Do you want better, uninterrupted ways to enjoy your TV shows? Are you feeling the slow build-up of frustration every time you try and fail to get a good reception? If so, what you need is an in-depth guide on how to boost TV antenna signal.
Despite the advances in technology, over-the-air TV is still widespread in the US. A report found that 16 million American homes have access to over-the-air television. Thanks to digital TV, television is keeping up with other digital devices.
However, much like mobile reception issues, digital TV has signal problems too. Below, we’ve got some solutions for boosting your signal. Read on so you can get the best TV-watching experience this weekend.
- What Causes TV Signal Problems?
Before we get into how to boost TV antenna signal, let’s look at what contributes to the problem first. Factors like distance, obstacles, and the type of antenna are some of the most common suspects. Other causes for signal problems include having more than one TV using the same antenna and TV tuner sensitivity.
When we talk about distance, the problem is often the location of your home. If your house is too far from a TV station transmitter, you’re likely to have a bad signal reception. It’s also a problem when you’re too close to a transmitter.
If you’re too far away, you can still get some signal. However, the quality will be low and you might see some “snow”. Good on you if this doesn’t bother you.
Obstacles are physical constructions, weather, or natural topography. Some home construction materials also affect signal strength. Examples include hills, trees, metal roofs, concrete, and solar panels.
The type of your antenna may pose problems for your TV signal, too. For example, a directional antenna will only receive signals from one direction. Meanwhile, interference is more likely with a multidirectional antenna.
Having more than one TV connected to a single antenna will reduce signal strength. The antenna can’t compensate for the signal needs of each TV to provide quality TV time. Think of it as sharing one meal with other people.
If you’re using analog TV, one more possible factor is the sensitivity of your tuner.
- Learn How to Boost TV Antenna Signal with the Right Antenna
If you’ve had the same antenna for so many years, it may be already broken in some way. To check, skip over to the next section. If there’s no change in the reception no matter where you place it, it may be time to get a new antenna.
Choosing the type of antenna depends on certain factors. This includes where you live and how close you are to the local transmitting tower. Don’t forget that where you place your antenna is also crucial in deciding which one you’ll get.
Below, we’ll go over the different kinds of antennas and where they work best.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Antennas
The first thing to consider is if you want an indoor or outdoor antenna. An outdoor antenna is the best kind to have if you want to optimize it for signal reception. This entails setting up the antenna on the roof or at a high place.
What if you live in a single-story house or an apartment on the first floor? If you don’t want to place your antenna higher than 30 feet, get an indoor antenna. Nowadays, they’re made more powerful to match the strength of outdoor antennas.
We can classify indoor antennas as amplified or non-amplified. Amplified indoor antennas boost digital TV signal strength. They’re the best types if your location is a long way away from the nearest tower.
As you can see, deciding which one to choose depends on how far away the nearest signal tower is. If you live near a tower already, get a non-amplified antenna. Since they’re cheaper, you won’t be paying for an extra feature that you won’t need anyway.
Directional vs. Multidirectional Antennas
There is one more classification for antennas: directional and multidirectional or omnidirectional. Directional antennas have the strongest signal reception. They’re best used when you live a good distance from stations or towers.
If you live in a place where signals are weak, use a directional antenna. The disadvantage with them is they’re not very good at receiving from more than one direction. If you want to change the direction they’re pointed to, fit them with a rotator.
Omnidirectional antennas aren’t as focused on one direction as directional antennas are. They can thus receive signals from other directions. Use them in areas where transmitters are close and signals are strong.
The con for multidirectional antennas is their decreased sensitivity for signals.
Other Tools to Consider
Sometimes using your antenna alone won’t fix digital TV signal problems. In times like these, it’s best to get an antenna preamplifier or amplifier. From their name alone, you can tell that their job is to increase the quality of your antenna signal.
Install amplifiers between the antenna and receiver to boost signal strength. These tools help low-sensitivity TV tuners or DTV converters get a better signal. Amplifiers are also called signal boosters.
Let’s say you have more than one TV and you want to know how to boost TV signal for all of them. The easy answer here is to get separate antennas for both of them. If a single antenna takes the burden of receiving signals for all TVs, the signal strength decreases.
The practical answer is to buy a distribution amplifier. This amplifies the signal to accommodate for the TVs. It also distributes the signal to different TVs. You can find many brands and models on the market including those created for over two TVs.
You might think that living near a tower is great. However, this also presents a problem. Being too close to a TV transmitter overloads your tuner or DTV converter box.
If you want to reduce the strength of the signal, buy an attenuator. It will let you adjust the amount of gain you get for different channels.
The tricky part about attenuators is knowing how much gain reduction you need. Buy one that has a variable gain control, which is one you can adjust.
- Location, Location, Location
You can gather from the many types of antennas that location is important.
Here are some tips on how to boost digital TV signal by finding the right placement for your antenna. First, if you’re using an indoor antenna, try moving it to a higher place. Start with very minute distances like a few inches or centimeters.
Sometimes, you only need to adjust it a centimeter to the left. Other times, you might find yourself moving it a whole foot up and away for better signal. Note that the further from the ground your antenna is, the better it can receive signals.
Finding the place for the optimal signal takes patience. When you move the antenna, wait for a few minutes to see if the reception improves. If it doesn’t, keep moving it until you find the best reception.
If you can, keep an eye on the digital-to-analog converter box. Moving the antenna and watching the signal strength on the converter box helps. Aim to get the highest reading possible.
If you’re using an outdoor antenna, try moving it so it’s aimed at a different direction. After that, re-aim it back at the TV tower or station. Re-aiming outdoor antennas can reduce multipath issues.
- Extra Tips on TV Antennas
Let’s say you’ve tried everything in your power to reposition your TV antenna to get a signal. Yet, it still isn’t enough for boosting an antenna signal. Adding tools like a signal amplifier or booster may strengthen your reception.
Many marketers advertise HD antennas and many people bite. Avoid jumping onto the hype if you already have a working set of antennas for your TV. You’ll only waste money on antennas that work in very much the same way as your old ones.
Any TV antenna will receive signals for digital, analog, and HD TV. Even the old rabbit ears will work well in the right circumstances. If newer antennas have an advantage over old ones, it’s not because they’re called HD antennas.
Newer antennas have better designs for gathering signals. Some parts might differ, like cord length and such. However, other than that, they’re not that different from older types.
As a note, satellite dishes won’t receive over-the-air TV signals. Antennas have a distinct shape for a reason. They also have very different internal circuitry from satellite dishes.
Some cases will allow you to replace the signal receptor with a TV antenna. The coaxial cabling that connects the dish to your TV should be in good shape. The location should be clear of obstacles for receiving digital TV signals as well.
Enjoy Quality TV With Great Signal
That’s it for our guide on how to boost TV antenna signal. We understand that everyone wants quality, even during TV time. Now, you can enjoy watching your favorite TV shows without interference.
Also, over the past few years, more people are buying antennas again. That means better antennas and other amplifying tools are on the market now too. If your antenna is the problem, get on the market now.
But don’t quit here. If you want to see more guides like this, check out our other educational guides now.