With so many options in the market right now, choosing the best TV antenna could be seen as a difficult task, however you only need to know a few things to make the right decision. The first thing you need to know is the distance of the TV station from your home, second is the direction to the TV station from your home and the third is the power or the strength of the signal of the station you are trying to get.
If you live in a remote location it would be difficult to get a good DTV signal, the curvature of the Earth which is around 70 miles plays here an important factor. In this case, you better off getting cable TV or satellite TV, the last one being your best option.
TV signals are directional, meaning that you have to be “in the line of sight” so you can receive a good strong signal. Before deciding which TV antenna to buy, make sure you check your surroundings. Check for tall buildings, big trees, mountains and any other structure that can obstruct the path of the transmission between the TV transmitter and your antenna.
So how you determine how far and what direction are the TV stations in your area, well very easy, there are free websites that will help you find out the TV stations and will suggest the type of antenna you will need to get good reception in your TV.
You just input your address or zip code and they will display the list of available TV stations near to you, the type of signal VHF or UHF, the direction or heading and even the strength of the signal.
Very High Frequency (VHF) or Ultra High Frequency (UHF)?
Before World War II there were only 12 VHF channels, numbered 2 through 13, these are known as the “VHF band”. After the war due to the growth in television broadcasting the FCC had to allocate 70 additional channels. They were numbered 14 through 83; they were called UHF channels and are known as the “UHF band”.
Without getting to technical here, the only thing you need to know is that VHF channels are easier to receive than UHF channels. Therefore to get a clear reception of the UHF band you have to be more careful and pay more attention to the antenna installation and set tuning compared to VHF.
Another significant difference between VHF and UHF is the size of the antenna. VHF frequencies are lower than UHF frequencies, so the VHF waves are longer, demanding larger antenna elements to receive then.
Outdoor vs. Indoor TV antenna
Outdoor TV antennas will perform a lot better than indoor TV antennas. Outdoor antennas have bigger size, more reception surface, therefore they have better gain. The “gain” of the antenna is the strength of the signal delivered to the TV and is measured in decibels (db). More decibels equal more gain and better signal reception.
When buying an outdoor TV antenna, check that the parts are built with good durable material. They are going to be exposed to the outdoors elements such as the sun, rain, wind, heat and cold. Poorly manufactured plastic and rubber parts may become brittle with time and break. Metals parts like screws can get corroded and fail. Try to get the best your pocket can buy, it will last longer.
Indoor TV antennas will perform just fine if you live close to the TV stations and they are the best choice than not having an antenna at all. However their reception is affected by the walls of the house, fluorescent lights, wireless phones and computers.
If you choose an indoor antenna, installation is very easy. Just choose the place you want to put it and connect it to the TV. Some indoor antennas come with a signal amplifier and require to be connected to AC power. Outdoor antennas installation requires some planning to do.
The common choice will be roof installation; the higher is always the better. Please make sure you have somebody helping you with your installation, never go on the roof alone. By all means avoid windy and rainy days and also beware of the power lines. Check the hardware and the mounting mast before climbing up to the roof. To get optimal results, use a compass to aim the antenna toward the TV signal transmitter.
Make sure you use the best cable for your antenna installation, which is 75 ohm coax cable. Coax cable has a long life span and is shielded preventing any “noise” in the signal. One last point, never forget to ground the antenna for lightning protection.
We really hope that these tips will help you make a better decision when choosing and installing your TV antenna. If you have any further questions, shoot us an email. We will be happy to assist you!
Enjoy your TV!