Buying an HDTV, or using the DTV converter box with your analog TV, does not ensure that your high definition TV reception will be clear. There are HD boxes available for those who hook up to cable or satellite. This article discusses options to clear up your local channels when the HDTV reception on your analog TV is fuzzy or the signal is weak.
1. HDTV Reception – If you do not have cable or satellite you will still only receive local stations. Without good signal in your area your HDTV reception may not be strong. A “No signal or weak signal” message will appear on your HDTV screen. The images are blurry and this message will intermittently interrupt your television program. There are several products you can purchase to amplify your high definition reception.
2. HDTV Tuner – Before you purchase any type of antenna know if your HDTV has a built-in tuner. Many televisions on the market are HDTV-ready which are used with a satellite or cable receiver. These HDTVs are not compatible with over-the-air broadcasts. Look for the RF antenna connector on your TV to determine if it has a built-in tuner. That connector plug is the port for an off-air HD antenna. If you have an HDTV-ready television you must purchase an external HDTV tuner in addition to an HD antenna.
3. High Definition TV Antenna – Your HDTV television is not the problem. HDTV signals are ‘line-of-sight’ meaning the item receiving the HD signal needs to be in line with the transmitting station. Installing an indoor or outdoor antenna will enhance the reception and quality of the signal. A standard indoor or outdoor television antenna works just fine for receiving over-the-air digital broadcasts. You do not have to pay extra for a “HDTV antenna.” Any good television antenna will work. Keep in mind, though, an HDTV antenna is the cheapest component of your HDTV system, but has the greatest impact on the HD signal reception. Ranging from $10.00 up to just under $100 you can get the HDTV indoor antenna or high definition outdoor antenna and/or booster that will provide a strong signal and clear picture for your analog television.
4. HDTV Antenna Information – 1.) An outdoor antenna has a better view of the transmitting station and receives less interference from other electrical appliances in the house. 2.) The outdoor HD antenna should be 4 feet above the structure it is mounted on and the higher you place the antenna, the more direct HD signal it will receive. 3.) If this installation is not possible place your outdoor HD antenna on the side of your house or structure that faces the HDTV signal broadcast tower. 4.) A large antenna will receive more HDTV high definition signals. 5.) These antennas are not difficult to install but you should be mindful to the details. Understand what type of material the structure is made of, the type of roof materials, and if mounting flexibility is necessary in order to receive the best picture on all the channels.
5. Choose The Best HDTV Antenna – AntennaWeb.org, provided by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), is an antenna mapping program. Based on geographical maps and signal strengths in your area this free online program will assist you in deciding on the correct antenna that you should use to maximize your high definition reception for your HD or analog TV.
6. Antenna Pre-Amplifiers – A pre-amplifier (booster) is mounted onto an antenna to eliminate the “snow” on the TV screen. The objective for this installation is to deliver enough high definition signal to the TV set to override snow. Another obstacle for a clear high definition reception is the signal loss due to long cable runs from the antenna to the HDTV. A pre-amp would be used to compensate for both of these HD transmission problems. An amplified antenna can improve a TV set’s tuner performance, especially if the antenna is used indoors.