How does a TV antenna work?

A TV antenna works much like a radio antenna. Except that the TV antenna works off TV towers that are broadcasting free channels in your area. There are no paid subscription fees to receive over-the-air (OTA) TV. Signal strength you will recieve is calculated based on the antenna model and the terrain of the surrounding area of the antenna placement.  A TV antenna picks up signals that are within range of the broadcasting source.

How do I know if a TV antenna will work in my area?

There is no guarantee that an antenna will work for every home or location. Before selecting a TV antenna, you’ll want to collect some basic facts about your antenna needs. For instance, how far away do you live from the TV broadcast tower in your area, and are these the channels that you are looking for? Are the broadcast towers in located in the same general area, or are some of them located in different areas? The answers to these questions will help you decide if an antenna would work for your location and would also help determine which type of antenna would work best for you.

How is an outdoor antenna connected?

First you would want to mount or position your antenna on the rooftop for optimal performance. This is just a suggestion, as you may mount your antenna anywhere you believe to get the best reception. You would want to face the front of the antenna towards the TV towers. Perform the channel scan to view the channels that are coming in with no interruptions. Once a digital signal is acquired, it will be a clear picture. You may need to move around the antenna to detect which position and direction works best in receiving the channels of your preference before mounting the unit down. Remember to always do a new scan when repositioning the antenna. If a signal is interrupted, a blank screen will show on your TV.   Once the antenna is mounted and the coaxial cable connected, you are ready to attach the cable to your digital tuner or TV.

My TV setup is nowhere near a window. Will I still be able to use an antenna?

Generally, the fewer obstructions between the antenna and the tower and the higher the antenna is mounted, the better the chances are to receiving a strong signal. But the antenna doesn’t have to be in a window as long as the signal is strong.

Can you attach an extension coaxial cable to reach a room away from the actual antenna?

Yes, you can.  Just keep in mind that the more coaxial cable you use, the more signal loss you have. If you find that signal is lost, an amplifier may help if the antenna does not come with one already.

I added an amplifier to my antenna and now I get fewer channels than before?

Your location plays a huge part in an amplifier’s performance.  You may be very close, 3 miles or less, from a powerful transmitter that is causing the problem.  If you are already receiving a strong signal an overload will result in distortion, causing your reception to worsen.  Check your address using one of the following FCC links below:
ANTENNAWEB.ORG, ANTENNAPOINT.COM,or TVFOOL.COM
Step 1:Enter in your complete address.
Step 2:Review the results to see what signals you can expect to receive and to determine if the signal problem is due to maybe the distance of the signal.

How do I run a channel scan?

Using the TV remote, select The following:
1. Menu
2. Settings
3. Channel Setup.
4. Antenna or Air (which ever one is one your TV)
5. Channel Search or Channel Scan
Helpful Tip:  Running a channel scan is NOT the same as pressing Channel UP or DOWN on your remote control.

When do I need to run a channel scan?

We would suggest to run a channel scan for the following reasons:

  • Changes in weather
  • Changes to the location of the antenna
  • Changes to the antenna system
  • Any movement to the antenna.
  • If your viewing channels are missing.
  • If you haven’t scanned in a couple of weeks (you might receive some new channels that were not available before)

Why is it that my antenna gets a great picture for most of my channels, but a few of them are really bad?

This is a very typical problem for most antennas. OTA (over-the-air) broadcasts come from a lot of different towers, in different locations, and with different frequencies. Because of this, some channels can come in great, and others not so well. Antennas are designed to work best when pointed directly at the station. If the antenna is pointed north, all those channels might come in great, but stations from the south may appear very weak on your TV. To troubleshoot take into consideration the location of the stations, which frequency they are using, and how strong the TV station is broadcasting the signal. (Having a smartpass amplifier in place can work to re-scan and help the issue)

I bought an antenna and got absolutely no channels!

Check to make sure you have correctly connected the antenna to your HDTV or receiver. Re-Scan for Channels. Make sure your TV’s setup menu, is set to the Antenna or Air mode. (Refer to the TV manual for these detailed instructions). Reposition the antenna in a different location. Maybe higher on a wall or closer to a window. Facing the direction of the broadcast tower is usually the best. Signal strength will vary based on certain conditions; Distance from the tower, hills, buildings and even tall trees can impact reception. Always re-scan for channels after moving the antenna. If the antenna has an amplifier and it’s being used and a signal cannot be received, turn off the amplifier and try again. In some instances, the amplifier may cause self-oscillation, which may interfere with the signal (meaning you may be too close to the TV transmitter tower and need to turn off the smartpass amplifier). Channel reception depends on what’s being broadcast in your area, how far away you are from broadcast towers and your surroundings. Try the antenna in different locations, sometimes moving a few feet can make a difference.

My antenna was working the other day and now it’s not, what happened?

If there is any type of amplifier in your set up, first find the power supply to it and make sure it’s plugged in and the outlet is in working order. If it is plugged in make sure the indicator light (if it has one) is lit up. Next, unplug the power supply, plug it back in and then go to your TV and run a full digital channel scan. If that does not work, then you need to walk through your existing set-up to check for damaged parts. Check and/or replace damaged or old cables, splitters, transformers, and amplifiers. Also check the antenna to make sure it has no physical damage to it, and that it has not been turned towards a different direction. After you troubleshoot, or make any changes always run a full digital channel scan on your TV to see if that fixes your issue.

When I install the antenna, will I have an on-screen guide so I can see what shows are on?

It depends on the type of ATSC tuner card that´s built into your TV or converter box. If your ATSC tuner card incorporates what is known as a PSIP Digital Standard (Program and System Information Protocol), then yes you will have a digital on screen guide for your programming. You will need to look in the manual of your TV or converter box to find out if it has PSIP capabilities.

