Since the transition to Digital TV, consumers have had more choices in free over-the-air broadcasting. Depending on your location, you now could receive 70+ free channels OTT.
Get the Right Antenna
To receive Digital TV signals from all stations in the area, your antenna needs to be able to receive both VHF channels (channels 2-13) and UHF channels (channels 14-51).
Some antennas only provide good reception of VHF or UHF channels, but not both. For example, indoor “rabbit ears” usually need to be augmented with an additional “wire loop” or “bowtie” antenna in order to pick up signals on UHF channels. Many of the antennas being sold as “HDTV Antennas” perform best at receiving UHF signals, but perform less well receiving VHF channels.
Generally, outdoor antennas will get better reception than indoor antennas and are strongly recommended for the most reliable reception. Check with retail consultants and consumer websites to make sure that any antenna you choose provides good reception of both VHF and UHF channels and can pull in signals from the distance your need.
Where To Point Your Antenna
Use the DTV Reception Map to check for the DTV signals that are available at your location. Enter your address in the box and click Go! The DTV coverage map will list all stations in your area.YOUR DTV COVERAGE MAP
For instance, the zip code 87104 has up to 78 channels from 22 over-the-air stations may be received at this location.
This map also includes information on station channel changes associated with the results of the Broadcast TV Transition.
Antennas typically need to be oriented or “aimed” to get the best signal from the desired station. DTV reception can often be improved just by changing the location of your current antenna, even as little as a few inches. For example, moving it away from other objects or placing it higher or lower can often improve reception. Be sure to move the antenna slowly to allow time for the signal received by the digital TV tuner to be displayed.
Signal Strength Meter
While adjusting your antenna, it may be helpful to access the “signal strength meter” on your digital-to-analog converter box or DTV, if it has one, to determine whether your adjustments are improving the signals’ strength. The signal strength meter is usually accessed through the menu feature on your remote control; consult the owner’s manual of your device for detailed instructions on how to access it.
Remember to do another channel scan after you have adjusted your antenna. For outdoor antennas, a rotor that re-orients the antenna can improve performance, particularly when trying to receive stations that transmit from different locations.
If you are near a station’s broadcast tower, reception of that station, as well as other stations, can be impeded by strong signal “overload.” If you suspect this to be the case, you may want to remove any signal amplifiers you may have or try to install an “attenuator” to reduce the amount of signal coming to your converter box or DTV.
If you don’t hear sound you may have accidentally pressed a button on the remote that changes from main audio to secondary (SAP). It can usually be fixed by simply pressing the same button again. Sometimes it’s a setting in the audio or sound menu.
If you are not receiving certain DTV stations, this does not necessarily mean there is a problem with your antenna or receiver. Contact us to find out whether we are planning changes to improve reception.
- FCC Consumer Guide: Antennas and Digital Television
- Outdoor Antenna Guide
- DTV Reception Maps
- Antenna Direct FAQs