7 Easy Tips Get The Best Out Of Your TV Antenna
If you've been paying attention, you should know that HDTV Antennas are super hot right now. Plus, if you have a set-top box with a tuner such as WeTek Play 2, then you're all set and you have one of the best ways of getting subscription live television with the best quality available. That means crystal clear, sharp, and vivid full HD with no compression whatsoever.
Over the air broadcast television uses much less digital compression, due to the existence of fewer channels in the broadcast TV signal compared to cable TV. As a result, less data is lost, and the images being received by the TV antenna and shown on your television are in an entirely different class when it comes to picture quality. Apart from the obvious money saving aspects, this is a real deal breaker for cord-cutters.
However, if you want to achieve the best of the best picture quality, you'll need to make the most out of your signal reception. We’re here to help you.
Even though outdoor antennas are the usually the ideal solution, indoor TV antennas can also do the trick.
Let’s start by saying that there are circumstances that affect reception which you cannot control. It depends on distance to broadcast tower, the terrain’s topography and the surroundings like adjacent buildings, houses, trees and so on.
#1 - Location, location, location
The location of the antenna inside your home is paramount. Remember that the signal loses strength whenever it needs to go through a wall. If you have many walls blocking the signal, chances are it will reflect on the image quality.
#2 - Which way now?
Another key factor is the direction you’re pointing the antenna at. You meed to find where the nearest broadcasting towers are and then use that information to decide which way to point your antenna at. This works best for directional antennas, naturally, or to decide onto which wall or window you’re setting a leaf type antenna onto.
If you’re in Europe, check out this amazingly helpful interactive map. Just look for your city on the box, and the map will show the closest DVB-T transmitters.
#3 - Moving on up!
The higher, the better. The mnemonic is simple: signals are transmitted over-the-air, so the antenna needs to be close-to-the-air.
If you have the chance, move your antenna to the top floor of your house. Some people claim to receive 50% more channels when placing their antenna on the second floor vs. the first floor.
If you have a skylight in your house, you’ve just hit the jackpot, as putting your antenna as close as possible to it will give you the best line of sight to broadcast towers, which results in excellent reception.
The downside is that you might need a long and sturdy cable.
#4 - Cable Matters
If you’re moving your antenna up, you’re probably distancing it from your tuner, considering you’re using a WeTek Play 2 or other set-top boxes. Doing so, you may experience some signal quality loss.
Cables are excellent at transmitting information. However, they’re not completely immune to interferences. You’ll get more interference as you go further and further from the source.
You should be on the lookout for the best in class cable, especially considering features such as conduction, insulation, and shielding.
Most antennas are, by default, shipped with RG59 cables. However, we would recommend getting your hands on an RG6 cable as it is thicker and has better shielding.
If you want to become a real cable nerd, go ahead and visit this thread.
#5 - Put it out there
Yes, we’re focusing on indoor antennas, and we’ll continue to do so. But what if you move your indoor antenna outside?
Indoor and outdoor antennas aren’t magically different. The technology is the same. Outdoor antennas, however, are better equipped to withstand harsh weather conditions and whatever mother nature throws at it.
If you’re not getting as many channels as you wanted, you should test your indoor antenna outside. Just use an open window, you back garden, front door, or wherever you can point the antenna in the desired direction. If you experience a vast improvement, maybe you can install your antenna in a protected enough outside space. However, we would always recommend you to buy a sturdy outdoor antenna.
#6 - It’s antenna coupling time!
Don’t be cheeky now, but you can couple two antennas and get the best out of both of them.
If you’re hitting two sweet spots with different channels, you don’t need to make the difficult choice of with which you’re going to go. You can get another antenna and point in two directions simultaneously while getting both the signals bundle into one single signal.
All you need to do is to get a coupler. A device such as this will effectively combine signals from two antennas.
The Winegard CC-7870 is currently the most popular coupler out there.
#7 - The amplifier paradox.
An amped antenna has more power, correct? Yes. More power means better picture and more channels, right? Not precisely.
Amplifiers can boost the signal strength to help pull in more distant stations, but hey can also amplify noise and distortion, and overload reception from closer stations.
If you have an amplified antenna, try scanning for channels without turning the amplification on, first. If it works, then leave it off. In this case, less is definitely more.
On the other hand, if you live in a remote location, say more than 20 miles away from the nearest broadcast tower, having an amplified antenna can actually help. Just make sure there are no TV stations nearby, as they could cause annoying interferences.