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How To Install An HD Antenna To Enjoy Free Television

A television antenna used to mean spindly telescopic metal rods ("rabbit ears") while they had to be taken to work. This required clever positioning, perhaps a little bit of aluminum foil and sometimes some interpretive dance moves. Fun! Today, thanks to streaming services such as SlingTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube and more, we can receive videos over the Internet on our TVs, phones and tablets. And modern technology has also brought antennas into the 21

st century; The most common types today look more like a sheet of paper than a robot rabbit noggin, and some even with tiny, USB-powered amplifiers that are built-in directly.

One could therefore think of choosing an antenna and installing a process that would also benefit from the modernization. Yes, we thought so too.

But as we evaluated different brands and styles, we learned that choosing the right antenna and finding the best place to place it is still part of science, two parts of voodoo. The key to success is meeting your expectations and getting ready for a little trial and error. In the end, a small effort goes a long way and we think it's all worth it. Here are a few tips on how to install a TV antenna in your home, as well as the perfect hunt for your place of residence.

Get the Location of the Country

You can get a general sense of where you are & # 39; I would like to set your antenna by visiting Antennaweb.org. Enter your zip code and address, and the site will display the locations of the local broadcast antennas for your home. It is also suggested which type of antenna you might need (medium multidirectional, small directional, amplified, etc.).

Choosing the right antenna is still a part of science, two parts voodoo.

We have had mixed results with the antenna type suggestion tool. For example, a medium sized directional antenna would be the right choice at our address. However, with a small, multidirectional antenna, we can catch up with almost every available station. If you live in or near a large metropolitan area, you may find that this is the case.

Once you know where the broadcast antennas are, consider the geographic landscape between these two towers and you. If large objects are within sight of you or you live in a deep valley, you may need to put up your antenna in the loft, on the roof, or even in a building tree to get a solid reception. Conversely, if you live in an elevated area, you may find that you can get a good signal even from afar.

If you live in a city center where there are many skyscrapers, all bets are off. That's because most of the signals you pick up are reflected off other buildings, and you can not tell where they're from. This does not mean that you can not get a reception, it just means that you may not be able to reach all the channels from a single antenna location.

Choosing an Antenna

If you have researched at all, you know that there are many antennas to choose from, but in our experience we have had the best results with models from Mohu, ClearStream and Channel Master. You can check our current list of the best indoor HD antennas, including the best models we've tested lately (plus a few outdoor models).

However, if you do more shopping Generally, here are some basic tips to help you with your search.

The first is the receive direction. By and large, most antennas on the market today are omnidirectional, which means they can pick up signals no matter how they are located. However, some only receive signals from one or two directions. Remember which direction (s) are near broadcasting towers relative to your home, and look for antennas that can be easily mounted for the best possible reception.

While the reception direction is important, do not forget to pay attention to the reception area as well. While most antennas are likely to accommodate channels when you live in the subway or suburb, things get less and less safe the farther you live away from the signal towers. Here too you can use the antenna web tool to determine the distance to your next transmission point (s).

Generally you will find antennas with a reception rate of 20, 30, 40 or 50 miles. Note, however, that the ranges given by the manufacturers are estimates only and may not be completely accurate as there are no universal test criteria, let alone environmental factors affect reception. As long as you are within the enumerated operating range of an antenna, you should be fine, but if you are on the edge, it is better to go something with a wider reception. Speaking of receiving, amplified antennas may help, but the term "amplified" can be misleading. Essentially, the amplifiers built into these antennas make weak signals stronger, so the tuner on your TV recognizes them more accurately. However, amplifiers do not improve the reception quality. In fact, it is not recommended to use an amplifier when it is not necessary. This can degrade the signal you send to your TV, which means poorer picture quality. In general, amplifiers are only a good idea if you live 50 miles or more of transmission towers or if you are transmitting the signal from a single antenna to multiple TVs. That is, if you live so far out of a tower, an outdoor antenna is a better choice anyway.

Outdoor antennas are generally larger and more durable than indoor counterparts, and when mounted outdoors on a roof there could be better reception than even a reinforced interior model, they will cost you. In some cases, an outdoor antenna is the right choice – especially if you live in rural areas or if there is room in your home – otherwise an interior model can do the right thing.

The last thing you should keep mind is the signal type an antenna can record. There are two main signal types: VHF and UHF. The difference between the two is essentially what channels are broadcast in these frequencies. VHF covers channels 2-13 while 14-51 UHF. The good news is that most antennas are good at both VHF and UHF, but there are some that can only pick one signal type or the other, and some antennas are better at picking one over the other. This information is usually clearly noted in the product descriptions.

Where should I put this thing?

This is the part where you have to adopt the practice of trial and error. There are so many factors involved in receiving broadcast signals that the best place for your antenna is the last place you think you can express it. With this we have some general guidelines to offer:

  • Near the condominium closest to the towers – In general, it should be better to capture a direct signal rather than one that reflects on you Neighbor's house
  • In a window – The part without a metal screen tends to work best.
  • High on the Wall – Conventional wisdom suggests that higher is better.
  • Behind the TV – If you have no problems with the reception, a tiny antenna like the Mohu Metro or HD Frequency Mini can be hidden right behind a TV. We've gotten better results by placing the antenna on the top of the TV rather than on the floor where the TV's electronics are at home.
  • Outside – There are both indoor-outdoor hybrids and dedicated outdoor antennas that can be mounted on your house connection (see Placement Tip 1), mounted on your roof or even in the yard. These can often be incorporated into the existing coaxial cable block of a house, so that the signal can be divided into several rooms. If you do, you should use a boosted splitter to maintain signal integrity.

Once you have selected a general location or if you only want to experiment with multiple locations, connect your antenna to your TV and have it search for channels. Based on your search at Antennaweb.org you should know how many channels are in your area. When your TV is done scanning, it should tell you not only how many channels it has found, but also which channels are blocked. If you see missing channels, try a different location and perform a new scan. Sink and repeat until you find the best possible location.

Special Note: If you live in the dream dreams, you have to raise your antenna, which means you have to buy a mast, a mast mount and a long length coaxial cable – and climb something. How high the antenna has to be mounted depends on your situation. Do you see someone with an antenna nearby? You probably have to go that high.

Customize your Channel List

Chances are, you'll be scanning and programming channels that you're not interested in. For most TVs, you can manually add or delete channels from your list. Make turning the channel a little easier by removing the channels you do not want. If you're a Plex user, you can also connect your antenna to your Plex server with a TV tuner, creating a kind of makeshift TV service with DVR.


That was & # 39; s! We hope that this little guide was helpful. Enjoy the fruits of your work. We think you'll find the picture quality you get with Broadcast HD much better than what you get from your cable or satellite company. Since it is uncompressed, it is probably the best picture outside of UHD Blu-ray discs. Some manufacturers are even able to future-proof their antennas with 4K support, so those with a 4K UHD TV can even take full advantage of their TV's ultra-high-definition features.

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