How to Choose an Outdoor TV Antenna: A Simple Guide

How to Choose an Outdoor TV Antenna: A Simple Guide

Did you know there are about 1760 TV stations across the USA? That means anywhere from 50-100 public access stations from nearly anywhere in the US. There’s tons of content at your fingertips if you’re considering cutting that cable.

HDTV and outdoor TV antennas have changed a lot over the years from what you might remember at the beginning of the 2000s.

Why bother, when you can stream? Well, local stations carry local information relevant to you, that might be available nowhere else. Not to mention that nationally syndicated public access television stations don’t compress their signals.

That means things like sports games come in clearer than anything satellite or cable can reasonably deliver, even up to 4K with the new ATSC 3.0 standard coming.

Read on to learn more about how to choose an outdoor TV antenna.

What to Consider

Before “how” you might ask “why”. Why outdoor, when there are indoor options available? If you live in a big city, you might not have a choice, but an outdoor antenna offers more power and greater range. They’re amplified and in a higher position, so this often clears them of any obstacles to the signal.

So what are some things to think about when choosing an outdoor TV antenna? A few considerations would include:

  • Placement in the Roof verses the attic
  • Gain
  • VHF and UHF frequencies
  • Directional or Multi-directional
  • Finding out the channels in your area
  • Determining if you need an amplifier

Yes, we know a lot of these are about location, placement, and direction. These three features affect which antenna to choose, and why. For example, if you have three stations coming from different directions, it’s a no-brainer to install a multi-directional (sometimes called omni-directional) antenna.

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What’s Most Important

Having both VHF and UHF frequencies available to you will expand the range of channels you can receive. It may also provide you coverage for any new channels or occasional frequency changes at the local station.

Gain is an attribute that determines the ability to detect a signal. Gain is super important, and if it doesn’t have good gain, you’ll always be left wanting.

Speaking of amplifiers, knowing the channels in your area, and where they are coming from can determine if you need an amplifier. If the signal is coming from far away, chances are you do.

All of these factors together will affect your antenna installation cost as well as which antenna you get. This is actually a great opportunity to mention that a professional can give you awesome advice about your specific needs.

Choosing Your Outdoor TV Antenna: Tuning Out

Just like your outdoor tv antenna, public access TV is here to stay. Not only will it stick around but grow over the coming years.

The proposed merger of over-the-air and over-the-top service makes the disruption to TV palpable. Even if you hadn’t planned on cutting the cable.

Keeping up with the technologies, you could find yourself saving gobs of money every month on cable and satellite bills. You could even supplement your current service provider with better control of your local channels.

Either way, a one-time cost for great TV fidelity and be ready for the coming changes is something you can talk about with your antenna installer.

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