An antenna is a great way to get a ton of 100% free HD channels. The best part with an antenna is you can watch all you want without needing to worry about a data cap. Antennas also make great backups for when your Internet is out.
Here are our 5 best tips to help you get the most from your antenna.
#1 Not All Antennas Are Right for You
Antennas come in many different sizes and types. Some antennas are meant to be on the outside of your house and others are meant to be on the inside of your house. Some antennas are more powerful than others. Before you buy an antenna, do a bit of research first to see what kind of antenna you need.
We suggest using a site like Antennaweb.org and enter your zip code to see about how far you are from the local TV stations. A 30-mile indoor antenna is great if you live close but if you live 60+ miles away you may need an outdoor antenna.
Remember the ratings on the antenna is the “best-case” scenario for that antenna. Try to slightly overbuy because a 60-mile antenna may only pick up stations from 30+ miles away if you are in a hilly area or a major city with a lot of tall buildings.
#2 Finding the Best Place in Your House
Over-the-air TV reception is a lot like radio reception in that where you put your antenna will affect how well it works. What is located around the antenna can also affect how well the antenna works. Avoid placing your antenna next to metal and electronics.
Metal will block your antenna’s ability to pick up signals. This problem may seem easy to avoid, but you will be surprised at the many sources of metal in your house. One common, but little known, source of metal is the chimney. Most modern chimneys have a metal lining that kills TV reception. While it may seem convenient to hang your antenna near your chimney, you want to put your antenna as far away from it as possible.
Avoid placing your antenna right behind your TV or around other electronics. It may seem logical to hide your antenna behind your TV, but TVs, game systems, streaming boxes, and other electronics block over-the-air signals. Some stations will be powerful enough to punch through the interference, but it will make it harder to pick up weaker stations.
If you have one TV that picks up a station well but another one that can’t pick it up at all, or just gets poor reception, there is probably something blocking the signal from your antenna.
#3 Go High
The most important thing you should do is to place your antenna as high as possible. The higher your antenna is the more likely it is to pick up weaker stations and avoid obstacles that block over-the-air TV signals. Even placing the antenna higher within a room may improve its ability to pick up stations.
#4 Put Your Antenna on the Side of the House Facing the Transmitters
One of the great things about websites like Antennaweb.org is that they will show you the direction the TV towers are transmitting from. If they are all on the south side of your house, place your antenna on the south side of your house. If you put the antenna on the north side of your house, your house is blocking weaker TV signals that may have otherwise been picked up if you had placed the antenna on the south side of your house.
#5 Get an Amplified Splitter
If you plan on connecting multiple TVs to one antenna, we recommend a powered amplified splitter to help make sure the signal stays strong. Each time you split the antenna between TVs you weaken the signal and an amplified splitter will help ensure your TV gets a strong signal.
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