Using an antenna seems so last century, right? Many millennials don’t even know what they are! Do they still even exist?? Yes! Actually, there are tons of people finding freedom for their TV watching through long range TV ANTENNAS!
Most people paying exorbitant cable channel fees spend tons and tons of time surfing through commercials and infomercials, swapping back and forth between only a couple channels, watching the same programs they can often find on local TV. They buy the cable because they want to watch TV.
There’s a better way! HD TV antennas are not a thing of the past! More and more people are turning to them to get rid of the fuzzy reception and tune in to a variety of great programming right o the local access channels!
Why buy an antenna?
There are tons of reasons to ditch the ditch, cut the cord, and turn back to the old school local access TV viewing methods. The cable companies want you to believe that those are only visible through their programming but that’s jut not true!
Over the Air (OTA) signals are free. This makes them a great option for people who want TV access. Be honest… that’s the bulk of your watching, anyway! Sure there are a few shows you can’t get on OTA programming, but for the most part shows like The Voice, American Idol, CSI, and news are all broadcast free with OTA signal.
Local broadcasts also exist everywhere. While you will naturally get a better selection in larger cities and major metropolitan areas, the truth is that 90% of households can access at least 5 stations for TV viewing, and those are usually the major networks boasting the best dramas, comedies, and procedurals anyway!
Did you know that the picture quality is also better with OTA broadcasts? Cable and satellite providers broadcast to such a wide range of people that they have to compress all their data. That compromises picture quality. The old trope about fuzzy pictures on local TV just isn’t true at all! In fact, it’s the opposite of truth!
Make a list
Consider yourself Santa Claus because before you buy an antenna, you need to make a list and check it twice. You’re going to need to look at hat channels are available I your area by using an antenna for OTA signals. Find out which ones broadcast in your area then list the stations you want to watch. This way, you save yourself the effort of trying to access weaker signals form stations you don’t even care about.
Once you’ve made your list, write down the channel and where they are located. Note the color they’re listed in as well, so you know where to point your antenna and what kind of strength you’ll need to pick it up from where you live.
The thing you need to understand about OTA signal is that it’s got a line of sight range. Reliable reception is difficult once you pass 70 miles, and the range decreases with buildings or mountains between your TV and the transmission tower.
Find transmission towers for your local area. You can do that here. Once you know how far away and in what direction the transmitter is recommended, you can find the right antenna. Long-range antennas are usually the best bet.
Directional antennas receive signals form a single direction. The advantage to directional antennas is that they can reach farther because they’re not affected by noise and distortion.
Multi or Omni directional antennas receive signals from multiple directions. Omni directional antennas are the most versatile. The disadvantage of these signals is that they’re susceptible to picking up more interference and noise distortion.
Inside or outside?
Indoor antennas are generally pretty small and light. They’re made to tuck behind TVs or lay flat against walls and windows. Outdoor antennas are much larger, but they also reach much farther. These usually get mounted somewhere on the roof.
On average, the larger the antenna is, the stronger the signal is. The higher the decibel (or gain) rating is, the greater the signal strength is.
Sometimes, amps can be used to help signals through disadvantages. Indoor antennas almost always come with amps now. These can be built in to the product or be added on separately. Preamps are installed on outdoor HD antennas.
It’s probably best to use these only if necessary. Most major cities won’t need them. The drawback is that they will amplify any noise and interference along with the signal. Strong signals will overdrive amps and result in weaker reception.
A rotator is a pretty handy piece of technology. These will turn your antenna in any direction by using a remote. This saves you having to continually climb up and fiddle with your antenna. These help you get weaker station signals in multiple directions.
Cables and cords
Your connection matters just as much as your antenna, so make sure your cable can measure up to the task. High quality coaxial cables (or coax cables) are the best ones for the task. These cables are protected from the elements. You may even be able to use the cable from your old satellite dish if you’re ditching the dish!
The cable should be a single run cable. Connecting shorter cables together means that a little bit of signal is lost in each connection. Common TV cables are RG-6 cables.
Finding signal can be a bit difficult and requires patience. The smallest things have huge effects on your signal, so something as simple as where you place it can have an impact over what channels you receive. Often just a few inches make a massive difference.
The question to ask is whether it’s worth the money saved for you. Cable and satellite TV gets extremely expensive very quickly, so for more and more savvy economic people, cutting the cord and ditching the ditch is worth the effort!
Be prepared to experiment until you find the right mounting zone and antenna for your specific needs. It will be worth it when you’re getting your favorite programs in crystal clear HD pictures for free! Yes, I said free!