gbit / s downstream and 1 Gbit / s upstream.

Connection cable

For DSL, use a 2-wire TAE RJ45 internet cable. Plug this into the TAE socket and connect it to your router. With the TV cable connection, on the other hand, a coaxial cable is connected to the “Data” port of the multimedia socket and connected to the “CABLE” input of the cable router / modem.


Higher data rates are possible via the cable TV line. In the downstream , TV cable connections reach up to 1,000 Mbit / s (Gigabit Internet) and are therefore equivalent to fiber optic connections (FTTH). With DSL , the limit of 250 Mbit / s has been reached, and only where Deutsche Telekom or the provider has modernized the network to SuperVectoring. Elsewhere, 50 or 100 Mbit / s are usually expanded.

In some cases, DSL availability is so poor that even today many households can only book a DSL connection with 6 or 16 Mbit / s. In times of clouds, video streaming and big data, Germany is still a developing country with regard to Internet expansion.


Triple play: Internet, telephony and television

A modern TV cable connection enables you to take advantage of triple play offers . So-called triple play offers are particularly interesting where the bandwidth for the simultaneous use of Internet and HD television is not sufficient via the DSL connection. The providers recommend at least 20 Mbit / s.

Cable television is also interesting with regard to program selection . Around 100 programs and 70 music channels are available for reception. The basic fee includes public and private channels. Special program programs can also be booked for an additional fee.

The equivalent for DSL connection would be “IPTV” (Internet Protocol Television). Telekom calls it “MagentaTV” and Vodafone “GigaTV”. A good comparison of the TV programs is possible with GigaTV:

Vodafone GigaTV Cable

  • TV for a cable connection
  • 98 TV channels in SD and 47 HD channels

Vodafone GigaTV Net

  • TV for a DSL connection
  • 62 TV channels in SD and 40 HD channels

What hardware do I need for Internet via the TV cable connection?

At first glance, DSL routers and cable routers look almost the same. However, the cable router has a port labeled “CABLE” on the back. A cable modem is therefore integrated in the cable router . The following devices and network technology are required to access the Internet via the TV cable connection:

  • Cable modem or cable router with an integrated modem
  • Coaxial cable
  • LAN cable (alternatively WLAN-capable device)
  • Computer or WiFi-enabled device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, laptop)

What is there for cable providers?

In Germany, the cable providers have divided the cable network regionally. While you have the choice between several DSL providers such as Deutsche Telekom, o2 and 1 & 1 via the telephone line, you are limited to the provider of your cable internet connection who established your TV cable connection. The largest cable providers include:

  • Vodafone (formerly Kabel Deutschland): Vodafone is the largest cable network operator in Germany and supplies all federal states except North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.
  • Unitymedia is the second largest cable network operator. The provider is only active in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg with its own network. Unitymedia’s fiber optic coax cable network has also been used by Internet provider Eazy since 2017 . Strictly speaking, it is the Unitymedia sales brand that is stirring up the broadband market with competitive prices. Eazy is particularly interesting for households who want to use the TV cable connection for the Internet at low surfing speeds and as cheaply as possible. Eazy can be booked for as little as € 11.99.
  • PYUR is the third largest cable network operator . As the successor to Tele Columbus and cablesurf, PYUR is successful on the market and can provide consumers with cable internet regionally in Berlin, Brandenburg, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.

In addition to the 3 large cable providers, there are a number of small regional cable network operators . To determine this, an availability check for the respective location is essential. Consumers can click on DSLregional to their own city via the DSL availability card and receive reliable information about providers who are active in their own location with which technology (DSL, cable, LTE or fiber optic).

Good to know: According to statistics, cable Internet can be switched to cable Internet access at around 60 percent of all locations in Germany. (1)

Why not use a fiber optic connection instead of the TV cable connection for the Internet?

With the help of federal funding programs , municipalities are investing more and more in future-oriented fiber optic connections, but only a few cities are still supplied with fiber optics . The finishing work is complex and expensive. For many households, connecting the house with fiber optics (FTTH – Fiber-to-the-home) is not worthwhile. According to surveys, 52.8% of all Internet users with a 50 or 100 Mbit / s Internet connection consider it sufficient (2). Only 32.1% need an internet connection with at least 200 Mbit / s.

The statistics portal statista has determined the share of fiber optic connections in all stationary broadband connections in OECD countries (June 2018). While countries such as South Korea, Japan and Lithuania have already implemented more than 70% of all broadband connections via fiber optics, Germany is in the last third with a share of only 2.6% fiber optic connections and thus far behind the average of all countries (24.8%).

The fiber optic connection is therefore reserved for only a few households. The TV cable connection is therefore the fast and reliable alternative to DSL with higher availability.


How do I find out if I have a TV cable connection?

The question will hardly arise in a single-family house, as landlords are generally well acquainted with their own connections. However , if you have a rental apartment , you will wonder whether there is a TV cable connection. It may be that tenant associations or landlords have decided against connecting to the cable network. Your household would then be cut off from the cable network, even though the infrastructure requirements would be in place in your area. However, you can use the following options to determine whether your household is connected to a cable network :

  • Do you receive the TV program neither via satellite nor via DVB-T?
  • Is a cable connection listed in your additional rental costs?
  • Can you find an antenna socket with 3 or 4 inputs? One of the inputs must be the cable connection.

If in doubt, you can ask your landlord.

Good to know: If you have a cable socket with 2 inputs in your apartment, a cable technician will replace the socket for you when you order an internet connection. This makes it “internet-enabled”.


What is a multimedia box?

A multimedia socket is an antenna socket with 3 or 4 outputs. The conventional cable junction box, however, has only 2 outputs. The ports of the multimedia socket are:

  • IEC connector (cable TV)
  • Socket for FM radio reception (radio)
  • F socket for connecting a cable modem or cable router

Good to know: There are also special antenna sockets that have 4 outputs. These have 2 F sockets to which you could connect the cable modem. These are currently used by Unitymedia and Vodafone.


Our conclusion on the TV cable connection

Whether a TV cable connection is suitable for you depends on your requirements and the availability of your household.

In summary, cable internet is a suitable alternative if you want to get a high-bandwidth internet connection as cheaply as possible .

A coaxial cable (connection cable) with F plugs and a cable modem are required for the connection.

Both are provided by the cable network operator for a new order and sent if there is a multimedia connection.

It should be noted that depending on the region, a different cable provider is responsible. An availability query is therefore mandatory.

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