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Choosing an Antenna for HDTV that Will Work

Updated on August 3, 2012

The Rise of DTV

As we all know the US has recently transitioned to DTV. This transition has allowed stations to offer better picture quality and to enhance audio with surround sound. The DTV transition has also allowed broadcasters to offer multiple digital programs so they can now offer more programs simultaneously.

The DTV revolution has also made it so that TV Antennas can provide better picture quality and receive HD channels. With this new option many people have hopped on board the TV antenna train and cut the cable cord. The problem is that when going to the store, buying a TV antenna can be a bit confusing. I hope I can clear up some of this confusion with a quick buyers guide.

Your other option...

TV Antennas don't always provide the best signal even if you buy the right one. If you don't live near a signal it can be expensive to install an outdoor antenna. A Roku Box or even a Boxee Box is another great way to watch your favorite TV shows and movies.

What You Need

  • Firstly, if you have an older TV you may need to purchase a converter box. If you have a TV that has been made in the past 5 years you should be okay.
  • Secondly you will need a coaxial cable.
  • Lastly, if you’re installing an outdoor TV antenna you will need materials to mount it.

Things to Consider When Choosing a TV Antenna

  • How far do you live from a signal? To determine how far your signal is you can use a signal map that can be found here.
  • Do you live in an Urban or rural setting? If you live in an urban area you will find that homes and tall buildings can affect your TV antenna’s signal.

Outdoor or Indoor TV Antenna

An indoor TV antenna is the easiest to install and is ideal for those who live within 25 miles of a signal. They indoor type works great for urban environments and they work perfectly for homes that have a strong signal with little interference from trees and buildings.

You’ll probably need an outdoor TV antenna if you live more than 25 miles from the closest signal. In general, if you live this far from a signal you likely live in a rural environment where installing an outdoor TV antenna is allowed. The outdoor type is also a good choice if you have a lot of obstacles that interfere with your signal.

Directional or Multi-Directional TV Antenna

Directional TV antennas are ideal for people who live further than 25 miles from their nearest tower. They allow you to get a cleaner signal, because you can point them directly at the tower. However, it’s important that you make sure all your signals come from the same direction when buying this type

Multi-directional TV antennas are great if you live within a 25 mile radius of your tower. If you have towers that are in opposite directions of each other you’ll want to get the multi-directional type so you can receive a signal from both directions.

Amplified or Non-Amplified TV Antenna

If you live further than 25 miles from your closest tower an amplified antenna will help you gather weaker signals from further away. The amplified type is also good if you have a lot of obstacles like buildings and trees. Amplified antennas are more expensive, so if you’re on a budget you may want to avoid them.

Non-amplified antennas are a good option if you live close to a strong signal without obstacles. In general they are a better option, but if you’re on a budget a non-amplified antenna will work just fine.

In Conclusion

Hopefully this antenna buying guide has helped you choose which antenna will work best for your situation. Remember all antennas can be divided up in the following ways:

  • Outdoor and Indoor
  • Directional and Multi-Directional
  • Non-Amplified and Amplified

Did you buy a TV Aerial? How did it work out for you?

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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 5 years ago from Florida

      I'm in the market now for a TV antenna, so thanks for this info. Very helpful.

    • kgala0405 profile image

      Kevin Galarneau 6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the compliment. I really enjoy writing hubs. I spent some time looking at highly rated hubs, and I tried to mimic them while writing about topics I enjoy. I'm glad you you liked my TV aerial hub, and I hope you found it helpful.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 6 years ago from Jamaica

      Welcome to HP!

      For a newbie you really did a great job. This hub is informative, well presented with good layout. The products are also reasonably priced.