How to “activate” a cable tv outlet

Last week, I showed you how we rearranged our living room. I also mentioned that we hit one snag.

What happened is that Sean swapped the placement of the TV and the couch. We are lucky enough to have a cable outlet on each of the walls in the living room. We previously had it plugged in on the left, but now we can easily plug it in on the right side. Or, so we thought.

Sean moved everything and plugged in the tv in its new spot and…. nothing happened. Ditto internet. I called Comcast (our internet/cable provider) and after being told to wait 30 minutes (nothing happened still) we finally connected to someone that informed us that that outlet wasn’t activated and that we would have to have a technician come out and activate it.

This was annoying because:

  1. We wanted to watch TV NOW!
  2. Technician visit = $$$
  3. Technicians tend to lead to an appointment “between twelve and four” meaning I’d end up having to take a half day off work.

So, I hung up angrily and we rigged up this:

long cable cord

But as I told you before, I really like this new layout. I want it to work. So I went to work on Monday and proceeded to try Googling it. Google had lots of forums with people mostly complaining about Comcast, but little actual help. So, I decided to run it by a Mr. Fix-it coworker. I explained to him that I wanted to activate an outlet. He asked me if I had seen a bundle of coaxial cables- probably with a splitter or two. He said they might be near my electric box, but I knew that it must be the big random bundle of cords in my porch closet!

So apparently, a cable cord can only hold a certain number of out wires. Mine can hold two and had two that were just… dangling. So, I randomly picked one to unscrew and screwed in the other. I then tested the internet in the new outlet… no change. I was starting to think that maybe Mr. Fix it was wrong. So, I tried the other un-attached cable, with low hopes.

activate a cable outlet

activate a cable outlet

activate a cable outlet

activate a cable outlet

Magically, I got the internet box to light up the winning combo! By some miracle, it worked!

So, no, you don’t have to pay your cable provider to activate an outlet. Find the bundle of cords, and plug in one of the loose cords into an output plug. Boom! You should have power!

activate a cable outlet

11 thoughts on “How to “activate” a cable tv outlet

  1. Pingback: How to Activate a Cable TV Outlet | Technology - Popular Question & Answer

  2. Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately mine weren’t labeled but after some trial and error and digging around through the attic insulation I found the right one. Cox communication was going to charge me $60 for something that took me just a few minutes. Thanks for the help!

    • So glad it worked out! That is basically what happened to us. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished with a little trial and error yourself before resorting to just calling someone straightway. Have fun channel surfing!

  3. Where did you find the bundle of cables??? Cox is trying to charge me $60 which is more than I pay per month! And they did it wrong in the first place, it’s not even my fault, jeez!

    • Ours was in an exterior storage closet, in a bundle hanging out of the wall. I would check a garage or storage area. Cable companies are such a racket, I hope that you can find it because that’s really a rip off!

  4. Thank you so much!! We were really struggling to get our internet to work in different rooms, and your blog post saved us from having to call in the cable technicians! Much appreciated.

  5. I think it is really funny that I just googled “activate cable outlet”, and your blog was the 2nd entry! I just got off the phone with a cable company in PA where my in-laws will be moving next week. They first said it was $.50 per additional tv per month to get 75 channels without a box (which I found pleasantly surprising). But after I was actually setting up service, I was informed that you would have to pay $24.95 per additional outlet for activation. And then somehow there was a $4/month fee for HD, regardless of how many tv’s and despite a $9.95 per month fee for an HD DVR. Anyway, if I wanted to avoid the installation fee, I could order digital boxes for each tv at $5.95 per month each. I said forget the other tv’s, convinced I would be able to activate the other outlets myself (or maybe reason with the installer when he’s out). So once we’re up there, I’m counting on your handyman, do it yourself guide.

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