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FAQ on Antennas

The old days of "rabbit ear" antennas on our TVs seem like a long time ago. Analog antennas were made redundant by satellite and cable TV solutions, and then the digital age of online streaming. But while the old analog broadcasting signals are now obsolete, a growing number of cord cutters are using digital frequencies to obtain free over-the-air (OTA) HDTV channels. If you're curious about digital antennas, then check out these answers to some commonly asked questions.

What to look for before buying a TV antenna?

Your distance from the broadcast station or transmission tower, as well as the topography of your area, are 2 important factors that dictate what kind of antenna you'll need. The wrong digital TV antenna -- whether it's too weak or too strong -- could result in bad reception and a poor viewing experience. There are websites that and can tell you what kind of signal strength you can get and what kind of antenna you'll require, based on your location.

Do I need an indoor or outdoor antenna?

An indoor HDTV antenna is usually smaller and easier to set up in the home. If you're a city dweller, you may only need an indoor multi-directional antenna which picks up signals close by and from various directions. But if you live way out in the boonies -- far from broadcast stations and transmission towers -- you may still need an amplified outdoor antenna directed precisely at where the signal's source. An outdoor antenna offers a greater range, picking up signals from transmission towers over 40km away.

Do I need an amplified antenna?

Amplified indoor antennas offer the performance of an outdoor antenna by boosting weak signals. Amplifiers are ideal if you need to pick up a signal from far away or if your signal is blocked by nearby obstacles like trees, hills, or buildings. If TV stations broadcast within close proximity to your home, chances are you already have a strong signal. In this circumstance, an amplifier is unnecessary and will overload your digital tuner, resulting in unwatchable TV.

Want more info on antennas? Check out this resource:

How to Set Up a Digital TV Antenna

Can I use an antenna with my 4K TV?