Antennas can open up a world of free HD TV. Now more than ever there is great 100% free content available with an antenna. Even more content is on its way as new networks launch and old ones come back, like Court TV that returns later this year as a free over-the-air TV network.
Yet it may take a bit of work to set up your antenna to make sure you can get all the channels you should. Today I want to share five tips for getting the best results from your antenna.
The most important thing you need is patience; it can be a bit of a game moving the antenna here or there to find the right location with the strongest reception. Yet spending an hour setting up your antenna the right way can help you access a huge catalog of programs you would otherwise have to pay for.
But before we get started, make sure you can really get that channel you want with an antenna. Go to Antennaweb.org. The site will show you what channels you can get with certain types of antennas.
One word of warning. Be careful of antennas promising to give you cable channels or indoor antennas that cost hundreds of dollars. If it sounds too good to be true…
#1 Things You Should Avoid
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 it works. Make sure you avoid placing your antenna next to these two things: 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 all 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.
#2 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.
#3 Get an Amplifier
Amplifiers clean up and boost weak signals. Some are small and can even run off the USB on your TV. However, if you are struggling to pick up a station, a bigger amplifier will help greatly.
I have seen people get great reception with just a paper clip pushed into their TV; however, most people need an amplifier for their antenna because they do not live near their TV stations.
#4 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.
#5 Not All Antennas Are the Same
There is a difference in performance between an indoor and an outdoor antenna. If you are struggling to get the channels you want with an indoor antenna, consider buying an outdoor antenna for better results.
In short, make sure to go as high as you can, stay away from metal and other electronics, and get an amplifier. As far as the best location for your antenna, it is a game of move it here and test it out, and then move it over there and test it out. After a few tries, you should be able to find the right spot with the strongest signals for your antenna.
As always before you buy an antenna or set it up I highly recommend visiting Antennaweb.org to make sure you know what you can expect and what kind of antenna you need.
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