There are various factors that you need to consider when choosing an outdoor TV antenna. They include;
- Frequency coverage
- Antenna Style or Type
- Rooftop or attic installation
- The channels you want to watch
Selecting a suitable outdoor antenna is a critical step. It must meet the requirements of your TV set and be compatible with its receiver. Not all outdoor TV antennas are equally good at receiving channels. Therefore, you must conduct exhaustive research to determine the channels available in your area and the type of antenna you need to receive them.
What is an outdoor antenna?
An outdoor antenna offers a more straightforward and inexpensive way to watch TV compared to satellite cable. In addition to allowing you to watch all the best local channels after only paying once, it can also help you save a significant amount in the long run because it does not require a monthly binding contract.
Most outdoor antennas are easy to install, and you can let a professional handle the job. Moreover, you can use some outdoor antenna models both indoors and outdoors. Antennas pick up signals in no time, and they are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and functionalities, as detailed below.
Multidirectional Vs. Directional Antennas
Multi Directional antennas are built to pick up TV signals from any direction. They are typically designed as flat, triangular-shaped sheets or disks that are easy to mount on a window. If they are correctly mounted, they can tune into any TV station within range, regardless of the direction in which it is positioned.
Multi Directional antennas are popular among many users across the country. Many people prefer multidirectional antennas for both indoor and outdoor uses.
Directional antennas can only receive signals from a single direction. They are typically shaped like fins, tubes, or arrows, pointing towards the stations they need to be tuned to. They need to be appropriately adjusted to get the signals from the station, a factor which you must consider carefully when mounting them.
The advantage that directional antennas have over multidirectional ones is that they have many different ranges. They can allow you to tune into weaker and more distant stations as long as you adjust the antenna well to their direction. They are generally mounted outside, making them more suitable for houses rather than apartments. Their effectiveness will be altered if they are blocked by objects such as a wall.
Satellite or Terrestrial
Another decision you must make when selecting a TV antenna is whether it will be used for satellite or terrestrial broadcast. Satellite TV antennas typically require the use of a dish antenna or a parabolic reflector. They need to be aligned accurately on the antenna to receive signals from the satellite and often operate at frequencies between 10.95 and 12.75 GHz.
On the other hand, terrestrial transmissions operate on frequencies of the Radio Spectrum’s UHF portion. However, you are likely to find some running on the VHF portion of the spectrum in some countries.
There is a wide range of antennas, from internal antennas that come in various forms or external ones mounted on rooftops. However, it is vital that a terrestrial antenna is used for terrestrial transmission and a satellite one for satellite transmission.
Indoor or outdoor
Another significant consideration to make when buying a TV antenna is whether it should be external or internal. In most cases, internal antennas do not perform and external ones because the signal is reduced by the walls of the building and reflections caused by objects within the structure.
An internal antenna may also experience higher interference levels from electrical equipment, fluorescent lights, and any items that have the ability to reflect the waves. External antennas can pick up signals more reliably. However, they cost more to purchase and put up, and they require longer cables.
If you live in a high signal area, an internal antenna may work well enough for you. However, if the signal in your area isn’t strong enough, it would be better to erect an external antenna.
Before you start shopping around for a good outdoor antenna, you must find out the available channels near you. You can use online tools to determine this vital factor.
Frequency coverage is a crucial point to note when buying a TV antenna. Most areas broadcast TV in UHF frequency. However, even in this case, there may be many brands available, and you need to purchase a suitable TV antenna for your area. Alternatively, you have to buy a wideband antenna, also referred to as log-periodic antennas. In some cases, your TV may utilize “Digital Antennas.” This is the section of the TV band used to broadcast channels rather than receiving digital or analogue transmissions.
As you shop for a TV antenna, it is vital to keep in mind that different areas of the country may use TV channels in different band sections. Usually, they are grouped for easy coding by the antenna bandwidth. However, it is vital to check with your local dealer or on the internet whether you need to buy an antenna to match your particular area.
Antenna Style or Type
There is a wide variety of types and styles of antenna used for terrestrial TV. The most popular forms are Yagi-Uda or Yage, but there are many other options available. Parabolic reflectors are also used where a wide bandwidth is required, and the stations are widely spaced in frequency. Although the log-periodic should be considered when a wide range of frequencies is necessary, it typically offers a lower gain than the other antenna types.
The main factors to look at when purchasing an outdoor antenna is the gain and size. If an antenna is too large physically, it may be challenging to mount. It will also be more susceptible to the wind and more robust fixing calls for additional time and resources.
