HDTV Antenna? How To...



HDTV. Info. FAQ.

HDTV Antenna. How To Select the right antenna.

Antenna Reception and HDTV.

Maybe you have been told that you may not receive signals strongly enough for HD digital TV service, and that you may need a new antenna.

You may have been told that you need a HDTV Antenna...

But there is no such thing...

Do I Really Need A HD TV Antenna? Fact Or Fiction? [New Window] There is however a antenna that will pull in good quality signals that will give good performance, we just need to do a little homework.

First you need to figure out whether you have a good signal available in your area or not.

If you need to find this out, click on this link, It is just a matter of finding out Which Antenna To Use... The secret is that you can very likely just continue to use your current antenna for HDTV.

Maybe you don't have one.

Maybe you have cable, or an indoor antenna.

The previous link should have put you on the right track.

Quite likely, your existing antenna may receive signals of more than sufficient strength to give good performance with a Digital TV Antenna ..

How to figure that out?

...Pop Quiz

Is your current picture better than this?

Do you receive good quality pictures now, with your current Old school TV set?

Or are the pictures snowy like this?

Snowy Grainy TV Pix

Can you see a picture in the background at all?

Unfortunately this probably means that your signal is not of sufficient strength.

Using a Test meter (Which is expensive) an installer will be able to tell if your signal can be amplified and so on.

So call a pro, you'll be glad you did.

Can you see a small amount of noise in the background Like this?

Snowy with picture

When you purchase and connect a Digital TV or Digital Converter Box, you may find that the picture is just fine.

It's worth a try.

However, if your hd digital picture breaks up or "digitizes" (displays blocky images) or simply shows "no signal" or sound breaks up this is a sure sign of signal trouble.

From this information, you can tell that there is a problem with either the antenna or the cable.

And this can apply even if your old TV had perfect pictures with this antenna and cable system.

This is because the new digital signals require the high frequency performance of the system to be 100%.

Take a look at this, you can see blocks and missing sections when you have digital reception that causes this.

Also the sound will break up and you may get weird noises or odd sounds.

Digital Noise Causing Break Up

The folks that said "You might have to get a new antenna" may be HALF right.

You also need to know if you may have to replace your cable (a common problem) or antenna (more common) or both.

Unfortunately, we can't tell if one or the other is at fault from this result.

A lot of antenna work is, or can be Do It Yourself type stuff, if you are handy with basic tools.

And, many hardware stores or electronics outlets stock these even as complete kits, and all the information that you need to complete the job, antenna hdtv installation guides, antenna installation books, DVD's etc.

If you don't want to tackle this type of thing, You may need to call an accredited antenna company to test the signal.

Ask if they have the Digital Test Unit required for the job.

This will allow you to get before and after reception result numbers as a printout that you can quote if you have any further trouble.

Receiving your local HDTV station signal will require a antenna system in good condition for quality reception.

Naturally, as weather, sun, heat etc, affects components of the antenna system, you need to make sure of a few details, like using quad core coaxial cable, and good quality F type connectors.

These things should be taken care of by a professional antenna system installer.

Your job is to make certain that they are professional before they start.

Check the DTV Transition site for more information if you live in the US...

DTV Transition Site [New Window]

More information here about the Digital Transition which is the US program for the switchover to Digital TV, DTV 2009, and find out how you can get YOUR free $40 Digital and HDTV Converter Coupon info.


Most digital TV sets and Converter Boxes have a basic signal strength meter built in, which is a good guide to the signal level you are receiving using your HDTV Antenna.

You also require a HDTV with a built in tuner.

Failing that, a Set Top Box for your old TV, which will then work with your hdtv antenna and digital signals.

But you will miss out on all the benefits of a new HDTV!


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