tech help

Bookmark and Share

Over The Air TV Reception Tips

Home Page

In the few years there has been a resurgence in popularity of a technology that was once considered to be dead.  Since the conversion to digital broadcasting in the United States in June 2009 viewers of over the air television has grown by thousands.  Many in the largest cities can get excellent reception just with set top antennas, for most getting the best picture may need assistance picking the right antenna and pointing it to get the strongest signals. 

The first thing to know when to pick an antenna is knowing what channels are available in your area.  Sites like and can tell you just by putting in your address.  For most an antenna that picks up both the VHF and UHF bands is the best choice.  Many TV stations transmitting in digital format use virtual channel numbers, to retain the channel numbers that TV stations have used as a part of their corporate identity.  Secondly the signal strength coming from TV stations needs to be taken into account when choosing an antenna.  The further the distance to the transmitter the weaker the signal will be and the larger an antenna is required.  In most cities TV signals will be coming from just about every direction.  That makes an Omnidirectional antenna designed for attic or roof installation an excellent choice.  For small towns and rural areas where the TV signals come from the same general direction an antenna with some directional sensitivity such as a yagi or a log periodic better for these areas.  The log periodic is better when several channels are coming from the same direction.  Yagi antennas are better when only one or few channels spaced closely together are coming from the same direction.

After choosing an antenna, placement is the next most important factor to get the best reception possible.  Typically indoor antennas perform poorly because of what covers the outside walls of the house.  Metal siding and stucco weaken TV signals to the point where getting good reception difficult if not impossible.  On top of the roof is always best.  For directional antennas that need to be pointed outdoor placement is preferred because it’s easier to avoid obstructions from other structure such as other buildings or trees. 

As important as the antenna is, the wiring that connects an antennas to TV sets also plays a crucial role.  High grade coaxial cable such as RG-6 will ensure that a great signal captured by the antenna stays that way when it gets to the TV set.  Low grade cable can be vulnerable to interference degrading the signal. 

Amplifiers are a popular accessory for those over the air TV viewers in rural areas in fringe or deep fringe reception areas to improve the picture and sound quality of the TV signals they receive.  Amplification can come with a down side as well.  Any RF amplifier will make the intended signal stronger it will also make any other unintended signals that interfere with TV signals stronger as well practically rendering the amplifier useless.   Having an antenna correctly pointed and configured for the transmitters for the TV stations, and connecting that antenna to and amplifier to the TV will provide the best signals so that any amplifier can strengthen only the desired TV signals to provide the best picture and sound quality possible.


Tech Help


Tech Review


Custom Search