Rooftop Or Attic Installation
If you opt to invest in an outdoor antenna, you must choose between a rooftop and an attic model. While the roof is generally considered the most suitable place to install an antenna, the attic can work just fine.
However, if you opt for the attic, ensure that the antenna signals can penetrate the roof materials. If you have an aluminium roof, it would be best to install the antenna outside.
Selecting the correct outdoor antenna for your television requires that you consider several things. They include the following;
Which channels are available on the antenna?
The first step in buying an antenna is figuring out which channels are available in your area and the ones that you want to watch. You can check online for a TV broadcast database that gives a relatively detailed estimation of the signals that will reach your house and their strength.
Which channels do you want to watch?
The next consideration you need to make is the channels you want to watch. After all, it may be pointless trying to get signals for weak stations if all your favourite shows are already on the strong ones.
You can check everything that’s on the air in your local area through a TV listing guide. Here, you need to enter your zip code and specify whether you are checking for “over the air” or “antenna” as your TV provider not to get the programs mixed up. Getting this information will help you determine if an indoor antenna will be sufficient or if you need a roof or attic mounted model to access your desired channels.
Which antenna do you need?
The type of antenna you need for your home is determined by the signal strength in your area and the channels you want to watch. If your area receives strong signal strength and all your favourite channels easily accessible, you can get a medium power indoor antenna.
However, if your area receives weak signal strength and your favourite channels are not easy to access, it would be better to purchase a high power outdoor antenna.
Outdoor TV antennas come in a variety of specifications, materials and sizes. This being the case, it may be challenging to determine the one that suits your needs best. Below are some tips on how to choose a good outdoor TV antenna.
Check the power
It can be a bit daunting to determine the power of an antenna as most of them tend to be passive, hardly generating any power. It is therefore vital that you understand how much power the antenna transmits and how much you receive.
Gaining more power means having a better reception. Since power gain is quite a complex topic, companies tend to publish the range of antennas in miles. This isn’t always an accurate comparison since the coverage may be affected by the local condition.
Check The Height Of The Antenna
The height of the antenna is another significant factor to consider before purchase if you want to get the best signal for your TV. An external antenna must be in a high position to help you improve the range. Mounting it at a high elevation also helps to reduce the effect of close-by interferences.
In most cases, the channels are miles away from your location. Therefore, you may need to mount your multidirectional or directional antenna at a high elevation to get a decent reception.
Your TV’s Antenna is generally placed with amplifiers, which amplify the signal from the antenna to your TV’s receiver. They help to improve the quality of the signal. The amplifier boosts the noise that comes from the antennas.
Some antennas come with built-in amplifiers. However, you may require to purchase a complementary amplifier if your antenna doesn’t have one and you have less than satisfactory signal strength.
Electronic interferences are present everywhere, and they seem to be getting worse over time. Adding a wireless device to any electrical equipment in your home could increase the potential for electronic interference.
You may also have to deal with any hills, buildings or towers that stop your antenna from getting the proper reception. If you are experiencing such issues, you can raise the antenna a little above the ground or try moving it around to find a spot away from the noise sources.
Consider The Direction Of The Antenna
It would be best if you considered the direction of the antenna before you make your purchase. Single directional antennas improve the strength of a single station far better than those that have a whole set of stations.
If the stations you want to watch are miles away and in different directions, it is advisable to purchase a multidirectional outdoor antenna.
Determine the Frequency of Your TV
Most TV sets have both UHF and VHF frequencies. If you want to get the best channels, it is advisable to select an antenna capable of handling the best frequencies. You can only select an antenna with a single frequency range, depending on the one available in your location.
Considering the above factors will help you to determine the type of antenna you need to purchase based on your area and channel preference. It is best to hire a professional to handle the installation. However, it is possible to get the job done yourself. Below are some tips on how to install an outdoor antenna.
- Ensure that you mount the antenna in the most optimal spot on the roof. Doing this will help to ensure good performance. It is also possible to install the antenna in the attic, but this may lead to signal loss.
- Read the TV manual or instructions before performing the channel scan to ensure that you follow the proper steps.
- Ensure to position the front of your antenna towards the broadcast towers. If you are uncertain of where this is, you can conveniently check on online websites.
- Most antennas come with a detailed guide. However, it is advisable to seek professional assistance if you can’t get the job done yourself. You may also reach out to a friend or neighbour to help you get the job done.
A TV antenna helps to make signals stronger, therefore allowing you to watch your favourite channels. Consider the above factors when selecting an outdoor antenna.