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TV antenna for multiple TVs


Which TV antennas are best for multiple TVs?

Supplying multiple TVs from one antenna has nothing to do with the antenna and everything to do with the antenna distribution system layout and proper signal amplification. Hundreds of TVs can be connected to one antenna.  If the antenna is receiving the TV signals you can supply multiple TVs from any  antenna if you're willing to do it right.  



One antenna, 160 TVs, over 2 miles of coax cable, 12 amplifiers and 72 signal splitters.


The assignment was a new construction 60 unit high rise condominium complex. Each condo had 3 TV connections creating 160 total outlets. One hundred and sixty TV antenna connection, one large building and every connection must provide quality TV reception. After hours of planning I went to work. 



Big or small a multiple TV distribution system must remain balanced. 


The biggest mistake people make is daisy chaining signal splitters and placing signal amplifiers in the wrong location. If the TV signal from the antenna goes into a signal splitter, from that splitter to another splitter, the signals at the end of the line will be weak. If you place a signal amplifier at the end of the line it will do little good. Signal amplification maintains good quality signal. The amplifier won't bring the signal quality back. In other words, poor signal in, poor signal out. To be effective amplifiers must be placed before the signal quality is lost at the head end of the antenna system.  



Pre-amplifier or Distribution amplifier or both?


The only difference between a preamplifier and distribution amplifier is the location within the antenna distribution system. Both types of amplifiers amplify the signal. Pre-amplifiers are designed to be located near the antenna. Distribution amplifiers are located indoors on the antenna side of a signal splitter. 

In most cases if the antenna supplies 4 TVs or less using a signal splitter with 4 outputs or less a pre-amplifier is all you will need. The preamplifier will produce enough signal boost to drive the signal through the coax cable, the signal splitter and to each TV. 


How to supply quality TV signal to more than 4 TVs

The more times a splitter divides the TV signal (TVs on or off) the greater the need for additional signal amplification. Use a distribution amplifier when the pre-amplifier isn't enough boost for the entire system. When using a signal splitter with more than 4 outputs place a distribution amplifier in line before the signal splitter on the antenna side of the splitter.


Using both a pre-amplifier and distribution amplifier follow this procedure.

  1. Run the coax cable from the antenna output to the mast mounted preamplifier input. A cable of 4 feet works great.
  2. From the preamplifier output connection the coax cable runs indoors to the input connection of the power inserter. The power inserter is included with the preamplifier. The power inserter requires an electrical outlet.
  3. From the power inserter output connection run coax cable to the input connection of the distribution amplifier.
  4. From the output connection of the distribution amplifier run coax cable to the input connection of the signal splitter.
  5. From the signal splitter output connections run coax cable to each TV location.  


To learn more about preamplifiers, distribution amplifiers and multiple TVs from one antenna her are my recommended links. 

How to install a preamplifier that works >
This page provides the basics for properly installing a TV antenna preamplifier. Nearly every preamplifier failure is do to installation error. 

Designing a TV antenna distribution system for multiple TVs >
This page will explain in further detail the ins and outs of proper signal distribution. Placement of amplifiers and several examples of multiple TV distribution systems.