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Antenna Basics - What You Should Know

Click:222Date:2011-10-28Information Source:

Before purchasing that new antenna, there are some factors, both major and minor, that you need to consider.

Whether you are purchasing a new antenna to replace your current one or you will be purchasing an antenna for the first time, the most important factor to consider in your purchase is the location of your home. With your location in mind, you will then be able to decide whether or not you need an indoor or outdoor kind or a uni-directional or multi-directional type. Once your location is determined, everything else just falls into place.

Whether or not you need an indoor or outdoor antenna depends on how far your location is from the transmission towers. Major metro cities, such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York, broadcast all local channels from a single tower, so if you are located in or around that major city, then an indoor uni-directional antenna will most likely suffice. However, an outdoor antenna will also work if you live in or around a major city. In fact, outdoor antennas are preferred and usually outperform indoor antennas because of its bigger surface area and its elevation. If your location is in a rural area, then an outdoor antenna will most likely be needed.

With the recent digital transition, it is important to keep in mind that you will need an antenna that is both UHF and VHF to pick up all of the channels. Having only one will ensure that your TV will not pick up all the digital channels because VHF includes 2-13 and UHF includes 14-51. If your current antenna is compatible with both UHF and VHF, make sure you try that out first prior to investing in a new one.

A digital converter box might be required with your set up. To determine if you need a digital converter box to use with your antenna, first take a look at your TV. Does it have the label HDTV anywhere on it? Does it have a built-in tuner or receiver for digital transmission? If so, then there is no need for a box but if not, then you will definitely need a box so that it can convert the digital signal the antenna picks up and switch it to what your TV recognizes, which is the analog format.

If you notice that your antenna is picking up a weak signal, then an amplifier might need to be installed. Usually, buying a better antenna will solve the problem. An amplifier can also be used for when the antenna signal needs to be split to more than one location in the home. The longer the cable is that runs from your antenna to your TV, the weaker the signal becomes.

If you need additional antenna help, seek the advice of a professional from an electronics store, an online retailer, or even a friend or relative who is knowledgeable on antennas.

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