Why can´t I get the same channels with my new antenna that I was able to get with my old satellite or cable provider?

Antop antennas allow you to receive free local TV broadcast channels that are being aired from your nearest cities. Free over-the-air broadcasted channels limited in comparison to paid channels provided from a satellite/cable company that charges monthly payments.

Besides the antenna what else do I need to purchase?

Everybody’s scenario and set up is going to be different. There are a couple suggestions; besides the antenna you need something to mount it on such as a J-pole for outdoor antennas maybe a splitter to receive reception in other TV’s in the home, a stand for indoor antennas. You might need coaxial cable to go from the antenna to your TVs. If you are trying to hook your antenna to multiple TV’s, you should get an amplifier if your antenna is not equipped with one already. If your TV is older and does not have an ATSC tuner card, you will need a digital OTA converter box.

Will my TV get the new digital signals? Do I need a converter box in order to get local off air channels on my HDTV?

The answer to this question depends on how old your TV is. If your TV has the following words “DTV”, “ATSC”, “HDTV” or “Digital Receiver” on the TV’s original box or within its instruction manual, it will not need a converter box. If your TV is an older model, it may need a converter box to work with a digital antenna. To be more specific, your TV needs what is called an ATSC Tuner card to be able to be used with an antenna without a converter box to pick up digital OTA signals. (This rule applies to all Tube TV’s)

Why are there some channels that I can no longer receive after the switch from analog to digital?

There a few different factors or scenarios, that may have caused you to lose stations during the digital transition. Signals are broadcasting from the TV stations at a weaker signal than they used to, so the digital signal does not travel as far. Also because of the weak signal broadcasts, you may need to add an amplifier to your existing set-up to improve the signal. Another reason you may be missing channels is because perhaps the broadcast station changed their frequency and your antenna may not have a good design for that frequency. Also, in some cases, the broadcast stations change their tower locations and their tower may no longer be in the direction your antenna is pointed. If you go to TVfool.com you can use that website to find out about your local stations specifications and location.

What HD and Digital channels can I get in my area if I purchase an OTA antenna?

With a OTA TV antenna you can get the local free broadcasts that are available in your area if you are close enough to the stations and under the right conditions. To get a better idea of what channels may be available in your area you can go to TVfool.com. There you will find a TV Station tracker that you can input your zip code and view your local area broadcast towers.

Do I need VHF or UHF digital TV Antenna for my HDTV?

Most cities throughout the United States and Canada use towers that broadcast OTA signals in both VHF and UHF signals. You could find out which channels should be available at the suggested FCC links below:

antennaweb.org          antennapoint.com      TVfool.com

Will a TV antenna work for me if I have many trees around my house?

Distance from the tower, terrain, hills, buildings, tall trees, mirrors, even metal in the walls can make it difficult to obtain a clear signal. Many people have trees and could still get a couple of stations without difficulty. It all comes down to trying it out first. There is no way of telling until you try it out.

How can I know which antennas are High Definition antennas and which ones are analog TV antennas?

It is a common misconception that only certain antennas are capable of receiving HDTV. The truth is that HD signals are broadcast on the same VHF and UHF frequencies that have been used since the beginning of broadcast TV. All antennas have the ability to receive HD Broadcast.

How am I able to determine if I need an HD indoor antenna, or an HD outdoor antenna?

Determining which antenna would work best for you will take a little investigating.  Search TVFool.com for distance information for broadcast towers in the area. This will help you locate the towers available and their distance.  We recommend going with an outdoor antenna for people over 45 miles away from the nearest tower.

Do I need to ground my outdoor HD antenna to prevent against lightning?

Yes, it is very important to ground your outdoor TV antenna. Improper grounding can result in damage to the pre-amplifiers, coaxial cables, TV converter boxes, and even the tuner cards in your HDTV. The proper grounding technique is to run one ground cable from the mast to the grounding rod. This is to protect the outdoor TV antenna from lightning strikes. You can also add another ground cable from the ground block to the ground rod. On a proper installation the coaxial from the antenna should go to a ground block, then another coaxial into the house to prevent excess of static electricity discharging. Static charges on coaxial can damage smartpass amplifiers!

Do I need a converter box in order to get local off air channels on my HDTV?

Not necessarily. Most TVs bought in the past 7 years have the proper tuner card built in to be able to receive off-air digital broadcasts from a HD antenna without needing a converter box. For older tube TV’s, you will need a converter box.

What is the difference between a directional HD antenna and an Omni-directional HD antenna?

A Directional antenna as the name implies refers to a signal coverage in a specified direction. Directional antennas must be aimed in the direction of where you are trying to retrieve a signal from.  These antennas pull in signals from a 45-90-degree directional field. The ability to focus on a narrower field allows it to reach farther than the Omni and pull in more signal. The Omni directional antennas do not need to be pointed since their radiation cone is 360 degrees, working in all directions. Each specific antenna has a gain rating or dBi (decibel isotropic) number which coincides with the performance. The higher the dBi rating the larger the area the signal covers. Keeping this information in mind can help narrow down what antenna would work best for you and your area.

Why is it that a lot of HD antennas you sell are unable to get channels 2-6?

When you see that in the description of an HD antenna, we are not referring to the actual channel on your TV. We are referring to the RF channel frequencies the HD antenna can receive which are two completely different things.

Can I get too strong of a signal if I turn on smart pass amplifier?

Yes, this typically occurs for antennas within 20 miles of a TV station. At that distance the signal is already so strong that amplification can over-drive your tuner. When the signal is that strong the TV tuner cannot understand the signal and causes self-oscillation to fix have customer turn of amplifier and run another scan.