In June of 2009, the federal government began requiring that all television stations in the United States broadcast through a digital signal instead of the analog signal used for so long. Most television stations now also broadcast in high definition television (HDTV). In order to receive the HDTV signal, consumers must upgrade their equipment to an HDTV format. Purchasing an HDTV antenna is often a part of this upgrade.
Here are guidelines for purchasing an HDTV antenna:
1. There are really no antennas specifically designed to receive only HDTV signals. Antennas do not recognize whether a television signal is high definition or not. What is does recognize is if the television signal is digital or analog. Also, an HDTV antenna will help optimize the digital signal, making it appear better on an HDTV television.
2. An outdoor HDTV antenna is a better choice for most consumers than an indoor one. It is much easier for an HDTV antenna to receive television signals when it is placed outdoors and free from interference of walls, roof, and other objects. Additionally, the higher the HDTV antenna is placed, the more television signals it is likely to receive.
3. There are two types of outdoor HDTV antennas: omni-directional and directional. The differences in these two types of HDTV antennas is how well and from where they pick up the television signal.
a. Omni-directional or multi-directional HDTV antennas can pick up television signals from many different locations or towers without having to be repositioned. This means the omni-directional or multi-directional HDTV antenna can receive television stations from different towers at the same time.
b. Directional HDTV antennas can only pick up television signals when aimed in the direction of a television tower. If this tower only transmits a limited number of stations, those will be the only stations the directional HDTV antenna will receive.
4. Directional indoor HDTV antennas are good if the consumer is located near the television transmitting tower, however the antenna will most likely need to be repositioned in order to receive different channels. This means that every time the channel on the HDTV is changed, the directional indoor HDTV antenna will need to be moved or repositioned in order to clearly receive the television signal for the new station.
It is possible to purchase an amplified directional indoor HDTV antenna which can receive more television signals from different directions, however even this antenna will need to be moved or repositioned to receive certain television stations.
5. If an outdoor HDTV is not working correctly, all cables and connections should be checked to ensure they are working properly. If that does not improve the television reception, try repositioning the outdoor HDTV antenna in order to ensure it is aimed in the right direction.
If neither of these solutions fix the problem, a new HDTV antenna may be required that possesses a higher gain/directivity. Purchasing a pre-amplifier may also help, especially if the consumer’s residence is located in a pink/violet zone.
The HDTV antenna is the least expensive of the HDTV equipment, but its potential impact on the reception and quality of the television signal is significant. After spending a good deal of money on quality HDTV equipment, it makes sense to ensure the HDTV antenna is a quality one, as well.
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