TV signal strength vs. signal quality.
Learn the difference between TV signal strength and signal quality and you'll avoid the biggest mistakes most people make.
The mistake made when setting up for over the air TV antenna reception is under buying the antenna and over buying the amplifier.
What's the difference between signal strength and signal quality?
Signal quality measures the amount of wanted broadcast signal versus the amount of unwanted interference signal within the signal received.
Signal strength measures the strength of the signal but does not consider the quality of the signal. .
You can receive a signal strength of 100% and still have poor TV reception. Any antenna can produce a 100% signal strength meter reading by adding amplifiers. However, if most of the signal strength produced by the amplifiers is unwanted interference the result will still be poor TV reception.
On the other hand, If the signal quality is good you can receive a 50% signal strength reading on the meter and still enjoy perfect TV reception. The TV can't tell the difference between TV signal and TV signal interference.
Good signal quality begins with the antenna.
No amount of signal amplification can make a bad antenna good. If the antenna delivers a poor quality signal to the amplifier the amplifier will produce a stronger but still poor quality signal to the TV.
Directional receiving antennas produce a much higher level of signal quality compared to Omnidirectional and multi-directional antennas.
TV signal interference is caused by many things. Signal interference is everywhere and in every direction. The source of interference is natural and man made.
A directional antenna by design will reject interference from sides and rear of the antenna creating a higher level of signal quality.
On the other hand, omnidirectional antennas by design will receive interference from all directions causing a lower level of signal quality.
Good signal quality begins with the antenna but it ends at the TV.
So you have a good antenna producing a high quality signal. The next mistake people make is improper signal amplification. Amplifiers will increase signal strength but they never improve signal quality. The purpose of an amplifier is to get the signal from the antenna to the TV(s) without loosing signal strength.
Facts about TV antenna signal amplifiers.
- Signal amplifiers will not improve the performance of the antenna. If the antenna is not receiving an adequate signal no amount of amplification will help. If the antenna delivers a poor quality signal to the amplifier the amplifier will boost the signal and produce a stronger poor quality signal to the TV.
- To much signal amplification can cause the TV signal to be over driven. The tuner in your TV has a maximum signal input capacity. If the signal is to strong it will surpass the input capacity of the TV tuner over driving the tuner causing poor reception.
- The only job the signal amplifier has is to boost the signal and overcome the signal loss between the amplifier location and the TV. An amplifier located near the TV does little good since all of the signal loss is occurring upstream prior to the amplifier.
- The only difference between a preamplifier and a distribution amplifier is the location of the amplifier within the antenna system. Both types of amplifiers boost the signal strength. A preamplifier is located near the antenna before any signal loss occurs. A distribution amplifier is located on the antenna side of a signal splitter.
Next lesson is designing a TV antenna signal distribution system > Tried and true techniques that lead to successful TV signal distribution. Connecting multiple TVs to a single antenna.